Evaluate how the Shirts and Skirts Company currently performing and establish the areas that require improvement
The company’s performance has been poor with its profitability declining. This is a major cause of concern. The drop has been a result of the company having overstocking problems out of fashion clothing which is no longer demanded in the market. Another factor that could have led to the dismal performance of the company is the fact that the company usually has large consignment stocks where they use basic procurement procedures thus incurring a lot of expenses in the process. The company also uses long-term agreements which are hard to adjust and thus despite the changes in the market, they are forced to stick by the agreement.
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Another sector which has been leading to the poor performance of the company is the transport sector. We are informed that the budget of the department is never controlled and as a result, this has made the transport manager take for granted the maintenance of the transport facilities as well as everything that entails the transport sector in the company.
He does not keep a driver’s track record and we are even informed that sometimes he even allows the drivers to work for their own business using the company vehicles and this leads to the company incurring extra expenses. They have also been buying fuel from the same supplier for the last ten years and as a result, they are not able to negotiate for fair prices. The records in this department are also poorly kept, are inaccurate, and out of date creating avenues for misappropriation of funds.
There has also been inconsistency in the way payments and rewards are made in the personnel department. For example, the company cars are left to the discretion of the managers who decide how to allocate them among the employees based on grace and favor basis as was seen in the case of the 24-year graduate who was making more money than even some of the senior employees in the company. The involvement of all the workforce in training to improve their skills which could lead to an efficient job at the company has also been low.
We are informed that among the company employees, in the last 18 months only approximately 5% of the workforce was exposed to any kind of training as a result, the employees have not been learning about the new issues concerned with the management and running of the company. They are still stuck with the past techniques and as a result, the company has got very little advancements or new knowledge among the employees that can lead to increased profitability.
Put forward a case for using BPR as the means for delivering the required improvements for the organization, identifying the benefits and disadvantages of using this method
The BPR commonly known as the Business Reengineering Process is a term nowadays being most used in business. In past, scholars referring to BPR have also called it Working Smarter while others have called it the Core Business Process. It is mainly concerned with how a business entity such as Shirts and Skirts Company (SSC) can introduce and integrate within its own systems the Information Technologies (IT) to support the re-engineering or making the company work better. This reengineering could be done through maybe automation of the whole system or part of the system.
Whenever BPR ideas are being introduced in a company, they are introduced in the assumption that every company needs a direction or a strategic path which it needs to follow if it is to succeed whereby if the strategic path does not exist, then its chances of improvements are absent. Therefore, BPR involves making the operation within a company better. It is mainly concerned with finding better ways in which the activities, responsibilities, and also tasks can modify the existing technologies in order to be able to achieve the company goals. To make the BPR process a success, SSC would therefore require first to abandon all the existing old technologies or rules it has been following in the past and adopt the new ones (Rock 2003).
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BPR was used as a result of individuals making research in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that by companies implementing new technologies, not only did that have an effect on the automation and how the work was done, but also the fact that quality of the end product was very much improved.
As a result, Davenport (1993) one of the founders of BPR described it as a critique and design of the processes and the work flows (activities) which take place within organizations. As a result, this brought the importance of BPR as that tool which helped in dividing and identifying business activities that could be designed to attain maximum effectiveness rather than these activities being seen as ordinary individual activities.
We can therefore summarize and indicate that the BPR is a process through which the old ways of doing things are abandoned and new and better ways of organizing and operating a business through the introduction of IT systems in order to achieve the business goals in a more efficient manner.
If SSC would implement the BPR, it would entail the company making radical changes within, and then implement an organization restructuring program through which the company goals would be achieved and then finally introduce IT systems which would automate the whole system, eliminating the unnecessary procedures and streamline the organization this would result in increased profitability.
The advantages of using this method at Shirts and Skirts Company is that since BPR is about simplification and also the elimination of wasted efforts, the company could be able to lay off some of the employees who were not contributing enough to the growth of the company thus increasing the profitability of the company.
Where the responsible managers are not doing their work efficiently such as the transport manager who could not fill in the records accurately, BPR would have helped in filling by using an automated system. The use of BPR would also lead to effective management and project planning removing the necessity of hiring an unnecessary workforce thus producing the same or even more quality products at lower costs (Parys& Thijs 2003).
However, by using BPR, the company would face resistance, especially from the employees due to fear of them losing their jobs since the system would eliminate some of the duties that used to be theirs. In automating the system, the management might retrench some of them, and thus anything that should make the BPR work might fail. Lack of training among the employees on the new requirements can be a challenge to the company since the employees are not aware of what is expected from them as well as introducing the culture of change which employees might not like.
Put forward a case for using Kaizen as the means for delivering the required improvements for the organization, identifying the benefits and disadvantages of using this method
Kaizen is a Japanese term that implies improvement. It is a management strategy which bases its success on a step by step improvement. The term usually implies the overall improvement of the business where everybody involved (employees and their managers). It involves setting one’s mind towards maintaining and improving the existing standards (Dulhai 2008).
Kaizen is usually the success behind management. If it was to be used at SSC, the strategy would first identify the problems facing the company and then try and find solutions to the problems by introducing a corporate culture where everybody is free to air the existing problems within the company. In the Kaizen strategy, it is important to note that the customers have first to be satisfied if the organization is going to survive and make profits in any way. This would have forced the company to remove or find ways of removing the stocks which were no longer demanded to stocks which the customers were in need of. The success of this strategy lies in the way the improvements are made in small steps where the belief is that in the end, when the small benefits are added up, and then major benefits are achieved.
In case the Kaizen strategy was used at Shirts and Skirts Company, it would be advantageous since it would lead to a reduction of wastes such as the ones found in the area of inventory, where the records were poorly maintained as well as in the transportation department as well as in the stocks. The strategy would streamline the orders to only those that the customers demanded. The strategy also enhances product quality as well as efficient use of capital and it would not lead to lay-off for some workers since every employee works in his or her own small way in contributing to the success of the company.
Since the process is a step by step procedure, it brings out results faster due to its little focus on huge improvements. With the strategy focusing on how new innovative and creative strategies can be introduced within the company with an intention of increased performance of the company. Although SSC may need huge capital improvements in order to succeed, the power of kaizen strategy lies in its step by step approach to solving the problems facing an organization.
The strategy is also more preferred since the method rewards efforts with achievement as seen with the systematic improvements that are achieved. It gives employees a sense of purpose since each and everyone becomes a member of achieving the organization’s goals. Finally, it allows a company to plan rather than do their things in a haphazard manner as a result the company setting long-term goals and objectives.
However, the difficulty of using Kaizen lies in question where an individual or the business as a whole would start the strategy. Since it is a very difficult process in changing the attitudes of the employees involved in the process, the strategy, therefore, becomes very hard to implement and this can leads to its failure to work. Another problem is that most of the companies want to achieve their goals in the short run rather than in the long run. This makes the Kaizen strategy a very difficult expedition to force such people to think in the long term (Dobi 2007).
Recommend your choice of improvement method(s), giving reasons
In my own opinion, I would recommend the use of the Graham Process Mapping method, since it would entail first gathering the details of the issues at hard. This part entails asking ourselves what our reasons for doing that are and what we ought to do once the figures are out. After gathering facts it is then that it would be possible to imply the change methods that are supposed to be introduced.
This is usually the threat to most employees but the management should approach it in a sound manner where the employees should be informed that the improvement strategy aim is not to cut down on workers rather improve on the productivity of the company. After gathering all the facts, the Graham Process Mapping Method then comes into perspective since it gives all the parties involved a clear detail of what is supposed to happen during the improvement period using diagrams, symbols, and charts.
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The preference for using the visual method of communication ensures that the improvements are communicated clearly. When the process is broken down using figures and symbols, everybody involved understands what is expected of him or her. It is also easier to locate any part of the process and what will be required at what step giving the management good time in planning for the future (Graham 2008).
Recommend what role the operations function should have in the development of the SSC strategy, and explain the benefits to SSC of your recommendations
In developing the SSC strategy, the operations should foresee the role of innovations in the company as theirs not as that for the outsiders. This means taking full responsibility for making the improvement ideas come to work by ensuring that there is flexibility as well as innovativeness in making sure everything is done as planned. Introducing and enforcing new approaches based on the skills needed to meet the desired market needs should also be a role the operations should concentrate on.
Operations can also play the organizing and the coordinating role support in which SSC could win customers in the clothing industry over their rivals as they introduce products that are in demand as this would lead to increased profitability as a result of high sales. The operations should also make sure that the strategy is efficient and workable in developing a set of guidelines which would be in line with the company goals
Davenport, T.H., 1993, Process Innovation. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Dobi, S., 2007. The Kaizen and productivity. Web.
Dulhai, G., 2008. The5s strategy for continuous improvement Of the manufacturing processes in autocar Exhaust. Web.
Graham, B., 2008. The root of business process mapping. Web.
Parys, M., & Thijs, N. 2003. Business Process Reengineering; or how to enable bottom-up participation in a top down reform program. Web.
Rock, N, L. 2003. Examining the relationship between business Process reengineering and information Technology. Web.