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Unit 16 MCIK Assignment SPL
Diploma in Business
Unit Number and Title
Unit 16 MCIK SPL
Managers are required to make decisions today in an environment that is highly complex, dynamic and competitive in nature. This fact makes the process of effective decision making more critical and difficult than in the past. It has been found through research that managers often make decisions based on information that is inaccurate and incomplete. Thus in context of organizations one of the important things is sourcing of correct information. However, information alone is not sufficient as proper communication is required to ensure that the objectives and goals of the organization are effectively communicated to the employees. The following pages would deal with the improvement of information sourcing decision making and communication at Star Printers Limited in London.
Task 1: Demonstrate understanding of the way to access information and knowledge needs of SPL
The main problem that is being faced by SPL limited at present is stiff competition from the online printing companies which are found to offer printing at a significantly lower cost. This has resulted in the loss of quite a few jobs, which has the ability to impact bottom line and staff morals leading to high attrition rates as the staffs start leaving the company. In this context it is important to take several decisions. However, before decisions are taken accurate information needs to be collected. In the following pages the information requirements for effective decision making are is defined followed by an identification of internal and external sources of information. This is followed by a list of recommendation for further improvement of current process.
Range of decisions to be taken and information and knowledge requirements for ensuring effective decision taking
In line with fighting the steep competitive environment in which SPL finds itself in there are several decisions that needs to be taken by the management of the company. The different decision that needs to be taken can be summed up as follows:
- The path which is to be taken for increasing the market share
- The way to ensure loyalty of customers and better engagement of employees
- Deciding on the changes required and the path that is to followed in enforcing the changes organization needs
- Deciding on the way to reduce costs and be more efficient
The above mentioned decisions are required to make the company more efficient that it is today so that it can be able to print at a lower cost and possibly beat online competition. However in order for the company management to be able make these decisions, it requires certain information. Decisions can only be good if they are based on accurate information (Blenko, Mankins and Rogers, 2010). Inaccurate information will to decisions that are inaccurate and taking such decisions would take the company on path of repeated losses and losing greater share of market than actually gaining any. There are several steps that need to be taken before making the decision and the first of them is to be able to identify the problem. After the problem has been identified it is important to analyze the possible solutions of that problem. The possibilities that can bring one closer to the goal need to be evaluated and then the decision is to be taken. It is important to understand that it is best to take a good decision and next best thing to take a bad decision but it is worst to take no decision at all (Martin, 2015). Although it is important to have all the necessary information but it is also important to know when all the information required has been gathered and it is time to be decisive. In context of making the above mentioned decisions the information that are required by SPL are in relation to gathering information about price offered by competitors, analyzing ways to motivate employees, analyzing likes and dislikes of customers and gathering more information about them, preparation of budget so as to reduce costs by identification of redundancy and avoiding those, analysis of share price by gathering market related data. The company also requires information of best practices so as to implement them at strategic level and take the business forward through a path of innovation.
Internal and external sources of information
The source of information that SPL requires in order to make effective decisions can be both from inside and outside the organization. Internal sources of information refer to the information that is gathered from within the organization when organization members are involved in generation and distribution of knowledge. As seen from the company description, SPL is a printing based company and it specializes in the printing of magazines and other business stationary like business cards, memos and letter heads. Thus the internal information of the company would be related to printing and designing process. The company would try to gather information related to different cartridges, types of business cards, layout of important machines in the office floor and data related to employees of the organization. This information would be required to figure out the best way to meet customers’ demands, reduce cost of prinking by figuring out redundancy and finding ways to improve employee motivation and engagement.
While internal information helps in knowing the current status of organization and in the analysis of strength and weaknesses, external information would help to identify areas of further development, opportunities and threats. External sources of information would involve customer feedbacks regarding services desired, scanning the internet to know about latest printing technologies and information regarding office layout so as to reduce redundancies, scanning the internet so as to know the offerings of the competitors and their price offerings. External sources of information involves both primary and secondary sources of data
Recommendations for improvement
Improvements should be made after taking in the wishes of customers and analyzing market trends. The company should try and reduce redundancies in production so as to be more efficient and cut overhead and capital costs. The company also needs to include newer designs in their printing mechanisms so as to meet the market trends and wishes of the customers. Prices should be reduced keeping in line with the prices of competitors but there should be no compromise with quality. Newer channels of distribution including online medium should be explored for reducing sales and distribution overhead. The company should try and explore the possibility to directly selling to customers through its own website in order to reduce the price margin and increasing profit. Newer ways to improve employee engagement and morale should be explored. Customer engagement should be improved by talking to them using social media platforms.
SPL is a printing company that is engaged in the printing of business magazines and other stationeries. Recently the company has faced stiff price competition from online sellers which has impacted the bottom line and employee morale. In order to address the situation the company needs to take several decisions. In order to make the decisions effective, they should be based on both external and internal sources of information. The company should improve customer engagement, cut overhead costs, sell directly to customers and increase employee motivation in order to be successful and move forward.
Task 2: Process of creating strategies to increase personal networking to widen involvement in the decision making process
In order to ensure effectiveness of the decision making process it is also important to involve different stakeholders in the process of decision making. Described below is the list of important stakeholders and strategies to improve contact and increase their involvement in decision making process.
Identification of stakeholders for a decision-making process and explanation of their appropriateness and importance
There are several stakeholders that the organization needs to serve. Stakeholders refers to all those whose life are effected or they effect the organization and its existence. The stakeholders include external as well as internal stakeholders. Internal stakeholders are the owners, managers and employees of the company. On the other hand external stakeholders refers to all those who are outside the organization. This group includes the shareholders, creditors, suppliers, society at large, customers and the government. Each stakeholder plays an important role in the existence of an organization. The importance of stakeholders can be perceived by their role in the running of organization. A company like SPL has to run with the money from shareholders and creditors, it has to abide by the rules of government, has to make products that are acceptable to customers, has to maintain good relationship with suppliers for mutual growth and has to look after greater society as part of corporate social responsibility. Thus each stakeholder plays an important role in the running of the organization and the organization needs to ensure that each of their needs are fulfilled or addressed (Pirson and Malhotra, 2011).
Importance of making contact and developing business relationships with these stakeholders
These stakeholders identified above play a vital role in the business of SPL and thus developing business relationships with these stakeholders is of utmost importance. For instance it is important to develop employee relationship with the customers so as to know their wishes and wants and also the points of their grievances. This would in turn help the company in forging good relationship with the client and improving product or service quality so as to cater to the needs and requirements of clients. Developing good relationship with the government is required to understand the new policies that affect business and the way to circumvent them. Relationship building with stakeholders and creditors becomes all the more important as it is with their money that the company runs and the management of the company is answerable to shareholders in the form of principal agent relationship (Filatotchev and Wright, 2011). It is also important to have good relationship with the employees as to increase engagement with them and to effectively communicate the goals and objective to them. Similarly relationship building with the society is important to build image and brand name of the company (Lai, Chiu, Yang and Pai, 2010).
Design strategies for improvement:
- In order to design strategies for improvement the following steps need to be followed:
- The issues faced should be categorized according to importance
- The causes behind important issues should be identified
- Several possible strategies as solution to each cause should be gathered through brainstorming sessions and suggestion from stakeholders
- Pros and cons of each strategy should be identified
- The best strategies thus arrived at should be applied after elimination of others.
Task 3: Process of developing the communication process
Existing processes of communication in an organization
Communication in an organization is a very important process. It might sound as simple but it is very important in the sense that communication is the way in which information is transmitted across the organization and it is very much susceptible to distortion which can change the meaning of original message and spell disaster. There are three channels of communication that are mainly used in an organization (Guffey and Loewy, 2010). The manager needs to send detail instructions and instruct his or her subordinates. For this reason downward communication channel is used. The subordinates need to send report to the manager and for this purpose upward communication channel is used. In addition the manager or employees sometimes communicate with their peer group and for this purpose lateral communication channels are used. A basic communication model consists of encoder or sender of the information, a medium, and a decoder or receiver of the message. In order for the communication to be effective and two sided there should also be a feedback loop from the decoder to the encoder.
Ways to improve appropriateness and explanation of ways to implement improvements for greater integration of communication
In is very important to ensure that the communication channel is effective and is as free from degradation as possible. This would ensure that the message is effectively communicated and there are lesser chances of misinterpretation or distortion of the original message. There are several ways that can be used to improve effectiveness of communication. These are described as follows:
- Using different modes of communication- Using different modes for communication improves the resilience of communication system and prevents it from becoming over reliant on one particular communication channel. The message that is important can be repetitively transmitted through different communication channels in order to ensure that the message reaches the right person and is given its due importance.
- Putting emphasis on listening- The emphasis on listening skills should be given primary importance as a message that is not listened carefully can lead to disaster. In order to avoid this decoder should be made to repeat the message in cases where it is felt that the message has not been properly listened.
- Emphasis on two way communication- Where possible the manager should ensure that the communication is two way and his subordinate participates in the communication process. It is very important to ensure feedback is received for ensuring full participation of listener in communication process.
- Modern technologies should be used- There should be emphasis on the use of modern technologies in communication process in order to improve effectiveness of communication and reduce redundancies (Schultz, Utz and Göritz, 2011).
Personal plan for improving communication skills
Personal communication ability can be improved by reading books, watching films and listening to talk shows, listening to news presentation, focusing on voice modulation, joining classes to improve pronunciation and voice modulation techniques, learning the use of non verbal cues, improving listening skills and engaging in mock communication drills so as to identify areas of lacunae and improve upon them.
Task 4: Explain how you would improve systems relating to information and knowledge
Information and knowledge has become increasingly important in modern day organizations. Organizations thrive on information and information is processed so as to ensure effectiveness in taking decisions. With the changes in requirements of information the method of collecting information is witnessing change. In the following pages the ways in which information is collected, formatted, stored and decimated in an organization would be analyzed so as to find ways to improve the process of collecting, formatting storing and dissipating information. The way in which the strategy to improve access to systems of knowledge and information would be implemented is discussed after that.
Existing approaches to collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge
The collection of information by different organization is mainly done through the use of following methods:
- Observation: In this method of primary data collection, the customers are met and observed along with an observation of market trends for gathering relevant information.
- Survey: In this method the company collects opinion of different individuals including customers so as to gather important and relevant data.
- Processing of transaction: The transactions that are recorded in journal, ledger and other important recording sources are analyzed and processed
- Experiment: Trying to access the opinion of various communities through test marketing.
- Subjective opinion: In this case the opinions of experts are analyzed so as to understand important characteristics of the market and are important in those cases where other sources of information are not able to provide valid data.
Secondary sources: Sometimes secondary sources of information such as publication from scholars or industry are accessed for getting access to relevant information.Storage of information was previously done in physical format such as files, registers and archives. However, with an increase of digitization, information and data are now stored on digital marketing platforms such as CD or DVD drives, pen drives and hard disks. Dissemination of information is the process which is used to deliver information to the actual users of information. Information is disseminated for understanding, awareness and action. There are number of different ways in which information was disseminated including reports, PowerPoint presentation, bulletins etc.
Way to implement appropriate changes to improve the collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge
Certain changes should be brought about in way in which information is collected, stored or disseminated across SPL. This is required so as to ensure that the process of collecting, formatting, storing and disseminating of information at SPL becomes more effective. As seen from the case background the organization is facing steep competition from online printing companies who are able to offer the same products at much lesser price. This has led to loss of jobs, decrease in bottom line and increased staff turnover. In order to arrest this process the company needs to bring about a change in the way information is collected, formatted, stored and disseminated across the organization so as to aid in more effective decision making and communication of the decision across organization. The process of information collected needs to be changed by using different methods to collect information. In this regards the company should make use of survey and observation to collect data from customers regarding their tastes, preferences, their wants etc. In addition the company needs to collect information about competitors in terms of their price points and technology being used through secondary and online sources. Additionally the company management should analyze processing of transactions so as to identify the redundancies in the system and areas where overhead costs can be cut. Information also needs to be collected about employees so as to understand the factors behind their motivation and greater engagement.
The storing of information should also be improved and a centralized database in this regards needs to be created so as to avoid duplication of efforts. There should be a master file of data related to customers or employees which can be accessed for relevant information by the relevant departments (Cox, 2014). Each department should update and have access to the centralized data base so that there is no duplication of efforts and no loss of data in compilation of various reports of different departments that form part of main report.
The dissemination of information should be performed after the information collected from the different sources is analyzed so as to deduce important insight from the same. The important insights that are drawn from the data should be presented in the form of bullet points in a presentation to the top management to aid in easy grasping of important data and consequently ease in the process of decision making. If the findings are circulated in a report format then there should be a greater use of visual materials throughout the report and the main points should be summarized in the executive summary section of the report.
Way to implement a strategy to improve access to systems of information and knowledge
It is very important that access to information should be improved such that the information and knowledge which are vital requirements for the process of decision making is easily accessed by all the stakeholders who are involved in the process of decision making. The main problem which currently concerns SPL is the rise of online printing services which are providing prints at much lower costs. In order to address the situation the company needs to access several information and knowledge related to competitor prices, the business strategy of competitors vs. the business strategy of SPL, areas where overhead costs can be reduced and efficiency can be increased, the wants and needs of customers, the wants and needs of the employees and the way to increase the motivation and engagement of employees, way to build customer loyalty etc. Collection of the different sets of information is only one step. The different stakeholders and decision makers should also be able to easily access the wealth of information in order to take important decision.
In order to avoid data duplication costs and errors associated with it, the data or information should be stored on a central database (Power, Sharda and Burstein, 2015). The data should be managed in a way such that the information that is being sought can be easily accessed without having to go through the entire volume of data. However, in order to avoid the risk of data manipulation by unscrupulous people within or outside the organization, the access to the data base should be such that all would be able to view it but only select group would be able to edit the information.
Use of IT to improve management and delivery of information
IT can be extremely useful in the process of management and delivery of information. Before the advancement of IT, information used to be stored in physical form on reports. However, these were prone to destruction over time and it was very difficult to access the relevant information from them as with the growth of the business organisation the volume of these reports kept on growing. Then came the age of digitization in which reports and information started getting stored on computers and external storage devices. However, now with the advancement of cloud technology, it is possible to store information in third party servers. The advantage this can provide for the company is that a lot of cost saving can be done through this and the data remains more secured (Subashini and Kavitha, 2011). Additionally the data stored on third party servers can be accessed from anywhere on anytime using the internet (Wu, Ping, Ge, Wang and Fu, 2010). New innovation by the company that helps to print at lower costs can be copyrighted and the intellectual property can be used as a valuable resource by the company as can be seen in case of court battles between Apple and Samsung (Chung, 2015).
As can be seen from the above discussion, procurement, formatting, storing and disseminating information are important activities in the path of decision making. In this regards SPL has a lot of scope for further improvement. In this regards SPL can make use of IT in order to aid in the process of procurement, storing, formatting and dispersing information to aid in the process of decision making.
As can be seen from the above discussion, the challenges that are being faced by SPL at the current moment can be addressed through better decision making. However, in order to make better decisions on a number of important issues, the company needs information to be collected. The information collection, storage, formatting and dissemination process should be improved by the use of latest technology to aid in the process of decision making. The decisions taken should be communicated throughout the organization with the help of better communication channels and important information should be repeated.
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