The theses listed in this section are available for checkout. Call numbers and links to the catalog record are provided. A select number of MSEM theses are available full-text online. If a theses is available online the listing will also include a link to the full-text in the Institutional Repository.
This thesis describes multiple strategies for bringing new technology to market. It addresses the questions: Is it better to build a new manufacturing plant from scratch or to acquire an existing one? These questions were researched because of the high failure rate reported for new technology start-up firms.
The dismal performance of new technological start-ups is alarming. This moves one to wonder if all these technological ideas are merely wasted for lack of sound implementation strategies. One school of thought seems to blame the poor performance on a poor strategy of building a new plant where most of the capital is used up without good results. Another school of thought argues that a modification of strategy to invest in a used plant for the implementation of a technology better serves the vision by conserving the capital for other incidentals. The timeframe to market of any product or service is critical; hence, the vehicle driving the idea to market by way of the product must be effective.
The fastest commercialization strategy cannot accommodate delays in zoning, regulatory bureaucracy, supply-chain problems, process malfunction, staffing problems or inadequate funding because infrastructure costs can be higher than expected. These are some of the overriding factors that deny the entrepreneur precious time, and ultimately, business opportunity. Conversely, all the infra-structural cost and the system operational costs are better contained under a bulk expense, which includes the price of purchasing an existing and operating plant that meets the needs of the project at hand. It is imperative, however, that the facility’s integrity is not compromised for effectiveness, meaning that a less expensive facility must not be purchased with the hope of making it fit the job at hand.
The risk is drastically lower when an operational system is acquired. In this situation, there should not be any surprises, assuming that proper research is done up-front before acquiring the plant. The total cost is known up front, including any refurbishment that may be necessary. Acquisition of an existing plant looks like a better strategy to make the vision successful. A better approach to such a purchase may be the acquisition of an experienced crew along with the package in order to prevent any future troubleshooting problems. The quickest way to determine the feasibility of the start-up is to get as close an estimate as possible of the operation, from the purchase of the facility to getting the product on the market.
There have been a number of research studies with the aim of understanding how consumers make purchase decisions. The major assumption in these studies is that decision makers analyze product offerings from different retailers and make a tradeoff decision among all offers to select the offer that delivers the greatest utility.
With the advent of Internet shopping, consumers are faced with an overwhelming amount of product offerings, and consequently have a greater degree of freedom to choose among many different alternatives. Internet shopping carries a number of different characteristics than traditional shopping methods. In an online shopping environment, there are many variables that the decision maker evaluated which appear to be different from that of "classical" methods of shopping. These variables enter into the decision maker's utility functions and are evaluated on the basis of their importance to him or her. Unfortunately, the researcher does not have immediate access to those variables and cannot evaluate each one in isolation of the others. Hence, a bundle of these variables should be analyzed for different decision makers to assess the importance of each attribute and understand the implication of varying each attribute's level on the final decision of the consumer.
There have been numerous research studies that looked into how consumers make purchase decisions. However, only a few have focused on analyzing the decision process of consumers and what attributes they usually consider and/or evaluate when shopping on the World Wide Web. This study analyzes this process and develops an empirical choice model for individual consumers in a particular market segment buying a particular product. This study's main contribution to the marketing literature is its consideration of behavioral attributes that show strong influence on the online buying behavior of consumers, such as attitudes, perceptions, memory, and learning. In order to keep the variables in the model at a manageable level, the author considers the perception variable as an influential behavioral attribute in the consumer's choice of online retailers. Specifically, the author tests the significance of the consumer's "perception of web retailer trustworthiness" on the choice of retailer.
Historically, there has been a divide among the scientific community on the significance of behavioral attributes in influencing human decisions. In the economics and statistics literature, such soft attributes have not been modeled explicitly into consumer choice models with the assumption that consumers behave rationally. Consequently, the consumer was always assumed to choose an alternative that yields him or her maximum utility – given the attributes of the alternatives and attributes that are explicit to him or her, such as income. In addition, the evidence against the theory of rational behavior has been accumulating, leading researchers in the field to search for alternatives. Recently, however, there have been a few papers that looked into explicitly modeling softer attributes such as attitudes, perceptions, memory, and satisfaction into choice models. Evidently the results were improved models-fit, and a richer and a more behaviorally-realistic representation of the choice made by human decision makers.
The theory of rational behavior makes the assumption that humans make decisions based on the attainable level of utility from making a decision. This implies that the decision making process follows a systematic, step-by-step process where the decision is planned and rational. The other theory is based on the psychology and cognitive science view of human behavior, in that human behavior is far from rational. It is learned, dynamic, and evolving, and therefore, unpredictable.
This paper presents an overview of both theories. It portrays how each theory pertains to the online marketing problem. In addition, the paper presents a mathematical model for consumers' choice of web retailers. Attributes relating to the web retailer as well as the individual consumer are considered in building the model. Accordingly the author combines softer attributes of the decision maker (consumer) with other tangible attributes as they relate to the web retailer.
A number of estimation techniques were used in the estimation of the proposed models, namely Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE), Maximum Simulated Likelihood Estimation (MSLE), and Bayesian estimation. Results from the estimation are presented, along with other measures of statistical significance. The results of the estimation confirm that softer attributes do indeed influence the choice of web retailer, particularly the consumer's perception of web retailer trustworthiness. Furthermore, models that incorporate softer attributes do I fact produce a better fit, as judged by goodness-of-fit statistics.
Next, the paper presents a strategy for online marketing based on model outcomes. Strategies for segmenting, targeting, and positioning to the online consumer are presented in the strategy sections of the paper. Recommendations for applying the presented strategies are also discussed.
The paper finally concludes by giving recommendations on the aspects discussed, particularly those pertaining to online marketing strategy and research. Moreover, a recommendation for integrating marketing information systems and intelligence is given in the recommendations section.
The downsizing of nearly every company in America, has created the trend to look to outsourcing various operations in order to leverage scarce resources and improve asset utilization. Among the most prominent operations targeted for outsourcing is the logistics operation. With companies spending over $500 billion annually on logistics services, it offers one of the last frontiers for wringing costs out of today’s business. While the results are often impressive, with cost savings of up to 30 percent realized in some cases, outsourcing is not without possible pitfalls. Until now, the in-house logistics management function lacks the tools necessary to make the right decision when considering outsourcing. Over the next pages, the author will develop a decision process model designed specifically for assisting the logistics professional in determining whether outsourcing is right for his/her company. Effective outsourcing of logistics functions require a methodical approach. The DIRECT Model provides just that. With this tool, logistic managers will be able to make outsourcing decisions that will take all aspects of the company into consideration including: human resource issues, financial aspects, customer service, quality, etc. The rationale behind the DIRECT process approach essentially addresses the advantages and disadvantages to outsourcing. The information is based on data collected through the author’s in-depth research of organizations that have chosen to outsource some or all of their logistics functions. In particular, it satisfies the need for logistics professional to have an effective tool to assist them in making strategic decisions pertaining to logistics functions. It forces the potential buyer of third party services to comprehend the underlying aspects of the outsourcing decision that might have otherwise been forgotten. The result of applying the DIRECT Outsourcing Evaluation Model will significantly impact the success of outsourcing logistic functions or support the decision not to. The DIRECT outsourcing process model consists of 6 basic steps. They are defined as: Define, Identify, Research, Evaluate, Contract, and Transition. The first phase, Define, is initiated when a cross-functional team has been developed to administer the analysis. This team, led by the organization’s CFO, will be represented by various departments including, logistics, finance, manufacturing, customer service, among others. The CFO has been chosen to facilitate the effort of the outsourcing analysis mainly because he or she is not directly involved with any specific function of the logistics operation or any department dependent on it. It is easier to maintain a neutral position and help take down the barriers to change. In the Define phase, the outsourcing team is charged with gathering information, both internal and external, on the organizations goals, objectives and strategies. The outcome of this first phase will be a complete understanding of whether or not outsourcing will ‘fit’ into the organization’s culture. If the team finds it will not, corporate objectives can be realigned or the evaluation process is suspended indefinitely. However, if the team determines outsourcing will ‘fit’ into the organization, the evaluation will proceed to phase two or the Identify phase of the analysis. Here the team will identify logistics activities and their associated operating expenses. This is determined by several different cost analysis methods. One of the more common methods practiced is activity based costing (ABC). Utilizing this method and/or other analysis tools, will ultimately reveal activities or processes that may be more advantageous to the business to outsource. When the costs associated with the various functions of the logistics operation have been established, the results are benchmarked against similar organizations. By doing this, the evaluation team will not only gain an understanding of the current operational cost-effectiveness, but will also provide a cost basis for contract negotiations which take place later in the outsourcing process.
The next phase, Research, takes the information gathered from the cost analysis and begins to identify the potential third party providers that offer the types of services desired. Several alternatives to collecting information on potential third party providers are discussed. Some of the more common search engines include: journals or newspapers, networking and the Internet. When the search is complete and the number of providers is manageable, an informal initial request for proposal (RFP) is sent to each of the selected service providers. The RFP is basically a request sent out by the organization soliciting more detailed information on how the provider will perform their responsibilities. The elements of the RFP include cost figures, operational and contingency planning, human resources, equipment and facilities, etc. More specifically, the providers are asked to elaborate on how the “work” that was determined in the Identify step of the DIRECT process will be completed with a neutral or positive financial impact. The next phase of the process, the Evaluation phase is initiated when the RFP’s have been returned. The outsourcing team is then charged with evaluating the submissions and narrowing down the field of potential providers once again. Selected criteria, specific to the outsourcing activity(ies), is used in the evaluation of the providers. The result of this phase is a provider which is feasibly and operationally and culturally compatible with the buyers organization. At this point in the author’s model, both parties in the relationship, begin the contract negotiations. The Contract phase of the process solidifies the alliance between the two entities. Issues such as responsibilities, compensation, termination, service features and above all, performance measurements, are put into context. Upon the signing of the agreements, the sixth and final phase, Transition, begins. It is difficult to introduce two corporate cultures in a third party logistics arrangement and expect them to perform efficiently on the first day, but that is when it is most critical. For a number of reasons, it is worth spending some time and effort to ensure the first day is as perfect as possible. Therefore, the author recommends development of a detailed implementation plan in order to smooth out the change process. As part of the implementation plan, performance measurements are put into place in this phase to ensure a profitable relationship in the future. The objective of this paper is to develop a process tool which will assist logistics professionals in evaluating outsourcing opportunities. To make the abstract concrete, the author integrates a “real world” case study as each phase of the model is defined. Sorrento Cheese Company, Inc. is the organization used to illustrate how this model will help develop a world class outsourcing relationship or justify why outsourcing does not fit a business. Sorrento’s success represents the need to have such a tool available. The DIRECT Model for evaluating outsourcing opportunities.
The financial health and success of small businesses are of paramount importance to the economic health of the United States. Small businesses: make up 97 percent of all businesses in the U.S., employ 57 percent of the workforce, provide 45 percent of the Gross National Product, have created 67 percent of the new jobs in the U.S. over the last ten years. The Dun and Bradstreet failure rate (the ratio of failures per 10,000 companies, was about 89 for 1982; by far the greatest since the failure ratio hit 100 in 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression.
The majority of these failures have been small scale enterprises with sales of less than $100,000. They traditionally suffer from inadequate capital, inexperienced management, and pressure from larger, more established competitors. Slow growth and high interest rates have destroyed the margin for error these firms have enjoyed during inflationary times, leaving only the best managed firms.
In 1982 the small business failures have been joined by large well capitalized corporations such as Braniff Airways, Wickes, Saxon Industries, and Revere Copper and Brass; not to mention those on the ropes such as Allis Chalmers, International Harvester, and Harnischfeger. The recession is performing the weeding-out function leaving leaner and more efficient firms. Unfortunately, we’ve lost established companies to low demand, high debt, and a restructuring of the market place, but as long as there remains a market for the product or service the bankrupt firm was providing, more efficient competitors or new business will pick up the slack.
The dynamic effects of the self-correcting forces are profoundly demonstrated by the remarkable number of new companies being formed. For every business that failed in 1982, 20 new ones were started. That is over 500,000 new firms in 1982, approaching the 1981 record for business starts. As these businesses survive and grow, they will more than offset the jobs that were eliminated by failures.
These new firms must survive and grow as well as those small businesses who have made it through this recession. But why do businesses fail and what can be done to improve the success ration?
We will look at some of the causes for failure of a small business as well as the factors of success. We will then develop a scenario of the Welding Supply Distributor Company that will enable us to see where planning is needed as the firm grows. Planning strategies will then be discussed to show how the owner-manager can anticipate problems and compensate for them while capitalizing on the success factors.
Stress in the workplace is one of the most negative forces in organizations today. Stress is not healthy when it accumulates rapidly without release daily, weekly, and yearly. When stress accumulates rapidly without release or necessary periods of relaxation, stress can propel employees to engage in unhealthy behaviors and anger. As it accumulates, stress affects the human body psychologically, physically, causing an infinite number of health problems, including stroke, heart disease, heart attacks, and a lowered immune system. Change in organizations is one of the constants in the business world. Organizations continue to alter structures and procedures, and become leaner. Companies are downsizing more rapidly than in years past, as the need to thrive and survive are making them more flexible, global, and technological. Products need to be designed ahead of the competition, integrate customer needs, be delivered as soon as needed, and in perfect condition. Rising costs of materials and energy are a headache to organizations making them cut costs any way they can in order to remain profitable.
Changes in organizations threaten employees, increasing stress-related illnesses, and worsening mental health. Mergers and acquisitions are becoming commonplace in organizations, causing stress not only in the employees laid off, but also for those left in the aftermath, who must increase their workloads even more. Employees left after a layoff experience feelings of insecurity, as they do not know if they are next. They feel disillusioned, as they have worked hard for the company, possibly for many years. They feel alienated from the values of the company, and confused about their future. All of this creates lowered morale, reduced creativity, lowered productivity, stress, and health problems.
All of the causes and effects of stress affect the organization in terms of costs. These costs continue to rise at increasing rates each year throughout the last several decades. In organizations, there is a lack of understanding why changes need to be made to lower stress levels. There is an absence of a shared vision among the different levels within the organization, inadequate leadership skills, a lack of involvement in change management, and increasing workloads coupled with insufficient training methodologies.
Although it seems to be an insurmountable task for upper management, the reduction of stress, and reduction of costs due to stress, can be analyzed, a plan formulated, and stress reduction implemented from small changes to large integrations. Once started, stress reduction needs to be an ongoing focus in order not to backslide, or to make matters worse.
With greater pressure and demands coming for earnings growth, acquisitions and mergers have become a popular technique used by executives to improve a company's profitability. Their popularity, however, has varied throughout the years. Looking back from the late 1960's to the present, yearly acquisitions and mergers have ranged from a low of 1,877 in 1991 to a high of 7,800 in 1997. In 1969, there were over 6,000 acquisitions and mergers, so this strategy is nothing new. There are four general categories as to why a company may decide to acquire or merge with another business. The first, is to implement a growth strategy. Some examples of this are to obtain new products, to grow internationally, to obtain technical information, to increase market share, or to diversify a product line. A second motive for acquisitions is to capitalize on efficiency improvements.
This can come in the form of vertical or horizontal integration, which can eliminate dependence on a supplier, or improve the distribution channel. Synergy is also a benefit of improved efficiency. A third reason a company may want to acquire or merge with another company is for tax purposes. A highly profitable company may look for a company with unused tax losses to benefit them. However, the IRS requires that such a merger have another benefit in addition to the tax advantage. And finally, a company may acquire another company as a defensive strategy. In-other-words, to stop a hostile takeover. Once a firm decides that it wants to acquire another company, it must determine what is fair compensation. This is called Business Valuation. It is the process of determining the worth of a business, taking into account the risks and the return. Business valuation is not an exact science. There are many techniques which range from being quite simple to very complicated. But despite this, good business valuation is a key to an acquisition success. There are four general categories of business valuation techniques. There are the Cost Approaches, the Income Approaches, the Market Approaches, and the Other Approaches. The cost approach bases the worth of a business on the value of its assets. Each asset and liability are reviewed separately and then added together. In general, these approaches are accounting in nature and are straightforward and easy to understand. The major disadvantage associated with this method is that it doesn’t take into account future earnings. The rate at which the earnings are discounted are dependent upon the risk associated with the business.
Under this approach there are three principal methods: Earnings Capitalization, Excess Earnings, and Discounted Cash-Flow. The discounted cash-flow is the most popular of these methods. Its advantages are that it takes into account timing, future earnings, and risk. However, the results can be greatly affected by small changes in critical assumptions (sales volume, operating expenses, etc.), and in determining the continuing value of a firm. The market approach bases the worth of a company on financial information obtained from the open market. The three principle methods under this approach are: the stock and debt approach, the direct comparison approach, and the financial multiples approach. For these methods to be accurate, it is important that the market be efficient, and that there be several comparable firms (with regard) to the target company. If either of these elements is missing, then the accuracy of the results will suffer. The last category of valuation techniques include: rule-of-thumb, unit-capacity, and hybrid methods.
Rule-of-thumb and unit-capacity methods are quick and simple, but they are based on 'typical' companies. This may, or may not, cause a problem. The hybrid method simply incorporates parts of different valuation techniques to create a new method. The possibilities are endless because of the number of techniques. This approach is used by companies which acquire businesses regularly, and usually evolves over several years. Although any of the methods discussed could be used to value a business, some methods are more accurate than others for certain circumstances. As a result, one method alone cannot be used for all valuations.
To determine what valuation method should be used, the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of each were reviewed and analyzed. Using this information, key characteristics of businesses which affect valuation approaches short-comings were identified. These characteristics were then used to determine the best approach to use and when. The key characteristics identified were: Type of earnings (standard or bankruptcy), Earnings sign (positive or negative), Type of business (manufacturing or service), Number of comparable firms (0-2 firms or 3 and over firms), and Amount of assets (high or low).
Using the different key characteristics to identify different business situations, 24 different scenarios were identified. For each scenario, a primary and secondary valuation method was recommended. The discounted cash-flow (DCF) method is recommended as the primary approach in 14 instances, and is recommended as the secondary approach for the other 10. Direct comparison, adjusted book value, rule-of-thumb, and unit capacity were the other primary techniques.
DCF is the preferred method because it takes into account cash-flows, timing, and risk. It can be tailored to work for most of the business scenarios. If a firm is in bankruptcy with a high amount of assets, DCF may have problems. Regardless of the situation, both the primary and secondary valuation methods should be used to calculate the value of a target company. If there are differences between the two results, an attempt to understand why must be made.
For acquisitions to be successful, the valuation process must be accurate. The valuation techniques recommended here will not give an exact value. What they will do is give an estimate which is valid for that target company, at that point in time. Since external factors in the market place change on a regular basis, so must the data used in calculating a businesses worth. It is clear that each of the valuation approaches discussed in this paper, does have some sort of short-coming in certain situations. Therefore, there is not one single valuation method that will work accurately for all circumstances, and that is why the valuation selection tool was developed. It is also important that a minimum of two different techniques be used. The more information the better the valuation. And the better the valuation, the better chance of a successful merger or acquisition.
This paper reviews the current economic situation in the cargo shipping industry. Specifically, a detailed supply/demand and cost/benefit analysis of the commercial shipping industry is presented. This is done to determine the relevant trends and cost factors associated with cargo shipping operations. The main findings of the economic review are: (1) certain technological developments are leading to significant cost savings in cargo shipping, (2) the key cost of most any containership operation utilizing U.S. ports, will be the port/cargo handling costs, and (3) the U.S. shipbuilders and ship operating companies are currently facing, and will continue to face, difficult economic times if they persist to compete in the world commercial shipping business in the same way they are now.
The effects on the economics of shipping operations of different capital structures, inflation, taxation, and depreciation schemes (as they apply to the cargo shipping industry) are evaluated. Based on this information, guidelines and methods are developed to correctly deal with these matters when conducting financial analysis for ship operations. A detailed financial costing model is developed and used to evaluate the feasibility of a specific containership operation. The result of the analysis is that the proposed operation, based on the assumptions stated, can be a very profitable venture for the ship operating company.
When the subject of order fulfillment surfaces, one retailer almost always stands out, "Wal-Mart". Wal-Mart redefined the word value as always available with the best quality, at the best price. The supply chain for retailing is traditionally three players, the manufacturer, the wholesaler and the retailer. Wal-Mart is able to achieve the best prices by replacing the wholesaler with the manufacturer as the supplier that stocks the shelves. Sharing real time retail information with the manufacturer creates accurate demand data while providing timely reorder point information.
Wal-Mart has been very successful at this, leaving much of the competition scrambling. The durable goods industry on the other hand is slow to respond to this new way of doing business. Except for the industry leaders such as GE, Whirlpool or GM (Cadillac), other durable goods manufacturers are slow to follow. The dealers in the durable good industry are typically found to be laden with inventory from the manufacturer. As labeled by the manufacturer, a "loaded dealer is considered a loyal dealer."
Not only is the dealer loaded with excess inventory, but also in many cases it is the wrong inventory for their customer needs. Inventory that in the short term is financed through the manufacturer is eventually sold off to consumers as non-current inventory for reduced prices in order to improve the cash flow and prepare for the next onslaught of inventory from the manufacturer. The percentage of losses taken by the dealer on the sale of non-current inventory is typically in the double-digit proportions. The interest rates paid by the manufacturer to maintain the floor plan inventory can be as high as 4 – 8% above the prime rate.
The case study is about one such company in the durable goods industry. The company is experiencing declining profits, sees declining dealer profits and hears customer complaints about the lack of the manufacturers concerns with product availability. The dealers are loaded with an abundance of inventory to sell to their customers. Unfortunately, the inventory is the wrong style, the wrong make or does not meet the customer’s expectations.
So the customer has a choice, accept product that either exceeds one’s expectations or is less than one's expectations, pay a premium in time or money to have the product delivered from another store or another dealer or order the product from the manufacturer direct and wait 4 – 6 weeks for delivery. Through the use of a reengineering methodology a team of individuals from various functions with the company are formed to reengineer the order fulfillment process. The results of the project are a proposed process with these new characteristics. The new process is proactive rather than reactive.
The large inventory that was maintained in the dealerships is now consolidated at the manufacturer. Product sales are recorded at the time of the retail sale rather than at the time of the wholesale sale. Product is allocated to sales orders, not only from finished goods, but also from the doable production schedule. Product demand is recorded at the time of the consumer sale not at the time of the dealer sale. Outstanding receivables are cut in half from 33 days to 15 days. Credit checking is all but eliminated.
Order entry is put in the hands of the dealer. Cash application is automated. Inventory availability that was estimated in the old process, is promised to the customer and backed with a guaranteed delivery. Implementation of the proposed process is completed through the pilot. With the completion of the pilot there are both successes and failures. Successes are prevalent in the logistics and marketing functions. In the logistics area, guaranteed delivery contracts with carriers are in place and operational. Finished goods inventory, that was distributed, is now centralized.
Dealers on the pilot are pulling inventory from segregated stock based on retail demand. Distributors on the pilot are planning inventory using a 13-week forecast. In the marketing area, old contracts and agreements, related to the old push inventory strategy, are replaced with new contracts and agreements that center on a pull inventory strategy and a 13-week forecast. Failures are prevalent in the sales, information systems and finance functions. The sales area began the pilot phase by allowing dealers on the pilot to pull inventory based on retail demand. However, by the end of the first quarter, the pressures from the parent company to make the wholesale sales numbers, caused the sales function to revert back to the push inventory strategy. Information systems failed to support the needs of the pilot implementation. The customer workstation is not developed. Changes to the existing customer order processing system, i.e., for the new contracts and agreements, the distributor forecasting interface, the production planning interface and the inventory allocation module, never make the IS project list. The financial area failed to address the change in sales recording from wholesale to retail, where the retail sales are seasonal. What has been learned from the reengineering project? What improvements can be made for the next reengineering project? The selection of the reengineering team is critical to the success of the project. Team members should be managers that are empowered decision-makers, selected from the existing functions within the process that is being reengineered.
A higher degree for success is found when team members are removed from their existing jobs and give a full time commitment to the project. The tendency is to implement the pilot across the entire process with a subset of customers. However, since reengineering creates such dramatic change, and typically involves several functional areas, implementation by functional area can be more successful. What is the next step? The company must evaluate the successes and failures. Then decide whether or not to proceed with the full implementation.
The ever changing pressures on today’s businesses such as increased quality demands, the ease of international trade and competition, government regulations and restrictions are causing companies to focus on their most valuable assets – people. The methods by which hourly workers are governed on a day to day basis need to be customized to fit the personality of each particular work force. If only one structure is used to manage all areas of a business, the potential of a company’s work force can be severely limited. Varying levels of employee involvement, self-direction, accountability, and compensation systems can be effectively used for difference process areas within the same manufacturing operation.
This thesis applies the concepts of employee empowerment, skill-based pay, and variable pay to a manufacturing organization which has been operating by traditional management techniques for more than 30 years. Chapter three provides a basic tour of the existing manufacturing operation. The tour is intended to familiarize the reader with the details of the manufacturing operation as well as with some performance issues which are typical to traditional manufacturing operations.
Chapter four describes the strategy of the new structure for the manufacturing operation. An integral part of the new structure is to combine employee empowerment principles with skill-based pay concepts to develop customized structures for each specific process area within the operation. Chapter five describes the restructured model of this manufacturing organization and demonstrates that the operation would operate more efficiently when the structure of each process area is customized to maximize the potential of the available resources for that specific area instead of using one common structure for the operation as a whole.
The structure of the model will also demonstrate that not all employees desire nor need to have a high degree of involvement in self-directed teams to be valuable employees. Some people just want to report to work and do a good job while others continually seek ways to improve themselves and their company. Every manufacturing operation has unique requirements which need to be addressed when implementing the techniques and concepts which are presented by this thesis and Chapter six introduces some of these elements. The ultimate goal of this thesis is to create a system which enhances and develops the unique skills and abilities of individual hourly workers instead of “force fitting” all employees into a “one size fits all” organization.
The student’s contribution focuses upon the foundations required to build sustainable global knowledge management systems within a global enterprise. Many attempts have been made to achieve a global knowledge strategy, but the foundation that supports this strategy is the most important first step. The organization’s culture must provide a basis for which employees can feel secure and confident about the types of information they can and should share. This organizational environment also includes the types of information that must be controlled and secured in order to maintain the confidential nature of that information.
Knowledge management systems are the enablers that help define and build communities of practice and collegiality within the global enterprise. Portal technology is the framework that brings it all together. Knowledge management is derived from a common business vocabulary in order to provide a consistent user experience. The Dewey Decimal System was developed in the nineteenth century and has been in use in libraries throughout the world to provide a consistent manner to file and retrieve information. Businesses, on the other hand, have developed departmental systems typically deployed by the administrative personnel and expanded in an unmanaged way, the silo approach to store, classify, secure, and retrieve must be implemented so that knowledge management systems can then be leveraged to further control and manage the information and provide a sound basis to control access, improve and assure security, and provide auditing for the entire enterprise. Portal technology, built on a strong foundation can then be leveraged to build the common place for communities of practice and the exchange of information in a familiar place that is consistent through the enterprise, but technology alone is not the answer. The required human interaction within a management system must not only be compatible with this technology but must lead its activity and deployment.
The primary role of management is to improve the firm’s processes. New product sales forecasting is one such process. The sales forecasting process can be used to increase, not just predict, new product sales. Forecasting new product sales is difficult due to market change and complexity. The changes are random and the complexity of the market always means that information is lacking. Traditional wisdom has forecasters concentrating on, ‘how to increase the new product sales forecast accuracy?’ This is important and it will be addressed in the course of this research. However, the better question to focus on is, ‘how to increase the new product sales forecast?’ If a logical rational can be established to this question, then the resultant actions from this exercise should indeed make this a self-fulfilling prophecy of increased sales. Management needs to answer both questions. Six information sources were used to compile this thesis: trade publications, an original market survey, corporate annual reports from the Dow Jones 30 Industrials, seminar literature, computer software information and consultant brochures. The Journal of Business Forecasting and Journal of Product Innovation were the most prolific trade literature sources. An original survey was done to gain insights from ‘real world’ practitioners. The annual reports yielded what was on the minds of the nation’s top CEO’s – new products were definitely critical. Seminars are another way to increase the forecasters skill base. The Marketing Institute and Institute of Business Forecasting each run forecasting seminars.
The forecasting specific software identified was: Forecasting Pro, Smart Forecasts, Sibyl / Runner. A number of consultants were also identified that specialize in the area of forecasting: The BASES Group, ADA Applied Decision Analysis, Hauser Furstace and Elrick & Lavidge. Each of these research information sources offered a new perspective on the seven hypotheses (H1 to H7) being studied. With five of the seven hypotheses there was sufficient proof to validate their claim. Strategic corporate measurements influence new product sales forecasting (H1). Forecasts evolve from a need for a broad numerical range to a narrow range (H2). The role of forecasting changes over the new product cycle from identifying winners and losers, to being the key measurement of success (H4). Sales forecasting identifies and defines the variables that are critical to improve the likelihood of new product success (H6). Finally, a team needs to recognize and avoid both resource costs and opportunity costs that result from inaccurate forecasts (H7). The other two hypotheses had elements of truth but were elected to need further evidence. External business environmental changes (eg. Recession, niche marketing., …) in the 1970’s changed forecasting practices in place from the 1960’s. However, the internal business restructuring (eg. Teams, globalization, …) of the 1990’s has not similarly impacted the forecasting process – just yet that is (H3). It would seem logical that one or two key parameters may dictate proper forecasting method selection. However the reality seems to be that with minimal guidelines in existence for the forecaster, one uses any and all known methods (H5). A number of ‘Best Practices’ were noted that new product development teams can use in their search of how to increase forecast accuracy and actual sales. When new product development teams attempt to model their product’s sales with a diffusion model they need to answer three very good marketing questions: how will communications spread about the new product – mass media and/or word of mouth? When will adoptions peak? When will cumulative adoptions peak (market saturation)? Another excellent exercise for new product teams is to describe their new products with Roger’s General Attributes: divisibility (trialability), complexity, communicability, relative advantage, perceived risk and compatibility. Research shows that compatibility has a strong direct impact on purchase intent, as do perceived risk and relative advantage but to a lesser degree. New products are critical to a healthy future for any company. Not only do they gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace for the firm, they also earn better margins. In particular, firms should strive to: be innovators not imitators, reduce the time to market with new products (eg. use parallel rather than serial processes), find ways to view their markets as infinite (eg. global perspective) and recognize and reward teams and individuals who champion their new products. The corporation should use measurements to encourage new product development and hence, new product sales. Research and Development (R&D) is an expense for future growth. R&D expense is at 6% to 8% in America’s most innovative firms. Three different measurements can help the firm to track their progress: new product sales as a percentage of total sales, number of new products introduced and new product sales dollars. To improve the new product sales forecasting process itself, there are a number of suggestions to follow. Research seems to reveal that better application of known methods is needed, rather than invention of new techniques altogether. Approximately 40 forecasting methods were identified that the team can draw upon. Numerous studies point to the ‘Jury of Executive Opinion’ or management team opinion as the most popular technique. The key rule of thumb though is that using multiple methods and combining the knowledge gained from each will produce the most accurate forecast. For new products there are three main methods available: analogous products (past sales and future predictions), internal company opinion (management and sales force) and external company opinion (potential customers). All market research projects on new products should include purchase intention questions. There are two advisable improvements to this area of inquiry.
First, in the question itself use the probability phrases of: certain, high chance, even chance, low chance and never. Secondly, during results interpretation use the purchase intent translation of 75% (of certain respondents), 25% (of high chance respondents, etc. …), 10%, 5% and 2%, to modify the survey results to what could be expected actual sales results. An interesting analysis of early sales data by the new product team should look at the purchase interval between the 1st and 2nd purchases. One study found that the shortest intervals usually belong to what later become the largest volume purchasers. Another rule of thumb to keep in mind is that 8 to 10 experts will create a very accurate forecast, and that additional opinions generally do not increase the accuracy. Forecasters also need to be aware of the forecasters’ ‘Survivor’s Curse’ – products that survive to be actually market tested tend to disappoint in terms of their forecast. Also the corresponding bias of ‘Prophet’s Fear’ – forecasters may underestimate since low forecasted products never make it to market to allow judgment on the forecast accuracy. The basic forecasting formula used by consultants is a good guide for both entrepreneurs and corporate new product development teams. Consultants combine the marketing plan with a survey of potential customers plus add in their past experience usually captured in some model or numerical format. Note the trick is to have all three pieces of this puzzle completed. In closing, new product sales forecasting is a valuable dynamic viewpoint for the team to use throughout the new product development cycle and beyond. It can be used to increase (not just predict) new product sales.
The 1995 best seller Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman popularized the term "emotional intelligence" and stimulated a logical reasoning vs. emotion debate. Many consultants and companies alike quickly jumped on the emotional intelligence bandwagon and gave the concept a fad or zeitgeist aura. This paper returns to the originators of the concept, John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, and uses their definition in a review of emotional intelligence to see if its abilities are useful for today's engineering managers.
The paper begins with a review of what emotional intelligence is. Mayer and Salovey tell us emotional intelligence has four ability levels with increasing degrees of sophistication. Level one is the ability to perceive, appraise, and express emotions. Level two is the ability to use emotions to facilitate cognitive thinking and decision-making (a discussion of Antonio Damasio's somatic marker theory is also discussed with this level). Level three involves the understanding and analyzing emotional information and employing this knowledge. The ultimate level, level four, is the ability to regulate and stimulate emotions in one's self and others.
Once these concepts have been explained, the paper goes beyond the Mayer and Salovey model and discusses preconscious thought and perceptions. It refers to Seymour Epstein's description of the experiential mind and how it uses perceptions and past experiences to 1) make quick decisions on sensory imputs that signal danger and 2) color our view of perceived reality by inferring things using our past as a guide. This section closes with a creation of the author called the thought and emotion loop. Briefly, this loop consists of the following steps: 1) the emotional mind takes in memory, perceptions and sensory input; 2) the emotional mind quickly decides if there is danger or not; 3) if there is danger, an emergency reaction cuts directly to taking action; 4) if no danger exists, emotion sorts out potential combinations that the cognitive mind must analyze and allows emotions to emerge to the conscious level which can then be sensed and regulated by emotional intelligence; 5) the cognitive mind analyzes the information and makes a decision on a course of action; 6) the event occurs and is perceived by the conscious mind; 7) the outcomes and results of the events, the perception of what occurred in the process, and the mood the individual was in are all stored in the memory and experiential mind for use on future trips around the loop. The point being made here is that emotional intelligence can be used in many parts of the loop. It can influence the deep-seated sources of those emotions to better predict and/or control the emotions before they emerge.
The paper then leaves emotions and briefly discusses leadership and manager traits. The intention is not to polarize the two types as many authors have done. Management typically has to use a blend of both types on the job, depending on what needs to be done at the time. It is shown later in the paper how emotional intelligence and these traits can combine to help the engineering manager fulfill the duties of the position.
The next section of the paper reviews the changes in both the engineering department and business as a whole in the last two decades. In general terms. business has changed from a manufacturing-based to a service-based economy, bringing with it a need for increased levels of interpersonal skills. Likewise, engineering has gone from a almost purely analytical department that designed things and then threw them "over-the-wall" to the next department to a service department that needs to view everyone as a customer, regardless if they are inside or outside the company. Improvement programs like ISO, Design for Assembly/Design for Manufacturing, and cross-functional teams have drastically increased the required skill set that everyone in the engineering department must possess to be successful. This service orientation and people skills requirement of the department and business has opened up an opportunity for those who are emotionally intelligent to be very successful as engineering managers.
The last section of the paper examines many of the functions of today's engineering manager and how each one could benefit from an individual with high levels of emotional intelligence. These functions are broken down into three subgroups: 1) influencing the company and department cultures; 2) leading project and department teams; and 3) interpersonal relationships.
The conclusions section reinforces the original hypothesis that the abilities of emotional intelligence have never been more important for the successful engineering manager due to the changes that have occurred in both the engineering department and the business environment in the past two decades. It explains the author's connection to the subject and how the lessons learned with this paper will help in his career.
This thesis studies the effects of altering the organization design to increase the success of teaming. A. McKenzie 7-S framework was used to comprehensively cover all aspects of organizations to insure that the magnitude and complexity of teaming is presented. The author proposes the hypothesis that the amount and extent of organizational design changes attempted by the organization will directly influence the success of teaming.
Teaming was found to be a very complex group form requiring extensive understanding and organizational support. The individual requirements of teaming are supported by a complex matrix of McKenzie 7-S elements. Due to the complexity of interrelations, the author recommends that a structure approach be taken in the implementation of teaming. Typically this structured sequence should start with an assessment through the use of survey instrument, an analysis of the present state of the organization, development of a strategy to alter the organization, implementation of the alterations and monitoring of the effectiveness of the alterations relative to teaming.
It is also recommended that organization consider a separation of the business processes (i.e. how some thing is done) from the tasks (i.e. what is to be done). Different teams should be formed with different focuses each relying on the other for continuous improvement. This will help to enable the organization to sustain teaming in the long term by:
The primary research performed by the author supported the tenet of the thesis – this research demonstrated that the more comprehensive the organization design alterations, the more successful the teams will be in meeting or exceeding expectations. The research also provided insight on areas of concentration and sequence of alterations. Organization should have higher levels of concentration in the areas of structure, group skills, individual skills, management style, and systems and procedures. The alterations should be performed in a specific sequence:
Finally, the author concluded that no one ideal model would work for all organizations. Organizations were too varied and unique for a broad application of a single model. Focused models should be used to justify, explain and implement individual organizational design alterations.
This thesis includes a business analysis of Millwood Inc.'s Cudahy, Wisconsin facility. The project team spent two days on-site, working closely with Millwood personnel and conducting research on the company, concentrating on the corporate and local organization that included an evaluation of the organizational structure, customer/supplier relationships, strategic management process, process flow, change management, and existing human resources and quality systems.
Using the information obtained from the site visits along with additional secondary research conducted by each student, the project team is making recommendations on process and system improvements that will allow Millwood Inc. to increase throughput while also increasing quality and employee motivation.
The team recommends reversing the direction of repair line to increase the continuity of the product flow. This will allow workers to access the current bulk lumber storage area instead of having to restock individual lumber carts throughout the day. Expected results include an increase of repaired pallet throughput and a decrease of non-value added time, such as material handling activities. A partial reallocation of a material handling position to a quality control function further allows implementing a quality audit system, potentially increasing product quality and thus strengthening the customer-supplier relationship. Changes to the handling of scrap wood are also recommended by moving dumpsters closer to the repair workers and providing screen shields to address employee safety concerns.
Employers today are facing significant challenges in attracting and retaining employees. With low unemployment and new workforce entrants lacking the skills needed to be successful, maintaining a high caliber workforce has become difficult. In addition, the effect of not managing retention, namely turnover, is becoming more costly. At the same time that employers are facing employment issues, employees are facing new pressures in balancing their work lives with their personal lives. Social changes are driving new needs that often do not align with traditional working arrangements. In order to address both the issues of attracting and retaining workers, and meeting changing employee lifestyle needs, many employers have implemented alternative work schedules. Alternative work schedules provide employees flexibility at managing both when and where they work. In many industries, the change in work scheduling has been profound, as it has redefined how employers manage their businesses and view their people.
Yet despite the use of alternative work schedules in many industries, most manufacturing companies have not adapted to the new employer/employee relationship paradigm. This is largely due to the difficulty of integrating flexibility into production operations that are both time and equipment sensitive. However, solutions are available. Two specific types of alternative work schedules, which can be adapted to production environments, are flexible work schedules and compressed workweeks. Employers considering implementing these types of programs can draw upon the experiences of other companies in understanding schedule design options, benefits, concerns, and implementation issues. Additionally, employers can follow an implementation model built from the lessons learned by others.
This paper provides a guide for manufacturing companies to use in designing, planning and implementing flexible work schedules and compressed workweeks in production environments. It contains a base of knowledge built from the experiences of other manufacturing companies that have already implemented these types of programs.
The social changes, that have necessitated the use of alternative work schedules by employers, are not going to diminish. In fact, the evolution of employee flexibility has demonstrated that employers must continually examine employee needs, and the role of employers and employees in society. Employers must constantly evaluate how they manage employee and business demands, in order to create an environment that meets the needs of both parties.
In recent years, software companies have accounted for the greatest number of small business start-ups among all technology related fields. The industry, in general, is highly fragmented, rapidly changing, and fast growing. As such, it is a highly attractive industry for entrepreneurs, particularly software professionals looking to strike out on their own. The software industry offers many opportunities and thrives on innovation. Its opportunities, however, can be extremely volatile and short-lived. At the onset of this project, the author believes that certain characteristics of a new software venture could minimize the risks in this opportunity-filled, but uncertain, industry. The intent was to perform an academic study of a new software venture performance, modeled after some other general works on new venture performance. The results of the study, then, would identify some key characteristics that can minimize the risk and improve the probability of success of new software ventures. This project first looks at some of the characteristics of the software industry which differentiate new software ventures from new ventures in other industries. Chapter One looks briefly at some software case histories which serve to illustrate some of these characteristics. Some of the characteristics of the software industry identified are rapid change, fragmented markets, low barriers to entry, fast growth opportunities, a unique economy, and a reliance on intellectual capital. The project then reviews pertinent literature with respect to start-up ventures and entrepreneurship. Chapter Two identifies four general classifications of factors that influence new ventures: Business Environment, New Venture Strategy, New Venture Financing, and Entrepreneur Characteristics. Chapter Three takes a look at several research studies related to new venture performance. In particular, three Ph.D. dissertations are reviewed in depth and are used later as a basis for the primary research used in this project.
Each study discussed in Chapter Three provides a Model of New Venture Performance. These models suggest a range of start-up characteristics which can affect new venture performance, as well as appropriate measures of new venture performance. Chapter Four draws on the first three chapters to develop a Model of New Software Venture performance. This model proposes that the performance of a new software venture is related to three general start-up characteristics: New Venture Strategic Planning, New Venture Start-up Financing, and Entrepreneur Characteristics. A questionnaire is then created to gather primary research data from some software start-ups. The administration of the questionnaire is discussed in Chapter Five along with a summary of the data collected and analysis of how it relates to the propositions asserted in Chapter Four. In general, the data indicates that new software venture performance is not closely related to New Venture Strategic Orientation or Entrepreneur Characteristics. The results did, however, confirm the proposition that there is no relationship between New Software Venture Financing and New Software Venture Performance. With the survey data affirming only one of the three propositions presented in the Model of New Software Venture Performance, Chapter Six looks at the implications of the survey results and concludes the following: One unique difference that distinguishes the software industry from other industries is that a software entrepreneur can develop a new product with very little up-front costs. Once that product is ready for market, however, the entrepreneur is faced with the same business constraints and considerations, including strategic planning, marketing and sales, as a new venture in any other industry. The last section of Chapter Six closes with a discussion of the implications of this project for the aspiring software entrepreneur. The most important implication is that, although the software industry offers attractive opportunities for software entrepreneurs, there is no formula that will guarantee success in seizing those opportunities. Starting a new software venture holds the same uncertainty and risk as new ventures in other industries.
In a global environment where knowledge and its usage become increasingly more important every day, many organizations employ knowledge management to manage this valuable asset. Organizations expect improvements in various areas such as an increase of productivity, improvement of processes and the exchange of information, and customer orientation and satisfaction. Among the challenges in the various approaches to knowledge management is measuring the value and the performance of knowledge assets as well as of the effectiveness of knowledge management itself. In part, this can be attributed to a lack of familiarity with methods to promote the application of knowledge in the area by using measures to control knowledge. Due to the fact that various schools of knowledge management have developed over the last years, the student has narrowed the scope of this thesis to the role that intranets in organizations can play in knowledge management efforts and how their effectiveness is evaluated.
The proposition of this thesis is that knowledge management efforts in organizations lack the metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of employed intranets. In order to be successful with knowledge management, such metrics need to be developed and implemented into the existing performance measurement activities. So far, literature seems not to focus on metrics specifically developed for intranets.
Based on the findings of this thesis, the author suggests the use of a modified version of the Balanced Scorecard framework, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of intranets as knowledge management tools. In the opinion of the author, the existing setups to evaluate intranet effectiveness are insufficient, due to their lack of a connection between the business strategy and the knowledge management strategy as well as their incompleteness in regard to their ability to capture sufficient relevant data on the knowledge processes that are facilitated by intranets. Therefore, the author proposes to use a modified version of the Balanced Scorecard concept, combining the specific knowledge measure presented in this thesis. The result of this new evaluation system should be a Balanced Scorecard for intranet effectiveness evaluation with the following performance equation: Knowledge goal achievement plus internal efficiency plus user satisfaction equals intranet effectiveness.
In 1985 it was estimated that the total costs of alcohol abuse in the United States, using a cost-of-illness approach, was $70.3 billion and that this figure would rise to $85.8 billion by 1988 when adjusted for inflation and demographic changes. Another study estimated $89.5 billion in 1980, projected to $116.7 billion for 1983. Although there is a wide discrepancy between estimates because of the use of different estimation methods and data sources employed, the figures still indicated the significantly increasing cost of alcohol abuse and the widespread magnitude of the problem.
The situation has not improved in the past decade. According to a study recently released by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse(CASA), substance abuse and addiction in 1995 in the United States will account for 77.6 billion dollars of federal entitlement payments. These include Social Security Disability Insurance, Veterans Health, Medicaid, Medicare, and other federal entitlement programs and welfare. It is also estimated that one worker in seven is or is related to someone with a drug or alcohol problem. This cost can be assessed in terms of lower productivity, greater absenteeism, higher benefits costs, workplace stress, increased accidents and worker's compensation claims. In addition, the potential liability exposure to an employer resulting from a substance abusing employee can result in significantly large punitive damage fines.
A recent study has noted that alcohol abuse by employees in the workplace has developed into an area of major concern for employers, especially in the past decade. Abuse of alcohol in the workplace has created significant problems for employers. It has also posed major safety and health risks to employees. According to the study, the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicated that controlled substance abuse may cost industry $100 billion annually in lost productivity caused by absenteeism, accidents and decreased productivity. Tuggle concluded that, "In light of...staggering statistics, it is hardly surprising that employers of all sizes and in all industries are recognizing that employee substance abuse--both on-duty and off-duty-- is detrimental to their business."
Workplace problems associated with alcohol use, both on and off the job, include absenteeism, higher employee health costs, poor productivity, and accidents. Managers as custodians of the workplace, are faced with the dilemma of how to address employees so afflicted in order to preserve and safeguard the productivity, safety, and effectiveness of the workplace. Managers must also be concerned with the implications of their actions in addressing problems, and must avoid those actions that will result in hard to the affected individuals and the organization. Improper handling of troubled employees may exacerbate the problem and/or result in costly litigation. The present study takes the view that constructive/proactive approaches to workplace alcohol problems are more effective, less costly, and less harmful to the individual, organization, and society at large than purely punitive or avoidance approaches.
This thesis is set up to develop a replicable plan to integrate people into new and changing cultures as the result of mergers or acquisitions. Specifically, the exploratory and research phase of the report is designed to identify any additional elements of the acquisition integration process, identify management practices or tactics used to influence these areas, and assist in the development of an integration plan and approach to be used throughout the phases of transition.
As research progressed, it became clear that, although integration plans aid in the successfullness of the transition, it is the elements of the plan that are replicated, not the integration plan itself. The plan must be customized for every merger or acquisition to better address the uniqueness of each. Never will two deals be the same. Even if the deals appear to have the same characteristics, the people involved are different than the prior deal and will not respond to a previous plan in an identical manner.
Along with the plan elements goes a coordinated approach. The approach is the type of integration desired for the deal, whether it is full, partial, or minimal integration, etc. The author has set forth a three-stage approach to integration activities that helps serve as a sample timeframe to be customized to each deal. It clearly covers the plan elements and management practices that should be addressed during the integration process, especially effective management and good communication.
The effect Quality Cost Analysis has upon the management of a company is both philosophical and practical. The use of Quality Costs to improve bottom line profits is pragmatic and beneficial, their use as a motivational tool is good sense. A Quality Cost system can be a springboard to launch an overall quality improvement program with a myriad of side benefits that go into making a company more productive and profitable. An operating Quality Cost system is an essential part of a total quality control program and is a tool to identify, analyze and control many of the costs inherent in doing business. Quality Costs serve as an aid to measure management effectiveness in maintaining the health of a business in terms of Quality.
Most quality professionals are familiar with the theory of Quality Costs, however, many have not been able to implement an effective program. This paper will serve as a guide in defining what constitutes Quality Costs and how to obtain the dollar amounts associated with poor quality.
Most companies are eager to reduce poor quality and the costs associated with it yet they do not have a system for adequate measurement. Many misconceptions exist about what is needed to institute a quality cost system. Some companies believe that it won't tell them anything they don't already know or that it involves complicated accounting procedures and additional people. This paper shows a method for starting a quality cost system by using existing accounting records and staff much more effectively.
Quality costs show how much less expensive and more productive it is to do something right the first time. They show that it is essential to properly plan and organize the various steps in a product's life from concept through full scale manufacture. They will show how much money can be wasted by not thoroughly reviewing and testing designs before manufacturing. They will show how allowing poor vendor quality is not only costly in terms of scrap and rework, but also in lost time due to manufacturing delays. They will show how much a process that wanders out of control costs, how much an assembler that mistakenly leaves out a lock washer costs, and most important, how much it costs to regain/replace a defective item once it is in the hands of the customer.
Implementation of a quality cost system establishes a comparative base-line of costs that a company incurs through having poor quality. These comparative base-line costs show dramatically through graphs and other visual aids where the inadequacies lie, and can then be used to comparatively measure progress as the major inadequacies are identified and corrected. Quality Costs act as a "scoreboard" for management to measure its effectiveness and progress, and provides the initiative to improve.
A business begins to fail for several reasons: Either because the company is selling at too low a price, or the cost of goods sold are too high if the gross profit margin is decreasing. Business failure is also due to a sales volume increase coupled with a cash flow problem. It has been a standard business practice to lower prices and increase product volume and turnover in order to compensate for a lag in business growth and development. However, the additional costs, such as operating expenses, personnel needed to process invoice orders as well as to move products and purchase materials, can cause a business which is already in trouble to plunge quickly toward an inevitable collapse.
This paper will demonstrate how an increase in prices, reduction in volume, and efficient use of personnel should lead to a business success. In order to show that increase in pricing and efficient use of personnel are conducive to a gross profit margin growth, other more conventional methods which do not safeguard the success of a business will be compared to effective pricing methods. Also, methods of maintaining and developing effective pricing strategies will be described and compared to the increase in pricing strategy mentioned in Steinmetz’ lectures on “How to Make Your Prices Stick.” Several businesses and companies will be examined in terms of their success or failure due to planned pricing strategies and their subsequent implementation.
Recently, companies have been devoting much attention to core competencies. As will be demonstrated, companies that develop strategies around their core competencies often perform well. Several examples will back this claim. Core competencies are unique for the organization that holds them. However, it is proposed that core competencies of a company are built or based upon common underlying factors. For most companies, these factors would include innovation, communication, knowledge, and teamwork. While core competencies are unique to an organization, the underlying factors can share some commonality.
This commonality is reviewed to determine the underlying factors and to identify the core competencies required for new product development and marketing. The correlation between innovation, communication, knowledge, and teamwork and how they relate to core competencies is explained. For example, core competencies are built upon the unique collective learning and knowledge of the organization. Communication is a tool to transfer knowledge from one person to the next. Communication may take place verbally, in written form, or by sharing experience. Teamwork is a means to get people from various parts of the company together so that they can communicate effectively. Teamwork also facilitates the building of knowledge. Ideas can be presented and expanded upon through other team members. Innovation comes from new ideas being generated inside the company. These ideas may come from teamwork or the knowledge that is being created within the company.
New product development and marketing can use these factors to create their own core competencies. For new product development, their goal is to create new, innovative products for the company to market and sell ahead of the competition. Marketing’s goal is to find a market for the company’s products and services and to keep existing markets abreast of new products and what they offer to the customers. How is this accomplished? New product development uses new technology to create new innovative products. They inform marketing of the new available and upcoming technologies to find out how the market will respond. Marketing communicates with the customers to find out what their needs and requirements are.
Unrealized needs are a good opportunity for the company. Marketing also has the task of determining what are the future market needs, even before the customers realize what they are. Marketing then communicates this information back to new product development. When marketing receives the feedback from new product development, they can determine if the technology is a viable option for the company and its market or even find new markets for the pending new products. When marketing relays its information back to new product development, products can be created to meet both the customers’ needs and requirements and also their unfulfilled needs. This bi-directional flow of information and knowledge helps the company create new, innovative products that have a viable place in the market ahead of the competition.
A correlation exists between organizations (large and small) meeting existing and potential customers’ product pricing (and quality) expectations and the effectiveness of that organization’s continuous improvement initiatives. This relationship has motivated manufacturing operations professionals to identify value-added practices that support continuous improvement efforts of organizations. Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and development of collaborative working environments exemplify the many methodologies that have evolved from efforts to identify effective practices and programs that achieve optimal results.
Attainment of optimal results from manufacturing-related operations requires diligence in identifying appropriate programs that drive non-value-added cost out of business-related operations. Organizations that appreciate this realize verifiable results from implemented cost reduction and quality improvement programs. However, meeting the stated challenge is potentially more challenging for small businesses lacking sufficient resources to support their efforts to achieve optimal results consistently.
Take for instance, the XYZ Company, the subject of this paper’s case study. The XYZ Company, a small manufacturing organization, is currently considering the feasibility of continuing to provide parts to a valued customer. Recently, the organization discontinued leasing a crucial piece of equipment that potentially supported the organizations’ efforts to achieve acceptable profit margins. Is investing (or leasing) in equipment the only cost reduction option? Could equipment purchases hide or accommodate existing inefficiencies? Before investing in additional equipment, organizations must be confident that they are realizing optimal results from their existing resources. This caveat applies to the XYZ Company. The XYZ Company should be confident that the organization is achieving optimal results from their existing resources before purchasing or leasing additional equipment. Has the XYZ Company successfully identified and implemented appropriate efficiency enhancing programs? If cost reduction opportunities exist, what are the appropriate corrective actions? In addition, is the XYZ Company committed to apportion required resources to support implemented continuous improvement initiatives?
In the twenty-first century’s continually evolving, dynamic, and competitive markets, businesses must continually review and enhance their continuous improvement efforts. Organizations that fail to recognize this are destined to capitulate to competitors that appreciate the need to improve continually. In the twenty-first century, organizations’ achievement of optimal results from its manufacturing operations is not an option. A catalyst motivating this condition is the dynamics associated with meeting customers’ expectations. Customers, domestically and globally, demand that organizations meet their product pricing (and quality) expectations. These conditions necessitate that manufacturing-related operations consistently function as efficiently as possible. To achieve this objective requires dedication and diligence in identifying and implementing programs (and practices) that eliminate non-value-added activities.
In this master’s essay, various aspects of R&D project management and R&D decision making processes are critically examined as they relate to R&D project screening, selection, evaluation, and termination. Management science research literature is integrated with personal experience and insights from industrial research managers to operationally emphasize the advantages and limitations of R&D project selection models and the organizational decision processes in which they are employed. The purpose of this work is to examine the complexity of the R&D project selection process in order to heighten the awareness of R&D managers and other management professionals to the numerous factors that must be considered and the many techniques that can be used to select the most promising R&D projects.
Hopefully, these observations and results will be especially meaningful to R&D professionals seeking to select R&D projects in a time which combines intensified global competition with increasing corporate financial pressures. The challenge for R&D management is to select and commercialize the R&D projects that will produce the greatest positive effects on the profitability and competitive position of the firm, both in the near and long-terms. Only by stepping up attention to global markets and international technology growth can most technically-oriented corporations hope to remain competitive and profitable.
Therefore, possessing a global perspective is no longer a choice for R&D managers and their companies, but rather it has become a technological imperative. Furthermore, R&D must participate in shaping business strategy to achieve maximum return on R&D investment and long-term success for the company. In turn, strategic business units must assist in focusing strategy for R&D. Because of the inherent lack of specificity and the subjective nature of the available data, selecting new R&D projects is often viewed as a “black art”. Some of the R&D project selection and evaluation models can introduce more objective analysis into these technical, marketing, and manufacturing estimates to help clarify differences or similarities of opinion among the decision makers. Regardless of the subjectivity involved in the selection decisions, establishment of relevant and consistent criteria is paramount to viable R&D project screening and selection processes. Such criteria must be based on the interests, capabilities, and risk attitude of the individual firm. R&D opportunities should be examined in precise terms – not necessarily in terms of dollars and cents, but certainly in terms of how the company can gain value in specific ways. While many researchers have analytically described the mechanics of the R&D project selection decision, most neglect the fact that the decisions are made by people functioning within organizational settings.
Effective R&D project management requires the management of those interpersonal and group dynamics that facilitate organizational integration. R&D management also needs a good understanding of the project’s priority, technology, and resource requirements. Further investigation is required to understand the human dynamics between the individuals and the corporate organizational units which drive the R&D project selection process. Additional study is also required to identify the interactions of critical R&D project success factors with the highly-charged decision processes leading to R&D project selection and ultimately, project termination.
The management practices performed at an organization have a dramatic impact on its success. Frameworks can provide guidance with respect to the order in which practices should be focused on. The People Capability Maturity Model®, which is the foundation of this thesis, offers guidance in the application of management practices. Each progressive level of the model introduces additional key practices that need to be performed. Consistent application of these practices leads to an increasingly effective organization.
This thesis describes: what the capability maturity model frameworks (CMM®) are; the specifics of the People CMM®; how businesses have had successful outcomes using People CMM®; how the People CMM® ties in with other theories, including Grenier’s model of Organizational Lifecycle and Cameron and Quinn’s model of Organizational Culture; how an organization can evaluate itself against the People CMM®; how an organization can become compliant at the first level of the People CMM® (Level 2 is the first progression with a maximum of Level 5).
Primary research was conducted with subjects in an organization that has a minimal amount of formally defined management practices. A survey used in the research and the analyses of the data focus on: the consistent performance of practices for People CMM®, Level 2; the priority of the practices in comparison to each other; the different views of management and staff with regards to the practices.
The results are analyzed for trends and specific recommendations for the organization are given. Finally, general conclusions are provided for professional managers who want to use some or all of the concepts in the People Capability Maturity Model®.
Over the last 15 or so years a new vocabulary has spread like wildfire throughout the manufacturing industry. Companies have had to change and become better to survive increasing competition from both old and new competitors. Many people now use words such as Lean Manufacturing, Just-In-Time (JIT), Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), 5S’s (Seiri, Seiton, Seisu, Seiketsu, Shitsuke), TQM (Total Quality Management), 6 Sigma, Kanban, Muda, and Visual Factory as though they had been sent down from Heaven. Many manufacturing businesses have seen dramatic increases in productivity and quality through implementation of one or more of the listed manufacturing techniques, others still have yet to successfully implement any of these approaches. All of these techniques, although different from one another, are ways to streamline the manufacturing process, involve employees, eliminate waste, and reduce inventory. World Class Manufacturers are those that demonstrate they are the best in their industry in the competitive priorities (quality, price, time to market, and customer service). These companies are the ones that all the others are striving to mimic. Benchmarking has shown that the companies on top have done an excellent job implementing many of the listed manufacturing practices and have effectively changed the culture within their organizations.
This thesis does not propose any new ideas in the area of manufacturing practices dealing with Lean Manufacturing or Just-In-Time. The concepts are already well written about, explored, and have been proven many times over and over in manufacturing. This thesis attempts to have the reader understand that becoming the best at what a firm does is more than just using the above buzzwords. It is about getting better and continuously improving the company’s operations. The two basic concepts that are key to continuous improvement are implementing “pull” systems or Kanbans and finding and reducing waste or Muda. The best way to explain the concepts is through actual cases where these practices have been applied. Chapters 2 and 3 are two different case studies of companies that headed in the direction of improving the material flow to and within their plants. The case studies detail where the companies were, what they changed to get them where they are today, and then lists some recommendations that could be used to improve their systems even further. Chapter 1 briefly goes through the history of Just-In-Time and explains the concepts of a “pull” system (kanban), the elimination of waste (Muda), and talks about material delivery and management support needed for change. Chapter 4 ends with a final discussion on the best practices that will lead to improvements in a company’s material delivery system and an ideal setup if a company were to start from scratch or totally revamp their system.
Getting better at what a company does whether it is producing a product or providing a service is what staying in business should be about. Stockholders want better returns each and every year. Employees want bigger checks and better benefits for their services and customers want chapter, higher quality products and/or services with more options and extras. Companies must realize that achieving all of these can be possible, but only if the company continually improves in everything it does from bookkeeping to manufacturing. Improvement is not a trip, it is a long rewarding journey.
Cecilia Macdonald, a Sacramento-based speaker and corporate trainer, says, “Employees report that job stress seems to be running their lives, making them feel hurried, irritable, and frustrated.” Stress touches everyone’s life in today’s world on a much greater scale than in the past. The increase in stress has resulted in an increase in stress-related illness and insurance claims. The large sum of money involved in stress claims and loss in productivity has prompted further investigation into the area of stress management. So, stress has risen, the costs of stress have risen and, therefore, stress research has increased dramatically in recent years.
According to research by University of Wisconsin, Green Bay Professor John Harris and Lecturer Lucy Arendt, “High levels of stress, if not understood and reduced, predictably result in high levels of employee dissatisfaction, illness, absenteeism, turnover, low levels of productivity, and, as a consequence, difficulty in providing high-quality service to customers.” John Ford, owner of Charlotte-based Leading Well, asserts that, “stressed out employees do not make good employees or family members and indirectly, but in a real way, negatively affect profits.” Stress is a serious mater for employers in the 1990s, and companies are looking for ways to manage it. This thesis is a case study of the MagneTek shipping team. Stress was a factor evident from the onset, so the authors decided to try to reduce stress while increasing the effectiveness of the team. To accomplish this, they chose to facilitate various training sessions in goal setting, communicating, and problem solving. The results of the case study show an improvement in team effectiveness and a reduction in stress. The thesis first provides an introduction and lays a foundation based on stress research before discussing the case study.
Chapter Two contains the stress research that includes information of stress terminology, stress models, causes of stress, responses to stress, stress within teams, and the relation of stress and job performance. Chapter Three contains a detailed account of the work Gundrum and Lund did with the shipping team starting with an outline of the original case study plan, a discussion of meetings, and in-depth analysis of the surveys, and ending with recommendations for MagneTek. The closing chapter contains the final observations, conclusions, and recommendations for industry. Stress research is quite young and, therefore, researchers still have a lot of work to do in this field. So far, mainly people associated with the psychology field have contributed to stress research. Gundrum and Lund see their work as an important step in involving people from industry to start providing urgent solutions required by companies. It is critical to bridge the gap between business management and the stress researchers. Bringing together people from industry and the psychology field to conduct studies in stress research will strike a balance, providing research based in solid psychological science and solutions from an industrial perspective. Industry is in dire need of solutions as the costs of stress soar.
The biggest problem in any problem is knowing what the problem is. Therefore the dilemma of today’s manager’s decision-making process is explored in introduction part of this essay. In this portion of essay emphasis has been placed on the ability required by a manager today to view the firm as an integrated whole as a system. Even though for the main purpose of the report dealing with investment decisions should relate to manager in his financial context, it is strongly pointed out in the introduction of this essay that a manager along with being an officer of the firm also acts as a social agent. Before directly dealing with investment decisions, Management Information System also known as data processing has been brought to light as an essential tool of modern management in controlling and directing the course of events and soundness of decision within a business concern.
Many books have been written and thousands of articles can be found on the subject matter of Investment Decisions. It is not the purpose of this essay to evaluate these writings but to advance learning towards this subject by exploring the major proven theories helpful in evaluating proposed investments. The methods that suit certain type of Capital Investment decisions and understanding ranking measures to accept or to reject proposed investments. The cost of capital theory is discussed briefly as it is a vast subject in itself. Only that phase of it is discussed which is considered important in understanding the role it plays in investment evaluation methods.
Business managers are concerned with the cost of money capital as it influences the allocation and efficient use of funds in the many aspects of their business, such as investments and related financing decisions. The remaining portion of the essay has been devoted to examining the important and widely used methods of measuring and ranking investment proposals such as payback period, net present value and internal rate of return are explained and exemplified. The methods are well recognized in managerial decision making and therefore for the purpose of this essay the recognition would be accepted as is.
A related bibliography is prepared, a major part of which was used to assist in writing the essay. Some of the articles and writings date back to a few years ago while others have appeared in recent periodicals. As the analytical methodology has remained the same over the last years, the older articles handle the subject matter quite well and with up-to-date authority. Controversial approaches to the subject matter are avoided and an effort is made to bring forth the important factors applicable to general industry atmosphere and usable by today’s managers in making investment decisions. The focus throughout the essay is to lead towards making the most crucial decision; to find the optimum investment by understanding and analyzing the elements involved.
This paper is a study to determine if the positive effects of customer loyalty on profitability and sales volume seen in consumer industries are also present in traditional manufacturing industries. Current available research and sales data provided from a sample manufacturing company will be analyzed for changes in sales growth, customer retention, sales order margin and profitability. The sample data will test the loyalty theories discussed and provide a plan for other companies to follow when investigating if a loyalty effect can be seen in their industry.
When a loyalty effect is present, companies must next analyze their repeat buyers to determine buying behavior of each customer segment. Methods for segmentation and different marketing strategies for each customer type will be shown in order to provide a targeted marketing plan for companies interested in managing for improved loyalty.
Finally, several tools that can be effective in improving customer loyalty will be explained and tested. These tools include software and database management systems such as customer relationship management (CRM) and recency, frequency, monetary value (RFM) software. Organizational designs such as customer centric corporate structures will also be discussed as a strategy to improve loyalty.
In the mid 1990s, a revolution began as business leaders recognized the potential ability of the Internet’s World Wide Web in conducting electronic commerce transactions. However, just several years after the dot-com euphoria started, the dot-com crash began, as investors demanded that management return to the “old economy” focus on profits. By 2000, the dot-com collapse reached massive proportions with widespread consolidation among e-commerce companies, and bankruptcy was common. Several recurring themes, including intense competition, lack of capital, and simply unworkable business models, appear to be the basis for many of the failures of the founding dot-com businesses. The failed dot-coms all had a common theme in that they all promised to revolutionize the buying habits of society. Companies such as etoys, Pets, and Furniture.com had widely recognized brand names but still were unable to succeed.
The dot-com euphoria of the late 1990s has now been replaced by concern over exactly how the Internet can successfully be used for business. Brick-and-mortar companies are working to integrate the Internet into their businesses in ways that will be profitable in the future. Because the Internet can be utilized in a broad range of areas, companies must determine exactly which facets they want to benefit from. The challenge is deter-mining which facets of the Internet can be utilized to add value and enhance company competitiveness. This includes developing the necessary marketing and customer strategies. These areas are critical to success because companies need to determine what markets they would like to serve, and then attract and retain customers. The abundance of dot-com failures should not be used to dismiss the potential of the Internet for business applications. Businesses and consumers still want and need technology and the Internet. Companies such as Amazon.com, Charles Schwab & Company, and numerous other smaller niche businesses have all demonstrated that the Internet can be utilized successfully.
While the dot-com explosion may be over, a new generation of e-commerce companies is emerging. Now, companies in every industry are finding ways to utilize and leverage the Internet in all aspects of their operations. The distinction between old economy and new economy companies has been decreasing and this trend will likely continue. Whereas people initially predicted the Internet would reshape the U.S. economy, what is actually happening is that the economy is determining the final “shape” of the Internet. Now, it looks like the Internet is more suitable for extending and complimenting existing businesses, rather than as a replacement for them. Instead of being an entirely new business sector, the Internet is being viewed as a technology, and traditional companies are benefiting from the skills developed by the failed dot-coms.
The methodology and strategic steps taken by successful dot-coms was used to develop a business plan for a proposed dot-com startup company, MagicalWedding.com. MagicalWedding.com is an Internet start-up company offering a complete source of wedding related information to consumers. Currently being developed by a creative design team, this Internet web site will allow consumers to do their wedding shopping and planning quickly and easily, from their own home. Detailed information on products and services offered by businesses will be displayed in an attractive and easy to navigate fonnat. Additional tools such as a guest list manager, budget calculator, planning calendar, and e-mail reminders will also be provided free of charge. This will allow consumers to make virtually all of their wedding plans without visiting every business.
MagicalWedding.com has a key competitive advantage in that it will provide the only collection of businesses serving the wedding industry in this area. Nothing else like it currently exists. By defining a new market and offering services at a price that beats any other form of advertising, a significant number of businesses will be attracted to advertise on the web site. This client base, along with the MagicalWedding.com name recognition, will provide a huge barrier to entry.
The topic for this thesis was chosen due to my personal interest in examining the effects human resource has on productivity. Early in my engineering career, I found myself involved in the justification of capital equipment as a means of increasing productivity. Today, I find myself working closely with people in making things happen. In the latter situation, I’ve experienced many instances where an improvement in human relations by itself greatly improved productivity. In some cases, it eliminated the need for better or faster machinery. This situation has repeated itself so frequently, that I became convinced that American industry is not directing its expenditures for productivity improvement into the right areas. I don’t mean to suggest that technological improvements should be restrained. But, I do feel that our human resources can be tapped more constructively. Why American industry finds this a difficult task is the objective of this thesis. While researching materials to support my conviction, I found that productivity had been a popular buzzword in industry since the Industrial Revolution. Since that era, American industry is still struggling to manage its productivity. During the last decade, our productivity rate has declined to the critical point where America has lost its competitive leadership in the world marketplace. Currently, we continue to lose jobs and industry to other foreign nations, notably Japan. The ironic fact is that Japan learned how to optimize their productivity from America. How and why did this phenomenon occur? Very simply, American industry traditionally treats its workers as subservient to management. Further research has shown, that if American industry is to reverse its declining productivity, it will need to change its style of management. It must initially replace its adversarial image among its workers and the government. Next, it must foster creative plans which cause workers to help their company’s to survive. Another prime factor is to get industry, government, and workers to identify their efforts with a common goal. Japan’s goal is survival. Without manufacturing, it could not meet the needs of its people. America’s goal will need to be similar, however, our means of achieving it can be different. Without goals, people and nations begin to stagnate and slide backwards. In order to get workers to “want to” participate in the survival of America, industry and government will need to gain the confidence of the workers.
Simplistically, confidence is going to have to be built on trust and honesty. This will undoubtedly be difficult, because our industries are not nationalized. However, it is believed, that the majority of workers can be made to feel secure and wanted rather than self-satisfied. Few people actually reach total self-fulfillment. With this thought in mind, the leadership in companies will need to stress participative and reciprocal style of management. Issues that will help win the confidence of workers are; job security, challenging work, internal training and promotion, praise and rewards, enthusiastic leaders, constructive appraisal, incentives, quality of work life, and two-way communications. Here-in, I have found that people are the key factor in improving productivity. People are responsible for controlling and utilizing resources. People design and operate the equipment and the facility. They design and implement methods and procedures. They purchase and use raw materials. They produce, provide, sell and service products. All these things are provided by people in varying degrees. People are undoubtedly a key factor in improving productivity. A fact which must be repeated is, the company which best understands the nature of its people and of the organization in which they work, will lead in the productivity race. This thesis will help managers lead the way to increased productivity. I feel confident tat it shows that the potential for boosting productivity growth through the better management of people is enormous.
Corporations undertake change initiatives in response to their environment. Managing these initiatives successfully is often difficult for organizations. Determining what needs to change, the process used to implement change and working with the human factors are three of the main issues that must be confronted during the change process. Change initiatives are undertaken when the organization believes change will provide a benefit and help reach or define the organizational goals.
Business ethics have been in the media. Over the last few years some of the largest and most admired companies in their selected fields of business have been affected by their organizational ethics or their inability to adapt to change. Many of these ethical lapses occurred while the organizations were in a state of change.
This thesis includes a literature review, which defines and notes the characteristics of both change management and business ethics. Also, a survey was administered to obtain primary research, and to expand upon the literature review. The purpose of this thesis is to determine if there is a connection between successful change implementation and ethics. The author’s hypothesis before researching the topic was there is a direct connection between ethics and successful change management implementation, helping increase stakeholder value. The research results do not support this hypothesis. However, ethics can influence the ability of leadership to implement change, but does not guarantee success. This thesis will explore the shared influences of ethics and change management such as culture, environment, and their dependency on communication.
In the 1990s reengineering concepts were being implemented in organizations seeking new ways to cut business process cycles, decrease labor, and increase profits and market share. One of the original authors to document the basic principles of reengineering was Michael Hammer. His concepts were radical in contrast to traditional change practices in organizations. He claimed the only way to achieve dramatic improvements in organizational effectiveness was to essentially evaluate current processes, tear them down to the basic functions and rebuild new processes suited towards the support of the customer and not internal organizational red-tape.
Many of the reengineering initiatives attempted by companies failed or did not achieve the expected level of improvement. Estimates claimed 60 to 70% of all organizations which attempted to reengineer their businesses did not achieve noticeable success. In addition to the lack of successes, many organizations used reengineering as a method to cut staffs and strip away services and core competencies of their companies. Reengineering soon became synonymous with layoffs and cost cutting initiatives.
Regardless of the negative examples, there were also many well-documented successes. Major corporations, such as Ford and Mutual Life had implemented reengineering principles and succeeded at improving operating processes. However, due to the negative connotations of reengineering and its lack to generate promised improvements in efficiency or lowering operating cost to the organizations's operations, the emphasis to use reengineering as a method to address organizational problems dwindled by the end of the 1990s.
The author of this thesis is employed by an organization composed of several smaller organizations which were recently merged together. The organization has a vision to make considerable gains in their market by consolidating the efforts of these smaller companies. Several years after the mergers, the organization is still struggling with removing barriers among the different departments and connecting people together towards the corporate goals. These one-time competitors must now work together. Old alliances, differences in methodology, software systems, and cultures have kept any significant growth and synergistic benefits to a minimum, The promise of the reengineering principles and the need to identify solutions and methods for the author's organization has led the author to investigate the validity of reengineering principles and their application to the organization.
To determine the validity of reengineering principles the author investigated the causes of failure and reasons for successes from several sources which performed a postmortem of the reengineering movements. Utilizing the information supplied by these historical cases the author determines if reengineering principles are another management fad, quality initiative, or reshuffling of employees and tasks. In addition the author investigates potential application of current management techniques and technologies to enhance or resolve many of the original reengineering problems.
Investigations of the reengineering principles determined there is not one universal method, which can apply to every organization. Company size, product offering, culture, management style all play a significant role in successful application of reengineering tools and methods. Key to a successful reengineering program relies on choosing the appropriate reengineering team, executive management support and commitment, and creating an organizational culture willing to part with old habits and processes and embrace change. Historically, most documented failures have been attributed to a combination of lack of management commitment or inability to overcome existing cultures and momentum of the current business processes.
Once these minimal requirements are met the reengineering program can be enhanced by utilizing quality techniques, such as flowcharting and Pareto charts to understand current business operations and uncover non-value added functions. Benchmarking techniques can also be applied to gauge current operations against industry leaders to establish baselines and goals. Technology can also enhance new processes by using data management and workflow software. After understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these tools and techniques a reengineering plan can be developed and implemented.
In the final analysis of validating reengineering principles, the author concludes the original reengineering concepts suggested by Michael Hammer were sound. However, it may have been premature for most management techniques used and the technology available in the early 1990s. Most of the failures were due to poor implementation of these programs by management, the inability to stop the organizational momentum, technology and database systems unable to provide appropriate support. By implementing current database and ERP system technology, addressing and managing changes to organizational culture and processes, utilizing quality and benchmarking tools and techniques, and understanding the failures of the past, organizations have a much higher possibility to successfully implement a reengineering program.
Using the information obtained by the research and a survey of the author's organization, the author concludes the case study organization is not in a position to embark on a full-scale reengineering project at this time. The organization needs to address several cultural issues, organization structure, management practices, and ERP consolidation, before attempting to apply the reengineering principles.
This conclusion contradicts Hammer's original proposal to tear down the existing organization processes and start over. It is recommended the organization begin to position itself for making more significant changes in the future. It needs to begin evaluating current processes from order entry to manufacturing by utilizing benchmarking techniques to make qualified decisions to change process workflow. It cannot continue to make minor adjustments to a system burden with legacy processes and non-value added activities. A completely new approach is warranted, but due to the multiple sales channels, minimal staffing, and multiple manufacturing platforms and facilities, changes to processes will need to be addressed in manageable steps without affecting customer satisfaction.
For better or for worse, most developed countries in the world have and will continue to encourage deregulation and privatization of public services during the last decade of the twentieth century. This trend is creating some interesting problems and opportunities for Wisconsin electric utilities, their regulators, and independent parties. Examining the results of other industries already deregulated provides some insight into the preferred method of deregulation. The United Kingdom.s privatization of the electric utility industry shows that competition in electricity supply is a successful reality. Overcapacity is a threat to this system and must be managed. The deregulation of the U.S. telephone industry proves several things. First, the justice system is not the best place to accomplish deregulation. It takes far too long to complete, none of the parties involved are satisfied with the results, and when completed very little actual deregulation has occurred. Secondly, the average residential customer is not interested in choosing a service for something that has been a .utility. in the past. U.S. airline deregulation has shown that competition does create lower prices and in some ways greater service. It has also shown that overcapacity and a lack of competitors can be dangerous to the industry. It also shows that potential competition is no match for actual competition in a market with difficult market entry and quick pricing response mechanisms.
The cable television merry-go-round of regulation, deregulation, reregulation is another example of good intentions gone bad. In areas with true competition the service was better and the rates lower. Most areas however, had no true competition and as such required regulation to prevent a monopoly from overcharging the public for poor service. Wisconsin faces the same problems that these other industries faced plus a few specific to the electric utility business. Wisconsin must create a system whereby the transmission system and the residential customers remain under utility control. Competition for electricity supply is already started and it must be allowed to move forward without the meddling of regulators. If regulators get too involved through bidding systems, calculating avoided cost, or other tampering with the market system, problems will be created. These problems will take the form of lawsuits which will accomplish little but create wealth for attorneys. Regulators must also continue with a successful method of integrated planning to prevent overcapacity. Accomplishing this transformation from a regulated monopoly to a competitive environment will be very difficult for all parties involved. This means the utilities, the regulators, the consumers, and the independent producers. They all must leave their old way of doing business behind and have the courage to move forward.
This thesis is an applied research effort to improve a typical Design Change Authorization process through the use of knowledge management, enabled through information technology. A case study of the Johnson Polymer Engineering Team’s experience to improve its process to meet the intent of OSHA’s Process Safety Management (section 1910.119 J) is included. The resulting effort proposes the use of an electronic knowledge management tool to streamline and simplify the necessary engineering information flow and record-retention process. The use of current best practices in knowledge management concepts for small virtual project engineering groups was studied and integrated. This thesis covers the general human aspects of knowledge management systems and unique research in the area of knowledge reuse in engineering environments.
A discussion of an existing Lotus Notes QuickPlace™ product as a group repository and portal is included. Specifically, a reduction of the manual effort required to maintain the “paper trail” needed, ranging from the project inception through installation and maintenance, has been sought. The Design Change Authorization process falls under the guidance of Management of Change (M.O.C.) as required by OSHA for chemical manufacturing plants. A typical Design Change Authorization process currently requires a significant level of resources and attention to detail similar to ISO 9000. Johnson Polymer is a specialty chemical supplier and has technical and engineering environments across the globe. Currently engineers collaborate on projects at multiple facilities. This requires improved efficiency in reusing previously developed information. Ideally, this information must be in a format acceptable to two plants in North America.
Traditional industry favored a centralized, functional approach in the manufacture of products. Today’s intense global competition, strained economic conditions, advanced technologies, and societal demands require improved manufacturing techniques and systems. One advancement which has demonstrated success is the focused factory. Factories which focus on a narrow product mix or a particular customer can outperform conventional plants, which attempt to encompass a broader scope. Focus provides specific direction and clear goals which can be readily understood and absorbed by members of an organization. However, drastic changes in management and worker attitudes must accompany focused factory implementation if success is to be realized. Complete involvement and support is required. To gain the maximum benefit from the focused factory, people must understand new ways of managing and operating focused subplants. New authority and responsibility must be bestowed upon managers, supervisors, and operators. Communications between all employees must be enhanced. The intent of this thesis is to support the focused factory manufacturing concept, and stress the human impact that accompanies such a drastic change in manufacturing philosophy. The focused factory and its associated benefits are examined in detail, and current successful applications of the concept are discussed through case studies and examples.
The psychological and emotional effects of the “plant within a plant” are explored. Involvement, training teamwork, reward systems and societal implications are reviewed. Finally, personal experiences relating to the actual planning and start-up of a local focused factory are shared. In order to take maximum advantage of the improvement opportunities inherent to the focused factory, (enhanced productivity, motivated employees, advanced technologies, improved process flow and layout, ownership, etc.) all of the organization’s people must be involved. They must be trained in work methods and management practices suited to effective operation in the new environment. New roles must be accepted and performed. Every team member must be educated and trained in new techniques. Although the hardware and technology is important, nothing will ever be as critical as the men and women who make the factory run.
Most organizations develop and implement some form of a strategic plan. Typically the plan is developed by a select group of top managers who are expected to carry out the strategy. Frequently the dissemination and execution of the plan is disjointed due to a lack of understanding and commitment by the remaining organization. This thesis focused on a methodology to engage an organization’s workforce in the execution of a strategic plan. The process involved a unique format that enables management to communicate the plan to the workforce. The format can also be used to track and report progress along the way. The research involved a variety of avenues related to improving the strategic planning process. Among them are:
This project provides a unique tool that is adaptable to any company or organization. Properly implemented, this methodology could change the way future strategic plans are developed and implemented.
Sparkplugging is a process of developing and jumpstarting brands that stand out and out perform the competition. It builds focused brands and promotes these brands in ways that minimize the common costs associated with marketing. Sparkplugging draws many parallels between small and large businesses because marketers can learn from the large marketing budget mistakes of many Fortune 500 companies. Although, Sparkplugging strategy is designed for small and medium businesses, large organizations can also benefit by using a Sparkplugging strategy when launching new and emerging brands. For those looking to advertise, like Microsoft, Starbucks, and Subway, Sparkplugging will demonstrate that advertising is not the marketing activity that made these companies successful.
The Sparkplugging process begins with branding, and then it takes marketers on a journey that endows brands with personality, identity, and a brand experience. In addition to the internal development of a brand, Sparkplugging addresses brand development in the external environment by giving marketers strategies for positioning brands that will lead their category. After marketers Sparkplug their core brand, Sparkplugging offers the marketers a revolutionary approach to promoting their brands by using public relations and Internet marketing as alternatives to classical advertising.
The thesis defines what Lean Manufacturing is and recommends a Lean strategy that should be implemented for job shop type environments with a wide variety of product offerings and mixed volumes. From the research and practical applications in use today, the data describes what Lean initiatives are best suited for this type of manufacturing environment. In manufacturing settings where wide variety, low volumes, and unpredictable product mix occur the standard Lean principles and concepts do not conform to the “normal” job shop environments. The thesis proposes a strategy and demonstrates how lean can be adapted successfully to the unique job shop/small manufacturer environment. Several job shops/small manufacturers utilizing “Lean” concepts will be analyzed to determine what principles and methods create success and failures.
Applying a mix of conventional Lean principles, Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) and Theory of constraints (TOC) methodologies can provide the solution to meeting the organizational goals. Additional research is presented for successful implementation and the improvements in throughput. The thesis strongly recommends total organizational support to follow the process described by QRM, Lean Manufacturing, and TOC for successful implementation. From the information gained, the applications will be applied to SPI (Service, Performance, and Innovation) Lighting. SPI, located in Mequon, Wisconsin, is a manufacturer of indirect lighting for custom lighting products. Typical applications are light fixtures in shopping malls, churches, schools, and industrial locations. What is unique about the product offerings at SPI are the low products volumes and the unlimited varieties a customer can have. SPI also builds products to suit individual customer needs in a build-to-order environment.
Today's organizations have flatter organizational ladders. Managers are charged with more responsibility. They must be versatile, have good communication skills, and good leadership skills. Lateral promotions, project management, and volunteer work are ways to gain experience to be a successful manager. Volunteer work should be included in one's career plan. The time committed to volunteer work should not detract from one's personal life or paid work. Seeking meaningful volunteer work is important so that one remains committed to the extra effort.
People volunteer for a variety of reasons. New careers can be investigated without jeopardizing the financial security of one's present position. Usually the volunteer gets a feeling of satisfaction from doing something worthwhile in return for their efforts.
Corporate volunteer programs have survived prosperous times and difficult economic times. Volunteer programs improve a company's image, improve community relations, build teamwork, and increase worker productivity. Some studies have shown that people who volunteer are happier, have higher self-esteem, are more successful, and live longer. Volunteer work can also make the transition to a new community smoother.
I started a volunteer clearinghouse at my place of employment, Bemis Manufacturing Company, Sheboygan Falls, WI. The steps used to start the clearinghouse are detailed. Articles published in the company newsletter featuring local volunteer needs are included in the appendix. A survey was conducted on people's views of volunteerism. Respondents were asked to rate findings in the literature regarding the benefits of volunteerism. Some people’s comments on their views of how volunteerism has affected their careers are listed. Most people felt that volunteer work helped improve skills that would be useful in management and would encourage others to volunteer.
A major objective of a business can be stated as securing profits both in the present and the future. The manner in which a business accomplishes this is to provide customer satisfaction, furnish reliable products and services at a reasonable price and cost, and quality and features consistent with or exceeding the customer’s expectations. Today’s accounting systems are inadequate to provide information required to meet and support these objectives. Accounting has been a business staple for as long as most can recall. But this has not always been the case in business, particularly in manufacturing. Present managerial and cost accounting methods do not provide the information actually needed in operations. They most definitely do not supply a lean manufacturer with information needed to properly manage flow operations. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the failure of traditional cost and managerial accounting methods using both current and historical context; develop the importance of the relationship between the physical lean enterprise and accounting (or in the terms of this paper, cost management); and present specific methods and how and why they function effectively for a lean enterprise. This thesis presents an overview of flow manufacturing or lean manufacturing along with an overview of why current managerial accounting methods fail and from where they evolved. Also, a review of performance measures will be presented. They are an important part of operations and also a significant reason management accounting techniques came into common use, particularly standards and overhead allocation. These overviews will create a context to better explain the methods that have been developed to support a lean operation with the information it needs to operate more successfully.
This paper will prove that traditional cost and managerial accounting does not fulfill the needs of a lean firm and that three main criteria must be established to develop and execute an effective cost management system for the lean enterprise. First is the absolute need to design, implement, and establish flow manufacturing as a business practice and method of operation with emphasis on understanding what is behind the “right-design” of a lean system. Second, as Alexander Hamilton Church developed, is the direct and accurate application of costs to products and product lines. This application is also associated with the current concepts and methods of value streams or focus factories, and understanding the direct incidence of costs. The third criterion, which unfortunately was not available to Church, is the basic personal computer and spreadsheet software — both are broadly available, simple to use, and very inexpensive.
A model factory will be constructed to illustrate an operational example to which the new lean accounting methods will be applied. The operation factory model will be a small engine manufacturer which machines and assembles small air-cooled single cylinder engines for commercial and industrial use. Crankshaft machining will also be “zoomed-in” on to illustrate physical flow operations to which critical understanding of how the costing methods will be applied must be visualized. The key to achieving lean cost accounting (or cost management) through understanding the physical operation is discussed and will be absolutely essential to applying the costing techniques presented and discussed throughout this paper. Although repetitive manufacturers are also the focus of this paper the writer believes that the methods, ideas, and procedures presented in this paper can be applied across many different types of manufacturing scenarios although they are not discussed in the context of this paper.
With the development and implementation of focus factories, value streams, and cellular manufacturing, direct and accurate cost associations are simple and substantially fewer in number. This philosophy and method developed and discussed in this paper is a combination of Coase’s Theory of Transactions and Dennis Butt’s analogy of the Toyota Production System being a system of gear trains. The method developed to achieve this takes an updated version of Church’s philosophy and methods and applies it to the philosophy and systems of a lean manufacturing environment. In accomplishing this method both Coase’s Theory and Butt’s analogy become a reality within the focus factory and value stream environment. This paper will travel through past, present and future to prove what changes must take place and what design foundations are required to understand and implement both the techniques and principles required to have an effective cost management system for the lean manufacturing enterprise : right-designing the system, properly executing the system, and continually improving the system.
In today’s business environments, technologists are often called upon to do more than just analyze some function or determine the performance parameters of a product. This is especially true in the small business environment where people wear many hats. It is therefore crucial for the technologist to possess a broader understanding of many other areas of business in order to contribute to the success of the company. The role of marketing in the development of winning products is particularly important. With that in mind, this paper proposes a Three Step Marketing Process for Technologists. This three-step process is derived from the writings of several noted authorities on product development and marketing and is intended to provide an understanding of the necessary elements for successful development of new products. Each step addresses one of three key elements, timing, knowledge and action, that contribute to the growth of the business. Timing, the first step, is related to the who, what and why of the business. What and why relate closely to the management’s reasons for being in business in that what is the product offering and why is the overall goal of the owner. The factors surrounding who relate directly to the customer and start to clearly define the product offering. In order to coordinate the timing aspect, the who, what and why must be understood.
After all, no one succeeds when they try to take a profitable, saleable idea to market too early or too late. The second step in the process is related to the gathering of knowledge. It takes the technologist through several methods for obtaining information regarding the customer. In this age of information the amount of raw data that can be collected is phenomenal. There are also many different methods for gathering the information from many different sources. In order to avoid being buried under this pile of data, the technologist must be able to sort through the processes available and choose the one with the most “bang” for the buck. To that end, a chart comparing various properties such as cost, relative information and time frame is provided. The third step combines the essentials of timing and wisdom of knowledge into a plan of action. This element is the culmination of all the efforts that went into understanding the customer. Without action, nothing gets done. A great idea will not survive if it is not acted upon. It is therefore crucial for technologists to have an understanding of the action plan as well as contributing to its execution. The four elements come together to form a tetrahedron which can be defined as a basic business element. This element is held together by technology with the role of the technologists to balance the unit so the company can prosper in a sustained manner. This process is then applied in a case study to illustrate how the marketing can be understood. This understanding will allow the technologist to make better decisions with regard to design and production, which will in turn reduce the time to market and increase the likelihood of success. Therefore the technologist will enjoy greater productivity through a more comprehensive approach to both marketing and product development. Finally, the following statements form a set of fundamental thoughts for the technologist to remember: Action is power. Growth is the future. Knowledge is promise. Timing is everything else.
The purpose of this research study is to determine if age is a determining factor in participation levels of youth in entry-level speed skating programs. The investigation of ice rink facilities’ management strategies and the administration of surveys to elementary and middle school skating participants make this study both a qualitative and quantitative research effort. The survey data collected represents the quantitative portion of the study. The data suggest that age of recruitment is not a determining factor in the participation levels of youth under the age of fifteen. The qualitative interview data collected from ice rink management suggest that youth development is either not a focus of operations or that widely-used methods in the field of after-school sports programming have not been adequately adopted to enhance the success of the programs.
This study gathers a wide variety of information about speed skating, rink management, facilities management, and youth activities programming. The study can aid the various rink facilities (short track and long track oval), US Speedskating, and the United States Olympic Committee who may use this information to further their goal of fostering the Olympic aspirations of underrepresented groups such as minorities and inner city youth. The author offers suggestions for further research in areas identified as critical to future program success.
Products become successful in the marketplace through the alignment of an infinite number of variables. Most often the critical variables to the product's success were difficult to predict and plan upon. Yet, when critical variables come together and synthesize into innovation, success shines down upon the product and those marketing the product into new business trends and possibly new business models.
Firms are constantly on the lookout for these new business trends and new business models to aid the innovation process. One process has recently come to the forefront that addresses a company's aversion to innovation. It is called Customer-Centric Innovation (CCI). CCI uses a customer-focused approach that fosters a mutually beneficial partnership where the key customers enjoy perks and developmental input and where the company enjoys valid metrics and forecasted current and future sales.
This thesis researches other customer active processes, such as, customer-active paradigm (CAP), lead users, design inspired enterprise, customer integration, and experience innovation to determine whether CCI is either inventing or reinventing a best practices model for marketing new products and reaching success.
Additional research conducted for this thesis looks at innovation strategies, such as the strategy wheel and the market development life cycle. Research innovation strategy sheds light on the fact that a firm must immerse itself in innovation to reap the rewards.
A final element of research studied Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference to provice a sociological angle on CCI.
Analysis of the research shows that companies continuously look for ways to be more competitive. This intense competition is most noticeable to organizations that vie for the leadership position in mature markets. Mature industries find that their focus on cost-cutting and quality strategies do not bring them to the leadership position. Producing nearly identical products, competitors in mature markets often find themselves in a damaging price war, which may lead to a slow decline for a company.
Furthermore, the research conducted shows that CCI is based on similar theories: Von Hippel's CAP and Lead User, Lojacono and Zaccai's Design-Inspired Enterprise, Fischer Frankemölle, Pape, and Schween's customer integration, and Prahalad and Ramaswamy's experience innovation. The common thread among the researched models remains this truism: the customer who has done the groundwork to provide the appropriate information for use by a company becomes the customer who possesses innovative concepts and products that he or she created himself or herself.
To seek our new trends, new ideas, and new product developments not easily copied by the competition or even identified by the competition is the way of CCI, a reinvention of a customer-driven best practices model. In the author's opinion, CCI is a reinvention due to a predominate thread of seeking out customer interaction to produce profitable innovative product ideas found in similar business process models mentioned above. The researched business process models all preceded CII.
In the author's opinion, it is not that customer-centric innovation is revolutionary, but that our business environment is hyper-revolutionary such that the tried and true theories are no longer valid. Customer-Centric Innovation reinvents itself as a best practice strategy centered on the customer as it adapts to the ever-evolving marketplace.
Lean and other organizational improvement initiatives such as Six Sigma and Theory of Constraints are the hot topic among organizations looking to improve their competitive advantage. This is especially true among organizations that are facing stiff competition from low wage countries such as China and India. The books and articles that document this trend, the methodologies of implementation and the success stories mostly focus on large organizations. This leaves the small organization wondering if Lean is also for them or is it just a theory that applies to larger organizations? The focus of this thesis is therefore to prove that Lean is advantageous for small organizations and its implementation is worth the effort.
Lean, simply stated, is a methodology for eliminating waste from an organization’s processes and operation. Waste is often defined as any activity that does not change the shape or function of the product or an activity that, if listed separately on the customer invoice, the customer would not be willing to pay for. Lean seeks out this waste and works to eliminate it using several different tools. These tools include 5S, set up reduction, total productive maintenance, error proofing or Poke Yoke, work cells, and of course, value stream mapping. Each of these tools can provide significant benefit to the organization by streamlining processes, improving the flow of work through the organization, and eliminating waste from the processes. All of these tools have been documented as having significant impact in large organizations. Their impact on small organizations can be just as profound.
Implementing Lean is not without its challenges. The most significant of these is changing the organizational culture. This typically does not happen without top management support. Top management support is especially critical in small organizations due to the likely involvement of the ownership in the day to day operations of the organization. Failure to gain this support will result in certain failure for the implementation.
In the end, it will be proven that Lean can be implemented in small organizations and that the efforts required are worth it. This proof will be offered through the primary research conducted for this thesis in which the concepts of Lean were put to the test in small organizations with satisfying results.
A revolution is happening in American manufacturing. It started in the 1970’s and is gaining momentum in the 1980’s. The roots of the revolution lie in the need for businesses to be internationally competitive. The impact will spread from the factory production floor, through stockrooms, suppliers, labor and unions, engineering, marketing, and ultimately to the consumer. Few aspects of traditional business methods will be untouched by the revolution. The prize of success will be the survival of manufacturing in the United States.
The culture and resource conditions of Japan have given birth to a manufacturing concept that is humbling in its simplicity. It is logical, rational, and beautiful. It is the reason Japan can produce at significantly less cost than the United States. It is the relentless pursuit of waste elimination. It is the “Just-In-Time” concept.
This document will describe the international market conditions, and how they developed, followed by a basic explanation of the Just-In-Time principle. The final chapter will address JIT implementation with its advantages, pitfalls, and problems. The goals of the document are to convince the reader that there is an immediate need for American manufacturing to change, and to offer guidelines for designing and implementing the JIT philosophy.
The products that we use today were once just an idea. An individual with a vision for the future, or a solution to a problem, recognized the possibility to do something differently and took action. Take an idea and add opportunity, motivation, education, and some skill and you have the ingredients necessary to develop and commercialize a new product. This thesis is a case study in how to start a business around an idea for a new product. The idea is Electronic Oil Injection for 2-Cycle Marine Engines. And, the business that was formed is Marine Solutions Incorporated. The thesis, the product, and the business developed together. All of the efforts that went into developing the product and starting the business went into the thesis. All of the research for the thesis contributed to the development of the product and starting the business. The thesis explores and details the process used to help develop a new product and start a new business. The first step in the long road from an idea to saleable product is engineering development. Designs, working models and tests are required to see if the idea is feasible. Materials and suppliers need to be identified and costs need to be estimated. A patent search is conducted during development to assure that the idea does not use technology that is already protected by patent. Successful development is a prerequisite to continue the process. The second step is to survey the market to check for interest. A market survey is conducted to learn how buyers would respond to the idea under development. The survey gathers information on initial reactions, potential market size, competition, price, and distribution channels. Brochures explaining features and benefits, photos, and working models may be necessary to help buyers answer the survey questions. A positive market response here is the next prerequisite to continue. The third step is to consider a structure that will enable you to conduct business. A business structure is needed to buy materials and services, sell products, pay wages, limit personal liability, and pay taxes. There are several structures to choose from with ownership, tax, and liability issues being some of the major concerns. The fourth step is to finalize designs, and develop and implement production and marketing plans. Product costs, production plans, selling price, sales goals, distribution channels, and promotion methods all have to be finalized. A market test with a limited number of products may be desirable before committing to mass production. The fifth and final step is to commercialize the product by making it available to the general market in significant quantities. New product announcements, magazine articles, and advertising promote the product and the company. Patience is required to develop and nurture customers.
Each sale is important and prompt service and support is essential in building relationships and a good reputation. Persistence and frequent contact is absolutely required to make initial sales and repeat sales. In practice developing a new product and starting a new business is not truly a series process. The series process outlined here and described in detail in the thesis only helps to assure that important steps are not overlooked. Many things happen or must be attended to concurrently. Final tests must be finished before the product can be announced. Announcements must be made in time for the selling season. Product must be built while arranging for advertising and reading mailings from the Internal Revenue Service. Installation questions must be quickly resolved while calls to develop new sales are waiting to be made. Personal stress levels rise, and relationships are strained as the hours spent on the product and on the business increase. However, despite all of the work, and all of the additional stress, new products and new businesses are successful because of good planning, careful execution of plans, and persistence. This case study thesis explores and details the process used to develop the Electronic Oil Injection product and start Marine Solutions Incorporated. The completed work is a valuable reference for others with an idea, and the opportunity, motivation, education, and skills to develop a new product and start their own company.
Protecting the company from environmental threats is one of the most pressing problems facing the manager today. No longer can maximizing profits be the only or even the major concern of management. Currently, the manager faces pressures from the government, which passes new laws regulating the emissions from the company’s plants and its products, from the environmentalist who both harass and sue the company and from its customers who are demanding environmentally safe products. The impact of the environment affects everything the manager does. The manager must consider the environment when deciding on new plant sites, suppliers selection, product performance, waste disposal, and shipping of the product.
This paper looks at the currently known environmental problems including air pollution, water pollution, toxic waste, acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect and their effects on management’s decision making. However, this paper deals with management strategy to survive and prosper in these environmentally conscious times. It’s not a paper on environmental law. Managers must become more actively involved in the environmental movement. They must be involved in the legislative process to make the company’s views known, must work with the press and the public they represent to keep them informed of the company’s environmental efforts, must have a strong R&D competence to take advantage of market opportunities caused by people’s concern for the environment. Lastly, managers must establish a zero emissions target for its products and manufacturing processes because the environmental protection standards are collapsing so fast that any target greater than zero will not be acceptable to the government and to the environmental groups in the future.
There has been a new medical product developed that has never been marketed before. The market projections show a small market that is expanding at .65% per year. Peak sales of $60,000 per year occurs after four years. This small market will not allow competition to enter the market easily. It will also not allow much margin for commissions or large sales efforts. Therefore, mail order sales is considered to be the optimum method of distribution.
To finance this product introduction the entrepreneur will have to obtain $25,000. The use of a loan for 80% of the required capitol will allow the investment to be leveraged to produce a greater rate of return. Incorporation under subchapter S will further the rate of return since corporate losses can be used to reduce tax obligations. A 29% internal rate of return or net return of $7,620 then is projected over and above the 15% cost of capitol.
In this paper, the author developed general business recommendations for an organization called Pacific Equipment. Pacific Equipment is a new, small, entrepreneurial firm attempting to enter the foundry equipment market. In this paper, the author studied two areas in detail in order to develop effective recommendations. These two areas of detailed study include the foundry industry and entrepreneurship.
The first area of detailed study is on the foundry industry. This author studied not only the history, but also the current state of the foundry industry. According to the review of literature, the foundry industry is one of the oldest industries known to man with its roots in the beginning of known civilization. Today, the modern foundry carries out three major functions, which include mold making, metal melting and pouring, and casting cleaning and preparation. The United States and China dominate the foundry industry today with a total production of 28 million tons of castings. The foundry industry serves a diverse group of customers including the automobile industry, housing industry, railroads, and construction industry. Even though the foundry industry serves a diverse group of customers, the foundry industry is a low growth industry with production expected to increase only 1.2 percent over the next few years. Large, multinational corporations with large capitalization characterize suppliers of equipment and supplies to the foundry industry.
The second area of detailed study was on entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs create new products or services, identify and gather resources to produce and see that product or service, and take on personal financial risk in order to sell that product or service. Entrepreneurship affects and is affected by four areas of business which include strategy, marketing, organization, and management. According to research, entrepreneurs should pursue a differentiation strategy in order to increase their chances of success. In order to define and communicate a strategy, entrepreneurs should develop an effective mission statement. In addition, entrepreneurs should pick industries and trends that will allow them to support growth. Entrepreneurs should also use tools such as SWOT analysis and the five forces model to analyze their market environment in order to compete effectively in it. Although not important in the beginning, entrepreneurs should work at developing both organizations and management competencies that will support their strategy and growing business.
This author provided recommendations to Pacific Equipment to increase its chance for success. First, because of the large size and capitalization of its competitors, Pacific Equipment should pursue a differentiation strategy in order to avoid direct competition with them. Pacific Equipment should develop its organization and management competencies in order to support that strategy. The organization that Pacific Equipment should pursue should emphasize its R&D and marketing functions over that of manufacturing. In addition, Pacific Equipment should try at this time to strengthen its current sales agreement in order to sell its products to a worldwide market. Other items that Pacific Equipment should pursue include developing web support for its products, development of an effective mission statement, and development of stronger management capabilities.
A movement based on Sustainable Development has recently been gaining momentum in the global business community. It is meant to tie economic growth with environmental protection. Proponents of this movement feel that industrial activity can be successfully promoted around the world within the framework of sound economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity. During the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the Business Council for Sustainable Development was created to formulate a global strategy for Sustainable Development and establish guidelines for its implementation. In fact, 120 nations agreed to these guidelines at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, during June of 1992. Sustainable Development has simply been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The commitment shown by the many nations at the Earth Summit in 1992 to Sustainable Development is proof of its growing importance to the world marketplace. It is the intent of this thesis to study the effects of Sustainable Development on the strategic decisions businesses make to position themselves to be more competitive. The product of this paper will be a device to help in making strategic business decisions, called the SDD TOOL (Strategic Development Decision Tool). The SDD TOOL is intended to be used by business managers to analyze their opportunities to participate in business strategies based on Sustainable Development.
The paper will begin in Chapter 1 with background information on different business strategies and a description of Sustainable Development which will contain information about its origin, substance, goals, and implementation. The concept of the SDD TOOL will be introduced later in Chapter 1 as a tool for business managers to better manage the many complex issues and demands of Sustainable Development. Also in Chapter 1 the issues that form the major parameters of the SDD TOOL will be presented. Additional chapters will follow that will detail and prove the importance of the major parameters to the SDD TOOL. The six major parameters are: Chapter 2 – Laws & Regulations Chapter 3 – Management Philosophy Chapter 4 – Market Expectations Chapter 5 – Costs and Design Chapter 6 – Competition Chapter 7 – Perceived Benefits. The six chapters on the major parameters will be interwoven to develop the SDD TOOL in Chapter 8. Chapter 8 will present some of the key factors to successfully follow Sustainable Development business strategies such as relying on sound economic profit motives and having a committed management philosophy towards sustainable business practices. An argument will be made to justify the disparity of involvement among firms in following a path towards greater Sustainable Development. Some firms will be in a position to become very proactive and be more sustainable than others. These firms will correctly meet the demands of the major parameters of the SDD TOOL to be successful in following Sustainable Development business strategies.
But there will be firms, because of their market position and management philosophy, that will not react towards implementing sustainable business practices. These firms may be cash poor and cannot afford to make a strategic change towards sustainable manufacturing or product design. Or the market they compete in cannot support a major product change to become more sustainable. For some reason these firms cannot meet the many demands of the major parameters of the SDD TOOL to become major participants in the move towards Sustainable Development. The strategic choices of all of the above firms is based on their respective competitive positions in their market structures at a particular point in time. And these competitive positions are in a constant state of flux as the markets expand and contract based on technological innovations and consumer purchasing attitudes. Therefore the firms must constantly review their strategic positions towards Sustainable Development. The strength of the SDD TOOL, as it will be shown in the later chapters of this thesis, is that it can be used as a management tool to help make these strategic reviews and choices. The SDD TOOL is a survey based tool consisting of a set of questions for each of the six major parameters of the TOOL as outlined in this paper. The answers to the questions will be placed into a matrix format that will facilitate scoring the relative importance of the parameter to the firm’s ability to follow sustainable business practices. Each answer will be assigned a rating weight based on its importance to the parameter. And each answer will receive a competence level based on how favorable the answer is towards following sustainable business practices. The sum of the products of the rating weights times the competence levels for the answers will yield the matrix score for a firm. Higher scores will indicate a more suitable match for a firm to follow sustainable business practices. In summary, the SDD TOOL will be presented as a powerful and flexible tool to be used as a catalyst for more in-depth analysis of any firm’s market position and its ability to effectively participate in business strategies based on Sustainable Development principles.
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to explore the challenge facing organizations in dealing with workplace diversity and to offer methods to effectively manage it. This paper presents a case for recognizing diversity trends in business and making strides to embrace it for competitive advantage. Guidelines are given for developing management strategies to tap the benefits of employee diversity.
The research method utilized here is a contemporary literature review with reinforcing information gathered from professional and business journals. Since worker diversity is a relatively new management theme, periodicals comprise a fair portion of the bibliography sources. Emphasis is placed on the most current findings and philosophies surrounding the diversity topic as seen from the legal, moral, social, and economic vantage points. The findings of this thesis include management strategies for realizing the benefits of employee diversity. These general strategies include:
New workplace realities require managers to become diversity leaders within their organizations and be proactive about diversity issues. They must learn to harness the potential of a nonhomogeneous workforce and cultivate workers as individuals. Managers need to embrace diversity by systematically implementing programs and policies that support worker differences. The failure to plan for employee diversity will render an organization unfit to compete in today’s global economy. Indeed, diversity management is the strategic business imperative of the 1990s.
This paper discusses the application of risk analysis to different project environments. Starting with the basics of risk analysis, it covers the requirements, benefits and tools of risk analysis. The concept of probability distribution and technical problems in running risk analysis, e.g. sampling, convergence, correlation, are discussed. The classical methods of risk analysis, which include sensitivity analysis, parametric method, decision trees, utility theory and management perceptions, are discussed with their advantages and shortcomings. Next the advanced methods of risk analysis, which include probability distribution, control interval and memory method and analytical hierarchy method, are discussed in detail.
The middle part of the paper addresses risk analysis to complex engineering and construction projects and risks in new high technology products (the two types of projects which exhibit most risks). Same kind of analysis can be used for other types of projects with some exceptions perhaps. Application problems using @Risk software demonstrating hypercube sampling distribution is shown. The second application problem demonstrates application of analytical hierarchy process technique to construction project environment. The next part of the paper covers some special strategies to reduce risk for bringing new high technology products to the market. It focuses on research and development (R&D) and marketing risks associated with new technology-based products. For industrial products the concept of the technology life cycle in comparison to the conventional product life cycle is emphasized. The later part of the paper covers background needed for investments, profitability criteria, and cash flow analysis. The last part of the paper gives conclusions and recommendations from the thesis.
This paper demonstrates the use of risk analysis using discounted cash flow profitability criteria for evaluating complex engineering and construction projects and new product development projects in the face of high uncertainty in the economic environment. The risks covered are primarily economic and financial. Risk contingency planning, various tools and techniques available for risk analysis and important strategies for dealing with risk investments are covered in detail. A professional software called @ Risk is used as add on to Lotus to evaluate a risky situation.
This essay discusses the ramifications of future technological change for the screen printing industry. In this case, technological change (or technology progression) refers to future improvements that may be made in screen printing technology and other printing technologies potentially competitive to it (A total of eight technologies and twenty-one technology subsets are involved).
Historical technology progression curves of screen printing technology and potentially competitive technologies are generated from data collected of cumulative patents over time. It is argued that cumulative patent data is becoming increasingly more useful in plotting technology progression as computer data bases of patents improve and are made more broadly available.
A stepwise method is suggested by which to predict the future of the screen printing industry. This method is then applied to the situation of the U.S. screen printing industry. Aiding this analysis is proposed market segmentation of sixteen screen printing product specialties as well as technology progression curves, market dimensions, and technical considerations of the printing technologies.
The viewpoint drawn from analysis is that in the next twenty years, a substantial portion of business that is currently produced by screen printing technology is at risk of being lost to competitive printing technologies. The potential for loss varies with product specialty from none to 100%.
A small contract manufacturer can strategically growing its manufacturing capabilities through identifying a new process development method designed to use their restricted amount of resources efficiently and effectively.
A contract manufacturer’s product line is dependent on the customer’s outsourced product. For small contract manufacturers, process development and the manufacturing processes of new products is crucial to a businesses growth in sales, profit, and manufacturing capabilities.
Small manufacturers must challenge resource constraints differently than medium to large business’s. Their resource constraints can include cash, equipment, direct and indirect labor. Some small businesses have a difficult time building manufacturing processes because cash flow and management’s commitment to investment is so restrictive that the equipment requisition cannot be justified within the time period required for approval.
The current shift in the manufacturing industry is to outsource non-core competencies. The customer has chosen to outsource their product line to provide a cost benefit, to acquire new skills, to eliminate headaches, and to supplement staff. The contract manufacturer markets itself to the larger companies that have these issues by having a specialized focus in a manufacturing method or process. It is in the contract manufacturer’s best interest to design a decision making process and a manufacturing development process to efficiently use the available resources to receive new business. Any inefficiencies can cost the small business valuable profit opportunities and potential loss in revenue.
This thesis will be from the perspective of the small contract manufacturer who is receiving outsourced products from a larger customer. The thesis will design a New Process Development (NProcessD) model that will be a modification of Robert Cooper’s New Product Development (NPD) model, but focusing on process development stages rather than product stages. The NProcessD model can be used to introduce new product processes that the manufacturer may not currently provide as a business growth strategy. One method that will be discussed is having the contract manufacturer outsource the product temporarily to justify developing the manufacturing process internally.
The NProcessD model will also compare its phases to the NPD model, and how the models relate to the contract manufacturers point of view of developing the process not the product. An integration strategy will be developed to identify the indirect components and benefits of a successful new process development process which will be followed by a case study of a cable harness contract manufacturer and the challenges to implement the process model.
This paper describes the basic considerations required to generate and manage an assembly line balance within a manufacturing facility. The problem of balancing an assembly line is observed in the form of a deterministic line balancing method. The purpose is to search academically and experientially for improvement in the process of balancing production assembly lines. The assembly line balance concepts are discussed in a predetermined hierarchy of importance as realized from the author’s experience with, and analysis of manufacturing organizations. The suggestions throughout the study are intended to provide management personnel with a sense of self-imposed objectives and perspective on the proper evaluation of the whole system and its components. Methods, diagramming, and modeling are inclusive essentials to support this research.
Some theoretical models (algorithms) will provide a solution which does not necessarily make it practical for answering the problem because of cost, storage, and time constraints. Conversely, there are models (heuristics) that solve problems short of optimal results and thus begin to lose the practical use of their application. The individual theories tend to fall short of sufficiently addressing practicality toward achieving solutions. The techniques that have utilized algorithms and heuristics together are demonstrating a positive step in the endeavor to gain practical results from theoretical models.
This thesis will identify and analyze how manufacturers create and manage brand equity across multiple distribution channels. The primary analysis used will be a case study presentation of Sta-Rite Industries, specifically the Water Systems Group and its particular brand strategy. In other words, they manufacture and market multiple products across multiple channels to reach multiple markets; and they employ multiple brands to achieve these objectives. The first part of the thesis will address the role of brand management within the manufacturing organization. The key objective of this paper is to define steps, create an action plan for the manufacturer that will enable the company to manage their brand(s) for long-term sustainability within the markets in which they compete. Significant time will be spent defining brand equity; how it is created, maintained, nurtured or even reinvented. The cornerstone for the brand equity analysis will be David A. Aaker’s brand equity model which defines five asset variables that determine brand equity: brand loyalty, brand awareness, perceived quality, brand associations and other proprietary brand assets. Time will be spent defining each of these dimensions. Once definitions are complete, the paper will focus on the role of the integrated marketing communications program in establishing and maintaining long-term brand continuity. Specifically, sales support programs such as rebates, dating, co-op advertising, promotions and discounting will be reviewed in order to demonstrate the relationship between such external programs and brand management. In addition, a review of packaging, at-shelf merchandising, advertising and other marketing and sales support elements will also be presented as core components in managing brand equity.
Several case histories will be presented demonstrating the role the integrated marketing communications program holds in securing brand dominance in today’s cluttered marketplace. The balance of this thesis will present a summary overview of the current and proposed brand system for the Water Systems Group of Sta-Rite Industries. Subject matter presented in this section will include: industry overview, market analysis, review of the channels of distribution serving each market, competitive market positioning within each channel, current brand and S.W.O.T. (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats) analysis by market and channel; and finally, recommended changes to the existing brand system to achieve maxim brand equity impact and sustainability. The author of this thesis is presently a Senior Product Manager within the Water Systems Group of Sta-Rite Industries. She has been responsible for spearheading efforts within the organization that will aid in the achievement of maximum market penetration within each of the business group’s core markets. Brand equity development is recognized as the single most significant strategic objective for the organization.
This paper presents the administrative roles and the tools needed for Global Management Information Systems. The area of greatest need upon which this paper will focus is an effective management guideline for firms that compete internationally. Software processes currently in use and their relationship to the executive management function of an international organization are presented. Software tools to be evaluated include the ISO standard for software development and purchase, and the Capability Maturity Model for process maturity evaluation.
The contribution will provide an analysis and guideline for management roles and practices. A guideline, based on models reviewed, follows. The guideline will outline what senior management needs to know in managing software professionals, projects, vendor products and hardware technology in the international marketplace. The guideline will be of use to both service and manufacturing organizations.
The audience for this paper is senior managers in multinational organizations; senior managers of large and medium domestic organizations may find much of the research and analysis useful. The emphasis on the multinational firm is based on the unique information requirements of this type of organization. The guideline used for the multinational firm can more readily be extrapolated for domestic managers of large scale management information systems. The selection of the multinational enterprise and the determination of its role in software assurance are attempts to provide a basis for technology management in organizations that no longer compete and produce within local markets, but rather in the new world markets that are expanding. Another motive for using the multinational enterprise, is the unique information a firm with this structure requires.
Managers must understand what motivates each employee for the organization to operate at the optimum level. This has not become easier over the years as have many technical challenges, due to the complexity of individuals and the increasing number of motivational theories. Adding to this problem, many managers have tended to ignore the people aspects of management because motivation is a “soft” science rather than a “hard” science. Managers must begin to utilize the largest untapped resource in many organizations: people. This will be the difference between success and failure in the nineties.
A method to identify motivational techniques for individuals is outlined to aid managers in selecting the proper approach. The assumption is made that people can be grouped into general classifications, realizing this is only done to provide a foundation for helping to generate ideas for motivating them. People cannot be so neatly grouped in real life, but managers need a starting point and this approach provides that. To identify typical motivators, four fundamental types of people are defined according to their needs and values. Common links are drawn between the various theories of work motivation for a clearer understanding of what they are stressing. The manager’s role is also explored to aid in understanding why managers are needed and common mistakes made. Understanding people’s needs and values is much easier said than done. Communication skills such as speaking, writing, and listening are essential for understanding employees. This will take time and is not something that can be set aside once you understand someone. People’s needs and values are constantly changing and this is the only assumption managers can safely make.
With the speed at which information is exchanged there is an unprecedented increase in global competition. Organizations must learn how to function in every aspect of their business effectively and efficiently to stay competitive. An organization must utilize best practices throughout the organization to meet the target market needs to stay ahead of the competition. An organization’s new product development structure and strategy must be in line with the organization’s vision. Organizations that have better control over operating costs have a competitive edge and can provide products or services at lower costs or higher margins.
This paper surveys many of the topics and areas of expertise related to the New Product Development process. The survey is limited to New Product Development with respect to platform technology. The areas that are surveyed are the following: new product development, project management, the project team, risk management and contingency planning, processes and tools to manage project planning, and the different types of organizational structures and project strategy. Further organization XYZ’s New Product Development process was evaluated and team members from organization XYZ were surveyed to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of organization XYZ New Product Development process. From the evaluation and surveys recommendations were made on how to improve organization XYZ’s New Product Development process.
Bundling, pervasive in almost every industry, is widely used as a pricing and promotional strategy throughout the world. Customers experience bundling in various forms, ranging from value meals at fast food restaurants to customized personal computers from Dell. Bundling occurs when one transaction from one service provider results in one price with one bill for two or more products or services.
Volume transactions through bundles create economies of scale, scope, cost, time, and effort for both companies and their customers. They result in significant cost savings for companies and attractive discounts for customers. In addition, customers are attracted by the convenience of conducting their business with just one company. Companies' ability to promote customer satisfaction and customer convenience has increased the consumers' acceptance of bundling; this contradicts critics who see bundling as an anti-competitive and anti-consumerist strategy. Bundling now offers customers strategic flexibility: with more choices and more variety, they can get exactly what they want. As more and more customers demand it, industries are rushing to create bundled deals that have not existed in the past.
Some advantages for companies include operational improvements in bundled transactions, efficient market segmentation through customized bundles, surcharges for custom integration, volume purchase commitments, the ability to promote bundles as new products, and leverage to extend market power from one market to another.
As a multifaceted strategy, bundling allows companies to manipulate their numerous products and services to deploy existing capabilities in an efficient and effective manner. When using a bundling strategy, companies focus on price, promotion, integration, customization, and/or strategic alliances. The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threads) analysis of the bundling strategy reveals how it can simultaneously counter competition, promote other products, enhance operations, and promote customer satisfaction. Offering an alternative to traditional pricing models based on cost or competition, bundling can change companies into market leaders.
The strategy's major weakness is its legal and ethical implications. When bundling results in reduced competition with little or no benefit to the customer, it has invariably led to antitrust suits. Infamous tie-in-sales models (such as IBM's coupling of mainframe computers and punched cards, and more recently, Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system) have tarnished the image of bundling as a customer-friendly strategy.
Project transitions involve the transferring of a project from one entity to another — the entity can be a department, a functional group, or a researcher. The transition can be managed a number of ways including handing the project over with virtually no information (“throw it over the wall”), having a member or members of the receiving entity participate in the project before the transition point (“participation before transition”), or having a separate project team which would minimize or eliminate the need for transition points (“specific project personnel”). Each of the these transition techniques has advantages and disadvantages, workplace issues, management considerations, and personal implications associated with it.
Each of the transition techniques involves managerial implications such as resource allocation, success criteria, project ownership, and project management — each of these must be considered when deciding which transition technique should be utilized. The optimal response depends on the ability to use the best people, to match job skills to motivation, to allow people to grow, to build balanced teams, and to manage the team mix. A manager should be aware and involved in the project transition steps to help continually improve the project transition process and minimize conflict.
Project transitions are made more complicated by personality, communication style, and ethical differences. Each of these is a nebulous, intangible item that determines how one discriminates, processed, and handles information, situations, and negotiations. Understanding how others view the related project transition can help all researchers involved work better together as well as diminish conflict and achieve success. Transitions and ethics can be considered utilizing common ethical concepts — there are three theories that correlate to the above-mentioned transition techniques. These correlative pairs are “throw it over the wall”/egoism, “participation before transition”/utilitarianism, and “specific project personnel”/ empiricism. Each of these transition types has parallel characteristics with its respective ethical theory.
Project transitions are a necessary part of project management; however, they do not have to be thought of negatively. With proper management, project transitions can form the groundwork for career development, personality and communication training, and success criteria. Transitions are needed to transfer responsibilities from one entity to another, but research teams can determine which technique works best depending on the focal element(s) of the project as well as past experience. Projects and transitions can be successful but need sponsorship and support from management and the involved researchers.
The purpose of this study is to create an understanding of when and how endurance testing can be financially beneficial to manufacturers in the heavy duty truck industry. The author has been employed by two truck manufacturers of medium size over the past eleven years, and has found it difficult to financially justify such testing.
This paper begins by reviewing the theory of accelerated endurance testing. Most of the major truck manufacturers use endurance testing routinely, and several operate their own facilities. The benefit of this study is therefore directed primarily at the small to medium sized manufacturers, as well as body builders. Since companies in this size range will typically contract with established facilities, a description of those facilities capable of testing heavy duty vehicles and willing to contract with private corporations is included.
As an aid to manufacturers who cannot justify full vehicle testing, a section is included which describes alternatives such as finite element analysis and shaker testing. These methods can be considered in addition to endurance testing, but will never provide the real-world simulation possible with a well-conceived accelerated endurance test.
The reasons for considering endurance testing include financial payback from reductions in warranty, recall, and rework expenses. It is also possible that the increased product reliability produced by an endurance tested vehicle can reduce the risk of product liability litigation. Further benefits accrue from the use of test data in advertising and the creation of a positive company image. Finally, it is useful in developing a basis for the safety certifications required by government regulations.
To justify the cost of testing, corporate management must be convinced that the project will produce a financial payback with an attractive rate of return, and the payback must be measurable. Since the cost of warranty and recall expense can be tracked by product model fairly easily, the reduction of these expenses can be used as this measure. The difficulty in this approach is created by the need for risk assessment during the early stage of product design. The combined costs of quality must be estimated for the product both with and without the endurance test. The real benefits of the test will not be apparent until after the money is spent, and any costs of warranty that would have been caused by design errors, and were revealed by the test, have come to light. The process of estimating these costs beforehand is referred to as risk assessment, and an overview of this theory is presented as well.
A talented and fortunate engineer might occasionally design a product design a product that works perfectly the first time. Since the justification of a test program involves assessing the risk that the new design will not work perfectly the first time, the justification must involve estimation - and estimation is always suspect. To improve the credibility of the estimation process, this paper presents a method of organizing the estimations of risk and translating them into a monetary value. The detailed nature of this method should increase the accuracy of the estimation at the same time that it lends credibility to the estimator.
This proposed approach involves dissecting the elements of a new design into the smallest practical parts. Each bracket, component, and system must be considered individually, and then labeled with the degree of confidence it its reliability. The cost associated with the failure of each detail, along with the probability that an endurance test would reveal the failure, can then be combined to create a bottom-line monetary value associated with the test.
A second approach to justification can be obtained by considering past projects, and estimating whether the known costs associated with actual design flaws could have been avoided if the product had been tested. Research into this method involved extensive searches through the product recall files at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) library in Washington, D.C. Recall campaign data for six truck manufacturers is presented in Appendix C. This data includes all the particulars surrounding the extent of each recall as well as summary descriptions of each failure, and the corrective action taken. For the vehicle design engineer, this section makes for informative reading aside from its usefulness in test justification.
The original intention of this thesis was to develop a simple formula by which any heavy duty truck manufacturer could determine the probability of whether endurance testing would prove to be financially beneficial. After much study and consideration, it became evident that the factors involved are more complex than is practical for a simple formula to define. These complexities include, among others, model mix, degree of product customization, engineering department sophistication, customer expectations, and details of the company's warranty policy. Although the construction of a formula seems impractical, a general trend can still be established. Risk assessment modeling using broad assumptions indicates that it is unlikely that small, or diverse, manufacturers (less than 100 units per model year) will ever realize testing paybacks, while larger more standardized manufacturers (over 400 units per mode per year) probably always will. Analysis of the historical data supports this conclusion as well. This leaves most medium sized producers caught in the gray area where each project must be considered on its own merit.
Management problems occur if excessive levels of job stress go unrecognized and uncontrolled. Managers and supervisors of employees are in a unique position to recognize and react to symptoms in their people.
A stress audit technique was developed as a tool that can be used by managers to assess levels and sources of organizational stress affecting employees within the audit’s scope. Once assessed, managers can weigh the risks of these stressors, compare them with moderating factors being employed by the company and take actions as believed appropriate. Some actions may be applied directly while others may be recommended to upper management or Human Resource department implementation. The stress audit process, best completed in a collaborative effort with others, follows five steps.
Use of the proposed stress audit technique by managers and supervisors in an informal and periodic manner will increase the likelihood of early problem detection. Intervention at an earlier stage can be much less costly, avoid Workers’ Compensation and promote greater employee happiness.
The researchers look to investigate outsourcing innovation within traditionally structured businesses to an innovation firm to maintain and create industry competitiveness in new product development. The researchers first attempt to understand the demographic trends within the marketplace. Because of the nature of the ever-increasing global economy, the demographic data may not determine the viability of an organization, but should provide insights into the current economic climate as well as the effects of outsourcing in four counties in Wisconsin: Brown, Dane, Milwaukee and Waukesha.
Using census data from 1997, 2000, and 2002 the researchers focus on population, education, employment patterns, manufacturing industry, information technology industry, and economic projections. The data is used to compare counties to each other as well as the state as a whole to determine strengths and weakensses in each of the four counties.
In the industry focus section, researchers focus on the professional, scientific, and technical services category of the census data. With the foundation of data provided by the census, the researchers investigate the effects of engineering services and information technology occupations on the economy of the state and the four counties. Further, the researchers focus on the potential for these occupations to be outsourced and the effects of this outsourcing on the state.
The researchers then delve into developing a case for outsourcing based on the research of outsourcing throughout history. The researchers highlight outsourcing from the inception of the United States, but focus on the intense globalization of the world over the last 50 years. Over this time, outsourcing has transformed into an important factor in organizational strategy. As outsourcing increased in strategic use, innovation emerged as a necessary component of organizational viability. The researchers investigate the importance of creating internal innovation strategies ingrained in the every day operations of an organization. In addition, realizing that most organizations cannot sustain innovation in-house due to the global landscape, the researchers investigate the outsourcing of innovation.
Noticing a trend in industry for organizations to outsource innovation, the researchers stress the creation and use of an 'innovation firm.' This innovation firm is tasked with understanding and predicting trends in industries and acquiring knowledge of the firms it is contracted with. In addition, the innovation firm establishes and maintains a pool of resources, knowledge, and technological savvy to meet the new product development/R&D/innovation needs of the organization. This joint strategy not only reduces costs, but also introduces innovation at all levels of development, allowing the organization to be extremely flexible and able to react to the hyper-competitive global markets. Utilizing an innovation firm also creates product and process improvements, increases market share, and creates wealth and jobs for economy.
The researchers then review the potential future markets within the engineering and information technology industries in the four counties mentioned above. Using a PEST (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological) analysis, the researchers investigate the current outsourcing landscape. This leads to an understanding of markets in which the innovation firm may provide the necessary tools and resources to maintain and create new market share, wealth, and opportunities.
A final review of the data demonstrated two separate paths for continued research. While these paths have differing goals independently, the researchers demonstrate the need for both roles and propose a scenario in which they work together to provide a complete strategic innovation solution for the customer.
The first path identified is a direct result of a consistent trend in productivity of the industries examined within the geographic boundaries as limited by the research. The data clearly demonstrated the value added benefits as defined in the research have continually decreased in all occupations researched for the periods examined. The lower value of the services provided offers an opportunity for hiring firms to outsource a portion of their innovation creating resources to an organization designed to optimize new product development.
The second path identified throughout the research is a need for an Innovation Manager/Consultant. This role, identified through the observation that organizations are getting leaner and more focused on day-to-day operations may lose sight of creating new market space, which inherently makes the organization vulnerable to disruptive forces. The researchers contend the group fulfilling this role will collaborate with the firm to determine what the firm's innovation needs entail and how to fulfill those needs.
RFID is a huge opportunity for companies to enhance their business processes with new information about how efficiently the organization is operating on a global scale. Use of RFID with accompanying support software will enable companies to track items and enhance the visibility of their supply chain; however, the RFID technology itself is in a state of transition. Standardization has not yet come to this technology, and companies who are early adopters do so with great risk.
TLP, in the business of making custom labels for use in specialty environments, is looking to enhance their growth potential by leveraging their considerable knowledge and capabilities in unique label production to provide unique label solutions to customers looking to affix RFID tags to items. Through a survey and market analysis, the authors have identified members of TLP’s existing customer base as well as other potential market sectors where TLP could enter the label market. The authors also offer alternative methods for entering the market including integration with the existing operations, creation of a new business unit and creating a joint venture with another company. Finally, the authors urge caution, reviewing TLP’s core competencies and abilities today, and reflecting on the cost and risk involved in such a market move.
Western managers conducting business in the People’s Republic of China are faced with many challenges. Obstacles related to culture, education, government, World Trade Organization commitments, foreign investment strategies, supply chain management, and quality can be especially complicated and difficult for Westerners to evaluate for many reasons. Understanding these reasons and proceeding with knowledge will provide management with tools that will increase their chances for success in this blossoming economy.
Understanding the philosophies and history that have shaped the Chinese business culture, the state of the educational environment, the impediments created by its communist government and fledgling judicial system, the constant and rapid change created by its WTO commitments, the variety of strategies used to invest in this enormous market, the road blocks that will be encountered in the supply chain, and how to implement safeguards to ensure quality will provide foreign investors with a competitive advantage.
Organizations that apply management skills to create innovative solutions based on a thorough understanding of China’s unique qualities will have a competitive advantage that can propel them ahead of their competition.
This paper will review the relationship between employee empowerment and engineering career development in industry. The advancement of an engineering career is linked to empowerment in industry. Empowerment in the organization will have a positive impact on the career of an engineer.
Empowerment encompasses all members in the organization including engineers and the members of the workforce, and it forces decisions onto the work force which is assumed to improve the business. Empowerment in the organization will provide the dynamic working relationship between the engineer, the employees and management of the organization, and the empowered engineer will have a greater impact on the organization.
Engineering career development will show progress or decay during the career cycle and life cycle. The career cycle includes the novice, middle, and late stages of an engineering career. Daniel Levinson’s book “Seasons of a Man’s Life” reviews the adult life cycles, and Steven McCrary expands these life cycles concept onto the career stages to produce a matrix for adult development. This adult career development will be linked to empowerment in the organization. The dynamic relation between the engineer and the members of the organization provides improved development of an engineering career. This paper will confirm that dynamic relations between empowered employees, managers and engineers have benefits for themselves and others in life as well.
Business news has recently focused in inappropriate conduct of corporate leaders. From Enron to Martha Stewart there are few current publications that do not contain stories about business leaders’ activities that are outside the boundaries of social acceptability.
When considering the relative complexity of the various circumstances, a broad view needs to be taken. From an objective perspective it would appear that the governance systems in place should be publicly active in opposition to this type of criminal behavior. Corporate failures implicate companies, leaders, and employees as well as the society in which they exist. What are the common denominators of such failures? What can be done to improve this situation? How can the modern manager be effective in this environment? To better understand these concerns, an investigation will be made into values as they relate to the corporation, to management, and to the individual. This investigation will consider the branch of philosophy called ethics. Ethics is the study of things that are good and right as opposed to bad and wrong. Various ethical theories will be discussed that approach this central question from different perspectives. The issue for managers then becomes one of determining appropriate actions in the light of these varied philosophical approaches. The common denominator in this complexity is human intention and choice. Given the statistical information that a high percentage of citizens of the United States of America claim to be Christians, a study will be made into the elements of Christianity that deal with these topics. The intent is to gain a deeper insight into the value and moral system that a significant percentage of Americans claim to believe. This insight can then be considered as the values and morals of the individual are projected back to the manager, and then back to the values of the corporation.
Understanding what constitutes the basis of the system of values provides insight into the individuals that make up the group. These insights provide the foundation for a more comprehensive understanding of right conduct. Recognizing that the study examines the connection between action, values and a specific ethical theory, Christianity, it is hoped that the thought process will provide an insight into human conduct that will be beneficial for the manager. Management is the discipline of optimizing resources for the purpose of achieving a desired output. It is hoped that insights gained will give managers a deeper and clearer perspective into conduct in business activity and the complexity of humans in organizations. There is a compound benefit from gaining such insight. Every interaction in an organization is connected with a person. Workers are people, managers are people, leaders are people, customers are people, shareholders are people; people are truly a common denominator in success or failure in any organization. It is hoped that the quest to understand the person will be a benefit in the endeavor to effectively manage in the world in which we live.
The advent of micro- or personal computers has done more to revolutionize the practice of small business than any invention since the adding machine. With a personal computer, it is possible for the fledgling entrepreneur to do alone what would have previously taken a staff of at least three. The reduction in manpower means a reduction in risk and a reduction in costs. Thus the entrepreneur is more free to pursue ventures and market niches that at one time would have required more start-up capital than he was willing to risk. If the venture should prove successful, the entrepreneur already has the organizational mechanisms in place to allow for the natural growth of his business that would in turn allow for the hiring of additional people.
The personal computer is not a panacea, however, and requires careful organization and utilization. As the common computer adage goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” The computer is a tool, not a savior, and it is important that the entrepreneur understand this from the outset, or his investment in the latest technology could end up as “an executive paper weight.”
With this in mind, the thesis that follows is an exploration into personal computer techniques that are designed to organize a small business with the minimum amount of time and effort on the part of the entrepreneur or sole proprietor. Everything that the average small businessman might require, from daily to-do lists to income tax forms, is covered. It is based on the personal business experience of the author. He has used each of the presented techniques on a daily basis for approximately two years to bring them to their current level of refinement. It is his wish that the reader find these techniques valuable and utilize them in his or her own small business.
An organization can define its mission through the use of a business strategy. In order to generate a business strategy, the organization must clearly identify what it strives to accomplish. A common method of doing this is through the development of business goals. Upon establishing strategic business goals, the organization then needs to effectively communicate these goals to the entire workforce. The communication should include a clear delineation of the business goals as well as an organizational plan on how it will attempt to attain these goals. A failure in either the business plan, through misguided goals, or in the communication of the plan can often lead to organizational chaos and poor results. Additionally, an organizational structure incapable of achieving the goals may lead to poor results.
There are two main objectives of this paper. The first objective is to identify and support solid business goals based on research with regard to the current business climate. The second objective is to present a framework that guides the organization in the communication of the goals and facilitates a cohesive execution towards these goals. The strategic business goals presented in this paper are a continual process of new product introduction and a drive towards business globalization. New production introduction and globalization are quite popular topics in academic research regarding business organizations and rate highly as reasons for success and failure of many organizations. This author will attempt to show that a business plan based on successfully implementing the strategic goals of new product introduction and globalization provides an organization with solid short-term prospects as well as favorable long-term positioning.
Once the goals are identified and clearly understood, an organization then has to align its business functions to cohesively execute towards the goals. Day-to-day functional execution towards the goals is accomplished through initiatives developed for each of the business functions. These functional and programmatic initiatives must be chosen and developed to support the business goals. A six-element organizational framework is presented to help guide an organization in identifying a comprehensive set of initiatives to support the strategic business goals. The relatively simple organizational structure comprised of a three-by-two matrix is designed to encourage an organization to consider initiatives surrounding the market, the product, and the organization from both internal and external perspectives. It provides a framework with which an organization can focus initiatives in support of its intended goals.
The framework is purposely general in structure. The goals that an organization chooses is the driving force to create detailed initiatives within the structure. The initiatives proposed in the matrix were chosen based on research regarding new product introduction and globalization. Alternative goals may change the initiatives within the elements of the matrix. The underlying assumption is that an organization serves various markets with specific products.
An organization can define its mission through the use of a business strategy. In order to generate a business strategy, the organization must clearly identify what it strives to accomplish. A common method of doing this is through the development of business goals. Upon establishing strategic business goals, the organization then needs to effectively communicate these goals to the entire workforce. The communication should include a clear delineation of the business goals as well as an organizational plan on how it will attempt to attain these goals. A failure in either the business plan, through misguided goals, or in the communication of the plan can often lead to organizational chaos and poor results. Additionally, an organizational structure incapable of achieving the goals may lead to poor results.
There are two main objectives of this paper. The first objective is to identify and support solid business goals based on research with regard to the current business climate. The second objective is to present a framework that guides the organization in the communication of the goals and facilitates a cohesive execution towards these goals.
The strategic business goals presented in this paper are a continual process of new product introduction and a drive towards business globalization. New production introduction and globalization are quite popular topics in academic research regarding business organizations and rate highly as reasons for success and failure of many organizations. This author will attempt to show that a business plan based on successfully implementing the strategic goals of new product introduction and globalization provides an organization with solid short-term prospects as well as favorable long-term positioning.
Once the goals are identified and clearly understood, an organization then has to align its business functions to cohesively execute towards the goals. Day-to-day functional execution towards the goals is accomplished through initiatives developed for each of the business functions. These functional and programmatic initiatives must be chosen and developed to support the business goals. A six-element organizational framework is presented to help guide an organization in identifying a comprehensive set of initiatives to support the strategic business goals. The relatively simple organizational structure comprised of a three-by-two matrix is designed to encourage an organization to consider initiatives surrounding the market, the product, and the organization from both internal and external perspectives. It provides a framework with which an organization can focus initiatives in support of its intended goals. The framework is purposely general in structure. The goals that an organization chooses is the driving force to create detailed initiatives within the structure. The initiatives proposed in the matrix were chosen based on research regarding new product introduction and globalization. Alternative goals may change the initiatives within the elements of the matrix. The underlying assumption is that an organization serves various markets with specific products.
This thesis examines the history of agriculture in the United States, current farm characteristics and structures, and the opportunity to establish an organization to direct market beef. Agriculture has been an important industry for the United States since colonial times with family farms being its cornerstone. Great numbers of immigrants were attracted to the farming opportunities in the United States due to the ability to own property and the abundance of land. Many of these immigrants settled in established regions of the country and left the development of the American West to experienced farmers who yearned for more fertile land. Following the Civil War, the pace of settlement in the Midwest and the Great Plains quickened with the westward expansion of the transcontinental railroad. The railroad provided a cost effective and efficient transportation system for the delivery of crops to market and the return of production inputs. Agriculture continued to develop through the twentieth century with innovations in mechanization, crop and livestock development, chemical engineering and genetics. These innovations have increased output, efficiency and turned a labor-intensive lifestyle into a highly automated process. Vertical integration of the food industry and the development of commodity crops have led to a shrinking share of consumer food dollar for American farmers.
Each farm organization in the United States differs based on the vision of management and is driven by factors such as the objective of the owner, management preference, financial resources, and geographic region. The United States Department of Agriculture has segmented farms into three categories: Rural Residence farms, Intermediate farms, and Commercial farms. Each farm segment utilizes different management practices and is driven by different ethical perspectives to accomplish its goals. In a comparison of the segments, it was found each organization fills a need in society and the business model of each has its strengths and weaknesses.
The final section of this report develops a business model to direct market the beef production of several local farmers. The objective of Wisconsin’s Best Beef cooperative is to increase the producer’s share of the consumer dollar spent on beef by direct marketing a premium quality and consistently flavorful beef product to the consumer. This will be accomplished by creating a marketing cooperative, which will pool the production of several beef producers, add value through contract processing, and market the finished product directly to consumers. The beef-marketing cooperative allows the producer to retain ownership of the product until it reaches the consumer. The outline of this business model features the major areas of an organization including, but not limited to, organizational design, finance, marketing, and supply chain.
Direct marketing agricultural products may help overcome some of the business challenges facing the American family farmer’s share of the consumer food dollar spent. This increased revenue should then allow these farmers to compete and survive in an increasing globally-competitive agricultural sector.
As global competition intensifies, corporations need to satisfy each of their primary stakeholders to optimize stockholder value. For several decades corporations have focused on core competencies typically satisfying only one stakeholder. In the information age, stakeholders are more informed and capable of comparing how different corporations are meeting their needs. The research available, prior to this thesis, centers around satisfying a specific stakeholder. This thesis will integrate the needs of the total primary stakeholder environment to demonstrate how a corporation can optimize stockholder value by satisfying this total primary stakeholder equation.
The total primary stakeholder environment consists of the stockholder, employee, customer, government and supplier. Although at first the author thought the community was a primary stakeholder, he learned that the community did not meet the characteristics of a primary stakeholder but rather that of a secondary stakeholder. As defined by Max Clarkson in A Stakeholder Framework for Analyzing and Evaluating Corporate Social Performance, “A primary stakeholder group is one without whose continued participation a corporation cannot survive in the market.”
This thesis demonstrates that through the satisfaction of each primary stakeholder, improved stockholder value is realized. The ability to optimize stockholder value is recognized when a corporation achieves the highest return while leveraging its expenses. Furthermore, some primary stakeholders need to be partially or completely satisfied to successfully satisfy another primary stakeholder. By demonstrating primary stakeholder satisfaction leads to improved profitability thus stockholder value for the corporation, this thesis disproves the current prevailing corporate belief that optimal stockholder value can be achieved by focusing on satisfying only one primary stakeholder. To achieve optimal stockholder value, a corporation must not merely satisfy the interests of a few of the primary stakeholders but must integrate all its primary stakeholders.
The overall benefits of an expatriation assignment to the United Kingdom outweigh the overall costs, when the expatriation is undertaken using criteria which will be detailed in this thesis. This thesis will consider all measurable costs but will also consider costs and benefits that are less tangible on the surface. In addition, there is an extensive examination of how the social and business cultures in the United Kingdom relate to each other and how they are very different from those in the United States. The impact of social factors on the overall costs and benefits of an expatriate assignment is as significant as the tangible costs and benefits themselves. This is a point that is often overlooked when considering expatriate assignments. Because of this, a significant amount of personal experience from the author, a current expatriate, is also shared in this paper. In the end, it will become evident that with proper planning and in the appropriate situation the benefits of a short term expatriation outweigh the costs.
The failure rate of American expatriates on assignment in the United Kingdom is higher than that of any other country. Social adaptation and cultural adaptation are the biggest factors in the success or failure of an American expatriate relocating to the United Kingdom. This thesis includes extensive background information relating to British social and business culture and how these are related to American social and business culture. The ideal candidate for expatriation to the United Kingdom is one who has a partner and no children. The second tier of candidates would be those who have a partner and preschool aged children. The candidate must possess a strong ability for social and cultural adaptation. The following items significantly improve the changes of a successful expatriation: cultural training, continued training while in the host country, and being expatriated to an office with an existing infrastructure and human resource network.
This thesis is based on extensive existing literature research along with first-hand knowledge of the subject. The literature research includes sources from both North America and Europe. The personal experience is based on the fact that the author was expatriated to the United Kingdom in 2004 for a professional position. This position was within a company that the author had been employed by for nine years prior to expatriation. The primary target audience for this thesis is an American company considering sending American employees to the United Kingdom on short-term expatriate assignments. The secondary target audience is an American employee who is considering an expatriate assignment in the United Kingdom.
The sports industry is a diverse market with many types of participative sporting events. The involvement of government with expenditure and taxation creates revenue. These revenues can be contributed to the elite or professional sector and the recreational sector of sports. Both sectors receive subsidies but the professional sector may only account for 10 percent of industry revenues. The other 90 percent of this industry’s revenues can be financially attributed to the public market. The PowerAde Iceport is one of these facilities that attempted to gain a large portion of the hockey market in the Milwaukee area. The connection of personal time, monetary funds, composition cost, and the risk of injury are the influencing aspects of sports participation. For hockey, the composite cost and risk of injury are the major aspects that dissuade participants. This high contact sport may cause serious injuries, especially in older participants. Also, the high cost of equipment, registration, and ice time negatively impacts the participation rate in the United States. Despite this, the designers of the PowerAde Iceport, Sportsites, LLC, believe they could be successful in a low participation market, south-eastern Wisconsin. The business plan provided to the city of Cudahy by Sportsites could be considered misleading. Sportsites proposed that the facility would be financially successful by the second year while increasing profit margins each year with large debt to the city and bank investors. This was very doubtful from the view of the industry experts. In addition, it has been alleged that Sportsites provided manipulated data that changed from year-to-year. The changing data would lead most people to believe that this was management-poor developer. These characteristics play a role in the management’s failure to attract clients for the use of their facility.
The facility’s management believed in using poor or deceptive business tactics to entice the youth and adult hockey players in the area to join the PowerAde team. Management did this knowing quite well that these players already belonged to an organization; and in addition, the PowerAde Iceport had previously used unethical negotiating tactics to bully the SHAW organization to join the PowerAde team.
By the time the city’s Common Council met to converse about the termination of the project, the Sportsites management team had pressured the hockey participants through the use of questionable business practices, which resulted in the rising up of Cudahy residents in order to speak out against the facility. At this time, the Common Council terminated the project due to the controversial past relationships between both parties.
The termination of the project was the end result of a poorly managed and implemented business plan. In addition, the misunderstanding of the hockey market in the south-eastern Wisconsin area and the economic status of the city of Cudahy were indicators of the potential failure of the facility before it was built. The lack of an economic analysis of the area and of the opportunity costs of the land resulted in the city’s loss of taxpayer money, as well as the loss of revenues from that land in that time period.
The objective of this thesis is to prove or disprove whether Sidmond C. Williams’s dissertation, entitled “Self-Solve: Enabling Employees Through Conflict Self-Management,” is successful in a work environment. “Self-Solve” is a form of mediation that is applicable in a business setting for resolving interpersonal conflicts. “Self-Solve” uses peer mediators and a highly structured process to accomplish this. In preparing to evaluate the merits of the “Self-Solve” process, my research efforts were directed towards establishing a “Self-Solve” mediation program at the organization where I am employed. The President of A&E Manufacturing Company allowed me the opportunity to conduct my research and thesis project at the facility. The thesis project was to last one year at which time the project would be evaluated. Employees were informed of the project by letter indicating that it was for a trial basis of one year and that it was part of my thesis research. The letter stated that the mediation program would be termed “Peer Mediation In The Workforce” and if successful, it would supplement our current progressive disciplinary policy. A team of six employees throughout one company was selected and trained in the use of mediation skills. These people then became mediators within the company. They eventually conducted nine successful mediations over the twelve month period of this study. A before-and-after survey of the company’s employees was conducted using the Likert management system survey. Likert’s Survey Number One (long version ) was given to each employee at the start of the project to establish a baseline for monitoring changes in organizational development. A second survey, Survey Number Two (Likert’s short version), was given to all employees at the conclusion of the project. My thesis project produced several significant findings. The findings include the following:
The Likert Surveys show that our organization realized minor improvements in all areas (e.g., motivation, etc.) and that there was a definite movement from Likert’s System 2 to System 3 as a direct result of the peer mediation project. This means that our company is a benevolent-authoritative system and entering a consultative system. Employees showed a slight improvement in regards to the confidence in leadership and communications. There was no change in the perception of who employees believe to be making the decisions. One conclusion of my thesis is that “Self-Solve” or “Peer” mediation is very successful at providing the basis for problem solving. It forces the disputants to solve their own problem(s) or fail and suffer the consequences for their action in the future. The implementation of peer mediation apparently altered employees’ perception of the company. In our case, the organization is beginning to gradually move towards a more participative environment. This is important because with this type of movement comes a greater ability to solve problems in the areas of relationships, interdependence, and cooperative relationships. The peer mediation program appears to be successful for our organization, its employees, and the working environment.
Strategic marketing has historically had a problem with inconsistent and subjective financial planning, evaluation and control, which indicates a need of a practical objective quantitative analysis method. It currently is a very elusive, qualitative managerial discipline and is even more elusive when coupled with traditional strategic financial quantitative analysis. Strategic marketing is an aspect of strategic management (planning) which has had much focus, enhanced by total quality studies, but not necessarily in the area of general marketing quantitative financial planning, evaluation and control. The marketing department of a company may use numerous mathematical techniques for specific sales projections resulting from mutually exclusive advertising campaign expenditures. Yet the assignment of a quantitative means to gauge the marketing department’s strategic effectiveness is still vague at best. There is an obvious quantitative need in business for the application of controls and feedback to the marketing department performance measures. This paper meets this need and recommends a curve fitting and equation generating technique applied to marketing expenditures versus sales.
The historic challenge that marketing faces is the annual submission of a budget request based on subjective, experienced-based decision making. While this opaque qualitative amount may serve the marketing department from year to year, it is increasingly viewed with contempt by other functional departments and top-management. A mathematical method of budget request submission would carry more credibility and be well received by the finance sector of a corporation. The purpose of this marketing-budgeting process scrutiny is developed by the objective analysis of the historic, subjective and strategic marketing process. This thesis addresses the problem of strategic marketing department performance analysis, its quantitative planning, evaluation and control. The main purpose of this paper is to demonstrate objective, quantitative graphical and mathematical methods for strategic marketing financial planning, evaluation and control.
This thesis investigates why the subjective situation exists and prescribes a graphical/mathematical method to remedy the situation. There are alternative subjective qualitative techniques which are applied to specific tactical decisions and can also be applied to strategic decisions. However a quantitative method is the focus. This method incorporates an objective means of assessing the effectiveness of the efforts of the marketing department, rather than just specific tactical advertising campaigns. This thesis will not only indicate the historic effectiveness of marketing efforts through a graphical means, but also offers a mathematical method of strategic planning with equations that will be more accurate than the traditional methods such as a linear ratio method. It critically examines the marketing for practical incorporation into this process.
The mathematical method for marketing performance analysis is the fundamental premise of this thesis. It results in the successful establishment of limits as well as measurement and accounting categories. This mathematical method can then be used for strategic managerial marketing financial planning, evaluation and control. It is specifically applicable to new top-level managers who are not seasoned and do not yet have the experience or “feel” for the future of a company both short and long-term. The specifics of this method apply linear mathematics to curvilinear (non-linear) equations describing the horizontal parabolic distribution of sales vs. marketing expenditures. This curvilinear distribution analysis method is more accurate than a simple linear ratio method. It analyzes historic marketing department performance data and predicts future performance results of planned expenditures. With higher accuracy, this mathematical method is also applicable to contemporary problems which include downsizing, global marketing, restructuring, reorganizing and reengineering, each of which can have tremendous impact on a company’s performance. This method affords accurate performance mapping which in turn allows the company to be even more fiscally competitive. Only by continued refinement and attention to detail can a company anticipate remaining competitive in today’s, and the future’s dynamic business environment. This mathematical method will certainly be of use in more than just the marketing area of strategic management. It can also be used for analysis of a product life cycle which possesses a similar curve distribution but different contrasting data.
The current status of industry strategy development is primarily qualitative. A quantitative curvilinear strategic marketing appropriation budget method has not been developed, applied or recorded in most companies. This thesis draws the conclusion that strategic marketing performance is in strong need of a quantitative analysis method which is answered by the graphical and mathematical method as displayed in this paper. This paper’s recommendation is that corporations should apply this procedure as an augmenting tool for strategic management’s evaluation, planning and control associated with a corporation’s marketing department.
In the business world, change has become the norm. The steady, predictable growth of the 1950's through the 1970's has given way to changes that have no historical precedent, such as global marketplace competition, radical innovations, limited natural resources, and major shifts in attitudes about work, employees, and leadership. Change is one of the foremost issues in today's business world. On the one hand, it represents growth, opportunity, and innovation. On the other hand, it represents threat, disorientation, and possible loss of business. Over the past few years, many firms have resorted to the strategy of downsizing to improve profits without addressing the fundamental issue of company inefficiency or exploring other viable alternatives to improve their company's profit.
This thesis demonstrates that there are alternative ways to reduce costs other than the downsizing strategy. It show how these alternatives are applied to a particular business to optimize efficiency and improve profit.
Chapter 2 identifies the factors that affect the organization and causes the loss of profits. These factors are explained in detail to lay down the foundation to formulate the right alternatives for a particular business problem.
With the foundations established, Chapters 3 and 4 deal specifically with business strategies to offset loss of profits. In Chapter 3, an overall description of the downsizing strategy is presented. This includes the positive effects of downsizing (economical and organizational benefits), negative effects (employee's morale, loyalty, and productivity), and the effect on the quality of service or product itself. Chapter 3 also shows how a firm can deal with such negative effects by improving communication and redefining the human resources function. For those firms who have to downsize, Chapter 3 presents the best methods to execute the downsizing strategy. This includes execution strategy, early retirement incentive, hiring freezes, voluntary temporary leave, and reduction in work hours. The chapter also discusses the limitations of the downsizing strategy.
In chapter 4, the different alternatives to downsizing are presented. The first portion of the chapter shows how the firms must rethink their business strategies relative to their market position. Execution strategies for market challengers and avoiders are identified and presented. In the second portion of chapter 4, the author defines the criteria of implementing alternatives to downsizing by presenting definitions of good business conditions (no crisis situation) and poor business conditions (crisis). The last portion of this chapter is designated as the introduction of the alternatives to downsizing and how they help the firm in terms of cutting cost and improving profits. These alternatives are : (1) re-engineering strategy (elimination of bureaucracy, work teams, core competencies, elimination of non-value added tasks and contracting out non-core activities), (2) use of Failure Mode and Effect Analysis method (FMEA), (3) Value Management Technique (VM), and (4) other strategies (centralization, use of information technology, suggestion plan, improvement of delivery service or product, improved productivity, flexible workplace, Total Quality Management, and continuous improvement strategy).
Companies are better off if one or a combination of these strategies can be implemented to improve quality, process efficiencies, and market share gains.
Once the alternatives to downsizing are identified, guidelines for selecting the appropriate strategy mix for a particular business is presented in Chapter 5. In this chapter, the author shows how alternatives identified in Chapter 4 can be applied to a particular business. For simplification, the author chose to describe and analyze existing practices of a company he is familiar with. To complement Chapter 5, a description of the profitable and efficient organation is given in Chapter 6 (profitable organization such as Xerox and unprofitable business such as Litton microwave). The efficient firm focuses on the customer, innovative products, flexibility, and cost containment techniques that help sustain profitability.
Finally, it is recognized that a great deal of further research is required to fully shed light on how firms can further enhance their profits in this era of change. In Chapter 7, three areas in particular are suggested for further investigation. These areas are: the psychological aspects involved in the strategy of downsizing and how it affects earnings, establishment of downsizing alternatives relative to company size, and research to identify factors that maximize company efficiency.
In summary, the thesis showed the limitations of downsizing strategy and identified viable alternatives to reduce cost, thus improving profits with minimum or no layoffs.
The quality movement of the early eighties has successfully elevated the quality conscience of American business organizations. In the movement’s wake remains a legacy of quality programs. The most pervasive of the quality concepts adopted is that of continuous improvement yet businesses struggle with sustaining continuous improvement. Today, three approaches to continuous improvement are practiced under the names of Six Sigma, Lean, and Theory of Constraints.
The author acknowledges that these improvement methodologies are equally relevant to all types of businesses but limits the focus of this paper to for-profit business organizations. Each approach has demonstrated an ability to generate a successful outcome, however none is a panacea. Organizations can avoid choosing one at the exclusion of the others by choosing instead to synthesize the three approaches. The author argues synthesizing Six Sigma, Lean, and Theory of Constraints is possible but requires that one understand organizational expectations for continuous improvement, each method’s philosophic positioning, and the capabilities of the tools available with each methodology.
The author conducts assessments in each of these areas and rationalizes that synthesis is best accomplished using TOC and constraint management techniques to focus the tools of Six Sigma and Lean. The author concludes that synthesizing the three methodologies yields a holistic approach to business management. Synthesizing provides a platform for merging divergent conceptual viewpoints giving practitioners a broader perspective from which to make management decisions. The broader perspective allows managers to be effective outside the realm of process improvement. As such, the synthesized approach to improvement becomes a holistic approach to business management, effecting more than just manufacturing systems.
In summarizing, this paper analyzed and evaluated how Japan rose in economic power from a nation that produced cheap and poor quality products following World War II, to one of the most productive and economically powerful nations in the world. Many factors helped to contribute to Japan’s “surge” in economic prosperity, including: Japan’s homogeneity of its people; their people’s powerful sense of self-identity and pride; the aid of their sophisticated political and government institutions linked directly to their business culture; a well-educated population; an acute awareness to continually learn from abroad; a group oriented society that practices collective responsibility and group consensus; the positive repercussions associated with the offering of such employee benefits as lifetime employment; their business executives focusing on long-term objectives and goals; the yen/dollar exchange rate incongruities; relatively low military expenditure; few unemployed; and, a government that encourages spending less and saving more.
Japan’s production management methods and organizational/management developments were researched and outlined, with the resulting contributions from these strategies being quite positive and significant for Japan. These Japanese concepts/methods, and their accompanying attributes, included: 1) JIT – the elimination of “wastes”, and the continuous improvement in productivity, quality, customer services, cost reductions and people development; 2) JIT purchasing (single sourcing) – a long-term commitment between both the buyer and the seller that stresses frequent deliveries in small quantities, no variability in amounts shipped, and exceptional quality; 3) Quality management – the catching of errors at the source, defect prevention methods; “everyone” has primary responsibility for quality, beginning with the actual makers of the products; and, to sustain the habit of quality improvement and to continually work towards the target of quality perfection with such facilitators as Quality Circles and employee training in quality; and, 4) Total People Involvement – the Japanese believed that the most critical factor of success in an organization is the development of people; by giving action-point people responsibility and allowing them to participate in decision making, employees’ feelings of self-worth and satisfaction are increased, the quality of decisions are improved, and resistance to change will decrease; this Japanese teamwork approach also promotes job involvement and improves company communications.
Japan’s organizational disadvantages and a few of the problems currently facing Japan which may require the Japanese to alter their management style were explored. Some of these problems included: 1) excessively long working hours, and consequently a lack of leisure time and time spent with their families; 2) lack of opportunities for women; 3) underpaid shareholders; 4) a lack of concern for the quality of life for the average Japanese citizens; 5) financial market woes – continuing collapse of the Tokyo stock market; impending real estate bankruptcies; higher capital costs; the rising value of the yen; declining asset values of banks; and, massive bad-loan problems; and, 6) persistent labor shortages. The implications of these problems on Japan’s management style and practices will most likely be significant. It also becomes apparent that Japan is now vulnerable to many of the same market forces that shape the economies of other nations. From now on, Japan will most likely compete more like the “rest of the pack”.
The following changes should be made by the U.S. if they are to successfully compete with Japan: 1) an attitude adjustment away from protectionism and the idea that Japan is so uniquely different and superior, to one in which intense efforts are made at improving the U.S.’s delivery of high-quality goods, designed for consumer taste, accompanied by superior service, and at competitive prices; 2) a U.S. management style is needed that promotes quality improvement and incentives tied to these advancements, a long-term focus, JIT and people development principles, and upper management pay linked to employee wages; 3) U.S. must adopt an offensive strategy; 4) cooperation must be fostered between U.S. industry, government, and labor; 5) an improved educational system; and, 6) the U.S. government must cut excessive spending and promote saving.
In conclusion, there is much the U.S. can learn from Japan, examples of U.S. companies that have adopted and benefited from Japan’s methods are given. While many of Japan’s “ways” are constantly changing and may not be translatable nor beneficial for each and every U.S. business, Japan should be studied with an open-minded willingness to learn and adopt what particular aspects of their system may prove beneficial. The U.S. should stop “pointing fingers” and feeling sorry for themselves, and start searching for ways to continually improve their own business environment, even if it means learning from Japan.
For well over three decades, computerization has brought about various changes in the work place. Already second and third generation automated techniques are finding their way from the office to the plant floor. The typewriter is now replaced with the word processor, the drafting board with a CAD station, and in many instances, the forklift operator with an automated guided vehicle. Technological advances, which increase productivity, improved quality, and enhance overall flexibility, appear endless. Unfortunately, along with such changes are social repercussions, such as, work place reorganizations, employee resistance, and of course, unemployment due to work force adjustments. As unintended and undesirable as it might be, the reality is that automation often produces these exact results.
It is the intent of this paper to examine the effect automation has had on the work force. An examination is made of a group of operators, whose jobs were directly altered as a result of automation, as to how their jobs and attitudes were affected. An analysis of data, obtained through questionnaires and interviews, is presented reflecting various opinions relative to the automation in general, the implementation methods utilized, and employee acceptance. Comparisons are made in an attempt to extract additional information for assessment. In addition, a review of the company and the automation implemented will be presented. Underlying this entire analysis is the view that less than anticipated results will occur if technological change is designed and implemented in such a way which excludes input of the ultimate user.
The electric utility industry is experiencing significant changes, it is being deregulated and becoming more competitive. Deregulation is forcing utilities to reassess their strategies, structure, and culture. In the early 1990’s the environment electric utilities operate in began to change and this has led to changes in their strategies and structures. Their challenge now is to change their corporate culture so it is aligned with the new strategies and structure. This thesis has three main objectives. First, to explain the changes that are currently taking place in the utility industry. Deregulation, market forces, and technological advancements are the forces of change that are increasing competition and requiring utilities to change their culture. The second objective is to identify what managers can do to support a cultural change. Role modeling, positive reinforcement, communication, union involvement, recruitment, training, coaching, fostering goal setting, and providing more opportunities for employee growth and development are strategies and tactics that managers can use to change the culture. The third objective is to determine if the process of changing the culture in the utility industry is different than what is used in other industries. The process is not much different but there are three essential areas that utilities must focus on if they are going to be successful in their change efforts. First, utilities must provide training for their managers and first line supervisors.
The training should focus on improving their communication and motivational skills, including how to manage those employees who resist change. Topics of the training should include coaching, setting goals, reinforcing good performance, and developing teamwork. Second, utilities must focus on improving their marketing skills and strive to gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs. The third area is utilities must provide current information to employees on what changes are happening in the industry and why and how they have to change. The Lewin development model is used as a guide to organize the process of changing culture. Unfreezing is the first step. Employees will resist changes because they look upon changes as a personal criticism, they fear the unknown, they don’t see how the changes will benefit them, or the changes may involve new technologies and employees feel incompetent. Transforming is the second step and is the step in which change actually occurs. Employees begin to adopt new attitudes and behaviors. In the refreezing stage, the third and final step, all the changes that occurred in the transformation phase become stable and permanent. As results are achieved, the focus shifts to sustaining and reinforcing the new positive culture. Contracts with outside change agents are terminated and the new attitudes, values, and behaviors are integrated into everyday processes and procedures.
The purpose of this essay was to evaluate the sales performance of an international manufacturer of electrical equipment. The evaluation was made from two perspectives, performance of the company as a whole, and product line sales performance. The primary concern was whether or not industrial control products were getting their “fair share” of the company’s selling efforts or market concentration.
A survey was sent to sales offices in the United States to determine personnel and distributor market concentrations. Sixteen of the twenty offices responded, representing 10% of the total.
During the survey period, 1972 to 1977, the company achieved a successful 15% average increase in sales each year. Sales were split among three major product groups – 45% distribution, 35% industrial control and 20% power systems. Penetration was 14.1 % for distribution products, almost twice the 7.1% for industrial control products.
Sales personnel concentrated in three major market segments – industrial, construction and utility. Individual concentrations varied due to different job responsibilities, but the majority (55%) concentrated on the construction market. There was a slight shift from the construction market to the industrial and utility markets.
The majority of distributors (59%) concentrated on the construction market, also. Most of the company’s sales (84%) sent through independent electrical distributors. Even with a 12% increase in distributors, the average sales per distributor increased 21%. Of the company’s total sales distributors sold 97% of the distribution products, 83% of the power systems products and 69% of the industrial control products.
Industrial control products appeared to be getting their “fair share” of the selling effort, since the industrial market concentration of both the company personnel and the distributors were higher than the percentage of sales achieved. However, industrial control product sales penetration was very low, almost half the penetration for distribution products. The company should concentrate more on the industrial control products, because of their growth potential. The market for industrial control products is 1.5 times larger than the market for distribution products.
To protect its share of the distribution product sales, the company should continue to use distributors as the main sales channel and have them concentrate on the construction market. To take advantage of the growth potential of the industrial control products, the company should add sales personnel specifically to concentrate on the industrial market. Additional distributors and additional personnel at existing distributors concentrating on the market segment would be also helpful.
The Information Revolution ushered in a New Economy in which the keys to generating value are not the same as those in the Industrial Economy. The foundation of the New Economy will be knowledge, or intellectual capital, more so than physical capital and manual labor. Many have written and presented theories, techniques, and strategies for maximizing an organization’s knowledge and ability to generate value from that collective knowledge. However, these strategies need to be integrated into a single intellectual capital strategy focused on creating the workforce of tomorrow.
An intellectual capital strategy is a multi-faceted strategy that targets the intellectual capital-based capabilities of an organization. An intellectual capital strategy that includes the aspects of organizational maturity, organizational learning, communities of practice, and performance management will increase an organization’s ability to generate value from its intellectual capital. The maturity of an organization sets the workforce foundation that allows the other aspects of the strategy to be implemented. Organizational learning focuses on the development of intellectual capital both at an individual and organizational level. Communities of practice provide the informal organizational structure that allows knowledge workers to collaborate across the organization for the benefit of the community as well as the organization. And finally, new performance management methodologies make it easier to measure and manage an organization built on an intangible asset–knowledge.
Professional service organizations are purely human capital organizations whereby value is generated when human capital is converted into tangible services consumed by its customers. Successful service organizations of all sizes must focus not only on the delivery of services, but must equally focus on the continuous development and expansion of their human capital in order to be able to respond to the needs of their customers in the future. Rockwell’s Automation’s Global Manufacturing Solutions business is a global professional services organization that provides eight different service capabilities to its customers, and delivers these services through an organization that spans geographically around the world. An intellectual capital strategy as defined in this paper would support its continuing transformation into an agile multi-capability organization that can make its intellectual capital a competitive advantage. The strategy would help the management team build a distributed knowledge organization, build expertise, manage multiple capabilities, and measure and manage human performance more effectively. Therefore, this paper provides recommendations on how to implement an intellectual capital strategy within Rockwell Automation’s Global Manufacturing Solutions business to maximize its effectiveness as a knowledge-intensive service organization.
The natural gas industry is more aware than ever that it must focus on its core competencies to be successful. Deregulation has brought new competition and profit (or loss) possibilities that allow many natural gas distribution companies to act and compete like any unregulated industry. This change has pushed many of these companies to take a hard look at what the company is doing, what it should be doing, and how it can do business better.
One aspect of natural gas distribution that should be closely scrutinized is the process of approving products for use on the pipeline -- pipe, valves, couplings, etc. Large distribution companies typically had elaborate testing laboratories to test and approve products before the company utilized them in the field. These laboratories used a mixture of industry-standard and home-grown tests to prove the safety and adequacy of the products they used.
Smaller distributions companies never had the resources to conduct such tests. Instead, these companies relied on a review of the tests and certifications provided by the manufacturer, as well as the reputation and experience of that manufacturer. Under intense regulation, the difference in new product approval between the large and small utilities was not notable. For a myriad of reasons, natural gas distribution developed into an extremely safe industry, despite the differences between large and small utilities.
Two drastic changes have occurred that should alarm technical managers for the need to re-evaluate their new product evaluation practices. First, the industry became highly competitive, and unless there is direct business need for testing laboratories, budgeting for such endeavors has all but disappeared. Second, liability claims have sky rocketed. Customers and the public have become more sophisticated and demanding in their right for safety. Additionally, products liability law shifted the focus from the conduct of the company to the performance of the pipe. Both changes are profound. If a natural gas distribution company has not closely analyzed its practices, and then changed them based on logical and rational reasons, it is very likely that the company is not effective or productive in their actions. The company is obviously not managing its resources to be competitive if it is running elaborate tests to approve products just because the company is big enough to have a lab. Yet the smaller company that is not running those tests, or the large company that wants to stop the practice, had better have good reasons.
The important point to note is that there are a number of activities at a natural gas distributor that work together to ensure the safety of its employees and the public.
As long as the company has a rational and thorough analysis of its needs and its liability, product testing can be left to the manufacturers without jeopardizing safety. The utility does not gain any true benefits from conducting laboratory tests in their own facility for the purpose of approving a new pipe or fitting. This can lead to considerable cost savings in large utilities that continue to test each product before approving them for use on its distribution system. Dropping testing from the responsibilities of its technical personnel will also free them to concentrate on the activities that have the most impact on safety.
The purpose of this thesis is to provide organizations with a decision making tool on how to enter a foreign market. In today’s status quo of globalization, it is vital that organizations are equipped with methods that will guarantee or sustain a reasonable level of profitability. This method will enable organizations to analyze the country’s market potential, and make calculated adjustments to minimize the risk and establish a level of profitability.
Numerous questions have to be asked as an organization decides to go global. What are the cultural differences? What is the global strategy? What is the targeted market? How does price play a role in various foreign countries? Is there understanding of foreign government laws and regulations? Who are the competitors? What options are available for entry into foreign markets? Can an organization compete against local government sponsored monopolies? In this report different methods of foreign entry alternatives and potential barriers will be explained. Illustrations include how pricing at different levels can determine which entry alternative is most profitable. The objective is to help organizations understand the importance of quantifying all related costs (fixed & variable) to determine the acceptable price that will provide profitability and fit the organization’s global strategy.
The telecommunications industry has rapidly evolved since its inception in the 1800’s. The industry has been subject to numerous government subsidies and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulation. The most controversial of these regulations include the AT&T breakup in 1984 and the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This paper elaborates on the key aspects and impacts of the regulation and recent deregulation within the telecommunications industry.
This thesis studies the various strategies deployed by the largest players within the highly competitive telecommunications industry. Strategies include mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, bundling service offerings, new product development and deployment, and discounted leasing strategies. The future of the telecommunications industry looks promising for consumers, suppliers, and carriers as the industry begins its recovery after a dismal recession. For the first time since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, carriers are competing on a level playing field as the government regulatory agencies have removed most roadblocks allowing market forces to establish pricing and innovation. Regulatory agencies must continue their deregulatory practices to allow more competition within the telecommunications marketplace so that consumers can enjoy better services at lower costs. Mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, and bundling service offerings are becoming the norm for carriers within the telecommunications industry. Several researchers have identified customer satisfaction and loyalty as the primary drivers for increasing market share and revenues. Carriers must improve in exceeding customer expectations to develop the required consumer loyalty and satisfaction.
Service providers need to look beyond technological advances and deployment strategies to understand what the consumer demands and expectations are. Service providers need to become more dynamic and responsive to these consumer demands in order to establish their service as a differentiator over competitors, thus creating increased stakeholder value. Today, most telecommunications conglomerates are not dynamic enough to establish themselves as service differentiators.
Project management experts have identified the essential ingredients for a successful project. These ingredients include the appointment of a capable and effective project manager and the selection of appropriate project organizational structure. The choice of these two success factors may be influenced by the project type (new or independent versus improvement of dependent project types).
For the project manager to be effective in managing the project, he or she must join the project in the early stages and participate in defining the project. This timely participation is critical for him or her to be effective in implementing the project. The project manager must have a complete understanding of the goal and objectives of the project. He or she must lead the effort to develop project schedule and budget, as well as in the selection of project team members. In the absence of project manager’s early involvement and leadership, a great amount of energy will be spent later fighting over project scope issues and direction. The ultimate outcomes of this wasted effort would be a project that falls behind schedule, encounters cost overruns, and that does not satisfy the performance requirement of project customers. The danger for projects to be unsuccessful because of scope creep and inadequate coordination is greater on improvement projects than on new projects. This is so because improvement projects typically involve more people and have to accommodate existing and ongoing operations.
Another factor critical to the success of any project is the selection of the project organizational structure that fits both the personnel and expertise basis of the hosting organization. Before deciding on one type of project organization type versus the others, it is very important to understand the pros, cons, and the underlying assumptions for each type. For a turnkey (project organization) method to be successful, the host or client departments must have the ability to operate and maintain the new system being turned over to them. This requires that the necessary skills and experience be available in the client’s organization or that the project team develops this expertise foundation as part of its objectives. It is also very important that the operation or client departments be actively involved in defining the desired state (new system) as to pro-actively consider the impacts on the existing organization infrastructures and resources. For a turnkey project to be successful, both the project leaders and the client departments must work closely together through project initiation, definition, planning, and implementation.
The strategic decision records of many corporations are very often stories of failure. Although there are many reasons offered in the management literature for this poor performance, little mention is made about the cognitive limitations of the executives who must make complex decisions. The overall goal of this essay is to increase the awareness of the role of individual cognitive biases in producing poor strategic decisions. These biases are identified and some approaches are suggested to try to avoid them.
Chapters 2 and 3 deal specifically with strategic decision making itself. In Chapter 2 each stage of the strategic decision making process is reviewed. These stages include: environmental scanning, strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and evaluation and control. By understanding the strategic decision process, as it is commonly followed today, it then becomes possible to explore how cognitive biases may influence that process. In Chapter 3, the three different models of strategic decision making are presented which show the various perspectives that strategic decision making can be viewed from. In this chapter it is shown that in addition to cognitive limitations of the individual decision-maker, there are political and organizational factors that can also impact the quality of strategic decisions.
The seven main steps in the individual decision making process are then examined in Chapter 4. The focus of this chapter is to review how individuals make decisions; from establishing goals and objectives to evaluating how well decisions have been implemented. It is at the level of individual decision making that cognitive biases form the basis for influencing organizational, or strategic, decisions. The manner in which individual managers prefer to gather and process information are influenced by their biases.
One such approach to information gathering and processing is decision making in groups. In Chapter 5 of this essay three main techniques of making decisions in groups are examined. The strengths and weaknesses of each technique are discussed as well as the value each has in developing sound decisions.
With the foundation laid by the previous review of strategic, individual, and group decision making, 10 cognitive biases are identified in Chapter 6 which can affect the strategic decision making process. These biases not only influence the way decision-makers gather and process information, but also how they establish selection criteria for choosing an alternative strategy. The way decision groups can exhibit certain biases are also examined. These group biases, also called choice shift effects, are linked to the cognitive biases of the group members. In an attempt to improve the quality of strategic decision making 3 approaches to avoiding cognitive biases are presented in Chapter 7. Top management must be committed to understanding why cognitive biases exist and how they can affect decision making before there can be true progress in avoiding biases.
Finally, it is recognized that a great deal of further research is required to fully shed light on the role of cognitive biases, and limitations, of corporate executives on strategic decisions. In Chapter 8 two areas in particular are suggested for further investigation. These two areas are: the role of decision groups in avoiding cognitive biases in strategic decision making; and the connection between Jungian personality types and cognitive biases. Understanding the nature of this “linkage” may help in avoiding biases at the various stages of the decision process.
A fictional company, Parr Label & Tape, is a manufacturer of print-on-demand identification systems. These systems use software, a printer, and adhesive-backed labels to print barcode and variable information that can be used to identify parts in a manufacturing process. The company is evaluating whether to enter the clean rooms market with particulate clean identification systems. The major markets that are included in the total clean rooms market are semiconductor and medical. Medical is made up of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. The total worldwide markets for semiconductors, medical devices and pharmaceuticals are: Semiconductor $174 billion in 2000 Medical Device $145 billion in 1998 Pharmaceutical $271.9 billion in 1999.
Parr Label & Tape is familiar with the clean room requirements of a semiconductor fab, but does not currently supply the medical market and is not familiar with medical clean room requirements. The author assumes that the reader has a general knowledge of semiconductor clean rooms but not of medical clean rooms. For that reason, most of the information on semiconductor clean rooms is contained in Appendix A. A copy of the new ISO/TC209 standards, which covers both the semiconductor and medical clean rooms, is in Appendix B. A detailed analysis of medical clean rooms is the topic of Chapter 6. All of these markets show growth opportunities in the next several years, and will become good strategic fits for Parr Label & Tape. The author includes a strategic market plan for Parr Label & Tape to follow in the next five years. Highlights of the strategic marketing plan are:
Flat panel displays and food processing are two future markets for particulate clean identification systems. The author recommends that Parr Label & Tape develop these markets in the five-year time frame. Parr Label & Tape can use their expertise gained in the semiconductor and medical markets to quickly enter and develop the flat panel display and food processing markets.
Quality in America has been declining since World War II. After the war, quality gurus, such as Deming and Juran, traveled to Japan to teach and explain quality and quality management to the Japanese engineers, managers and corporate executives. In thirty years, that war devastated country, rose to become a world leader in quality. Since then, Japanese businesses have outperformed the United States companies in quality. This has put many United States’ companies either in a secondary business position to their Japanese counterparts’ or has put many companies out of business because they could not compete.
Unsuccessful attempts were made to copy and implement the Japanese philosophy and systems into American manufacturing. It was not until the 1980s that there was an awakening by business, and the consumer, that the American quality and business advantages had slipped away to the Japanese manufactures. Something had to be done to become competitive again in the evolving global market and economy. The quality philosophy and management that emerged is “total quality management.”
What is presented here is the history of and the need for quality in manufacturing. The concept of Total Quality Management is examined from various viewpoints and then defined. This presentation looks at management from the corporate level, those who define, not only the corporate goals, but also the quality vision, direction and policy. The term “Total Quality Management” is broken down into its various elements so that middle level management might implement it. Of course, there will be problems encountered along the way. Many of these problems will be described.
A manufacturing example, an automated facility which assembles electronic print be used to illustrate many of the points of total quality (and continuous improvement). The points that are discussed in this section are management’s commitment to quality, customers, education, leadership, involvement, design and process quality, process and continuous improvement and benchmarking. The last section presents a summary of the future quality areas that organizations will need to address over time.
The purpose of this paper is to act as a guide in the steps that a business may pursue to determine if computer aided design (CAD) is a practical method of improving the productivity of its engineering department. I will limit my discussion to those businesses that do not have a need or a desire for computer aided manufacturing (CAM) because CAM is another, although related, subject. CAD is the use of computers in an interactive graphics computer system to assist in the process of conceptualizing, analyzing and documenting designs.
This statement leads to another definition: an interactive graphics computer system is one which interacts with the operator. That is to say, that while information is being added to the computer’s data base by the operator, the operator is fed information from the computer system to continually update the operator’s understanding of the level of completion of the task. An interactive graphics computer system interacts so closely with the operator that the computer system can be efficiently and economically used as a design and drafting tool.
A CAD system is a computer system of specialized hardware (physical components) and software (written programs to direct internal computer operation) designed specifically for engineering design, drafting, analysis, and manufacturing engineering.
Using a CAD system, designers, draftsmen, and engineers can develop, analyze, and manipulate engineering designs on a television-like display terminal. Different views and perspectives of a design can be obtained, small sections of a design can be magnified for closer inspection, dimensions and weights of a design can be calculated automatically, engineering analysis can be quickly performed and parts lists can be generated automatically.
Most CAD systems are modular. Hardware components and software programs are selected according to user requirements. A typical CAD system includes a computer and mass memory for processing and storing information, one or more input terminals or workstations for creating and observing designs, and one or more output devices for converting information stored in the system into drawings and reports.
With claims of productivity increases of 8 to 1 for electrical design and 4 to 1 for mechanical design the manufacturing business cannot ignore CAD because these productivity increases would obviously mean reduced costs per sales dollar.
To determine the practicality of the purchase of a CAD system, the manufacturing business needs to answer several questions about itself and about CAD. These questions center around three broad categories of information: 1) what are the manufacturer’s needs? 2) what hardware is available to meet the manufacturer’s needs? 3) what software or programs are available to meet the manufacturer’s needs?
To help answer the questions above, there are many articles in trade magazines, seminars and vendor literature available. I have found, through investigating the purchase of a CAD system for the manufacturing business for which I work, that the most difficult task facing me was to develop and assimilate all of the information available from the above mentioned sources into an organized decision making structure. In other words, to know what is available and from whom and to know the steps necessary to reach a correct decision.
This paper, then, will attempt to guide the reader through this maze of information and thus shorten and improve the decision making process.
The worldwide marketplace steadily becomes a more complicated and competitive arena for companies to participate in. In an effort to be more competitive, firms must develop new and innovative practices to improve costs, quality, speed of delivery, or throughput, and responsiveness to the customers' needs. As simple as that sounds, it becomes more and more difficult to be different from the rest when literally everyone is doing many of the same things to improve their market position.
In certain cases, some companies are just not in a position to be able to compete on their own without some sort of external help. When no more answers can be found within the framework of the company as it exists, the answer must lie within another. This is what leads companies to consider the possibility of merging with or acquiring another.
Regardless of the consolidation option chosen, the end result is to create synergy that makes the value of the combined companies greater than the sum of the two parts. This synergy exists when the value created by business units working together exceeds the value those same units create working independently. The first hurdle is determining which variety of consolidation is the best for the interested company in its specific industry. Management must understand what varieties exist and what makes any one of them a better option than the others. A merger is a strategy through which two firms agree to integrate their operations on a relative co-equal basis. An acquisition is the strategy employed through which one firm buys controlling interest in another firm making it a subsidiary business within the parent company's portfolio. A joint venture is a strategic alliance in which two or more firms create a legally independent company to share some of their resources and capabilities to develop a competitive advantage.
When trying to meld two separate and distinct companies into one cohesive unit, the odds tend to be stacked against a successful union. A variety of factors account for these failures, such as buying the wrong company, paying the wrong price or buying at the wrong time. The most important tool neglected too often, however, is due diligence. Due diligence is the act of fully evaluating the target firm from all aspects and understanding the market in which the acquisition is taking place and should cover a variety of disciplines including: strategic, tax, legal, intellectual property, environmental, operational, finance and accounting, and people and culture due diligence.
In an attempt to guarantee a successful due diligence process, certain individuals or teams must be involved. In addition to the due diligence team leader, the short list of team members should include a strategic development engineer, a specialist or two in operations management, legal advisors, tax consultants and human resource experts. Many electronic tools currently exist to support these important due diligence efforts along with the tried and true old-fashioned legwork, interviews, and other data-gathering methods.
In this ever changing world of commerce, mergers and acquisitions will continue to be the opportunity of choice for many companies across the globe. Although inclined to failure due to ignorance or inexperience, the odds of success can be increased dramatically through the careful and relentless use of due diligence. Although it is not an inexpensive endeavor, due diligence can ultimately result in successfully avoiding failure of the acquisition, which would exceed the cost of the due diligence many times over.
How can a manufacturing company today meet customer needs with minimum resources? More simply put, how can a company reduce costs without reducing the quality or timeliness in which they deliver their products? The answer to this begins by understanding the foundation of any manufacturing company: its manufacturing system.
There are multiple production planning systems available to today's manufacturers, however, two prominent systems are that of Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) and Lean Manufacturing. There is much literature and research that outlines the benefits, drawbacks, and requirements of each of these systems, along with what it would take to employ a combined, hybrid system.
To best understand how and why different systems should be applied, or where they can be applied, it is best to look at an actual manufacturing company for a practical application. For this research we will look at EZ Paintr, a paint applicator manufacturer, as our model or case study company. The process will start by looking at the systems EZ Paintr currently uses to plan and schedule their production.
Through research and understanding of EZ Paintr's system it is clear to see that EZ Paintr's systems have many issues and there is significant room for improvement. This research will demonstrate how EZ Paintr can save over $260,000 annually, and improve their system at the same time. However, the process will be a challenge in that it will require serious commitment from top management, good communication, and cultural change for the people working at EZ Paintr.
The final phase of this research ends by looking at how the recommendations made for EZ Paintr apply to industry in general. Industry types that fall in the four categories of the product-process matrix, batch, assembly line, job shop, and continuous flow, will all be examined.
Employee involvement can be described as a means to dramatically change the work environment. It is a mechanism to involve all employees in an organization into the thinking process. It can be used to generate ideas and solve problems. Employee involvement recognizes that every employee, from the least skilled, to the most skilled, has some particular talent or skill. The most under utilized resource of many companies is the knowledge and skill of its employees.
The underlying principle of employee involvement is that work becomes more challenging and interesting for employees as their knowledge and skills are improved. Using this approach, employees are able to influence the outcome of decisions that affect their job. For employees, this approach offers not only additional job satisfaction, but also more direct rewards such as higher pay or job security. Employee involvement programs can benefit both company and employees by using its most valuable effective resource-people.
What are the benefits of an effective employee involvement program? Employee involvement programs can increase efficiency, productivity, and job satisfaction as well as determine the long-range growth or survival of a company in today’s competitive business environment. This paper will examine the elements of an effective employee involvement program and the obstacles that should be avoided. We will then analyze three Wisconsin companies that have succeeded in offering and implementing an employee involvement program. Finally, we will examine the program currently in place at General Electric Medical Systems and offer suggestions and recommendations for future growth.
Employee involvement is a philosophy of management that should be program-implemented if American business is to prosper in our ever-changing world. It is a method to utilize all of the resources available to us, especially the human mind, with its infinite capacity for creativity and ingenuity.
A survey of a U.S. manufacturing firm competing in a global environment demonstrates a need for improved new product development methods. Deficiencies identified include the following: 1. Global awareness and mind set are important to the firm yet they are perceived as a relative weakness. 2. Poor harmonization exists within product families and between product lines. 3. Products are not differentiated enough from competitive offerings. This essay discusses an opportunity to resolve these problems and attain product development leadership through the use of an international design team. Leadership can be realized in terms of creating different and superior products resulting in improved efficiencies for the firm and possibly a sustainable competitive advantage. Significant leverage can be realized from international teams in several ways. First, the team can disseminate global information regarding competitive product offerings, customer requirements, technical standards, and government regulations. Second, global members can make important contributions by acting as "independent evaluators" to foster harmonization within and between product families. By comparison, a national product development effort would be handicapped in these areas, resulting in problems identified by the survey. Communication and culture are discussed with the intent to provide an overview for the manager or team leader faced with the task of establishing a successful international product development team composed of Americans and Europeans.
During new product development, communication is fast paced and usually deals with only partial information. Effective communication helps ensure that proposed solutions are appropriate, and encourages a collaborative attitude. The challenge for management is determining how to establish and maintain effective communication, to keep valuable ideas flowing between globally dispersed groups of engineers, marketing and production staff. Like other management circumstances, there is no one solution to every team’s challenges. When true international developments are started, a portfolio of mechanisms must be considered to support communication. Consideration should be given to the following: Socialization efforts that encourage situations conducive to forming important relationships necessary for informal communication channels. Social events often start good information flows and can be centered on special events such as when globally dispersed members assimilate for meetings. Socialization could include visiting culturally significant locations or events in the host country. Collocating project team members encourages trust between them and fosters open, person-to-person communication. Collocation allows members of the staff to interact on a daily basis and promotes timely decisions.
Establishing a communications management position with a person that has good contacts and the ability to translate information from other facilities into the jargon of his or her own facility. This person can improve the flow of information and act as a focal point, eliminating redundant activities of duplicate requests for the same information. Implementing rules and procedures enhances formal communication through regular reporting and documentation. Formal project plans or schedules can serve to communicate the team's performance and encourages interaction of team members, since members often must correspond with each other to complete their activities. Utilize electronic communication between globally dispersed design team members, to make communications problems more manageable. However, several pitfalls of electronically transmitted data reveal that it cannot be the sole source of information. Periodic face to face contact seems necessary to maintain confidence at a level high enough to promote successful team progress. Project managers must also carefully consider the effect language will have in the project. Special resources may be required for oral and written translations. Meetings and decisions may take longer. Written communications may require translations which can cause delays, and miscommunications may cause errors. Culture is another significant consideration with multinational product development. In general, people regard foreign cultures as inferior.
This is true for almost all societies in the world, but the U.S. geographic distance from truly different cultures (with the exception of Mexico) has made it possible to enjoy the luxury of this point of view, unchallenged. If Americans want to achieve their goals in conducting business overseas, they must learn the basic anomalies of their host country. It is also important to consider management qualities that are not normally taught in business schools. These include flexibility, a sense of humor, patience, sensitivity, an ability to evaluate assumptions, a willingness to listen to others, curiosity, respect for differences, and trust in the ability of the team to out perform individuals. Finally, a much overlooked area that is common to most product development efforts is evaluating performance and continuously learning from it. The product development process should be considered both (1) as individual parts such as producing a detailed design, and (2) as a whole, from customer requirements to the eventual fulfillment of those requirements. In this way, process control techniques can be applied, similar to those used in manufacturing. Many firms do not make the effort to retain knowledge and thus spend considerable time repeating what should have been learned before. Methods to address this problem include establishing an internal data base, and implementing tools such as checklists, project schedules, and metrics to collect information throughout each phase of a product’s development.
A company's competitive advantage in many ways can be attributed to the capacity of its individuals to learn from his or her own mistakes, and those of others. Establishing an effective learning process in product development is one of the most difficult and critical processes an organization can accomplish. This is the reason why achieving a sustainable competitive advantage is so difficult. The advantage is not the result of a particular project, rather it is based on continually building and improving procedures, processes, and leadership skills to do things faster, more efficiently, and better.
Performance counts; achievement counts. To some, these may be all that count. In this day of difficult economic conditions, companies are exploring many new approaches to profitability. Within the last few years, many companies have begun to turn their attention toward organization culture. Top executives and managers both believe that successful innovation along with an organizational change in culture can lead to great success in the business world. Every organization holds their own culture. Culture is a dynamic trait for improving human factor and achievement. Organization culture has an impact on all employees which compels them to achieve their individual goals along with the organizational goals. If an organization cannot identify their culture, it is difficult for its employees to adjust their working situations within that organization. Culture is an important subject which is not common knowledge on the corporate level, but should definitely be considered. A distinctive organization culture will benefit the employee by giving them better values in belief, commitment, personal career, and so forth within a firm. This thesis is an analysis, evaluation, and a prescription for changing organization culture. The first part of this thesis will give a background of organization culture. This thesis will reveal such fundamental issues as what organization culture is, how an organization should diagnosis their culture, what types of diagnosing methods should be utilized, and certain factors that affect organization culture. Before any organization can change its culture, they must first realize how organization culture is important to their firm.
A corporation must get a feel for their organization culture in order to determine why it is necessary at the managerial level. The second portion of this thesis will give a corporation some ideas of what they can get from changing their organizational culture. The results of changing organization culture are: improving companies in a long-term growth, improvement in employee values and beliefs, and increased employee productivity. The last chapter of this thesis will give an organization various options for changing their organization culture. These options of changing organization culture can be as I have previously stated: autonomy, communication, participation, quality of work life, and training. These changes will have an effect on organizational performance in the long-run plus they will assist an organization in being a successful company. Every organization’s culture can be changed. Changing organization culture also has a substantial impact on all of the employees of such a corporation. Some employees might resist a change in their corporate culture due to the relationship between culture and change. Changing organization culture is not an easy task to undertake. It should be known that it will take a lot of time and effort on the part of every employee of an organization which is in the process of changing its culture.
Many times software project managers are required to manage a budget and schedule that was developed very early in the project’s life cycle without much consideration given to potential risk factors. Most software project managers are aware of the risks associated with software development projects, but do not quantify these risks as part of the initial estimate. As a result, senior management is surprised when a software project exceeds the budget and/or the delivery date because of the risk factors associated with the development and implementation. The software project manager needs a tool to identify the probability of delivering the project on, or under budget, and on, or ahead of schedule. The Parameter Method for Risk Analysis, traditionally used in risk analysis for capital projects, is a statistical method that was developed to determine the probability that a capital project will deliver the expected Return On Investment. The proposition of this paper is that the Parameter Method for Risk Analysis can be applied to software project estimates to determine the probability that the software project will exceed the planned project budget and/or schedule. The result of the risk analysis is used by the project manager to develop contingency plans that will reduce the risk, or allow for “what-if” testing. The “what-if” testing and contingency planning identify resource or capital adjustments necessary to achieve the budget and schedule targets. The Parameter Method requires the development of best-case, most likely, and worst-cast estimates for each phase of a project.
From the three estimates a total mean and a total standard deviation are calculated. Both the total mean and the total standard deviation are used to calculate a best-case project estimate, which has a 10% probability of occurring. The range between the best-case and worst-case estimates represents range that covers 80% of the possible estimates. In order to execute the Parameter Method calculations, detailed estimates for each phase of the software project are created, first the initial or most likely estimate, then a best-case (all goes better than planned) estimate, and finally a worst-case estimate (all potential problems occur). In order for the Parameter Method calculations to be useful, a detailed risk analysis must be performed to develop realistic and plausible best-case and worst-case estimates. The Parameter Method is similar to the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) method in that both require the development of three estimates; best-case, most likely and worst-case. The mean calculated from the PERT method is then used as the duration for the activity being estimated. The Parameter Method generates a range of estimates and the estimate that fits the desired confidence level is used as the duration for the activity being estimate. The Parameter Method is used for both cost and schedule estimates, where the PERT method is used just for schedule estimates. This paper illustrates in detail, the risk factors that are “cost drivers” for software projects. A risk analysis methodology is proposed that identifies and quantifies the risk factors used to develop the best-case and worst-case estimates. The risk factors that the methodology concentrates on are those which have been identify as the most critical for a project; staff availability, staff productivity, staff expertise, completed requirements definition, introduction of new technology and user acceptance of the final system. Cost estimates and the risks associated with computer hardware cost estimates are not addressed in this paper. Software project budget and schedule over-runs are due primarily to unplanned development costs and project delays not accounted for in the original estimate. This paper will focus on the risks associated with software development and installation. Several risk analysis methods are discussed and compared in Chapter 4. The application of each risk analysis method is demonstrated and evaluated. The Parameter Method was selected because it allows a estimate range to be developed where all risk factors can be considered. The risk analysis methodology that provides the inputs to the Parameter Method calculations is designed to identify and quantify the risks associated with a software project. The risk analysis results in developing a best-case, most likely and worst-case person-hour estimate for each phase of the software project. These estimates are then used to develop the project best-case (10% probability), mean (50% probability) and worst-case (90% probability) estimates. The estimates are plotted on a cumulative frequency diagram which can be used to determine the probability of any estimate that lies between the best and worst-case estimates.
The project team and senior management can then determine the risk associated with the original estimate by comparing it to the best, mean, and worst-case estimates. By plotting the original estimate on the cumulative frequency diagram, the project team can determine the probability that the project will be delivered on time and within budget. The risk analysis provides the project team and senior management with a clear picture of the risk associated with the project. Together they can develop alternatives to reduce the risk, or a least there is “buy-in” by senior management as to the risk involved in the project. Senior management can assess the project from a business risk perspective and therefore understand how the project may put the business at risk. The result of performing a risk analysis for a software project, is that the project risks have been identified and their impact estimated. The project manager can develop contingency plans and alternatives in order to reduce the risk. Risk adjusted decisions about staffing, training, resources and development strategies can then be made, before cost and schedule overruns occur.
There have been significant changes in today’s health care delivery system. Dramatic shifts in patient usage and cost reimbursement have affected health care institutions throughout the country. A serious problem faced is a decline in inpatient census. This can be traced to factors such as fewer inpatient admissions, shorter length of patient stays, competition within the market place, implementation of a new reimbursement system called prospective payment and the growth of the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs). These changes create a financial strain on the health care industry. They cause the hospitals to seek better and more efficient ways of delivery service to patients while positioning themselves – guaranteeing commitment to providing the best and brightest patient care, and to market their services.
Hospitals like the rest of the health care field have traditionally avoided marketing and marketing efforts. They have looked askance at advertising and competitive pricing though they have been willing to make some attempts in improving their patient, public and community relations. Yet by avoiding direct association with the marketing process, a hospital may well fall into the trap of being unresponsive to its market – its patients and potential patients.
The concept of corporate strategy has generated plenty of controversy during the past decade. Scholars and business planners introduced various arguments concerning corporate strategy. Companies adapted several forms of strategy formulation. For example: customer-based strategy, marketing-oriented strategy, R & D oriented strategy, growth-through-acquisition strategy, and so forth. These types of strategies are called specialized strategies. At the other end of the spectrum, some companies tried to adapt what is called generic strategy in which strategy is geared toward a single generic objective such as cost leadership. Specialized strategies and generic strategies could negatively influence the very long-term survival of the firm.
This thesis introduces a conceptual approach to corporate strategy. It is called "Integrated Strategy." This approach is based on critical and thorough analysis of the internal and external environment, critical resource allocations, and selecting a practical system of strategic objectives. It is believed that for strategic objectives to be realistic and attainable, they must be based on environmental conditions and availability of resources.
In an integrated strategy, there exists several strategic objectives. Each objective has relative influence on the expected results of any given strategy. Integrated corporate strategy consists of an integrated system of objectives (e.g. marketing, production, finance, R & D, acquisition, etc...)
Finally, a simple qualitative/quantitative modeling technique has been developed to analyze the influence of several independent strategic objectives on a dependent objective.
Between 1975 and 1990 Lebanon went through “civil” war. The massive destruction which extended all over the country was costly and reached every sector of the economy. In 1992, prime minister Hariri cabinet unveiled an $18 billion rehabilitation plan. It launched a pilot plan, the reconstruction of the Centerville of Beirut, to regain its role as a commercial and financial center of the Middle east. This thesis proposes an alternative or a co-plan for the reconstruction of Lebanon. Liberation of the country and reconciliation of the warring factions are to be achieved through strong leadership before the physical construction take place. Investing in and caring for the Lebanese people is a major factor to be considered in the reconstruction task. Defining the “New Lebanon” that the Lebanese people should agree on. History of Lebanon from pre-literary times until our present day was briefly introduced to clarify the misunderstanding of some people that Lebanon was a part of Syria. The priorities should be rebuilding the rural areas is to go hand-in-hand with the Centerville, ensuring the equal distribution of wealth across the country and investing “enough” money to enhance both the agricultural and industrial sectors at the same time.
Today, after the Middle East peace talks, Lebanon should play a different role in the region and that is to become a major producer rather than just being the financial “middle-man” between the West and the East. Long-term projects are introduced to create local jobs and ensure the continuity and growth of the economy. Dams are to be built in each governorate to collect run off streams. The collected water and the generated power are to be made available for the Lebanese and the excess quantities are to sold to the neighboring countries. Research centers and other projects are to be built to reverse the brain drain. A high speed highway is to be built at mid-level altitude to alleviate the bottleneck, reverse the migration from the village to the coastal region, attract people to higher altitudes, and improve communication between communities. Regional railroads are to be built to connect Lebanon with the rest of the world. Creation of a trained Lebanese labor force and the participation and involvement of the citizens in the reconstruction mission is a key part of the plan. Reconstruction of Lebanon should be funded with the Lebanese capital abroad which is estimated by some Lebanese officials at over then $70 billion instead of using foreign funds which demand high return on investment and would cause potential deficit.
Competition is changing the demeanor of the electric utility industry. The once silent, "public benefits for all", socialized monopoly service industry is facing deregulation and the certain ferocity that accompanies the world of competition. This reality is accompanied with the certainty that not all of its current customers will remain customers. Electric utilities have not historically focused on customer needs and wants and tailored their services to that information. Rather, the customer has had the option of one provider with whatever this provider and the Public Service Commission deemed appropriate with regards to product and service offerings.
A competitive arena requires the use of marketing concepts to target product and service offerings to niche market segments that will find the greatest value in these offerings. (What the company deems strategic and profitable for itself and valuable to the customer is offered for sale to the designated customers.) For the electric utility industry, these concepts are new and untested. Before a completely deregulated market place unfolds, as much experience with target marketing, within the bounds of regulatory requirements, should be gained. The utility industry needs to get into a marketing mode and gain a complete understanding of competitive marketing concepts.
Marketing 'green electric power' is an appropriate action to take in order to gain this experience. There are many existing programs of green marketing available in the consumer marketplace from which to learn and apply this experience to other products and services as the need and appropriate time arises. Well known consumer products companies, such as Monsanto and 3M have successfully marketed 'Green', environmentally-friendly products and services to consumers who are willing to pay a premium for the positive impact on the environment. Electric utilities can apply these lessons to 'Green' power programs.
Niche marketing to an environmentally aware consumer requires the knowledge of who these customers are, what induces them to purchase and why. Segmentation strategies have been developed to assist in the targeting of these niche customers. Several approaches are reviewed and combined to target those consumers with the greatest propensity to respond favorably to green electric offerings.
The Internet has the potential to change the fundamental basis of business and create a new order of consumerism. The future will include those that embrace the technology and leave behind those that wait and see. Utilizing one such technology that has been born from Internet technology is the Extranet. The Extranet is a business-to-business Intranet that allows access from remote locations. The potential benefits and competitive advantages an Extranet brings to an organization depends on how it is used and its position within the organization's supply chain.
Companies can effectively manage their supply chains with the correct business knowledge and the correct tools. A new technological tool, like an Extranet, can become a major competitive advantage for any company. In fact, the use of Extranets in business today is becoming more popular as technology progresses, management adapts, and others realize its potential advantages. The classical chain of events - sourcing, buying, making, transporting, and selling - are becoming blurred with the introduction of the Internet. The suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and services for supply chain management are changing by linking their source of information with their partner's information. This allows transactions to flow naturally instead of using old ways of trading information with the intention of always maintaing the upper hand.
Companies can have three different types of Extranets. One is solely a content type, which provides web content to partners and customers for their use. Another is a customer service type that is used to provide customers with information related to products and service while empowering the customer to access and check order statuses. And finally, an Extranet can be designed as a revenue-generating type. Companies that perform transactions on-line use a revenue-generating Extranet. The customers are linked to the provider through on-line ordering of products like books or payting for services such as news. From recent reports in the media, it appears that companies detached from consumers invest the majority of their efforts in content type Extranets. This is supported by the author in categorizing articles and reports of companies with Extranets. It was found that the manufacturers tend to have more content type Extranets. In contrast, the companies closer to the consumer, or end user, had a larger percentage of revenue-generating Extranets.
The Extranet has the same issues surrounding the Internet in regards to security. Since the Extranet typically depends on the Internet for outside communication with the internal Intranet, the possibility of security risks exists. There are ways to limit a company's exposure like using Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, separating and segregating important files on separate servers, or just following the basic security measures every network should have as a minimum. The risk exists, as it does with all new technologies, but the rewards can be staggering according to many reports.
A company must weigh the investment, needs, and benefits of implementing an Extranet. Although, the investment can be small if an Intranet is already in place. The emphasis then should be on preparing the organization to share information for the good of its partners and ultimately its customers. The return on investment from an Extranet has been in some cases 200%, but the suggested expected return is typicaly above 50%. It does not matter where in the supply chain a company is, the benefits gained from an Extranet are ultimately spread among all areas. Suppliers to manufacturers can perform transactions on-line and manage each other's inventory while distributors can pinpoint exact shipping requirements without being notified by the manufacturer. Retailers can provide customers with 24-hour service and customize the information for their specific needs.
However, the type of Extranet a company uses affects the type of benefits it provides. In the author's study of reports, the content and customer service type Extranets provided internal savings, low-cost customer service, and improved lead times with products and services. These benefits related to the efficient use of an Extranet as a communication and transaction tool The revenue-generating type Extranets provided companies with new product ideas, additional sales, and more output with less working capital. Many of the benefits that come with the use of an Extranet are shared among all areas of the supply chain. It was the same for competitive advantages companies gained from using an Extranet. The development of alliances, reducing barriers between partners and customers, and extending boundaries were all results from using Extranets in all the areas of the supply chain. An Extranet gives companies the advantage of real-time communication through a network of computers operating and making calculations faster than any human. But, it is not about speed. It is how businesses are using the tool to change the old ways of handling new problems.
Most electronic product development programs are rarely completed on time and regularly run over budget. Numerous scheduling delays and cost overruns continue to occur despite advances in project planning tools, management techniques and theories. Many new products will fail to achieve some if not all of their strategic business objectives. These aspects of electronic product development are completely independent of industry segment, corporation or project complexity.
Management's feeling of frustration continues to grow regardless of the overwhelming amount of evidence supporting better organizational structure, overcoming internal barriers and adopting flexible management philosophies. The objective of the investigation leading to this thesis identifies, discusses and develops strategies for surmounting many of the obstacles preventing concurrency and rapid product development. For many organizations, attaining and sustaining a decisive lead and competitive advantage in these areas will always remain exceptionally difficult. This occurs because of the preconceived and generalized opinion that many of the problems associated with modern electronic development processes are intrinsically simple and quickly corrected.
The composition of this paper closely follows that required to develop and implement an effective strategy for improving the product development process. The introduction provides the reader with a basic overview of traditional development processes. It offers a better understanding of the typical problem resolution tactics associated with some product development groups.
The second section of this paper proposes a new basis for product development time drivers and time management issues. This section describes the author's investigation into the organizational behavior of modern product development groups. The discussion also reflects a characteristically different point of view by presenting a bottom up, rather than management's traditional top down perspective.
The third section of this paper formulates a generalized strategy for improving the product development process. The strategy is developed from areas of significant opportunity and an intelligent understanding of the barriers hindering speedy product development. The strategy is implemented gradually over time in two distinct phases.
The first phase is discussed in the fourth section. It describes a practical set of development tools and techniques for encouraging the practice of more effective project management. The optimal set of projects can be developed and managed successfully using aggregate project planning techniques, return maps, ROI, risk/sensitivity analysis, phased development approaches and management by deliverables.
The second phase is discussed in the last section. It describes the change management restructuring process needed to implement the proposed strategy. One of management's greatest challenges over the next few years will be to facilitate more efficient interaction between people and processes at the corporate level. Tomorrow's work force must be capable of forming cross functional alliances at all levels within the organization to solve their problems efficiently and effectively.
Neo urbanism is a trend whose growing popularity is attributed to the deficits of sprawling suburbs. Milwaukee has a 160-year-old history and legacy of German immigrants. Bier gartens were, and still are today, a beloved place of community. The disappearance of America’s Third Places presents an opportunity for a modern day bier garten in an urban Milwaukee neighborhood.
The fast casual and brewpub segments of the restaurant and craft beer industries, respectively, are growing dramatically. Baby boomers and their children, Generation X, prefer densely populated, mixed-use, urban neighborhoods. They are increasingly eating away from their homes and favor convenience and familiarity when making dining choices.
A new business venture offering a neighborhood self-service eatery and bier garten to an urban Milwaukee community is likely to be successful. Follow-on studies in other areas of business planning are worthy endeavors. Before embarking on this new business venture, further work needs to be done, including: a pro forma business plan, a full-scale marketing plan, an operational plan and a plan for financing.
Voids may exist in how well-prepared one is for the transition from engineer to engineering manager. It is ultimately the hands-on experience of a first management position that presents the reality of what one knows and what one is not yet prepared for in one's job. This unpreparedness for a new engineering manager in 1995 may result from no formal education or some outdated system of education. In this paper, a "new" engineering manager has between 1 day and 1 year of management experience.
This paper is designed to lessen the voids new engineering managers have between their existing knowledge and what the new job will actually require of them. While this problem is shared by managers in other disciplines, the research within focuses on engineering managers, particularly those in manufacturing companies. The author selected these managers because they are of greatest interest to him, as he may be assuming an engineering management role in the future. However, chapters 1-7 may be relevant to other managers because they pertain to traditional management topics.
A high performance team needs a catalyst with a strong desire to succeed using the right mix of empowered people. Deborah Ancona writes: "High-performing teams somehow manage to do their jobs better than others thought possible by setting difficult and clear performance goals." It brings out the best in people who work together. These team members are out to make a difference, to improve the product or service, and to create a fun environment to work in. A higher energy level exists, something that taps their energy of the spirit.
Through examination of literature and the implementation of high performance teams at two companies, this thesis will argue that Seven Attributes of High Performance Teams provide the key to obtaining better products in a shorter time. It will detail a process to follow to change an existing team into a high performing one. The resistance to change of the organization's culture and the effects of rewards will also be discussed.
Given the wealth of literature on the subject, what is the right mixture of team attributes? The Seven Attributes the student discovered were: Flat management structure--for fewer managers and a quicker response both within the team and the organization; Charismatic manager--who has a real vision; Reduction of 'red tape'--which reduces time to make decisions in the team and organization; No resource constraints--one of the four project constraints (cost, schedule, resources, and scope) is removed; Employee empowerment--pushes the risk and decision-making lower; Crisis situation or competitive fear--which provides a catalyst, other than money; Strong purpose or product direction--which keeps the project on track.
Seven separate steps also exist to convert a traditional team into a high performance team. The first step is to define Corporate and Division strategic and business plans that are linked to a strong vision for the organization. This should be presented in an all-hands-on-deck meeting to motivate and guide the organization. The second step is to create a flat organizational structure. Matrix structures, which slow decision making, do not function for high performance teams. There are too many bosses and too many distractions for team members to follow in a matrix. The third is to ask for volunteers and interview team members. A high performance team should be considered a more desirable full-time job and viewed as a select team. Members should not be excluded based on lack of experience, for example, but may be passed over based on a lack of interest or drive. The fourth step involves setting norms and team bonding. In the team forming stage, members have a variety of questions. They are testing the waters, both with other members and with the project manager. The project manager can lead this effort. The fifth step occurs at the start and throughout the project: aligning and motivating the employees. Most people want to do a good job, but simply do not know where to put their energy. They want to be challenged and creative. The sixth step is obtaining customer requirements. All team members should be included in customer focus groups, because everyone hears something different. Collectively they will have a better view of the real and unspoken needs. Each team member adds to the whole of the product or service. The final step is to execute a plan based on what was learned about high performance teams. Set stretch goals, reward interim achievements, and measure how much can be accomplished in a short period of time. Remember to have fun, share knowledge, and trust each other.
The project manager cannot create a high performance team overnight. It is a fragile relationship that requires mutual trust, a strong purpose, shared responsibility, participative management, good communications, removal of barriers, motivation to change, risk sharing goals, respect for each other, and a desire for success. This report will investigate the necessary aspects to create a high performance team in an existing organization.
The software development process is an incredible mixture of art and logic, creativity and formal rules, exciting breakthroughs, and tedious hours of testing. Nevertheless, key factors for the success of any software development project exist. The finished product must deliver value to its users. In order to achieve this goal, project scope has to be defined upfront. A well defined software development process and rigorous testing assure high quality results.
All steps of software development are fully analyzed in this paper. The process starts with the definition of scope, and management of customer expectations. This is the foundation for a successful project. The next steps are design work and "actual" software development part. The customer demos, training and implementation follow. Customer support after software is installed is an integral part of the software project.
The software development process heavily relies on people working on the project. Personnel management is one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of the software business. the ability to get the software geeks to finish the development on time and within budget is a must for the successful project manager.
The project management itself is a difficult part in the process. Quite often the development goes into uncharted territories where planning is tough. Many software companies add "buffer" time of as much as 40% to the development plans to accommodate the "unknown" factor.
The key issues of the software development process are highlighted in the case study of successful software implementation at Lucent Technologies by the team of software engineers led by the author of this paper. The successful installation of a warehouse management system allowed Lucent to reach the goals of improved productivity and inventory accuracy.
This paper presents a different view of the assessment process. Normally, assessment is used to identify candidates who are being considered for promotion into higher level jobs. The process is typically used as a unidirectional tool in that respect. This paper describes the assessment process and turns the process around so that it serves as a development tool for the candidate.
One important aspect of assessment is the feedback process. The candidate participates in a number of business simulation exercises, which the assessment team uses to formulate ratings on 18 different managerial characteristics, called dimensions. Each dimension is rated individually and then collectively by the assessment team. The goal is to arrive at a consensus rating for each dimension, for each candidate. The 18 dimension scores are used to formulate an overall score for the candidate. After this process is complete, one assessor contacts the candidate for a feedback session. The feedback is usually done in the presence of the candidate's supervisor. The object of feedback is to tell the candidate how he scored in each dimension and why.
The feedback process presents an ideal opportunity for establishing self development plans for any weak areas that candidate may have. This paper presents a formal process for establishing a self development program, tracking that development and using those efforts as an override to a low or limited assessment score.
Engineering managers and project leaders are responsible for getting new product development projects done on time, within budget, and in conformance with customer expectations. Rapidly changing technology, increasing competition, and customer demands are forcing companies to introduce a greater number of new products at a faster rate. Methods of engineering exist that correspond to the scope or size of a new product development project under consideration. Engineering managers and product leaders need a tool to match the appropriate engineering methods to projects at the project planning or preliminary stage of development. Knowledge of the correct engineering methods to use improves planning and helps determine the development costs the project will incur.
New product development projects require an application of engineering methods that match the specifications of the project based on a number of criteria. The scoring model introduced in this thesis is a tool that selects the methods of engineering to apply to a project by matching the criteria to the project specifications. These criteria are the size of the project sales expectations, sale price of the product, safety concerns, development costs, market demand for the product, potential for warranty expense, complexity and technical detail, innovation, the possibility of patentable designs, and functionality. These criteria or specifications of a project determine the amount of engineering effort, or in other words the number of engineering methods that are necessary for the project to be a success. Very large projects typically require every engineering method the project leader is aware of to be successful. Very small projects typically require only a couple of engineering methods. The methods of engineering have a hierarchy of use that reflects the complexity and cost to apply the method. The methods of engineering in hierarchical order are: historical data, calculations, factor of safety, forseeability, failure modes and effect analysis, design reviews, testing, team concept, and virtual prototyping.
The scoring model that this thesis proposes rates the criteria and scores the criteria on their importance to a specific project. A weighted score is obtained by choosing the best match of the criteria in the model to the specifications of the project. The scores for each criterion are added together to obtain a total weighted score for this project. This score is matched against the hierarchical list of engineering methods having pre-assigned values. The match between the total score for the project and the value on the list of methods is the model’s recommendation for engineering methods to apply to their project.
The scoring model is a tool that the engineering manager and project leader can use to successfully plan a project and in the process look more carefully at the details of the project. This is especially true on small and even medium sized projects where initial planning is sometimes minimal. In some circumstances, it is easier to take smaller projects for granted and just do them without any planning. Careful planning is normally part of large project analysis in order to justify the development costs and prove to management that the project is necessary for company success. It is not to say that the model is not important on large projects but it has greater impact on the smaller ones.
The score the model provides is a basis upon which a managerial decision can be made. The score provides the manager a means of determining the amount of engineering effort necessary for success. The value of the model is not in the accuracy of its prediction but the detailed thought and consideration it forces the project manager to use at the start of a project. The result is better-managed project and a higher quality product at completion with minimal development costs.
Purpose: Onboarding is a tool by which small engineering departments can strategically integrate new employees into the work environment. Unfortunately, organizations in general do not make use of onboarding programs. To help assist engineering managers who have access to limited resources, the purpose of this thesis is to define a process guideline to help these individuals construct an onboarding program for their respective departments. Methods: In order to define a process guideline for an onboarding process, research was conducted in business- and management-related literature. A partial meta-analytic review was performed on this existing onboarding material.
Main results: By employing a partial meta-analytic review, two major results were uncovered: (i) The analysis provided an insight into the current state of onboarding literature; (ii) The analysis revealed that onboarding is comprised of more familiar business/management-related practices. The review pointed out that the appearance of onboarding in the literature has been increasing since the late 1990's. This increase indicates that onboarding usage in organizations is increasing, that there is a growing need for onboarding-related material, and that contributors are viewing onboarding as an increasingly important tool rather than a fad. Despite this growing appearance in literature, the quality of onboarding contributions is lacking. In addition, the existing literature concerning onboarding is focused mainly on best practices and benefits. There are limited contributions in the area of onboarding application and execution, further supporting the need for a process guideline. The meta-analysis also revealed that onboarding consists of four major components: training, orientation, mentoring, and knowledge management. Because these components have a knowledge base more expansive than that of onboarding, additional research was conducted in these four component areas, providing a better understanding of the onboarding process as a whole, and the role of each of these components play within the onboarding process. Using the data and findings uncovered in this process- an onboarding process guideline was created. The process guideline is broken into three areas -- training, orientation, and mentoring -- with the knowledge management system serving as the backbone -- providing organizational information directly and indirectly to the new employee.
Main conclusions: In constructing a process guideline, onboarding was found to be more than just a tool to introduce new employees to a department. Organizations and departments can use onboarding strategically. Through careful planning, execution and review of the onboarding process, organizations and departments can accomplish such goals as shaping culture, maximizing efficiency, improving production, and reducing expenses. Main recommendations: It is recommended that small engineering department management employ the process guideline developed in this thesis to implement an onboarding program. In doing so, small engineering departments can more effectively use their existing resources. Small engineering departments will be able to strategically align their employees with the objectives of the organization and the department. The onboarding program will also improve the relationship between the new employee and the employer. To develop the knowledge base of onboarding, it is recommended that further research should be conducted in the area of onboarding practices. An emphasis should be placed on onboarding implementation, which will help enable management of organizations to implement such a program and make onboarding a more common practice in the workplace.
Businesses of 15 or more employees are now required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Employers are attempting to understand the ADA guidelines with few absolute answers and plenty of room for judgment calls. Employees must be accommodated based on individual needs. The ADA counsels that each case must be evaluated on it own merit. Using the ADA as a guide, employers are trying to deal with disabled employees and applicants. However, inconsistency, subjective interpretation of terms, concern for litigation, and numerous issues of employee benefits may be hindering the implementation of this civil rights law.
This investigation focuses on Title I (Employment) and Section 501 (c) (Employee Benefits) of Title V of the ADA. These portions of this legislation are key for the employment and the employability of the disabled. The employment aspects of the ADA are discussed and key terms in the law are defined and evaluated.
A survey of Milwaukee business, replicated from a Detroit survey done in 1993, examines how organizations are complying with the ADA. Results indicate that in spite of the confusion and apprehension about the ADA, three years after the implementation of this law, employers rate themselves high in compliance. More than half the organizations surveyed claim to have provided management training. Nearly 83% feel the ADA is understood by appropriate managers in their companies. Respondents claimed to be developing strategies and policies to reasonably accommodate disabled individuals. In addition, Milwaukee companies claim to have a high rate of analysis of ADA compliance in several employment areas.
The Milwaukee survey did uncover weaknesses in ADA compliance. There was a limited analysis of the critical uses of employee benefits and benefit plans. Employee tracking was lacking. Few organizations have used outside resources to assist in ADA compliance.
With ADA-regulated legal activity increasing dramatically, employers need to develop conflict resolution systems to deal with this new group of employment concerns. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes are presented to offer viable alternatives to ADA litigation and employee conflict resolution. The EEOC’s commitment to ADR should alert employees to seriously examine these techniques and their advantages.
A proposition suggested is that the ADA will do more to keep people working who become disabled than it will do in providing job opportunities for the disabled. The intuitive support for this idea is that the capabilities of current employees are known and more easily accommodated. Further evidence may be that 50% of the ADA related legal charges are due to discharge, while only 11% of the charges are for hiring violations.
Research indicated the business community should maintain emphasis toward ADA compliance in reasonable accommodations, job descriptions, and job applications. There should also be an additional focus on employee benefit issues, employee training, seeking information and assistance from outside resources, and developing dispute resolution procedures to help manage the increase of ADA charges.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy aimed at optimizing profits by forming consistent long-term relationships with customers. These relationships are fostered by communication with the customer and internal to the organization, resulting in consistently delighted and more profitable customers. Sales Automation, Marketing Automation, and Customer Service are the three main components of CRM. By consistently delighting and retaining customers, a successful CRM implementation will increase profitability by reducing costs, increasing process efficiency, and increasing the effectiveness and profitability of the processes. A successful implementation requires a company to change its focus from product-centered operations to customer-centric operations. This may require significant changes within multiple areas of the company.
A company must examine multiple areas to insure it is ready to implement a CRM strategy. To begin, a company needs to clearly communicate the vision, mission, and business rules it operates by. The company can then identify its unique CRM goals and develop a strategy and measures to guide the business in its efforts to achieve those goals. Without first articulating its vision and mission, the company risks creating conflicting CRM goals, ultimately leading to a severely decreased chance to attain the success measures. Most CRM failures are attributed to the lack of integration of the CRM strategy with the overall business vision, mission, and strategy.
Once the company has clearly communicated the specifics of how it will operate and why, the company can access its readiness for CRM by examining the business strategy, the organizational structure, the company culture, and the technical infrastructure. A company must align its CRM strategy within its business strategy, utilizing its unique strenghts to differentiate itself in the market. The organization structure must be conducive to communications between departments, especially Sales, Marketing, and Service in order to present a consistent face to the consumer. The company culture must be able to change to support common customer-centric processes and the open flow of information, beginning at the executive level. Also, the company must possess the communications network and technical resources required to implement the CRM tool of its choosing. Of these areas, the company culture is typically the most difficult area to address, and technology is typically the easiest. All four areas, however, must be assessed and preparations made to handle the company-wide changes associated with supporting a CRM strategy.
Support of a CRM strategy requires time, money, and resources. A company must painstakingly estimate the costs and benefits associated with the CRM implementation including investigating multiple possible CRM components. The company can then determine what components of the overall strategy to implement and the order of implemention that best benefits the company. These component selections and their prioritization are documented in the implementation and continuous improvement plans. Continuous monitoring of the success criteria during the implementation of the CRM strategy components allows a company to tailor its CRM strategy to provide the greatest benefit at the least cost. Once begun, a company must continue to analyze and modify its strategy throughout the ongoing journey of CRM. This document includes a case study on a real company, which for the purpose of this report the author refers to as Conlift. The company name and other references have been changed to allow the company and executive management to remain anonymous. To better support a CRM effort at a company like Conlift, upper management must first reestablish and communicate the company vision, mission, and business rules, and then articulate its CRM goals, strategy, and measures for success. Conlift has implemented many changes within the company positioning itself for customer centricity, but further assessment will drive additional changes in the business strategy, the organizational structure, and the company culture. Conlift upper management must develop and clearly communicate the business strategy to the enterprise and marry it with CRM strategy. It must also continue to reorganize to combine similar groups and eliminate efficiencies and redundancies within the major company brands. A concentrated communications effort including a supporting training plan needs to address the details surrounding the cultural change from product-centric to customer-centric. Upper management must foster collaboration and provide the resources necessary to re-tool the workforce. Lastly, upper management must actively reinforce, monitor, and improve the CRM-related processes. By affecting changes and reorganizing around the customer, Conlift increases its chance to successfully implement a CRM strategy and increase profitability by consistently delighting its customers.
Most software development projects fail. The software is delivered late, over budget, or delivered with a less-than-desired feature set. Software development has become critical for the survival of today's information-driven companies. Organizations must improve their ability to deliver software on time, on budget, and with the promised feature set.
The best and worst practices of software project management will be discussed and analyzed with the goal of establishing strategies for an organization to improve its ability to manage software projects. Many books and articles have been written chronicling the best practices of successful software development organizations. This thesis presents an analysis and discussion of the current body of research to provide strategies to improve an organization's ability to manage software projects.
This thesis provides an overall discussion of the crucial areas of software development. The thesis discusses the following topics: Software project planning, software process, software development lifecycles, people, requirements capture, metrics, and benchmarking. In the author's experience, a software development team leader must ensure the planning stage of development is thoroughly completed. The Software Development Plan, SDP, must contain all of the essential elements. The SDP must be a living document which means it needs to be updated and modified as the project progresses. By ensuring proper documentation in the SDP, the document may be used to analyze a project's effectiveness as well as to provide a record of the project.
In the author's experience, the requirements capture process is one of the most important aspects of software development. The organization must develop, document, and institutionalize a requirements gathering process. The organization must also create processes and procedures for dealing with changes and additions to the projects requirements.
In the author's experience, a successful software organization must generate a usable, documented, and institutionalized software development process. Management must make the development and maintenance of the software process a priority by investing adequate resources to the effort. The software organization must also be aware of the type of software being generated and adapt their software processes and procedures to the realities of the software being developed. The software process must include a process for collecting metrics and analyzing the data collected. A common documented software process is essential to the success of the global software development organization.
In conclusion, by understanding and applying the topics discussed in this thesis, a software project manager has a greater chance of delivering software on time, on budget, and with the promised feature set.
A medium-sized manufacturing organization is defined as having 200 to 2,000 employees and having annual sales revenue of $20 to 400 million dollars.
Conventional structure is defined as that of the hierarchy in which activities are functionally divided and the typical mind-set is one of segmentation and isolation. The mode of operation within this structure tends to be mechanistic, command and control.
The hierarchical, dictatorial structure served organizations well in past decades. The operating environment of today's organization, however, is radically different that that in which the hierarchical structure was established. The forces acting upon the organization today prevent it from adequately meeting the needs of its stakeholders with such an impeding, barrier ridden, structure. Societal, globalized business and intra-organizational interrelationships demand that the conventional manufacturing organization undergo radical changes -- or perish.
Applying localized, band-aid type fixes to such a dysfunctional system is not the answer to achieving long term viability. Indiscriminate use of programs such as JIT, TQM, or QFD will have minimal effect without the proper organizational foundation.
The key element needed for success is strong, cohesive leadership. Leadership has always been important but it is crucial in the ever turbulent environment of the future. Organizational leaders must understand the fundamental concepts of the organization; the four needs which underlie its reason for existence; the core functions of the manufacturing organization, the network of activities which support these functions and the theories of human nature which influence how individuals interact to achieve organizational objectives.
The number one priority of leaders is to effectively align the people recourse of the organization with the efficient accomplishment of its core functions. The energy of these resources must also be unleashed and directed toward continuous, change producing organizational renewal. To have this happen the organizational leaders much formulate and communicate the organizational vision and must provide the direction, culture, and structure most conducive to achievement of the vision.
The structure of the successful, continuously renewing, medium-sized manufacturing organization of the future must be oriented around integrated, value adding activity centers rather than discrete, isolated and self-serving functions. These activity centers must have access to all information needed to make strategic decisions along with the required support resources.
The culture of the manufacturing organization of the future must be one of product and process innovation; both teams and individuals must be challenged and empowered to achieve greater competitiveness in both of these areas. People must be made to feel a sense of ownership in the organization; they must experience satisfaction from their entrepreneurial activities and must be recognized, rewarded, and compensated accordingly.
There are numerous barriers within a conventional organization which inhibit or prevent the organization from achieving a structural and cultural oriented renewal. For those organizations which are privately owned, the owners themselves could present the greatest barrier. If change is deemed to be unnecessary or unwanted by the owners, little can be accomplished – regardless of the effort. The higher the position in the organization, the greater the need for change related support and the greater the possible barrier to such change. The two most critical elements to enhancing or impeding change are the owners and CEO. A strong CEO, with owner or shareholder backing, can achieve the desired transformation in spite of the difficulty encountered at lower levels.
A restructuring renewal is a financially sound strategy. Companies which have restructured for better organizational performance have achieved an attractive financial return on investment. To maintain control of the restructuring process from a time, resource expenditure and cash flow standpoint; it is imperative that the product be led by competent people using project management tools.
Renewal of the medium-sized manufacturing organization via the structural and cultural changes as proposed will be traumatic and difficult but are mandatory if the organization is to successfully meet the future needs of its stakeholders.
The best way for a small high technology company to drive long-term growth is to create highly satisfied customers. Highly satisfied customers drive long-term growth in three ways. First, highly satisfied customers become long-term repeat customers if their needs and wants are continually satisfied better than anyone else. Second, highly satisfied customers provide valuable referrals that can be used to influence the buying decisions of prospective customers and promote company products and services to prospective customers. Third, prospective customers and existing customers are attracted to companies that deliver superior customer value. Investors are also attracted to companies that deliver superior customer value.
Customer satisfaction is determined by the degree to which a company meets or exceeds customer value expectations. The more a company exceeds customer value expectations, the more satisfied customers become. The more confident a company can make customers feel about the company’s ability to deliver on customer value expectations, the longer the company can expect to have highly satisfied customers. The longer a company is able to provide superior customer satisfaction the longer the company can count on customers to drive long-term growth.
The author advises top management to create an organization that can maintain a close relationship with the customer. A small high technology company that stays close to the customer will never go wrong because connecting the organization to the customer will provide a competitive advantage that will help ensure company success for many years to come.
Small technology companies that focus primarily on sales and marketing activities may experience rapid growth followed by a period where the growth rate flattens out or declines. This abrupt change in the growth rate usually occurs because the company is unable to satisfy existing customers and new customers. The best practice for small high technology companies seeking fast-growth strategies is to focus on customer satisfaction from the start and make every effort to break out of the sales-driven phase as soon as possible.
The first step to using superior customer satisfaction to drive long-term growth requires top management to make the commitment to change to meet the customer’s changing needs and wants. Top management must have the courage and determination to redefine and redesign the way it does business.
The author identifies and discusses key success factors, business practices, and competitive tactics that allow small high technology companies to use superior customer satisfaction to drive long-term growth. The key success factors involve the need for improvements in recruiting and retention of top-notch people, knowledge and skill development, quality, communication, definition of customer needs and wants, and ability to deliver upon customer value expectations. The business practices and competitive tactics discussed are some of the methods by which a small high technology company can implement the necessary improvements.
The most important success factor involves employees. Employees directly impact a company’s success when provided with the resources, training, and authority to solve customer problems.
During the first weeks of his tenure as Secretary of Transportation for the State of Wisconsin, Ron Fiedler challenged his department with the following philosophy, "Our responsibility is to provide service to the public which is accomplished in a variety of ways. Our charge is to be responsive to the public and treat our citizens with respect." (1) PROVIDE SERVICE; BE RESPONSIVE; TREAT WITH RESPECT. The words of an executive to his employees in the public sector which might well be repeated by an executive to his employees in the private sector when referring to their existing or potential customers.
This essay will explore the concept of viewing those affected by highway construction projects as customers of services provided by employees of a construction section of the State of Wisconsin, Department of Transportation (WISDOT) Highway District. The perspective will be kept to this one section for the sake of brevity. The ideas expressed can be effectively applied to other sections of the district, agencies of the State, or non-profit organizations.
The first portion of the essay will discuss the customer. It will define the customer, the State employee used in the essay, some of the views they have of each other, and suggestions for determining customer needs.
The second portion will define specific customer-project personnel relationships encountered on typical highway construction projects. It will suggest attitudes and actions to satisfy the customer's (citizen's) needs.
The conclusion will show that the same advantages await both the public and private sector employers and their employees who responsibly and respectfully serve their customers.
Communicating in technical terms to various audiences is a difficult task. This communication task has caused problems for industry when technical engineers and middle management try to solve the problems of the customer. To be able to write technical reports, project justification and problem analysis, the technical personnel must be able to articulate the solution.
Because of the need to understand each other the future of our industries will be dependent on the communication ability of our new recruits. Their abilities will depend on how they are taught as students, their individual background and the values, and the beliefs and culture of the company. The problem of written technical communication is basically individual related but it affects the entire organization. The research into this problem has proven that the technical written communication difficulty starts with elementary and secondary education. This is where the problem can be resolved. This can only be solved with the school system, the teaching as part of the school system and industry being involved with changes required for the future. Changes must start with the educational system and with industry’s selecting people that agree with the philosophy of the company.
There is ample evidence that a great deal of manufacturing production, and with it, engineering jobs and capability, has moved out of the United States to countries like Mexico, China, and India. While manufacturing is being shifted to areas of lowest cost production, military spending over the last few years has increased dramatically.
Particularly since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, there has been increased spending on the military, not just on personnel but also on military supplies, hardware, research, and contract services. For obvious security and strategic reasons, the United States must still retain the ability to manufacture ships, airplanes, tanks, and guns, and ever-more-sophisticated weapons of war and defense. This military/industrial complex (MIC) is perhaps one of the last areas of growth for US-based manufacturing and engineering, and therefore may represent a more promising alternative career path for the prospective American manufacturing engineer (MFE) than commercial sector or consumer goods manufacturing. In this project, the MFE is distinguished from designer engineer and other specialties primarily by involvement in and responsibility for the actual manufacturing process. A case study from a typical private sector company, as well as one from an MIC firm, is used to illuminate the issues pertinent to the thesis.
The fact that manufacturing is migrating out of the United States is indisputable. Respected analysts of the marketplace see increasing global competition, and government studies predict a loss of almost a million jobs over the next ten years. For the MFE specifically, the outlook is better. MFEs will be in demand, but competing factors complicate the picture. Companies will want to deploy the latest new technology in new plants, using new materials and processes, tending to increase demand. However, continued offshoring of manufacturing, combined with the increasing ease of substituting talented and lower-wage foreign MFEs will tend to curtail that demand. For the American MFEs, commercial manufacturing employment is becoming a riskier proposition, often involving more supervision of offshore manufacturing projects from headquarters here. Improved business networks, the fallout of industry adopting leaner Japanese manufacturing methods, improved logistics services, the proliferation of enterprise computing, and better access to world labor markets are all contributing factors to this development. The impact on the domestic MFE is that the nature of the job is changing.
The MIC has its roots in the earliest days of our country, but underwent rapid development during the World War II era. Since then, it has become less and less the case that a company would shift to military production only during wartime. Instead, now more than ever firms manufacturing goods for the military tend to produce just for the U.S. government. This is mainly due to increasing weapons complexity, high cost of entry into the market, and security requirements. For the MFE, there are more hands-on assignments with less competition from foreign nationals and more likelihood of remaining stateside. There is a great need for applying modern manufacturing techniques to what in many cases are recently-merged conglomerates with need for efficiency-improving lean projects, knowledge management and product lifecycle management improvement.
Although both have strengths, there are more reasons to believe the opportunity for MFEs within the MIC is superior. Chief among these are the legislated regulations, institutional bias of the government, and the security considerations of keeping a highly capable industrial sector working; ready and available to surge up for emergency demands, here within the United States. Economic theories such as transaction cost theory and resource based views support this argument as well, as do the apparent management focus of sector firms. Finally, given the entrenchment of our enemy in the global war on terror, the advantage of the MIC as an opportunity for the MFE over private sector manufacturing appears sustainable for the foreseeable future.
The U.S. still has the world's largest manufacturing economy, and demand for MFEs is strong. However, the tide of global competition is moving firms inexorably toward reducing labor costs in all parts of manufacturing, including MFE labor costs. The support of the domestic MIC by the U.S. government, and their view of it a crucial strategic capacity, along with all the other factors cited herein, makes the opportunity within the MIC superior.
Today, the business environment that surrounds an organization is changing rapidly and is challenging managers to become far more alert and inventive than ever before. Many business organizations are trying to understand the process of change in terms of which approaches will lead to successful changes and which actions will fail to achieve the desired results. This dissertation is an analysis and evaluations of the process of change in respect to identifying, understanding, implementing and maintaining change within the business organization.
An essential element in the management of change is the ability to recognize change as it starts to take place. Management needs to stress a continuing self-examination as a part of the process of identifying and managing change. The organization must adopt a positive view toward change and respond in an orderly manner.
Understanding the characteristics of change is a far more complex task than identifying specific changes. In today's business environment, employees are experiencing considerable stress because they can no longer perform their work as they formerly did. Resistance to change by employees and managers alike is one of the most difficult problems that business managers have to resolve in their organizations.
Business organizations should be structured to create the circumstances that make it possible for individuals to contribute their ideas to the process of change. Managers need to develop internal environments that stimulate individuals to act and give them the power to do so. Successful change depends basically on a redistribution of the decision-making power within the structure of an organization. The power redistribution should occur through a good developmental plan for the business organization. This plan involves a number of phases, each containing specific elements and multiple causes that provoke a needed reaction from the power structure, which, in turn, sets the stage for the next phase in the process of change.
The most important task for the business organization is to develop the characteristics of the business environment that can be managed to permit change to take place on its own. Change management systems must continually be reviewed and re-reviewed to assess its appropriateness and effectiveness.
The business organization must be responsive to the social revolution in the both the internal and external environment of the company and to the new structures and systems necessary for improving its performance for the future.
This thesis analyzes the economic feasibility of starting up a new technology company to design and market industrial-network interface products. It determines if there is a sufficient market need for the proposed business venture, presents a detailed market analysis, and applies that analysis to develop a business strategy and supporting functional strategies. These strategies are implemented in a preliminary business plan, and the results reviewed to determine if this is a viable business opportunity.
The market analysis reviews the external and internal business environments, identifying the important strategic factors. Existing competitors are analyzed to identify their strategies and objectives. Market research is used to estimate the potential market size, identify target market segments, and determine customer requirements.
Strategy formulation applies the results of the market analysis to develop the business strategy. A situation analysis uses the strategic factors to identify the most appropriate business strategy. Corporate culture and values are defined. Based on this data, the best corporate strategy for the proposed company will be growth through horizontal integration. The business strategy will be focused differentiation for the North American market. Further refinement of these strategies results in the development of a hybrid business model. The proposed company will provide custom products to the industrial network-interface market. It will charge a nominal fee for its design services, generating profits by manufacturing the resulting custom products. The hybrid business model is unique in its application to the industrial network-interface market, and will be a strong competitive advantage for the company.
The preliminary business plan defines and implements specific functional strategies that support the hybrid business model. It includes a marketing plan, an organizational plan, and an operations plan. Financial statements generated from the sales forecast and estimated budgets are analyzed to determine profitability and the return on initial investment. Company ownership and financial sources are defined. The company will be a closely-held corporation. The required start-up funding is estimated to be $220,000. Contingency plans are presented for each functional strategy.
The results of this feasibility study indicate that the proposed company can be economically successful. The business opportunity is well defined, and there is sufficient market size and growth to accommodate a new competitor. The hybrid business model will provide a unique competitive advantage for penetrating the target market segments and growing its business. Important success factors include customer-orientation and flexibility. Customer relationships will be important to financial success, because the company will have a limited number of customers. Flexibility will be important for company employees, who will need to perform a diverse number of tasks. Manufacturing operations will also have to be flexible in order to efficiently produce a number of different custom products.
Wise investment in capital equipment is critical to a company's future. The basic object of replacing capital equipment is to improve a company's future and competitiveness. The process to replace old or obsolete capital equipment is very critical. More than 34% of all U.S. machine tools are twenty years old or greater. This equipment will eventually need to be replaced.
An accurate equipment justification procedure must be in place to make financially sound decisions. This procedure can only be effective if an accurate costing system is in place, all benefits are stated, and no fixed numerical hurdle rate is in place that acts as the go/no-go decision on capital equipment replacement decision making.
Technology has changed the way companies do business. Production lines have become fully automated. Overhead costs have grown while direct labor costs have shrunk. Overhead costs have grown because of the need for more expensive equipment and tooling, larger marketing departments, increased advertising, technology, and R & D research. While so much has changed, some things are still the same. Accounting systems have not changed to reflect the change that is happening in manufacturing facilities. New Activity Based Costing (ABC) accounting systems are needed to allocate costs where they are consumed. Unfortunately, converting standard accounting systems into Activity Based Costing accounting systems can be difficult.
New technology is being used because customers demand higher quality, greater variability, shorter lead times, and lower cost products. This causes overhead costs to increase. New manufacturing technology increasing involves more maintenance, expensive capital equipment, additional engineers, maintenance equipment, support labor, and expensive tooling, etc. The major cost of a product has shifted from direct labor to overhead and material cost. Direct labor is a small percentage of total corporate cost. The increased use of automation has had a direct impact on the reduction of direct labor.
The changes in manufacturing philosophy have been significant: A) Greater use of automation equals higher quality, and lower cost. B) Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) reduce throughput time. C) JIT philosophy leads to less lead time and smoother work flow. D) Cellular Manufacturing reduces delivery time, increases flexibility and quality.
The healthcare industry in the United States is facing a crisis. Costs continue to rise, access to care continues to get constrained, and quality of care as perceived by patients is not keeping pace with the cost. Many of the efforts utilized in healthcare today attempt to leverage new technology and cost control measures to combat these issues. Many healthcare organizations do not employ systematic process improvement to help combat these issues.
The current state of the healthcare industry is a culmination of over one-hundred years of changes. In the early 1900s, changes began in the use and influence of hospitals in patient care. An increasing number of physicians became specialists versus working in general medicine. As World War II raged on, those that joined the military received health services and treatments not widely available previously. Wages were frozen at this time and groups negotiated for improvements to insurance benefits. In the 1960s Medicare changed healthcare as coverage was now being provided based on age rather than need.
Healthcare costs continue to climb reaching nearly 16 percent of the United States' gross domestic product. The increasing cost of providing healthcare has in turn increased the expenditures of employers and employees at a rate greater than income growth. The current rapid rise in healthcare costs can be tracked in part to productivity not keeping pace with healthcare wage inflation, insurance, risk inherent in the practice of medicine, and the lack of solid information and payment responsibility in the hands of the patients.
Process improvement techniques have been used in manufacturing for years to make advancements in the areas of quality, cost, delivery, safety, and morale. Most of these efforts trace back to Toyota Motor Company in 1945 when they created their Toyota Production System as a method to make productivity and cost improvements to catch up to their American counterparts. Their steady application of such techniques over the years have allowed them to pass Ford Motor as the second largest automobile manufacturer in the world and positioned them to soon overtake General Motors as the largest.
Organizations that successfully utilize process improvement techniques have some common characteristics. These start with strong leadership at the top of an organization lending full support to the improvement efforts. Leaders create and effectively communicate a vision to the entire organization. They also lay out steps and projects for employees to execute that help achieve the vision. Resources are dedicated to the effort with a continuous improvement manager responsible for leading and training the organization in addition to insuring that the processes are correctly followed.
Process improvement tools all follow a similar six step methodololgy which includes identifying the opportunity, understanding the current state, defining the desired outcomes, determine root causes, propose and test solutions, and insure that improvements are sustained.
Managing change is an important aspect to successful process improvement efforts. Keys to managing change include the establishment of a sense of urgency, the creation of a guiding coalition, development of a vision and strategy, communication of the vision, the empowerment of action, the consolation of gain, and the use of early successes to anchor a new approach in the culture.
Healthcare organizations have slowly begun to embrace and utilize process improvement tools. When these efforts are anchored by strong leadership and are allowed to become a part of the business, successes are realized. The general culture of healthcare, given its risks, propensity for litigation, and sometimes just a belief that things are already as good as they can or need to be, tend to prevent results similar to what have been realized in manufacturing.
A case study at healthcare provider organization in a Midwestern state provided first-hand experience in quality improvement efforts in healthcare. The study showed in this healthcare organization that there was no process improvement system, adequate training, management support, clearly communicated vision, process ownership, dedication of resources, and patient input.
Process improvement tools to drive quality improvements in healthcare can be successful. Some important elements of the system are necessary for success to be achieved. This includes the correct leadership, creation and communication of a vision, having a process improvement system, a manager to control the improvement tools and processes, resources dedicated to the improvement projects, and feedback from the patients most directly affected by the process.
Companies have lost the ability to track costs accurately. Eighty percent of companies today continue to depend on traditional costing to develop the final price of their finished goods. However, traditional costing has grown obsolete for most applications and needs to be replaced by a more accurate method of tracking costs.
In recent years, companies have begun turning towards Activity-Based Costing (ABC) to accurately track the costs of finished goods. However, ABC has been hyped as an extremely difficult concept that requires a team of accountants and outside consultants to implement effectively. Many small companies have felt that ABC is outside of their grasp. This is not the case.
ABC can be implemented by small companies and does not require a large sum of money or manpower. A basic ABC system can be developed without a large amount of difficulty. Many of the books, magazines, and journals about ABC lead people to believe that a complex system is needed. In reality, a simple ABC that is understood by managers is more effective and can be developed for nearly any company.
This thesis will show how ABC can be implemented in a small operation. A custom injection molder is used as an example. Injection molding works well as an example because there are many unique and varied processes. ABC can tie the processes and costs of injection molding together to accurately track the final prices of the plastic parts. Additionally, the ideas and concepts from implementing ABC in an injection molding company can easily be transferred to other industries.
Implementing ABC simply requires one person who understands the company and the major activities performed by employees. With this knowledge, the person can create the ABC model using the simple functions of a spreadsheet. The costs fall into a logical arrangement resulting in an accurate price for the finished good. As the company grows and changes, the spreadsheet can easily be changed as well.
With ABC in place, companies can provide much better customer support, initiate incremental costing when bidding on new jobs, and measure the impact that new equipment will have on the operation of the company. In short, ABC can make a manager’s job easier by providing more accurate information to allow better decisions to be made.
The purpose of this thesis is to describe Employee Assistance Programs as a method of helping employees deal with alcohol, drug, or emotional problems, so that the employees can regain their health and individual productivity.
The following are advantages to having an EAP: employee's alcohol, drug, or emotional problems can be detected early, when treatment is less expensive and has a higher success rate. Reduced health care costs in subsequent years. Helps employees maintain full productivity. Increased product quality. Decrease in injuries, damaged equipment, theft, absenteeism, fatalities, tardiness, and time off. Reduce social costs of crime and cost of criminal justice system. Reduced homicides, suicides, domestic and sexual violence. Reduction in turnover, grievances, sick leave, and off the job accidents.
This thesis also discusses types of EAPs, how to evaluate and start an EAP, drug testing as a future trend, and the manager's role in employee health.
Second, managers and supervisors are encouraged to refer their problem employees for counseling and referral. Without management referral, employees with alcohol and / or drug problems are unlikely to seek help from EAP programs because these employees deny that they have these problems. They must be brought to face their problems in a very direct and forceful way. Employee Assistance Programs present that opportunity.
The first step to establishing an employee assistance program is to develop and publish a clear policy concerning alcoholism and various other problems that interfere with job performance. It must assure employees that participation in the EAP will be kept confidential and record will not become part of their personal files.
Supervisors need training if they are to be effective in the rehabilitative process. They must be counseled in how to maintain an objective, consistent approach to the problems of the troubled employee and must be helped to understand how the employee's behavior in impacting their own behavior.
World Class Manufacturing is a concept manufacturing organizations are trying to achieve. The definition of WCM is different for each organization. The project researched showed that organizations state the desire to become World Class without having defined how WCM fits the needs of the organization. The WCM model developed by the author consists of four components: Utilization of sound manufacturing management strategies, adoption of practices to insure the strategies are part of the daily activities, identification of customer expectations developed through interaction with all business constituents and / or customers, and standardization of performance measurables to insure all customer expectations are met. The WCM strategies are: Total Quality Management (TQM), Employee Involvement, Self-Directed Work Teams, Root Cause Elimination / Standardized Problem Solving, Safety / Housekeeping, Environmental Awareness, Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Set-Up Reduction, Waste Elimination Manufacturing, Simultaneous Engineering, and Quality Function Deployment. The strategies are essential to the progression to WCM. When the strategies are combined with the appropriate practices and customer expectations, and applied correctly World Class status can be achieved. Practices include: Benchmarking, Reengineering, Vision and Business Planning, Employee Development Training & Mentoring, and High Velocity Change. Customer expectations are based on quality, cost, and delivery but include the expectations of both external and internal customers. Examples include: complete, clear, stable processes, drawings and plans, manufacturable designs, on-time drawings, process, plans, and tool designs, on-time delivery, cost reductions, capable processes, performance consistent with budget and or quotes, a great place to work, meet customer product development timing, and zero defects.
The model when used in conjunction with the following step application process can lead an organization on the journey to World Class Marketing and Engineering. 1. Create a clear tomorrow - Develop the vision). 2. Solicit customer expectations. 3. Perform competitive benchmarking. 4. Develop strategic imperatives. 5. Align strategic imperatives with WCM Engineering strategies. 6. Determine key process within manufacturing engineering. 7. Form teams to perform key processes. 8. Develop measureables that support imperatives, key processes, and customer expectations. 9. Develop transition plan. 10. Periodically review key measurables and corrective actions and institutionalize World Class Manufacturing Engineering.
The correct application of the model can lead to the following results: Improved market share of nineteen percent and reduced manufacturing cost sixty nine percent over six years. Teamwork and employee involvement using waste elimination techniques accounted for much of the organization's success. Self-directed work teams, standardized problem solving and total productive maintenance drove the reduction of scrap and rework twenty seven percent, met production schedules one hundred percent of the time and reduced machine downtime from six hundred hours per year to one hundred seventy five hours for one manufacturer. Another manufacturer reduced product introduction lead times fifty percent through Simultaneous Engineering and new technology in engineering.
The results can be obtained by periodic review of the customer expectations and the implementation of corrective actions that insure the expectations and measureables are being met.
Crisis management, as it relates to organizations, can take on many different forms. Crises, such as an organization losing its senior managers in a severe car crash, or facing bankruptcy proceedings, can threaten the existence of a company. Therefore, managers must understand the importance of not only identifying early warning signs of crises, but they must also prepare for future ones. Many managers may view the probability for a crisis as low and, as such, may not adequately prepare for them. Managers that are knowledgeable, aware of potential crises, and that are capable of detecting early warning signs may minimize the effects and intensity of them. What appears to complicate or cloud the issue of crisis management within organizations results from bottom line and top level managers that may view their respective company contingent plans somewhat differently. Additionally, managers of publicly held organizations may share a somewhat different perception of crisis than managers of privately owned companies.
It also becomes important to understand that crisis evolves through stages. This allows managers to better conceptualize and thus prepare for crisis. This ultimately enables managers to create contingency and monitoring plans to assist the organization during a crisis. All managers should realize that it is not a matter of, if a crisis will occur during their careers, but when.
Literary research and interviews with professionals in the construction industry are used in this thesis to identify current challenges facing construction companies. Challenges found include a highly competitive, complex, and rapidly changing business environment, a shrinking pool of skilled labor, lost knowledge and skills among trade personnel, and increasing customer demands.
Traditional management models still widely used in the construction industry are introduced and discussed in detail, emphasizing the scientific management philosophy of Frederick Taylor and the administrative management theory of Henri Fayol. Drawbacks of the traditional management model were found, including its neglect of acknowledging employee intellectual capital and therefore its inability to capture and transfer valuable knowledge; the disconnect between those actually doing the work, that is, the value added part, and the needs and priorities of the customer; the extensive dependence on inspection in the traditional model; the absence of team and cross-functional analyses to problem-solve, especially vital in this era of complexity; the inability to adapt quickly to changes due to its hierarchical structure; and the lack of opportunities for innovation.
This thesis researches the learning organization model as an alternative strategic management approach. The premise of the learning organization is that learning must take place quicker than the external environment changes to enable organizations to maintain viability amid these changes. Organizations accomplish this through a concerted strategic management effort to instill continuous improvement initiatives through continuous learning by its members. Knowledge must be sought and transferred through the organization through formalized structures supporting this intent. The basic concepts of the learning organization include a culture that values experimentation, teamwork, shared decision making, employee ownership of work outputs, employee control over work process, continuous improvement, the creation and transferring of knowledge, systematic thinking, and learning styles that challenge company norms.
The challenges found that face the implementation of these concepts within the construction industry include the non-standard nature of construction projects, the use of temporary alliances and fragmentation in the industry, a construction culture that values "hard" issues, and difficulties in managing information due to the lack of formal structures and procedures to support it.
An implementation plan designed by this student is presented in the second portion of this thesis. The implementation plan is geared toward construction firms interested in adopting a learning organization strategic management model. Prerequisites for employing the plan are outlined, including an analysis of strategic and knowledge gaps, and communication within the organization. Unit work teams are at the core of this student's plan, emphasizing trade personnel responsibility for work quality, time and cost efficient work processes, problem solving, and record keeping. A structure is presented which allows individual project learning to transfer on an organizational-wide basis. Other topics of note include continuous information gathering to support and analyze change plan, the benefits of using a pilot project, handling resistance to change, and the development of an exit strategy as part of the implementation plan.
The purpose of this research is to examine the procedural rules of international commercial arbitration. A detailed description will be given of the procedures involved in commercial arbitration cases – including terms of reference, pleading, discovery, and witnesses. The research will then focus on arbitration involving developing countries, and will conclude with an evaluation of the comparative merits of ad hoc (special case arbitration vs. institutional arbitration, especially when one party is from a developed country and the other from a developing country.
Procedural rules, for the purpose of this research, are the body of rules or machinery for carrying on arbitration proceedings after the formation of the arbitration panel and culminating with the award. Thus, this study is concerned with what goes on in arbitration, beyond the actual proceeding themselves, that go on during an arbitration.
The procedure for the settlement of commercial arbitration cases has a number of advantages over other forms of disputes resolution, including litigation. These will be discussed at greater length.
Both the traditional performance appraisal and the Balanced Scorecard ultimately seek to improve the performance of the organization. However, the focus is different in each approach -- the traditional performance appraisal focuses on individuals, while the Balanced Scorecard focuses on the organization as a whole. The goals of the traditional performance appraisal are worthy, but these functions have not been served adequately. The Balanced Scorecard could be used to cover most of the functions that the traditional performance appraisal sought to satisfy in a manner that is more appropriate in the context of today's organization. The main focus in this thesis will be to identify who traditional performance appraisals fail and how the Balanced Scorecard can address their shortcomings.
Topics addressed in this thesis include the intended purposes of the traditional performance appraisal, evidence that traditional performance appraisals cannot adequately serve their intended purposes, the basics of the Balanced Scorecard approach, the importance of managing the organization as a system, management's view of employees, and an explanation of using a Balanced Scorecard approach to invoke a cultural shift in the organization that can eliminate the need for the traditional performance appraisal.
The traditional performance appraisal is an artifact of the assumptions made regarding how and why people are motivated to perform in an organizational setting. Compelling evidence continues to mount pointing to the elimination of the TPA. Unfortunately, most resources on the subject do not indicate how to measure and guide performance without it. People within the organization may be convinced that the traditional performance appraisal serves important purposes within the organization and that it is a necessary part of life. For example, people within organizations may be concerned about how pay would be administered fairly without it. Resolving problems such as these requires an examination and reevaluation of the assumptions upon which the need is based. Management may need to adopt a different viewpoint regarding employees and how they function in and react to the organization as a system.
Several of management theories, namely McGregor's Theory Y, systems theory and a balanced scorecard approach, can be used in combination to solve a number of problems in today's organizations. McGregor's Theory Y indicates that individuals are intrinsically motivated to perform. Given the correct information regarding strategy along with a picture of how he or she fits into the organization, an employee will align their efforts with the goals of the organization. Systems theory provides the picture, while the balanced scorecard approach provides a means by which to communicate the strategy. The balanced scorecard also provides timely feedback regarding performance and a framework for linking compensation with outcomes.
Development of sophisticated software applications for today’s business environment is being hampered by low productivity and inadequate quality control. This situation has resulted in a "software crisis". As Conte, et al., explain in Software Engineering Metrics and Models: The full realization of the potential of computers...depends on our ability to produce reliable software at a reasonable cost. ....there is great national concern that software technology lags so far behind hardware technology that this potential will never be fully realized, and that we as a country could lose our technological lead in computers to other nations.
Productivity improvement in the software engineering profession has been approached from either a technical or behavioral perspective. Technical approaches utilize new software development methodologies, development tools, metrics, etc., in their attempt to improve productivity. By contrast, behavioral (sociological) approaches consider such areas as the work environment, ergonomics, human relations and organizational behavior. This thesis focuses on the software productivity problem from a behavioral perspective. In particular, the employee performance appraisal aspect of organizational behavior and its impacts upon productivity are explored and a new approach to the appraisal of software engineers is developed.
The premise of the proposed approach to the performance appraisal of software engineers concurs with a citation of Gerald Weinberg in The Decline and Fall of the American Programmer: Many programmers -- probably most programmers -- work in environments in which they receive essentially no real feedback embodying the consequences of what they do. Lacking this feedback, they lack the motivation to attempt changes, and they also lack the information needed to make the correct changes.
Chapter one further explains the importance of addressing the software productivity issue and the rationale for approaching it from a behavioral perspective. Chapter two gives a historical background on performance appraisal and the corporate rational for its implementation. Chapter three examines the many aspects, problems, and pitfalls involved in implementing performance appraisal. In addition, the roles of the manager and emerging concepts on the subject are discussed.
To gain further insight into the performance appraisal issues that affect software engineers, an opinion survey was administered. Chapter four discusses the insights gathered from the survey and how the information was considered in the recommendationed approach to performance appraisal.
In chapter five a new approach to the performance appraisal of software engineers is developed. The new approach involves revising the performance appraisal practices applied to software engineers and implementing them within the framework of the classic software development model. The new approach intends to improve the productivity of software engineers by using performance appraisal as a medium to create a climate of increased communication between managers and software engineers.
Over the past few years, most firms have been effective in reducing manufacturing cost through automation. Likewise, these companies have made strides in reducing inventory and quality costs through techniques such as just-in-time manufacturing and statistical process control. As a result, material and direct labor costs have been reduced dramatically. However, relatively high overhead costs continue to burden the larger firms, yet smaller firms have been successful in keeping these costs relatively low. The large, diversified firms must address these costs if they are to regain competitiveness.
The overall goal of this thesis is to help large firms reduce overhead costs through the process of selecting and networking core business units. Although the subjects of selecting (diversification strategy) and networking (organizational structure) business units are well covered in available literature, there is little mention of integrating these two areas in the effort to improve company efficiency. This thesis shows that the major factors affecting company efficiency are diversification strategies and organizational structures. It also shows that these factors are interrelated. In other words, successful diversification also requires proper organizational structure.
The composition of the work force is changing; it is shrinking and becoming more diverse. Managers must adapt to the changing environment and acquire the skills necessary to manage a team of diverse employees, particularly employees with disabilities. American companies can no longer afford to exclude the unique talent of people with disabilities. By the year 2000, these companies may face a shortage of technical and business-trained individuals. People with disabilities complement a company's work force and improve its global competitiveness.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became effective in July, 1992. This civil rights legislation is intended to remove employment barriers and facilitate the integration of people with disabilities into the work place. Unfortunately, the ADA's ambiguous wording is creating apprehension among employers. The majority of employers are wary of the ADA's impact on businesses and unaware of the benefits derived from employing people with disabilities. Experts believe that negative attitudes, myths, and misconceptions prevent the full integration of people with disabilities into the work environment.
The contemporary nature of this topic resulted in conducting a significant amount of primary research. An integral part of the research involved interviewing able-bodied employees and employees with disabilities from manufacturing and service industries across the United States. The comprehensiveness of this thesis is attributed to the design and development of the Organizational Environment Test Instrument (OETI). the OETI was used to determine of an attitudinal differential exists between able-bodied employees and employees with disabilities toward nine environmental attributes. These attributes include commitment, acceptance, comfort level, awareness / sensitivity training needs, supportiveness, openness in communication, the existence of attitudinal barriers, perception of the ADA, and level of contributions from people with disabilities. Primary research is complemented by a wealth of secondary research. Resource materials located through OCLC, WISCAT, Compendex, Internet, Newsbank, and Wilson-Disk support this thesis.
Analysis of the data from the OETI reveals that a statistically significant difference exists between the attitudes and perceptions held by able-bodied employees and employees with disabilities toward the work environment. This difference impedes the integration of people with disabilities. Research concludes that employing people with disabilities has no detrimental effect on companies' insurance premiums, productivity, product quality, attendance, safety, or turnover rate. In fact, after hiring people with disabilities, companies experience increased market share, strengthened work ethic, societal benefits, improved customer relations, and elevated corporate image.
The ADA will not be totally effective as long as attitudinal differences remain between able-bodied employees and non-able-bodied employees. Proactive managers with a vision recognize this fact and develop strategies to promote the integration of people with disabilities. Sensitivity training, strategic alliances, top management commitment, disability mission statements, and the development of partnership relations are effective strategies in the integration process.
The pursuit of customer satisfaction is rapidly becoming the business objective of the 90s. The activity is a natural extension of the quality movement of the 80s. Today’s business success hinges upon getting and keeping customers using cost efficient methods to remain competitive in what has become a global economy.
Companies that sell and service their manufactured products through independent distributors or manufacturer’s representatives are removed by at least one step from the ultimate customer or user. This presents a challenge to that business to develop effective strategies to achieve and maintain customer satisfaction, as virtually all contact between producer and consumer is highly filtered.
This thesis will examine that area of customer satisfaction pertaining to product performance and supplier relations concerning after sale service. The study will be limited to industrial manufacturing companies supplying capital goods to other businesses through distribution organizations which are responsible for sale and service of those goods.
An examination of current literature to include major texts and articles appearing in business publications will be undertaken. In addition, a number of companies meeting the above criteria will be comprehensively surveyed or interviewed. The focus of these two information searches will be to determine what companies are doing to achieve customer satisfaction in the subject area and their relative levels of success.
In conclusion, an overall plan will be developed based on the findings above which upon its implementation will assure customer satisfaction and measurable business success.
Industrial manufacturing companies that sell and service their product through independent dealers/representatives face a unique challenge in assuring customer satisfaction. Strategies must be formulated which address the satisfaction needs of all customers in the chain, typically the dealer/representative and the ultimate end user. Determination of those satisfaction needs and knowing when they are met must be extracted from the highly filtered contact between producer and consumer. Companies that unravel this complex relationship and formulate the appropriate customer satisfaction strategies enjoy business growth and success.
The Leveraged Buyout (LBO) became one of the most popular corporate restructuring techniques of the 1980's. Many entrepreneurs and corporate managers want to own their own corporation and control their own destiny. However, most do not have the personal resources to achieve this goal in a short period of time. The LBO became a vehicle ideally suited to then current circumstances to enable many to achieve their desire for corporate ownership or control as well as personal wealth beyond conventional dreams.
The LBO also came into existence because the timing was right. A dissatisfaction with ordinary returns on investment, a desire for personal ownership by short-cut methods, a tax structure that allowed assets to be written off against current earnings, interest payments that could also be written off against current earnings and the existence of a small group of investment brokers who saw an opportunity to take advantage of all these circumstances to make large sums of money for themselves and for their clients. Thus, the LBO was created.
An LBO is a highly leveraged buy-out of an existing company by an investment group. Because of the high degree of leverage it is also an investment with a much higher degree of risk than commercially acceptable. The investment group consists of an investment banking institution, an array of different types of investors with different tolerances for risk and an ownership group consisting of the existing management of the corporation, an outside management team, public investors or the employees of the company or some mix of all these different groups. The two essential players are the group that can raise the usually very large sums of capital needed to buy the corporation and the management team that can run the acquired corporation more effectively than it has been run in the past.
The premise of the LBO is that the price paid today will be paid for within a relatively short period of time -- five to ten years -- by the subsequent sale of the corporation at a much higher price, after allowing for inflation. This will enable the original borrowing to be repaid and the owners left with a substantial capital appreciation. A further premise is that the performance of the target corporation will be improved after acquisition by new management, better motivation of management and by the introduction of productivity techniques. The new performance levels will generate, it is assumed, significantly higher profits than before which will service the higher debt load of the acquired corporation. The requirements of the ideal target corporation are a multi-million dollar return potential, a market leader or similar sized company in a stable rather than a cyclical industry and with low requirements for expensive R & D efforts or advertising. The ideal target should have unpledged assets or a low debt structure. Excess assets not needed for operations are also useful since they can be sold to raise immediate cash. Lastly, there should be a good management team available either internally or from outside.
Theories that have been used to explain the LBO process include Asymmetric Information and Underpricing, Agency Cost and Free Cash Flow, Tax Code Incentives, Inefficient Management and Increased Efficiency and Performance. Also important in explaining the reason for the success of the LBO are greater motivation of management, the economies of operating as a private company and the common interests of stockholders and management.
Because an LBO usually involves a public corporation and typically a larger rather than a smaller one, they are highly visible. The economic impact of an LBO is therefore, more public and frequently involves plant closings and employee layoffs. All of this generates much publicity which more often than not – especially in the early days -- is negative because the benefits only come at the end of the buy-out process, the liabilities occur at the start. For all of these reasons LBOs have attracted much attention. This has related as much to their social impact as to their commercial impact.
The beneficial effects of the LBO are greater productivity from the capital investment, a higher return on the capital employed and an increase in market value of the corporation concerned. It is not always a case of universal profit. There are also losses. Some employment may be permanently lost, communities may lose a local employer, bondholders often lose much of their investment while other classes of investors are gaining. The biggest problem may be that not every LBO has been successfully executed. The failures are an economic cost to the economy. They also represent a shifting of capital and earnings from one investor to another under conditions of excessive risk.
The research as to the effects of an LBO on the corporation are summarized. R&D does not in practice appear to be cut as is often predicted by critics of LBOs. Taxes collected are often reduced during the period when higher amounts of interest are being paid although taxes will typically be higher after the LBO borrowing has been repaid. So in the long run taxes returns might be higher.
An analysis of the RJR Nabisco case is given as an illustration of how this type of financial deal is structured. This was the most highly publicized LBO of the decade and possibly the most controversial. The problems met, the mistakes made and the results are set out towards the end of the Thesis.
In conclusion, the thesis summarizes that the controversy surrounding the LBO technique is not always founded on facts. The LBO often produces gains for investors and that these are not always just transfers of wealth from either other types of investors or taxpayers in general. It shows that LBOs create wealth through improvement in operating performance and utilization of assets. The role of management is significant as a key instrument in the process though financial involvement leading to high motivation.
The RJR Nabisco case indicates the LBO process. It shows that the LBO would have been much more successful had it not been for mistakes made during the bargaining process by the competitive bidding teams and the shareholders interests. Lack of experience in negotiating a deal of this complexity was instrumental to the lack of total success.
The project is built upon the proposition that a maintenance organization can achieve greater effectiveness by replacing its traditional cost-based measurement system with one that incorporates financial, customer, internal process and growth/learning perspectives. While the project concentrates on a specific operation, knowledge gained from this application may be applied to other organizations with similarly high levels of capital intensity and operations trying to facilitate increased levels of employee involvement. Research was conducted in the areas of measurement systems, employee empowerment and maintenance management to substantiate the proposition. Five essential characteristics of an effective measurement system were gleaned form the literature. After comparison with cost-based measures and Open Book Management, the Balance Scorecard was selected as the foundation upon which to build the new measurement system for the Wisconsin Tissue Menasha Product Supply Maintenance Organization.
Since this application is significantly different than the Balanced Scorecard examples presented in the literature, the building process was modified to better fit this situation. To mediate the potential implementation obstacles, the Situational Leadership II change model was used to guide the implementation process.
Early results indicate that maintenance costs have been reduced by approximately $400,000 over the first four months. The maintenance craftspeople have also shown greater interest in becoming involved in group problem solving efforts. Both observations are strong indicators that the maintenance scorecard may be having a positive impact.
The process of building a scorecard for the Wisconsin Tissue Menasha Product Supply Maintenance Organization revealed several valuable learnings that could be applied to other organizations. Measures must be aligned with the desired outcomes but also support the desired work environment in order to sustain a change effort. Also, fine characteristics of an effective measurement system were identified to assess current or potential measures. This project illustrates how the Balanced Scorecard concepts may be applied at a departmental level with the need to wait for higher level scorecards to be implemented. Finally, what is measured and how things are measured have significant psychological impacts upon employees. Human response must be considered whenever measurement system changes are being considered.
Overall, the project has successfully demonstrated that applying the right measurement system can have a positive impact on improving the performance of a maintenance organization. In the process of proving that point, several additional measurement system considerations have been discovered.
Today’s men and women should not think about a "job"; rather, their concern should center about the concept of a "career." The work career emphasizes concern for a long-range commitment to a profession which will provide self-satisfaction as well as filling the material needs of life. To this end individuals must take the responsibility to direct their own career.
To be happy and productive people must choose the career path that is best for them. Get to know yourself, then choose the profession that fits you; do not take a job then try to adapt to it. This essay presents a special way of reorganizing and interpreting information about careers for easier comprehension and practical application. It is aimed toward those who are not happy with their present position and who want to change their situation. Corrective actions for this will be indicated by the use of tests to help determine whether the problem lies with themselves, their job, or their career. On the other hand, this paper deals only with the choice between technical or administrative oriented career paths for engineers and administrators up to middle managers. It is not intended to select the field of endeavor, but it is intended to help discover who you are so the correct path of the above two choices will be taken. This career choice dilemma usually develops after ten years of work experience when the person is between 30 and 39 years of age. These are the years of development during which a person’s education and experience are merged.
If you are a practicing engineer, you probably have not done much hard thinking about your career You may believe that your career progress will essentially take care of itself or you may want to consult an expert in career planning, but never get around to doing it. The bad news about your position is that, if you don’t change it, your career will likely be set back considerably.
To appreciate the value of career planning, ask yourself how many jobs you have had. Five? Ten? Did those job changes happen to you, or did you deicide what you wanted and go after it? You will probably change jobs as many times in the future as you did in the past. The important thing is to plan the changes. The more prepared you are, and the more specific your desires are, the more likely you are to get what you want.
The basic goal of career planning is to help you reach your fullest potential in the shortest time, whether you intend to stay in your technical specialty or branch out into management. To accomplish this, a series of exercises is offered that are designed to uncover and assess your powers and limitation. This paper will help to clarify career aspirations, determine you skills and set realistic career goals.
Effective career matching suggests that a person first understand the structure of the occupational world, what is required to enter, survive, and advance in it, and how it impacts each person. Second, a person must develop an accurate, objective self-understanding including abilities, ambitions, interests, motivations, and needs, and relate these personal attributes to the characteristics essential to success in various occupations. Then, through the use of logical decision-making procedures, appropriate career choices and plans can be made and implemented.
You have an obligation to yourself to find out what is right for you. The field you are working in should challenge your abilities and spark your imagination. A job which doesn’t engage your strengths or which is more demanding of your weak points than your strong points is not likely to keep you interested for long and is a road block to career path development.
With the globalization of today’s construction industry and the dynamics of the rapidly growing international construction market, the domestic centric marketing strategy is no longer appropriate for a player in this industry to maintain its long term profitability. However, international construction projects are an extremely risky undertaking, especially in a turbulent business environment of the third world countries. A thorough comprehension of its inherent risks and the management thereof is therefore vital and often the single most challenging task for an active contractor in this market. The International Federation of Consulting Engineers Standard Form of Contract and Conditions of Contract for Civil Engineering work, or FIDIC Conditions of Contract, is the de facto standard for regulating the majority of these projects and is endorsed by all international development institutions and financial agencies. By covering the FIDIC contractual allocation of the risks and the project management process thereof, this paper attempts to provide the guidelines and various tools for the project management of claims for any potential risks with an international construction project under the FIDIC Conditions of Contract. This paper first discusses various categories of the claims commonly encountered by an international contractor and their general ruling principles, including justification of a claim, extra costs and prolongation claim, compensation and concurrence of a prolongation, and critical vs. float path delays. It discusses further the detailed FIDIC allocation of various risks and the contractual relationships of parties involved. The management of these risks are then incorporated into the project management process to provide effective strategies, monitor risk and remedy the system. Various guidelines are provided, including the FIDIC notification and submission procedures of claims for risks, the system for data collection and documentation, negotiation strategies, and the roles of Critical Path Method Network (CPM network). The impacts of any eventuated risks are evaluated in terms of claims for extension of time and financial losses.
These include damage evaluation based on the actual records and the contractor’s tender strategies. Various guidelines for financial evaluation based on the actual records and the contractor’s tender strategies. Various guidelines for financial evaluation are provided in terms of the prolongation and disruption time-related costs, uncovered escalation costs, its exchange rate fluctuation risk, and new present value analysis (NPVA) of financial investment and cost. Some useful strategies and tools are discussed and recommended for efficient and effective management of claims, including resolution through the FIDIC project management process, variation orders, settlement financing, claim/interest tradeoffs and project cost control cycle (PCCC) for monitoring, managing and most important of all, preventing the potential risks. As an introduction, this paper provides a background of the FIDIC Conditions of Contract and discusses the roles of the parties involved and the general legal ruling principles. Most of the examples in this paper are extracted from actual construction claim cases and condensed and simplified for the purpose of illustration.
This paper presents an overview of the use of employee attitude surveys to increase job satisfaction and to improve management-employee relationships. It has been noticed that employee attitudes can affect the work force and productivity. In order for management to maintain an organization with positive employee attitudes, it must have an accurate perception of the employee’s feelings of the organization and its policies.
Employee attitude survey is a management tool designed to measure how employees really feel about the organization. Not all employee surveys are successful. Most of them fail because of false assumptions held by the survey administrators or the survey administrators do not follow guidelines of good survey programs. When the survey is carefully and thoughtfully designed and conducted, it can provide important benefits for the organization, such as increased productivity, improved management-employee relationship and increased job satisfactions.
An "Eight-step attitude survey program" has been recommended. The steps are: Purpose of survey; Initial preparations; Task force formation; Survey questionnaire design; Administration; Interpreting survey results; Feedback discussion; and Support for action.
When properly administered, employee surveys provide much useful information. They can increase employees' sense of value to the organization from the participation and involvement. Furthermore, surveys can engage and develop employees' problem solving capabilities and, most of all, the relationship between management and employees can be improved. With the help of employee surveys and effective management of human resources, America may one day beat Japanese productivity rates and regain its position as an industrial leader of the world.
During last two decades, the world has experienced what is called the "globalization" trend. Currently, more and more companies around the world engage in business activities in other countries and in international markets. Competition intensifies as the number of companies emerge in business. For existing companies, lowering costs, increasing market share, and globalizing become competitive tools. This is where Foreign Direct Investment (F.D.I.) comes in play as a way to increase comparative advantage and to increase business potentials for each company. In contrast to what some believe, F.D.I. has become a major factor and fact of life for every single country in the world.
In this thesis, Foreign Direct Investment"s effects on Turkish economy are explored. However, rather than solely concentrating on this subject upfront, the following format is followed throughout the thesis:
Chapters one and two provide a background of F.D.I.; it is defined, major F.D.I. theories and its advantages are explained.
Chapter three provides data to determine F.D.I. patterns around the world. This is required to recognize opportunities for the Turkish model.
Chapter four, the main part of the thesis, provides background information and explains the historical development of F.D.I. in Turkey. The author provides interpretation and explanation as a result of intimacy with the subject, the country and the culture. In following sections of this chapter, incentives provided by Turkey and F.D.I.'s effects on Turkey in integrating with EECD (European Economic Community) are explored and explained. An important section of the chapter is a survey of Turkish middle and upper level managers to find out the general perception of Turkish people of F.D.I. in Turkey.
Chapter five provides a conclusion that is developed throughout the thesis.
Throughout the thesis, F.D.I. is explored considering developing countries, since Turkey is a major country in this category.
Managing a business in an environment of change is a challenge faced by all companies. In our society it is almost impossible to be isolated from change in one form or another.
Businesses are challenged with the constant process of adaptation to changing conditions, and the striving for growth. Some executives have managed their companies well in these uncertain times, resulting in rapid growth for sustained periods of time.
Rapid growth manufacturing firms are the focus of this investigation into the management techniques which these firms consider to be essential for their success.
In this research, the term "high growth" is used to refer to companies which have grown at a rate of over 25% per year for at least a 5 year period.
Six high growth companies were identified and investigated in order to identify management techniques which the companies felt were important factors in allowing them to grow and prosper in an environment of change. The results of this investigation were also examined to determine whether the identified characteristics or techniques existed in the majority of the six high growth firms involved in this study.
The identified characteristics or techniques were grouped into subject areas. These areas were business planning, teamwork, human resources, productivity, facilities planning, product development, quality, market research, and company culture.
The practices of the high growth companies in each of these areas are discussed and compared with examples of management theory published within the last five years. In this research, the subject of "attitude toward failure" was identified as a key characteristic common to all of the investigated high growth companies. The investigation of current management theory did not reveal a great deal of material on this subject.
During the past twenty years, management has had difficulty in determining how their corporations were to operate and function. Organizational structure design was questioned. Team management and empowerment evolved. Other modifications to structural design and application occurred. Management's ideology toward strategic planning also changed. At the end of the 1970's it appeared non-existent. By the mid-1990's, strategic planning and the need to maintain a strong understanding of the internal and external business environments were the norm.
During this short period of time when the use of strategic audits were set aside and trend model buzzwords were the rage, corporate America suffered. Management had become complacent; the need for executive and business foresight seemed to disappear. Lack of understanding what was occurring not only in the United States marketplace, but also the global marketplace cost some companies dearly.
Knowing the strength and weaknesses of the corporate assets was essential. Understanding what internal conditions were detrimental to the company was crucial. Utilizing the corporate strengths to ward off any external threats was vital. Having a strategic audit in hand or to be performed would be the definitive management tool to have. This would allow top management to appraise the strategies needed to block any external threat while aggressively pursuing any viable opportunity. Alternative strategy components could be tested with results measured and quantified.
Having a strategic audit outline with the answers to the questions is the ultimate management tool. It allows for all other models, theories, and ideologies to be tested or implemented. It provides for the alternate questions and answers to the "What If" questions. A directional guide is presented for management on their path to achieving the corporate goals and objectives.
Polychlorinated biphenals (PCB’s) are a liquid which was used extensively in the period up to about 1976 as a dielectric in industrial transformers, capacitors, and other types of electrical equipment. Although some of its properties made it very effective for this purpose, other characteristics were deemed to pose a threat to human health and the environment. In 1976 the EPA began to impose strict rules on these substances regarding their continued use, mandating removal in some applications, and also setting up comprehensive regulations for their removal, and disposal. Since that time it has been found that the by-products of the incomplete combustion of PCB’s which may be produced in a fire pose an even greater hazard than the material itself. This situation has led to ever increasing regulatory attention and has placed a huge economic burden on industry which may be faced with expensive control measures, and possibly even more expensive, and disruptive clean up costs in the event of an accident involving these materials.
This paper will review some of the technical information about PCB’s, including some of the experimental evidence that has led to their classification as a hazardous material. The regulations that have been developed as a result of these findings will be reviewed, and the impact on industry will be discussed by means of summarizing some recent incidents and their costs. Finally some alternatives will be proposed showing some of the choices available to manage the problem, and examples of how industries have dealt with their situations including two cases at General Electric Medical Systems will be presented.
The following thesis will give a brief history of the Internet and the different tools that are available on it. This includes a description of gopher sites, ftp, USENET, and the World Wide Web. It also looks at who uses the Internet and what for. It then looks more into detail at how businesses use the Internet and the World Wide Web for marketing purposes.
Businesses that use the Internet, and more specifically, the World Wide Web for marketing must realize that to successfully develop the web site, the company as a whole needs to be involved. It’s like a community raising a child. Explained will be the different departments that can be involved in the process and ideas of what they can contribute to the development of the Web site. The company must also look at the resources needed to develop the Web site. Does the company have the expertise and tools available in house, or do they need to look externally for sources? Some of the tools needed will be discussed and the reason for the need.
Once the company as a whole determines what is important and should be included on the Web site, the development process can begin. There are different types of media content that can be used to develop the Web site. This thesis will look at the different types of media content; including e-mail, text only, graphics, multimedia, etc., and explain how each can be used effectively as a marketing tool on the Web site. Examples of successful sites are included.
The next step in the process after determining the media content is to actually design and develop the site. This thesis will then look at how the pages should be set up, how long the pages should be, and how to effectively organize them. What kind of graphics to use, how to use them, and how links should be used are included with examples.
After developing the Web site, it must be promoted. Companies can promote the Website through methods that are internal to the company or through methods are external to the company. Internal methods would include brochures, business cards, e-mail signatures, letterhead, or stationery. External methods include media ads, print ads, sponsoring web sites, or web banners. It is important that the company include the Web site address and/or e-mail address on everything that goes out of the door.
The thesis will conclude with a survey that was administered to companies that have Web sites. It proves that: 1. Companies are starting to see an increase in sales from using the Web as a marketing tool. 2. Companies use more than MIS and marketing to design Web pages. 3. Companies use multiple formats to advertise the Web site.
Finally, recommendations and conclusions are given as to tools that are in development and should be watched. It also ends by recommending that companies that currently do not use the Web as a marketing tool should start. The process of how a champion can create a Web based marketing program within the company is explained.
The ability of a business to predict the long-term impact of capital investment decisions from both a tactical and strategic initiative has become a necessity. No longer can intuitiveness or basic measures such as simple payback be the only tools leaders of typical businesses that are engaged in manufacturing, service or other for profit venture use to chart the direction of their companies.
Accurately determining the risk in a capital venture is paramount in the overall performance and ultimate growth or decline of a business. The lack of sound understanding and means to assess risk in long-term business decisions can lead to poor, or even catastrophic financial performance. There is a need to utilize a more sophisticated approach to judge the worth and ultimate risk of both investment and resource allocation decisions in today’s fast paced – capital-intensive business world. Risk can consistently be minimized by utilizing financial techniques as a crosscheck to short term payback analysis and judgmental modes of capital allocation and project selection. However, can it be done in a way that is a generally accepted method, and useful to the general business community?
The mission of this work is addressing the acceptability and effectiveness of advanced risk analysis in capital investment decisions as follows: 1. To investigate and summarize the basic methods for assessing financial risk in capital investment decisions as well as exploring new or alternative methods that are advanced in their applications. 2. Adapt and enhance existing risk analysis techniques to broaden the scope of use by demonstration of a working simulation model developed by the writer that is useful in making sound decisions throughout the various phases of a capital investment project. Compare the model to commercially available risk simulation software packages for ease of use, accuracy and interpretation.
Project Management defines the task of planning, monitoring and controlling the progress of a project. Projects today consist of a highly complicated mix of activities and disciplines. In order for a project manager to successfully manage a project of this nature, and make sure that the project is being worked on in the most efficient manner, it is essential that he use one of the many computer software packages especially designed for this purpose.
This paper discusses manual methods of project management, including the critical path method, Gantt charts and PERT charts. The benefits of using these methods are examined, along with the shortcomings of each technique. The critical path method offers the project manager a clear indication of the crucial elements of a project, Gantt charts graphically express the time relationships between each activity, and the PERT chart is a simple graphical method which indicates activity relationships. When used independently, these project management tools are helpful, but do not give the project manager a complete picture of the status of his project.
This paper also illustrates some of the features of computer management techniques such as automatically calculated critical path, resource leveling, PERT charts and bar charts. A detailed explanation of the advantages compared to manual methods follow. The advantages include the abilities to: manage large projects on a very detailed level, efficiently use available resources and collect historical data on project or use for future estimates. A method to successfully implement computer management techniques in the workplace is also included. This method includes classroom and hands-on instruction followed by periodic one on one sessions with an expert on the system.
The solution to some of the complicated problems facing today's Project Managers can be found with the help of computer software. This powerful tool can save time and money and help assure a project which is on time and within budget.
This research report discusses two types of evolving and converging technologies that will have a significant impact on global business and commerce. These technologies are the Internet and wireless communications. The telecommunications industry has invested significant resources to facilitate the widespread adoption of mobile Internet solutions withough substantial market penetration. In the opinion of many experts, this will soon change.
M-Business (Mobile Business) solutions and applications are comprised of enterprise applications and consumer services. The research produced conclusions that the short-term m-Business solutions will focus on enterprise applications. Consumer applications, including content and commerce services, will also become important as technology evolves. Successful m-Business strategies have the opportunity to increase productivity, revenues, and marketing opportunities, while creating a competitive advantage for wireless manufacturers, mobile operators, and other companies looking to expand into the wireless domain.
The research shows that understanding the needs of the end user, environment of the mobile user, display capabilities, data rate, and data entry limitations of today's mobile Internet devices is important in enabling developers to design and implement compelling mobile solutions. For a solid m-Business strategy, rapidly changing technologies and standards must be considered by management. Organizations that have developed a sound m-Business strategy, that is consistent with these themes, will be well positioned to create a sustained competitive advantage and generate significant mobile and data services revenues.
The business world of today is rapidly changing. These changes are being brought about by various factors. Globalization of the economy, technological advancements, and changing world demographics are just three of the many issues modern organizations must face.
In order to deal with the changing environment, businesses must continually create and re-evaluate the policies and structure, which guide the organization. The following thesis makes the case that, one of the most important ingredients to competitive success is the quality of the human resources of the organization. The ability to learn, retain, and utilize knowledge is the reason the human resource is so valuable. Additionally, the thesis promotes the following idea: while the characteristics of the individual employees makes the difference between success and failure for the entire organization, the characteristics of the management is of greater importance. In order to create “knowledge workers”, organizations need “knowledge managers”. It is important to note; this analysis deals mostly with American or western culture. The ideas presented here may or may not readily apply to, or be accepted by, all cultures or the global community. Additionally, the focus of this work is creating and improving on existing conditions. No analysis has been made regarding maintenance of the condition once established.
The purpose of this thesis is to describe the development of the Simple Tactical Planning and Execution Model (STPEM), as well as its application in an organization. The STPEM is a strategic management tool that can be applied to an internal business process in order to verify that the tactical actions and activities associated with the process are aligned with both the strategic objectives of the process, as well as those of the organization.
The STPEM is a useful strategic tool that seeks to overcome the gap that typically occurs in many organizations between strategic objectives and what employees actually do to meet those objectives. A typical strategic management process in an organization usually begins with the organization’s efforts to identify its mission, or fundamental purpose, and its vision, or where it needs to head. The strategic management process then goes on to feature an analysis of the external environment for opportunities to pursue and threats to defend against. An analysis of the internal environment for strengths and weaknesses of its processes compared to the competition is also undertaken. The selection then occurs of key opportunities and threats based on impact to the vision and effort to implement. Strategic objectives to address the key opportunities and threats are typically defined. Those objectives must then be defined to achieve those strategic objectives and to move the organization towards its vision.
With the typical strategic management process, there are a number of challenges encountered when defining and executing tactical actions. Employees do not fully understand the mission, vision, and strategic objectives of both an internal business process, as well as those of the organization. Action plans are often defined without input from the employees who are expected to complete those actions. The link between actions and strategic objectives is not clear. Action plans are not clearly stated. Action plans overload resources. Action plans are delegated without support. Conflicts arise between tactical actions and individual performance measures. Managers react improperly to performance measures, focusing on single observations in time rather than in relation to variability over time.
While tools such as Drucker’s management by objectives, the Kaplan and Norton Balanced Scorecard, and Hoshin Kanri address many (but not all) of these challenges, a gap still exists regarding an effective methodology for brainstorming, developing, and executing tactical actions for an internal business process.
This thesis employs a review of a wide range of management-related literature to leverage a number of concepts in the development of the STPEM. Concepts from the Kaplan and Norton Balanced Scorecard, statistical process control, Hoshin Kanri, Ishikawa Cause-and-Effect Diagram, Nickols and Ledgerwood Goals Grid, SMART actions, “vital few” and “useful many” process improvements, lean concepts, and leadership theory are all leveraged in the development of the STPEM. The proposed STPEM overcomes many of the challenges associated with the strategic management process, and can be used by organizations to close the objective to execution gap. A hypothetical case study is featured, which demonstrates the application of the STPEM.
Within the next decade, U.S. air carriers are expected to outsource over 70 percent of all maintenance performed on their aircraft. From 37 percent in 1996 to 62 percent in 2006, the airline industry and the FAA are lagging behind the fast-paced outsourcing trend. By utilizing insufficient manpower and oversight mechanisms to properly verify the quality of the work being performed at domestic and international MRO’s, the safety of aircraft and the future of air carriers are being compromised.
Air carrier auditors continue to use standards to select an MRO that can perform the needed services at the lowest possible price. Systematic to the perceived notion that outsourcing exists o lower costs; aircraft safety and performance are comprised with potentially devastating consequences to air carriers. To reduce the potential for errors in outsourced aircraft maintenance, air carriers must adopt an outsourcing initiative that enables the selection of MRO’s to be based on results-driven criteria around safe and reliable practices.
A well-planned and developed air carrier maintenance outsourcing initiative must emphasize an MRO audit plan utilizing safety, diversification, and performance as the primary evaluation standards before making a selection based on cost. The purpose of this thesis is to provide an objective analysis on why the imperative elements of safety, diversification, and performance are critical to the air carrier and how they should be incorporated into a predefined list of air carrier outsourcing objectives in order to determine the best possible provider of aircraft maintenance service.
A need exists for an ergonomic program in a business or facility no matter whether it is represented by organized labor or is nonunion. This thesis will provide information and insight on how to initiate an ergonomic program in a unionized facility. This will be accomplished by first defining ergonomics and giving a brief history of the term. Benefits of an ergonomic program will aid in convincing the reader that forming an ergonomic program will assist the business in succeeding. These concepts are then formed into program characteristics.
People in management, involved with ergonomics, were contacted for their impressions on their ergonomic program and problems encountered with their ergonomic program. Each company had a program but it existed at different maturity levels. Different organized labor groups were contacted for their thoughts and concerns on ergonomic programs. Some were associated with the businesses whose management I contacted and others were not. The organized labor groups I contacted participated in the ergonomic program at their facilities.
This data was analyzed for similarities, differences, and core ideas. Both groups were asked the same questions. They responded with ideas, thoughts, and problems that are similar. Both groups also shared information that contradicted one another. I believe there are underlying core ideas or a set of common threads that exist throughout flourishing ergonomic programs. My data revealed a set of core ideas necessary to have a successful ergonomic program. The common threads I found are: commitment, change, training, documentation, and having everyone involved. These core ideas are used to formulate an ergonomic program. A newly created program will encounter hurdles and problems. These are discussed along with strategies for dealing with the unexpected.
The goal of this project is to apply a rule-based fuzzy expert model to the admission process using data collected from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), a prominent university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The result of this project should show that the rule-based fuzzy expert admission model can improve the prediction accuracy of the current MSOE admission model. MSOE admission counselors are used as the experts to develop the fuzzy model. Fuzzy logic is used to capture the flexibility of the admission decision process.
A rule-based fuzzy expert admission model can be created by generalizing the elements of a rule-based fuzzy expert engineering model into the admission model. The challenge is to know how to put the rule-based fuzzy expert engineering procedures into effect when admission processes are dynamic and applicant information contains discontinuities and uncertainties and is often incomplete.
This thesis presents the results of implementing a rule-based fuzzy expert admission model to a group of applicant records. The results are compared favorable to the current model and show a more consistent and equitable classifications of applicants.
The purpose of this paper is to propose a compensation plan to replace merit pay. Merit pay has been very successful and widely used in the past, however, organizational cultures are rapidly changing. The reward structure must change along with organizational culture. The compensation plan in this paper is designed to optimize job satisfaction and motivation, while providing an economic benefit to the organization.
I have proposed 3 elements of compensation--individual recognition, pay for knowledge, and team pay. Each element is used in some organizations today, however, I have combined and modified them to provide a comprehensive plan that maximizes benefit to both the employee and the organization. This paper focuses on compensating "professional" employees in "large" organizations. The terms "professional" and "large" will be described in detail in chapter one. The plan is formulated on the premise that employees are motivated by a wide range of rewards and seek equity of distribution. Compensation plans must incorporate variety in their approach to rewarding employees to stimulate the majority of the work force. This paper examines each element of compensation from the aspect of the reward, performance evaluation, and performance measurement. Conclusions drawn are heavily supported by recent literature as well as results of a survey conducted to generate additional data.
This paper indicates that this compensation plan has the potential to increase employee contribution and reduce turnover. A financial review has also indicated that annual cost savings that may exceed $8,000,000 when compared to a merit pay plan. Therefore, employees may be happier and the organization may be more profitable.
This thesis addresses the problem of the labor shortage in the ‘skilled’ trades. The author conducted original research via a mail survey of over 100 companies in the metropolitan Milwaukee area during the period of December 5, 1997 through January 5, 1998. Survey results indicate 73% respondents have modified pay and/or benefits to accommodate changes in the labor market. Additional data derived from published research conducted by the State of Wisconsin, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Employment and Training Institute (ETI) was consulted in determining the need for skilled labor.
In this paper, the author developed a sub-entry level, adjunctive ‘pay-for-skill’ plan which, when implemented, will allow employers to train unskilled workers for ‘skilled’ positions. The plan’s adjunctive nature means that the sub-entry level training takes place without altering the company’s existing human resource entry-level pay structure. The plan is appended below the existing entry-level for a specific ‘skilled’ position.
The plan incorporates 8 skill-based pay components: Levels, Contents, Skills, Skill Appraisal, Training, Work, Advancement and Pay. The coordinated components provide a framework that is customizable to train employees for entry-level positions. In this paper, the author provides 3 examples of customized plans: Programmer/Analyst, CNC Machinist, and Tool and Die maker. Plans were customized based upon data collected by the author from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the 1997 Enhanced Occupational Outlook Handbook and other sources.
Finally, the author discusses the subjects of motivation and commitment, based on previous published works of Frederick Herzberg, Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor, as they apply to the adjunctive, sub-entry level pay for skills plan.
The purpose of this paper is to determine if Company XYZ’s product development process can be improved. Why does the company’s process need improvement? How should the process be changed? The first part of the paper will examine the current product development process from the view point of project initiation, marketing plan, developing the project plan, capital request, management project approvals, design specifications, test equipment, prototypes, product cycle times, product safety, patents, lot A samples, design reviews, release for manufacturing, quality cost, quality of design, and manpower. Secondly, recommendations will be made on using TQM principles in order to improve the existing product development process. Thirdly, an in-depth analysis of the recommendations will be done to determine if the new process will improve and reduce the product’s cycle time to market. The paper will give managers the knowledge required when addressing issues concerning product development processes in meeting customers’ needs. The paper will show that if managers use TQM, their existing electromechanical development processes will be enhanced. The improved process will result in increased profits and productivity, growth and will boost employee’s quality morale.
After Company XYZ has implemented these recommendations as stated above the whole PDP (refer to figure 3) has been improved company-wide. The PDP was examined in detail by all of its departments at every level and was accepted to be used as a quality tool in Company XYZ’s PDP. The major deficiencies were overcome by the use of TQM principles, which included communication, attitude, accuracy, and responsibility in resolving quality related issues. The old PDP was revised and updated by a newly enhanced PDP, which encompassed TQM principles. Since the new PDP was in place profits, market share, and employee morale have increased. Currently Company XYZ’s employees are implementing and using TQM principles that are needed in all everyday operations. The result of the new PDP has updated written procedures, and a revised documented PDP manual, which is, used company-wide in reducing quality cost.
Over the past years, multinational corporations have been discovering one rich foreign market after another, but different political structures and political events such as war, riots, expropriation, and revolutions have been affecting the opportunities in these markets. Such events have forced companies to become more sensitive to the political environment in which they operate. Many multinational companies are fraught with political risk. In recent years the experiences of many companies have perhaps been most visible. Their overseas operations have increasingly become the targets of political actions by host governments and by foreign opposition groups, both of which have had serious impacts on earning and profits.
The thesis of this study is that multinational corporations are facing greater political risk in their operations than ever, but the main question is how to engage in overseas operations and yet avoid or minimize political risk. In this study we will try to answer this question by determining the factors that a multinational corporation should account for in their analysis of political risk and how such factors affect their operations.
Modern business management theory recognizes the importance of all types of service in acquiring and maintaining long-term relationships with customers. Many case studies of successful, customer-oriented companies have been published. While it is necessary to understand the features of a truly customer-focused company, very little attention has been paid to measuring economic benefits of such a strategy on an individual basis. Market research such as the Profit Impact of Marketing Strategy (PIMS) study indicates that companies that take extraordinary interest in their customers can expect higher net profits on average. However, individual companies that seek to improve their customer orientation have few good ways of determining the return on the additional cost and effort expanded.
For the purposes of this thesis, "service" is defined as the methods by which each of a customer's needs are satisfied. This can be done through a variety of factors including quality of product, applicability of product to specific needs, timeliness and accuracy of shipments, after-sale service, price, and interpersonal relationships between individual buyers and sellers. Many of these factors can be measured directly. However, it must be noted that the customer's level of satisfaction in how his or her needs are being met is what affects buying decisions. Emphasis on improving a specific factor may not yield the desired result if customers do not perceive a problem or care about its improvement.
Since customer perception is central to product and service improvement, many customer satisfaction surveys have been developed. Proper and frequent use of customer satisfaction surveys as measurements of customer satisfaction is critical in understanding what customers need and value. Efforts that do not affect the factors that influence a customer's buying decisions are costly and unproductive. A focused, time-bounded effort that targets the factors of service important to customers is likely to be a good investment.
Once these specific factors are identified, a company must decide on improvement goals and programs to achieve these goals. It is generally accepted that improved levels of customer satisfaction will result in improved profitability. However, there will also be diminished financial returns as expenditures for improvement increase. Without a measure of the effects of this improved satisfaction level, it is impossible for managers to determine whether an optimum satisfaction level has been reached. A model that measures the value of business gained or maintained due to customer satisfaction, and the relationship between customer satisfaction and repeat business would aid in making economical judgments about improvement initiatives. From this model, a financial statement which shows incremental value of expected revenue due to changes in customer attitudes and behaviors can be generated. This statement can be used as a management tool to evaluate cost/benefit ratios of various service enhancement programs, determine appropriate pricing strategies, rationalize staffing levels, and measure management performance. The techniques described should be applicable to all organizations that look to optimize their performance. It will also be necessary to re-evaluate customer satisfaction levels on an on-going basis, as the optimum levels of satisfaction will likely increase in the future.
Construction project management is a group of management functions by which construction is authorized, purchased, supervised, inspected, and accomplished.
When a design/build contractor, herein referred to as D/B contractor, decided to pursue a potential project, a project manager arranges a meeting with the client to learn about its business and specific needs. From that meeting, strategies are set up on how to sell the project to the client; a design agreement, proposal, or a concept plus price bid. Concurrently, a set of proposal drawings and an outline specification are prepared.
Next, the proposal is presented to the client where it is discussed and reviewed for completeness in regard to the client’s needs. Once the client accepts the basic design concept and budget for the project, legal contracts are prepared and the client’s signature is sought.
Once the contract has been officially accepted and signed, the designers begin developing a complete set of working drawings and a specification for the project. The design takes into account any and all design changes that may have occurred during the project manager’s proposal review meeting with the client. Upon approval of the working drawings and specifications by the owner, the processes of bidding, awarding contracts, and building the project begin.
The actual construction process is identical for both a D/B and a general contractor. Both send letters to all subcontractors on their pre-qualified bidders list and publish the project in the local construction paper or journal informing the rest of the construction community of the upcoming project. Also, both either mail or ask the subcontractors to come in and pick-up a set of the working drawings and specifications from which they are to base their bid. Once both receive and review all the bids from the subcontractors, the D/B or general contractor inform their selected subcontractors on their award of a subcontract for the project.
Contracts are sent to all subcontractors that will be working on the project. These contracts must be signed and returned to either contractor prior to the subcontractor beginning any type of work for the project. Shop drawings must be prepared, submitted, approved, and sent back to the subcontractor before the fabrication of any materials may begin.
The one major item that works to the advantage of a D/B contractor is that if there are changes to the design once the project has started in the field, the project manager can in a much timelier fashion get that information to everyone involved. This is greatly due to having that design team in-house or under direct contract. With the design team under direct contract, the design firm has committed to a specified fee and time frame to produce all the required drawings, and the D/B contractor does not need to carry the overhead of the design staff during lean times.
Since the project manager of a D/B construction company can coordinate the team of architects, designers, engineers, and builders in a more efficient manner, the length of the construction process itself is cut down in total time to complete the project. This means greater savings to the client in construction costs, interim financing, and the additional revenue generated by having the project ready for use at an earlier date.
This paper will address the advantages that the design/build construction concept has over typical construction contracting methods and how these advantages help in the management of a construction project.