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The Roles And Responsibilities For Strategic Implementation

It is important when implementing strategy that specific guidelines have been agreed with those individuals tasked with making the strategy a reality. This is a significant implementation issue which will involve task setting and communications, what is to be done by whom, by what time and with what resources.

In reality, how a strategy is implemented will depend on how it was developed, therefore it is important to address the question of who developed the strategy rather than simply who will implement it. For example, was the strategy developed by a central team or was there full consultation? The answer to this question will help to shape the implementation process. It will be difficult to review progress at a later stage if no one is accountable for the way a strategy is to be carried out.

In a small organisation, a number of managers will be involved in the strategy development process because of the small size, as an organisation grows in size the question of who will implement needs more elaboration. It may be necessary to instruct those involved or there may be opportunity for more open discussion, again, this can often depend on the type of organisation and the management style.

The main activities for strategy implementation should be translated into objectives for each of the main areas of the business, this could be corporate, divisional or functional. These objectives should then be interpreted into tasks or action programmes that need to be undertaken in order to achieve them. The definition of objectives into tasks may be simpler in smaller companies than for larger ones.

In small organisations it may be unnecessary to engage in the elaborate communication of agreed strategies. Those who have explored the strategic tasks during the formulation of the strategy may not need lengthy communication during implementation. For larger organisations communication will be essential to –

Ensure everyone understands

Allow for any confusion to be resolved

Communicate the choices made during the strategy decision phase

Ensure the organisation is properly co-ordinated

Consideration should also be given as to how strategy can continue to be implemented in a fast changing environment. By the time objectives and tasks have been agreed and communicated the environment may have changed. As changes occur objectives may become impossible or more straightforward depending on the nature of the changes. In this situation it makes little sense to adhere to objectives developed for earlier situations. It is possible to apply three guidelines in this situation –

Flexibility of objectives and tasks within an agreed vision

Empowerment of those closest to the environmental changes so they can respond quickly

Close monitoring of those reacting to events

The purpose of such surveillance is to ensure that actions taken to not expose the organisation to unnecessary risk.

For this section of the assignment I will look at the roles and responsibilities of strategy implementation for two different departments within Tesco Plc – Sales and Marketing and Finance. Although within the same organisation, these two departments have distinct roles and responsibilities when implementing Tesco strategy.

Tesco is one of the world’s leading retailers, who initially supplied food products to the general public but have more recently also moved into the non food, financial and telecoms markets.

Marketing Department

Roles

Responsibilities

Retain current customers and attract new customers by assessing their needs and considering their purchasing power, buying habits, location etc.

Reviewing marketing activities with management to include sales analysis, strategy review reports and upcoming promotional plans.

Prospecting new locations for premises and reporting on selected cities or regions and their layout, transport facilities and population.

Developing annual marketing plans with individual departments.

To increase the volume of sales by analysing the demands of markets.

Knowledge of the goods on sale.

Investigating and trialling new products.

Finance Department

Roles

Responsibilities

Controlling incoming and outgoing cash flows.

Payment of invoices, wages and salaries.

Undertaking budgeting and performance evaluation and reporting to management

Preparation of budgets and annual accounts. Responsible for the collection and dissemination of this information.

Advising on potential investments

Control of expenditure throughout the business

Calculating financial requirements needed to meet objectives

Both the sales and marketing department and the finance department have an important role in implementing Tesco strategy. With particular regard to the grocery industry some produce will need to be purchased daily. Sales and marketing will need to give consideration to the sale rate of fresh produce and from that measure the input needed.

Sales forecasts will also be an important part of budgets being produced by the finance department as well as relating to the labour required for the human resources department.

2 Identify and evaluate resource requirements to implement a new strategy for a given organisation

Resource allocation is an integral part of implementing strategy. Resources need to be prioritised with the best opportunities in the most effective way. The best opportunities can be ranked by an organisation using appropriate criteria and weighing up risk and reward. When a strategy choice has been made it is also necessary to closely monitor the results of that strategy in order to consider future resource allocation. The organisation should by then have decided on the risks it is prepared to take and the acceptable returns of capital employed. The key resources in the allocation process are Finance, Human Resources, Materials and Time.

Finance

In order to implement any strategic plan finance is always going to be a key resource requirement. A budget can help set out the finance needed for the plan and can often be contentious. A capital budget will form part of the process of change when an organisation chooses to invest heavily in its equipment. A departmental budget will be important to the different divisions of an organisation who are fighting for their share of organisational resources. A revenue budget is important when the organisation is thinking about making finance available for management of new areas of development.

All of an organisation’s programmes, plans and policies will carry financial implications therefore careful financial planning will be essential in order to successfully implement a strategy.

Human Resources

Human Resource planning is one of an organisation’s most important resourcing areas and will only be effective if personnel are regarded as a key factor by management. Human Resource planning should be considered in the same way as investing in new products, that is, strategically.

One of the key elements in HR planning is to have a working organisational structure. When designing the structure it is necessary to differentiate tasks into jobs linked with supervisory and management control.

Staff planning is also necessary in order to identify the types of structures needed in an organisation along with the number of employees required. HR planning can be based on statistics and forecasts while staff planning can be based around corporate planning ie. If a product is to be phased out and a new product introduced then it may be necessary to develop a training plan or prepare for redundancies, or on the other hand recruitment.

Materials

In order to continue operating an organisation will always require a regular throughput of materials. The management of materials is a difficult issue for an organisation but is a crucial resource one. Over the years several different approaches to stock control and inventory have emerged to help with this process.

It is important to appreciate the importance of material resources and its effects on operations. Strategy is as dependant on effective operations as operations are on effective strategy, this requires a top to bottom integrated emphasis on quality standards within an organisation.

Time

Time like every other resource should be allocated in a well organised way. When making decisions about resource utilisation to future strategies managers can often neglect the importance of time and yet time is of the essence in strategic implementation.

One of the ways of allocating time to make sure that tasks are completed to meet a deadline is the ‘ABC Analysis’ – this is a value analysis on the use of time. In order to meet deadlines managers will focus on the most important A tasks. In a typical day 1 or 2 A tasks will be completed per day, 2 or 3 B tasks can be earmarked with some time set aside for C tasks. The ABC Analysis can be used to make sure that time is allocated to meet the strategic objectives of an organisation in a logical way.

BAE Systems is a defence contractor who supplies military defence systems to the MOD and armed forces across the world.

BAE Systems has one group strategic objective – ‘To Deliver Total Performance.’ This represents BAE’s commitment to its customers along with effective programme implementation and achieving financial performance. Total Performance means BAE can develop its business to be able to adapt quickly to its customers changing priorities.

In addition to the one group strategic objective there are also six strategic actions, I will concentrate on one of these six strategic actions and identify the resources needed to achieve this action.

“To grow our home markets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Australia and India”

Finance

In order to develop and grow its business BAE need to be in a good financial position. In 2009 BAE sales were £22.4 bn, an increase of 21% on 2008 figures. With this in mind BAE are actively seeking to expand, however the global defence market is expected to become increasingly challenging due to government budget constraints following the financial crisis.

Of the countries mentioned in the strategic action the Australian government have committed to growth of its defence budget of 3% to 2017-18 with further growth beyond. Indian spending on defence increased by an estimated 34% between 2008-09 and further budget increases are expected. In Saudi Arabia defence spending is to remain a growing market.

It is clear therefore that these three countries appear to have good growth opportunities for BAE and will continue to strengthen BAE’s financial position in what are challenging times.

Human Resources

BAE recognise that its employees are fundamental to its success and its workforce includes the broad spectrum of the skills needed to deliver its products and services.

BAE currently operates a lifelong learning programme for its employees. By encouraging staff training BAE are investing in their workforce and by keeping up with changing technologies are able to meet their customers needs.

The Total Performance Leadership process also drives success by linking the goals of the individual employee to the wider goals of the organisation. This involves objective setting, performance assessment, development needs and potential.

BAE also operate an apprenticeship scheme and work in partnership with education providers to facilitate the continued supply of suitably qualified graduates.

BAE currently have 6100 employees in Australia, 4900 employees in Saudi Arabia and are actively investing in an in country presence in India.

By having a workforce situated in countries worldwide it is important for BAE to be aware of the different policies of each country and understand the differing principles employees may have.

Materials

It is important for BAE to manage their suppliers as a key strategic capability. BAE is committed to improving their relationships with suppliers in each of its home markets to improve better value and innovation for its customers, with this in mind, BAE have provided their top 1000 suppliers with the Group’s global code of conduct and encourage each of them to work to equivalent standards.

Due to economic conditions BAE have also assessed the financial health of their most strategically important suppliers as the performance of suppliers can potentially impact on BAE on their reputation and financial performance. Therefore measures are being put in place to ensure high standards of corporate responsibility in the supply chain.

Time

It is difficult to state what time-scale is set for the above strategic action as BAE do not appear to disclose target dates or time-scales. It can be assumed from looking at previous annual reports that strategic actions are reviewed annually therefore it will not be known if BAE have progressed this strategy until the 2010 Annual Report is made public.

3 Propose targets and time-scales for achievement in a given organisation to monitor a given strategy

It is important to have monitoring procedures when implementing a strategy as information can then be used to –

Assess resource allocation choices

Monitor implementation progress

Evaluate performance of managers in achieving implementation tasks

Monitor any environmental changes from those that were projected

Provide a feedback mechanism

Monitoring becomes increasingly important as the concept of strategy moves from being isolated to being an ongoing event.

Many businesses spend significant resources on monitoring their activities, some major organisations have complete departments whose only task is to monitor competitors. It is also a characteristic that many small businesses are also aware of any immediate competitors, their market prices and other strategic activity.

A strategic control system can be used to monitor the main elements of a strategy and its objectives. What is more crucial is that this information is available in time to be able to take action if required. Strategic control systems will include some financial measures but will also involve looking at customer satisfaction, market share and quality measures.

It could also be necessary to apply the same indicators externally to monitor competition. This would allow the performance of the organisation to be measured against others in the marketplace.

To obtain the best from a strategic control system the following guidelines can be followed –

Concentrate on key performance indicators – If too many elements are being monitored the result will be information overload.

Distinguish between corporate, business and operating levels of information and only monitor where relevant – Not everyone needs to know every piece of information.

Avoid overreliance on quantitative data – Although this information is easier to measure it can also be misleading. Qualitative data that is more difficult to quantify may be more relevant when monitoring.

As controls become more established give consideration to relaxing them – Not doing so may interfere with the ability to explore a strategy clearly.

Be realistic of what a control system can do – Some may consider strategic controls as a waste of time because of the lengthy time scales involved in seeing results. It is more beneficial to acknowledge the benefits of a control system in terms of improved strategy.

Below I will set out how Tesco can use targets and time-scales when implementing a new advertising strategy.

Strategic Objective – To run a new advertising and promotion campaign for Tesco Internet.

The marketing department will obviously take on most of the responsibility for the implementation of this strategy.

Activities –

Identify 3 best advertising agencies for new campaign

Ask the 3 agencies to submit a proposal

Agencies present their proposals to Marketing Manager

Best proposal is selected and agencies are informed of decision

Selected agency presents proposal to Management

Promotions appear in store and on TV

Measure success of campaign in terms of viewer recall and increase in sales

Target

Timeframe

1

Review previous programs

Decide on 3 agencies

1/2/2011

2/2/2011

2

Prepare specification for campaign

Contact 3 agencies

7-9/2/2011

10-11/2/2011

3

Agencies work on proposals

Agencies present proposals

14/2-7/3/2011

9-11/3/2011

4

Select best proposal and inform others

Meet with winning agency

14/3/2011

16/3/2011

5

Fine tune proposal

Present proposal to management

17-25/3/2011

28/3/2011

6

Promotion displays in store

Ads air on TV

2/5/2011

2/5/2011

7

Gather recall measures of campaign

Evaluate sales data

Prepare analysis of campaign

4-18/7/2011

4-8/7/2011

20/7-1/8/2011

By breaking down what the initial strategic objective is into more manageable steps it is easier to monitor if things are moving forward in the desired way and the likelihood of the strategy being implemented successfully it also allows for easier evaluation. Other methods of monitoring implementation of a strategy could be to produce a flow chart or graph.

4 Conclusion

It could be said that the formulation of a strategy is the easy part, how it is actually implemented is more difficult and determines its success or failure.

This assignment looks at breaking the implementation process into how a strategy is communicated, setting tasks and time-scales and looking at resource requirements for strategy implementation.

I have also looked at two different organisations, BAE Systems and Tesco, who are both world leaders in their own right. For BAE Systems I examined how they may handle their resources when implementing a specific strategy. For Tesco I looked at what roles and responsibilities two of their departments have for implementing strategy and also developed targets and time-scales for monitoring an advertising strategy.


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