Recent Question/Assignment

Assessment 1 – Research & Questioning
Instructions:
This assessment consists of two parts. For this assessment students are allowed to work in small teams (Maximum number of 3 students) to gather information. However, the all reports and documents must be prepared independently. For this reason, it is expected that each of these documents will be written in their own words.
Duration:
Trainer will set the duration of the assessment.
Questions:
Part A
Using the scenario 1 information supplied, the student will identify strategic change needs, review existing policy, monitor trends in the external environment that impact on organisation’s objectives, identify operational change objectives, prioritise change requirements and consult experts or specialists to assist in identification of change requirements and opportunities. The student will then write a report to management outlining the change requirements.
Part B
Based on the scenario 2 provided, you will write another report in which you outline a performance and sustainability review strategy, evaluate the strategy, analyse performance reports and trends, and describe how you would seek advice from specialists to identify technological solutions.
Procedure:
Part A
1. Review the scenario 1 information provided (in the Appendix 1) for Fast Track Couriers.
2. Prepare to write a report on change requirements for Fast Track by following steps 3–10 below.
3. Analyse the organisational objectives provided in the scenario to identify the change requirements for Fast Track Couriers:
a. Identify requirements for change
b. prepare an explanation of how your identified change needs link to the organisation’s strategic plan goal/s.
4. Review the organisation’s current state to understand how the current policies, practices and operations deliver against the organisation’s strategic goals.
5. Review the organisation’s performance against objectives with regards to its:
a. people
b. processes
c. technology
d. structure.
6. Monitor external trends to identify events or trends which may impact on the achievement of the organisation’s strategic plan goals:
a. identify two external trends
b. develop an explanation of how the trends currently impact or will impact organisational objectives.
7. Identify major operational change requirements:
a. identify changes due to performance gaps
b. identify changes due to business opportunities
c. identify changes due to threats
d. identify changes due to management decisions.
8. Identify specialists to be consulted to assist with identifying change needs:
a. identify specialists you will engage to help identify change requirements and be prepared to explain your reasons for engaging these specialists
b. identify what consulting model you would adopt to engage the specialists and be prepared to explain why you would use this model.
9. Assume your trainer is a specialist/expert of the kind you have identified in step 7. Consult with your trainer to assist with identification of change management requirements and opportunities.
10. Identify the managers that need to be informed. Prepare a plan that identifies who, when and how stakeholder managers will be engaged to review and prioritise change requirements.
11. Assume your trainer is a manager you have identified. Consult with your trainer to review the changes you propose and to help you prioritise changes. Suggest and justify the priority you have assigned to each change you recommend.
12. Prepare a 3–4 page report detailing change requirements for the organisation. Include all of the information you identified and explanations that you prepared in steps 3–10.
13. Submit all documents to your trainer as per the specifications below. Ensure you keep a copy of all work submitted for your records.
Part B
1. Read the case study ‘AC Gilbert’ in Appendix 1.
2. Analyse the information provided and prepare a report addressing the following six (6) points.
1. Describe the key systems and processes used by AC Gilbert:
a. Supply chain
b. Operational systems
2. Product/service delivery.
3. Analyse the three key systems and processes and develop the elements of your review strategy: applying your knowledge of quality management and continuous improvement theory, develop performance and sustainability measures, assessment tools and techniques that you would use to evaluate the effectiveness of the three key systems and processes.
In your report, include if applicable:
a. Lists of key result areas (KRAs)
b. Lists of key performance indicators (KPIs)
c. A description of performance review processes
d. A sample service level agreement.
4. Using the data provided for results up to 1966, for each of the three key systems, describe how each of your measures, assessment tools and techniques would monitor performance. Include specific examples or hypothetical cases to test the
effectiveness of the elements of your review strategy. Write an evaluation of the effectiveness of your review strategy. Suggest improvements to your strategy.
Refer to quality management and continuous improvement theory.
5. Using the data provided for results up to 1966, analyse the variances from plans and targets for the key result areas (KRAs). Include discussion on performance with regards to:
a. quality – design/manufacturing
b. sales
c. profit
d. supply chain performance (delivery)
e. business growth – staff and management performance and/or turnover.
6. Discuss trends relevant to the organisation. What trends did AC Gilbert fail to identify in the late 1950s?
Consider the strengths and weaknesses of the AC Gilbert Company prior to 1960. Discuss the following in your report:
a. market share
b. reputation
c. stability
d. profit
e. sales
f. ability to adapt to change
g. customer service standards
h. innovation
i. employee performance
j. production and manufacturing.
Apply creativity skills to identify missed opportunities to improve business performance. Describe at least one missed opportunity in detail. Include an action plan for implementing the improvement in your report.
7. Imagine the company did not close in 1967 and has somehow managed to continue operations until today. Discuss the possible use of advice from specialists. What specialists could be consulted to advise on and identify new technology or electronic commerce opportunities? Consider:
a. Internal – engineers, production staff, manufacturing staff, sales personnel, human resources personnel.
b. External – marketing consultants, advertising experts, engineers or designers, IT consultants.
3. Submit your report to your trainer as per the specifications below.
Your Tasks (Specifications)
Part A
You must provide:
? One report detailing change requirements for the Fast Track Couriers Pty Ltd. Your trainer will be looking for:
? A 3–4 page report including all information identified in the procedure above
? knowledge of the impact of external trends on organisational change
? knowledge of specific organisational requirements
? learning skills to incorporate new ideas into your report on change requirements
? planning skills to organise engagement with manager stakeholders
? teamwork skills to consult with relevant people for input
? verbal communication skills to describe, support, and negotiate change requirements and priorities with stakeholders
PartB
You must provide:
? another report on performance review and sustainability for A. C. Gilbert company Your trainer will be looking for:
? reference to, and application of, quality management and continuous improvement theories in review strategy
? reference to and application of sustainability practices in review strategy
? analytical skills to identify improvement opportunities
? demonstration of creativity skills to think laterally and identify improvement opportunities
Appendix 1 Scenario 1- Fast Track Couriers Pty Ltd
You are an external change management consultant employed by Fast Track Couriers. You have been asked by the General Manager to prepare a report to identify opportunities and requirements for change for the organisation in the coming year.
You have been given some information about the organisation and the organisation’s strategic goals. Specific operational and human resources goals were developed to support the strategic goals.
The strategic goals were developed as a result of external market research indicating an opportunity for Fast Track Couriers to build market share in Sydney. The business has the opportunity to increase Sydney market share by 7.5% on the back increased efficiency and shorter delivery times from larger truck fleet and improved distribution systems.
You have also been given some information about employees and some background information regarding the organisation’s workforce relations.
Before submitting the final report, you will need to review your proposed changes with all relevant manager stakeholders. The General Manager is very concerned about identifying change requirements in close consultation with key management stakeholders within the organisation in order to ensure the least resistance to implementation. Track Couriers
Fast Track About Fast Couriers is a courier company that has been operating in New South Wales for the last 15 years. Its primary business function is delivering medium to large size packages across metropolitan Sydney. Strategic plan goals
The organisation’s strategic goals are:
? to expand business in the metropolitan area so that small to medium package deliveries market share increases by 7.5%
? to develop an integrated approach to distribution management utilising technology such as PDA devices and GPS
? to develop and maintain a cohesive and well-motivated workforce.
Strategic goals are supported by the following operational and human resources goals.
Operational plan goals
? Testing of the distribution management system is to cease and allow implementation within the first quarter of the 2012 financial year.
? The truck fleet will need to be expanded by 8 trucks within the 2012 financial year.
Human resources goals:
? To incorporate a Human Resources function to facilitate the changes in workforce management in the first quarter of the 2012 financial year.
? Introduce professional development and training to achieve organisational goals and promote understanding of organisation’s strategic goals in the first quarter of the 2012 financial year.
? Eliminate industrial relations problems in the 2012 financial year. Conclude negotiations with employees and union.
? Eliminate lifting injuries.
Employee profile
Fast Track Couriers employee the following people:
? General manager (GM) – Generally on the road; never in office.
? Chief financial officer (CFO) – Reports to GM and keeps office hours; 9–5, Mon–Fri.
? Accountant – Reports to CFO and keeps office hours; 9–5, Mon–Fri.
? Truck drivers (x20) – Report to office.
? Office team manager – Reports to GM and keeps office hours; 9–5, Mon–Fri.
? Office team members (x5) – Perform administrative, sales, customer relationship management duties. Monitor truck drivers and handle enquiries. Report to office team manager.
Head office employees
? Covered under individual contracts.
? Salary range $32,000–$75,000 annum.
? Small team of mainly female employees, ranging in age.
? Lots of opportunity to participate in learning and development programs due to management support; however little desire to participate.
? High employee engagement scores. Employees cite team work and opportunities as motivating factors affecting the business success.
Drivers
? Covered by an award.
? Salary $45,000 per annum. ? Heavily unionised.
? Employee demographics are all male employees aged 25–65.
? Little opportunity to participate in learning and development programs due to being on the road; however, little to no interest to participate in development opportunities.
? Large number of workplace injuries due to heavy lifting.
? Low employee engagement scores. Drivers cite pay as an issue.
? Currently experiencing low turnover.
? History of industrial disputes regarding pay and previous change initiatives.
Background to workforce management and relations
The company communicates with employees via email for head office employees and a printed monthly newsletter for drivers. The company provides information regarding policies procedures through documented manuals that are held in each truck as an employee manual. Office-based staff can access copies of these manuals at the office.
All trucks are fitted with a GPS system to assist drivers with navigating to each pick up and drop off location. Trucks are also assigned a PDA that provides drivers with the details of each pick up and drop off and records when a job starts and finishes. The data from this device is sent back to head office to monitor job progress but is not used to complete productivity reporting. When this device was introduced, drivers were not happy as they felt the organisation was saying that it did not trust the drivers to manually record the time spent on each job. Many of the drivers also resented having to learn how to use the device and thought it was a waste of time.
Head office employees work very closely together and are a very cohesive and motivated team. They are positive about the organisation’s direction and respond well to change.
Drivers have historically reacted negatively to change. Change implemented in the past has met with resistance and was therefore difficult to implement. Drivers have in the past done their best to block any changes from being implemented, even going to the lengths of threatening strike action and having the union involved to assist with resolving the issue.
Fast Track Couriers currently allocates two drivers per truck to ensure that drivers are able to load and unload heavy packages. The strategy going forward is to remove the need for having two drivers per truck by installing an automatic lift gate on the back of each gate at a cost of $10,000 per truck. This will mean that only one driver is needed per truck as no heavy lifting will be required.
It is Fast Track Couriers intention to use these surplus drivers to drive the new trucks that will be purchased to enable the company to extend its services to regional NSW.
Drivers are currently happy with the work environment as they enjoy working as part of a two-man team. The organisation typically leaves the drivers alone and lets them do their job as this is what seems to make them happy. Management has tried in the past to have drivers participate in organisational activities. These activities were not received positively and the drivers complained and asked not to be involved. The drivers’ view is that their preferred team is their two-man driver team and they only see the benefits of that specific working arrangement. There is a high value placed on communication with trucking team members.
Scenario 2 – A. C. Gilbert
History 1909–1961
Alfred Carlton Gilbert was an inventor and a toy manufacturer who invented the Erector engineering set. His original company, The Mysto Manufacturing Company, was founded in 1909 to manufacture the Erector set. In 1916, Mysto became the A. C. Gilbert Company and gained a reputation for producing quality toys.
By the 1950s, A. C. Gilbert was one of the leading toymakers in the United States with annual sales regularly topping $17 million. This was an outstanding achievement for a relatively small company.
In 1961, A. C. Gilbert senior died, leaving the company in the hands of his son, A. C. Junior. At the time A. C. Junior took over the firm, the company was established as a traditional, reliable and profitable manufacturer of educational toys.
Product lines and rationale
A. C. Gilbert produced train sets but their most popular lines were chemistry sets, microscopes and their best seller, the Meccano-like Erector engineering sets that had been popular with children for more than 50 years.
A. C. Gilbert toys were not cheap. They were high quality, solidly crafted and made to endure. Parts and packaging were designed to last for many years, with the Erector set packaged in long-lasting metal boxes. The focus was on educational toys, primarily aimed at boys rather than girls. The company had a limited range but what they did manufacture was top quality and highly regarded.
Systems and processes
A. C. Gilbert was a small company. The following model demonstrates the systems and processes in place.
Note: These flowcharts have been included for assessment purposes only, and may not accurately reflect the actual processes in place at A. C. Gilbert.
History 1961–1967
As the 1950s moved into the 1960s, there were huge cultural changes across the world. The fifties were a very traditional era of family values and morals, conservative and staid. Then came the ‘swinging sixties’. The sixties were a time of rapid change both technologically and culturally. Old fashioned values gave way to new moral freedoms.
Where the fifties represented solidarity and familiarity, the sixties embraced change. Everything was bolder, brighter and more daring. A new young president and rising social activism by youth saw changes in clothing, music and interests. Young people rebelled against the values of their parents and embraced a more fast paced, exciting and riskier lifestyle.
Changes to the toy industry
Cultural changes had a huge impact in western toy markets. Barbie and Action Man became ‘must have’ toys.
Girls moved away from baby dolls and cots and wanted dolls that were more grown up, modern and trendy. They wanted dolls they could dress in the latest fashions and who had exciting ‘careers’, boyfriends and cars of their own. Boys were moving away from the traditional train sets towards exciting new slot-car racing sets and action figures from popular movies and television shows.
Traditionally, toy advertising had been done via magazine promotions but the sixties brought in a new phenomenon: television advertising. A hugely powerful medium, TV advertising became increasingly ‘hard sell’, with toys heavily promoted, especially in the lead up to Christmas. Children wanted the latest and greatest toys that they saw in these advertisements and put pressure on their parents to buy, which they did.
Retailing of toys during this period reflected a shift in retailing in general. Small, specialty retailers with experienced and knowledgeable staff were going out of business, replaced by large discount stores catering for the mass market. The goal of this type of retailer was to turnover stock. Heavily advertised lines were in demand and that is what they would stock. Cheap was in and giant retailers were after a quick profit from easily saleable, inexpensive products. They weren’t interested in catering to a niche market by stocking more expensive, harder to shift lines.
Packaging was bright and colourful in order to attract children growing up in a world of colour TV, hypercolor clothing and visual stimulation provided by the swinging sixties.
Affects on A. C. Gilbert
As a small, traditional company, A. C. Gilbert was slow to react to these changes. It may have been that they were not aware of the changes or were overly confident that their good name and reputation was sufficient to continue trading as before. The consequences of this short sightedness soon became apparent.
1961 (figures approximate)
L/Y Sales Actual sales Difference Profit
$12.6 million $11.5 million ($1.1 million) $20,011.00
This drop in sales was also reflected in a fall in the share price of the company.
Outcomes
As a result of the falling profits and share price, the company became attractive to an opportunistic businessman, Jack Wrather. Jack Wrather was an independent television producer who had made his money producing the popular programs ‘Lassie’ and ‘The Lone Ranger’. Jack Wrather wanted to purchase a successful business and felt that in A. C. Gilbert, he had the opportunity to use his knowledge of popular entertainment and apply it to the production of toys. He purchased 52% of A. C. Gilbert for $4 million and immediately set about making his mark on the company. A. C. Junior stayed on as Chairman but his influence was minimal.
Actions taken by Jack Wrather
? Set a goal to achieve sales of $20 million in 1963.
? Replaced the top A. C. Gilbert executives with his own people.
? Initiated a massive advertising campaign.
? Increased sales staff by 50%.
? Instructed sales staff to adopt an aggressive sales approach.
? Introduced 50 new toy lines, raising the line to 307.
? Changed the focus from traditional boys toys to ranges for pre-school children, dolls and other toys aimed at girls between the ages of 6 and 14.
? Spent $1 million on changing the packaging for all lines to brighter, more colourful boxes.
Performance report
Year Sales Difference from previous year Profit
1961 $11.5 million ($1.1 million) $20,011.00
1962 $10.9 million ($600,000.00) ($281,000.00)
1963 $10.7 million ($200.000.00) ($5.7 million)
1964 $11.4 million $700,000.00 ($2.6 million)
1965 $14.9 million $3.5 million ($2.9 million)
1966 $12.9 million ($2 million) ($12,872,000.00)
1967 A. C. Gilbert closed 1909–1967
Key milestones 1962:
? Jack Wrather purchased 52% of A. C. Gilbert.
? Replaced existing executives with his own people.
? Increased sales staff by 50%.
? Implemented extensive television advertising.
? Set an organisational goal to achieve sales of $20 million for 1963.
? Company recorded a loss of $281,000.00.
? Introduced 50 new lines in less than 12 months, using existing engineers and production departments who lacked training and experience in the new product range.
? Repackaged existing lines at a cost of $1 million.
1963:
? Sales and profits down on previous year.
? Anticipated drop in profits due to expansion and cost of establishing new lines.
? Sales fell short of expectations.
? Decline in quality of toys – feedback indicated products poorly made and designed (dolls did not even come with a change of clothing).
? New range perceived by customers as poor quality and over-priced – not value for money nor attractive to the target market.
1964:
? Jack Wrather fired most of the top management team he hired two years previously.
? Crisis management lead to multiple changes and dramatic measures being taken and then changed – often one measure contradicting the previous.
? Jack Wrather hires new CEO – Isaacson.
? Isaacson fires the entire sales team.
? Isaacson makes huge cutbacks in spending.
? Sales are channelled through independent manufacturer’s reps, which was cheaper than maintaining an in-house sales force.
? Long-standing relationships soured as the independent reps worked on commission and pushed sales, with no interest in maintaining or building relationships with customers.
? A. C. Gilbert had built its success on personal service and building relationships – that was destroyed within 12 months.
? A. C. Gilbert Junior dies and is replaced as Chairman by Jack Wrather. Isaacson assumes the role of President.
? Prior to Christmas, many of the previous year’s failed products were deleted and 20 new items introduced.
? Reduced the price of core lines such as the Erector set from $75 to $20 but quality also impacted – cardboard box instead of metal boxes, and brittle parts instead of sturdy long-lasting parts.
? Sales increased and there was some degree of optimism. 1965:
? Sought to capitalise on popular crazes such as James Bond and The Man from Uncle by introducing action figures for Christmas.
? Due to internal strife and staff cutbacks, the new lines were not delivered to the stores until after Christmas.
? Operating on a skeleton workforce.
? Due to lack of staff, A. C. Gilbert is unable to implement changes or introduce new lines quickly enough to capitalise on trends.
1966
? Increased advertising spending to $3 million.
? Introduced point of purchase display products supplied to dealers free of charge.
? Borrowed $6.25 million, granted on the event that the company made a profit in 1996. ? Company made a loss of $12,872,000.00.
1967
? February – A. C. Gilbert closed its doors after 58 years.
Source:
? Tibballs, G., 1999, Business blunders, ‘A. C. Gilbert: Toy Story’, Robinson Publishing Ltd, pp. 43.