1. company that was doing just fine when
1. “The only absolute essential element is that change is directed at a process rather than a function. ” Discuss. The above statement speaks to the fact that: a) Business re-engineering looks at the business as a whole instead of a particular department in order to establish how the functional processes can be amalgated to improve the business and give the company a competitive edge. b) Inorder to achieve a defined business outcome a set of logically related tasks must be performed. These tasks are termed processes.
c) Change is ongoing. It is not a once off project that is taken up over a defined period of time.We live in a changing environment thus the need to reevaluate the changing business circumstances and match or exceed that.
d) Business re-engineering should focus on processes and not be limited to thinking about the organizations. 2) ‘Change was preemptive competitive strike in the Hallmark experience. ” Discuss. A preemptive competitive strike is a strategy that protects a company against potential loss on market share by strengthening the company’s position with new products and other tactics. The concept that is highlighted above is to attack before one is attacked and be proactive in one’s approach.The case study clearly highlights the fact that Hallmark’s re-engineering process wasn’t in response to any external threat. To quote, “Hallmark was the only company that was doing just fine when it decided to re-engineer – not in response to any life-threatening problem but in a farsighted effort to keep such problems out of the company’s future”.
It is further stated in the text that Hallmark dominates the US market and it faces no threat from non-US competitors. Thus in order to ensure future sustainability and gain a competitive advantage Hallmark saw the need to take up re-engineering. ) What kind of major change was Hallmark looking for? Hallmark was looking to change the product life cycle time, product lead time, communication and broaden the product range. a) The communication between Hallmark and the distributors and retailers was delayed. This affected the sales forecasts which spilt over to production. Hallmark was slow to respond to market demand to extent that popular products would only hit the shelves after the customers had looked for alternatives which resulted in slowing moving products and increase in inventory.
This factor thus hampered on the product lead time. ) It took long to manufacture a product and put it on the shelf for sale. Departments operated in silos and the process took time. Departments took time to make decisions and instead of work as a team, once the product of the hands of the other department it will be not longer be their responsibility to ensure the completion of the product thus 0the increased product lifecycle time. c) Customers required variety thus the pressure on Hallmark to broaden the product range. The distribution channels also increased thus the need to cater for more retailers.
) What skill set was required by Hallmark to make change a success? It is important for Management and change team leader to possess strong change management skills for a company to move through a successful change. The change management skills include; Leadership development- To get people to believe in you Marketing and sales ability- To promote your case to change Communication skills- To help build support for the decision to change A good understanding of the psychological and emotional effects of change Technical skills- take ownership for the overall change design, development and successful implementation. ) How important was information technology to Hallmark and how would you advise them on this issue? Information technology is a major enabler for new forms of working and collaborating within an organization and across organizational borders.
This is evidenced by the fact that Hallmark had to 260 of the Hallmark stores fitted with computerized point of sale systems to capture detailed information on every purchased made. This ensured that Hallmark had real time information to facilitate forecasting and planning. We all feel this retail information will be the new lifeblood of Hallmark’’.
The company further enhanced the internal systems by loading decision support software to interrogate data obtained from the retailers to assist in decision making. 6) What was Hallmark”s “New Vision” for the change programme? Hallmark’s “New Vision” for the change programme was,” to dramatically improve performance at the retail level for the long-standing Hallmark specialty stores, the major department stores and supermarket chains, pharmacies, and other outlets for Hallmark and Ambassador products” ) Where does Hallmark stand on the “Self-directed work team” concept and what would you suggest to management in this regard? A self-directed work tem combines different skills and talents to work without the usual managerial supervision towards a common goal or purpose. Hallmark grouped together people from different disciplines, departments and building to cut down on the time spent to develop and product. This resulted in: the products hitting the shelf in have of the time that they usually did. Employees took pride in their work as the saw the product from start to finish Decision where made quickerBetter communication Better product quality I would suggest that management should continue with self-directed teams. However the following must exist for the success of the teams: A.
Management must have tolerance for errors and not fault the teams for their mistakes as they learn to improve themselves, B. Team members must have the competency to manage their independence and their team’s work, C. The teams must be properly structured and staffed such that appropriate people are working together around the relevant work processes, uggests that four conditions need to exist before a company can consider moving towards self-directed teams: D.
Team members must have the competency to manage their independence and their team’s work, E. The team must have access to information in order to make good decisions and achieve its goals, F. Management must have tolerance for errors and not fault the teams for their mistakes as they learn to improve themselves, G.
Trust must exist both within the teams and between the teams and management if they are to take risks, openly share information and be ready and willing to accept change. H.There must be a system of measuring and communicating team and whole unit performance such that the teams can monitor and learn from past results, and work to improve those results, I. The company must install an appropriate team appraisal and reward system in order to evaluate and reinforce team performance. 8) How is the process driven at Hallmark? Participative, Top-Down, Bottom-Up. Discuss.
The process is driven top-down at Hallmark because of its cross-functional and cross divisional nature. The top-down process entails management or the executive team making decisions and filtering the decision to the employees at the bottom.Thus the employees are not par of the decision making profess. Information is merely fed to them. The process recognises and hierarchical structure.
The limitations of the top-down approach include: Poor employee motivation and performance as executives are not willing to listen to lower level employees Lack of information, suggestions and ideas come from the bottom Misunderstanding because of communication problems and inadequate information of both parties It breed scepticism from lower level employees A top down approach is ideal for a crisis situation where time is limited.I would suggest a blend of the top down and bottom up approach to get people at all levels to take a fresh approach to solving problems and improving performance. 9) What are the most important benefits from the change programme? The self directed team approach has brought about a sense of pride and job satisfaction to the employees. The employees are thus empowered.
Technological enhancement and utilisation brought about receipt of instant information and facilitated better decision making Improved innovation and quality resulting in a wider product range to satisfy customer needs.All of the above contributed to Hallmark staying ahead of the competition and meeting the demands of the distribution channels and thus the customers. 10) Why is the concept of change not easily for people to grasp? Change management is a difficult concept to grasp if: It is not fully explained to the employees. The process should be highlighted, the benefits that will arise from the change and how they will be affected.Management fail to continually communicate to the employees to alert them of the problems that have been encountered and the progress Management doesn’t include the employees in the process from start to finish Management doesn’t continuously check the temperature, that is how do the employees feel about the change and what should be done to address the issues. Change is a concept that instils fear in people.
Thus there is a need to properly manage the process in order to diffuse resistance and a potentially unhappy work force.