The control and monitoring plan for achieving the financial and operational objectives must include the various measures that the company proposes to undertake. For starters, if the company is proposing a 1% increase in productivity every year over the next five years, it means that the company needs to invest in automation of processes that are manual right now and those that can be made more efficient by way of process improvement and productivity gains can thus be made.
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The plan is to have the company adopt Kaizen or continuous improvement of processes that would lead to incremental productivity gains that accrue as a result of reaching a maturity level in the processes. While this is not a statement to reduce the labor and invest in automation, it certainly calls for retraining the workforce and adding skill sets so that the workers are capable of higher productivity.
The objective of retaining 80% of the customers needs an action plan that would involve use of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools that would improve the retention rate for old customers and keep new customers engaged. The financial objective of generating a ROE (Return on Equity) of 10% would involve eliminating redundant costs and putting in place cost cutting measures that would improve the bottom-line of the company. To achieve the financial, operational and customer retention objectives, the company must devote enough resources to control and monitor these action items.
The measures that are proposed must be monitored regularly for improvement as well as deviation from the norm. In case of the latter, there should be a mechanism in place to suggest course correction as quickly as possible. Taken together, the measures discussed above feed into each other and would cumulatively net the company the desired reductions in costs and improvements in productivity. Thus, the objectives must not be looked at in isolation but must be taken together as a comprehensive package.
Action plan to address ethical, legal and regulatory issues
This section discusses the action plan needed to address the issues arising out of the ethical, legal and regulatory controls. The company faces issues ranging from client confidentiality to the compliance with labor laws. I take each of the issues arising from the ethical, legal and regulatory aspects and suggest an action plan to address them. Further, a comprehensive action plan is also discussed to tackle the larger questions arising out of the main issue, i.e. regulatory mechanism.
First, the company has to ensure that its database of customer profiles and the information contained in them is not given to any third party. The company has to ensure the integrity of the data and prevent leaks of any kind. This is mandatory under the US law and any disclosure of client information would attract penalties and lead to regulatory action. As is the case with websites collecting personal data, the company gathers a lot of personal information about its customers and employs customer profiling to help its business.
There has to be a foolproof plan in place to ensure that this data does not fall into the wrong hands. The company can restrict access to the customer profiles and ensure that the information is available to employees on a “need to know” basis. This would prevent unauthorized access to information and potential leaks of the same.
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Next, the company has to follow sound labor practices. As discussed in the SWOT analysis, Spotless Cleaning Services faces increased threats from the labor department on account of its perceived labor policies that include hiring of workers below the wage standards and also allegations of using immigrants as workers who do not have the clearances to work. The company has to ensure that it manages its products and businesses in such a way as to not attract the penalties under the provisions of the anti-labor laws.
To implement this, the company has to set a minimum wage for its employees below which it does not hire any worker and also desist from using cheap immigrant labor. There has to be some discipline in the hiring process and the labor policies of the company need to be aligned with that of the labor laws that are applicable.
Finally, the company has to address the regulatory issues of monopolistic behavior and treating its employees in a manner that follows the letter as well as the spirit of the law. When faced with issues of bonding and insuring its workers, the company needs to be proactive in devising policies that ensure fair treatment of workers that includes providing them with medical insurance cover and other sorts of insurance.
The company needs to cover the bases when faced with these regulatory, legal and ethical issues. Just because the competition is indulging in unhealthy practices does not mean that Spotless Cleaning Services resorts to this kind of behavior. A comprehensive action plan would have the objectives laid out and the means to achieve them spelt out as well as milestones for each. This is the challenge faced by the company.
A communication plan reaches out to the intended audience by way of explaining a set of actions that the company proposes to take to address the issues discussed in the above sections as well as lays out an action plan to tackle the same. To have a proper communication plan, the company needs to identify the relevant stakeholders and the intended audience as well. Next, the plan needs to have the key messages or a gist of what is sought to be conveyed. Finally, the communication plan needs to have a specific calendar of milestones and their progress needs to be monitored. The communication plan needs to be published periodically. This can be once a month or a quarter. The communication plan needs to have achievable targets along with responsibility for the same.
To come to the actual communication plan for Spotless Cleaning Services, the plan would have the vision and mission statement at the top of the plan with a roadmap to measure how well the company is doing to address the vision and mission. The vision statement as well as the mission statement needs to be enunciated clearly and without ambiguity so that there is no confusion among the intended audience. To quote from the vision and mission statement,
- Mission: Spotless Cleaning Service provides house cleaning services and products and seeks to surpass customer expectations by providing uncompromising quality of service in a timely, trustworthy and professional manner.
- Vision: The vision of Spotless Cleaning Service is to be at the first choice among customers seeking house cleaning services and products. We strive to continuously promote and enhance our reputation as a highly respected house cleaning services provider.
Next, the communication plan should identify the stakeholders for which the plan is intended to be circulated. In this case the stakeholders would be the board of directors and the upper as well as middle management. The non-confidential portion of the communication plan is to be shared with all employees regardless of their level in the organizational hierarchy. These stakeholders must be informed of any changes to the communication plan and there must be a repository where the changes to the plan are tracked.
The goals and objectives as enunciated in the balanced scorecard should be laid out in the communication plan. A clear timetable must be established that tracks each of these action items to closure. With each revision of the communication plan, the items that have been completed must be marked as closed and the items that are yet to be completed must be marked as in progress.
The goals as laid out in the balanced scorecard analysis are, “The financial objective is to generate a return on equity of not less than 10% for the next five years. The customer objective will be to retain at least 80% of the old customers for the next five years. The process objective would be to have in incremental 1% improvement in productivity every year for the next five years while the learning and growth objective will be to maintain at below 5% employee turnover for the next five years”. This statement of goals has the objectives as well as the timelines for closure.
Pearce II, J. and Robinson, Jr. R. (2004), Strategic Management, Ninth Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.