Innovation and creativity is the core of any business

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Innovation and creativity is the core of any business. The big competition and high level of technology today make managers to be more creative and even more innovative. The innovation and creativity are the keys for a success in any business. Money and experience is not the most important thing in a company. The ideas and ability of creating ideas is the gold of any organisation. There are no boundaries of creating innovative ideas. Because without creativity there won't be any progress and there won't be any growth in any business.

In this assignment the author will discussing the model organisation Doves Clothing. Identify the scope of innovation and creativity in the firm. This company has supplied the Promotional Garment Print and Embroidery Industry for over 20 years, and has earned its reputation for exceeding expectations. The company is placed in Earl Soham, Suffolk. Doves creates and supplies products for most of the UK's respected promotional agencies as well as corporate clientele directly. In 2008, as a part of its expansion programme, Doves invested in “state of the art” production machinery for both Screen Print and Embroidering. This has enabled the company, to not only increase efficiency, but to double its production capacity.

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Doves Clothing competition differential is that the company provides true partnership. The company understands the needs and the deadlines of its customers. As Doves work only with permanent customers, this enables the company to concentrate only on their existing customers. The big knowledge, experience and flexibility to deliver, on time, and on budget, help the company to keep its customers happy.

The company has a Partnership Programme which is designed to support, enhance and develop the performance of both companies (Doves and its client), to complete each other's business activity, and add value to their products and services, also provides the client with a competitive advantage. Once the customers become a Doves partner, the customer will be assigned with his/her own dedicated Account Manager. From initial project consultancy through to final delivery, the account manager ensures the customers that they are aware of the progress with the order through regular updates. This is another creative way of showing that Doves Clothing has the customers' best interests in mind, showing a loyalty to them which is remembered when it comes to contract renewals and could make the difference when clinching a deal.

The company is very creative and innovative. As a company dealing with Embroidering and Printing, makes its employees to be more creative with every day. The company use DecoStudio© software, which is a revolutionary new graphics and embroidery technology programme. With DecoStudio, users can effortlessly combine embroidery and print, moving easily between vector art and embroidery elements, while keeping everything in one file for production purposes. In addition, designs can now be layered with different techniques including screen-print, direct-to-garment, print embroidery, appliqué and more.

Due to the nature of this organisation being within the research and development sector, innovation and creativity is an integral part of the organisational culture within this organisation. Doves Clothing requires High Quality Screen print and embroidering images on both light and dark coloured garments. The Company can use up to 12 colours at the printing and 15 at the Embroidery department. By using their own in house studio, the company graphic artists are able to create a precise set of colour separation which makes the sharpest images, creates 3D look and effects. The embroidering department is innovative with its computerised embroidery machines which can consistently reproduce any suitable design or logo.

Everyone at Doves is passionate about the products, and this shows in the quality of work. The staff retention is excellent because the company value and empower them to excel, giving the driving force to consistently produce high quality products.

There could be identifying different learning styles at Doves Clothing. Honey and Mumford's learning styles can be attributed to this organisation (even though employees have a mixture of the learning styles) and the four learning styles are clearly illustrated below:

The senior manager of the organisation is clearly a pragmatist; he is a searcher of a new ideas and experiments, keen to put techniques, theory and ideas into practise, he is a person who gets to the point.

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The reflector is found within the administrator; she has to think in depth and analyse all the data, she is the person that using the data from the past.

The theorists within the company are the finance department; they have to be methodical and analytical about what they do, and have to do it within strict guidelines.

The activists are the sales department; they are open minded, they are very enthusiastic and also flexible. They seek to centre activity around themselves.

Doves clothing has a flat organisational structure (see figure below). According to Henry (2001) a flat organisational structure enables firms to make fast decisions where employee entrepreneurial creativity is released and the ideas in the organisation are managed better.

As every company there are still things that can be improved in any organisation. There is a high level, of innovation and creativity in Doves Clothing. But there are still some issues about the company. One of the innovative and creative issues that the senior manager can look at is transport for the employees. 70% of the employees in the company are coming from Ipswich. Not all of them have personal transport. There are regular excuses from the workers of getting to work, broken cars, and buses delays. There might be a good solution by using Osborn (1963, cited in Henry, 2001) “Brainstorming” strategy, where he argues that a major block in creative thinking is the tendency to premature evaluation of ideas. The senior manager can use the “stepladder” technique through people join the group one by one. The initial discussion begins with two core members. As each person join the group, the same person has to presents and explain his / her ideas for the problem. When everybody has joined then concluding discussion appears. This testing method might give the senior manager the best solution e.g. hires an outsourcing transport to take the employees to work. This might be cost effective and time consuming resolution. When a solution appears, De Bono six hats can naturally follow the process. The six “thinking hats” techniques in meetings it has the benefit of blocking the confrontations that happen when people with different thinking styles discuss the same problem. Each “thinking hat”: white, red, black, yellow, green and blue is a different style of thinking.

As every factory work, most of the employees get bored very easily. The big orders and the same job that has to be done over and over again make the employees de-motivated. This problem can cause big problems to the company. Mullins (2002) states that a manager needs to know how best elicit the co-operation of staff and direct his/ her performance to achieving the goals and objectives of the organisation. Mullins (2002) also suggests that the manager must understand the nature of human behaviour and how best to motivate staff so that they work willingly and effectively. One of the best tools to identify what, how and why the employees get de-motivated is by using Wallas‘s model of personal creativity. The senior manager could go through the four stages of preparation, incubation, inspiration and verification to solve the problem.

Preparation -

The senior manager can absorb as much as information as he can, gather data, he can try to find out what motivates his employees, also ask them what would motivates them.

Incubation -

the manager can give a time, takes his mind off of the problem, simply relax. Put his mind away from the problem. Engage his thoughts with other thing.

Inspiration-

the senior manager could be inspired by doing things that relaxes him or he finds them interesting.

Verification- The manager can start implementing process to motivates employees and see if actually is going to works and give a little bit of time, after that once the testing is complete he can get feedback from his employees to see how they actually feel and whether his motivational process worked.

Another way of finding out a resolution to the problem is through Brainstorming; very effective when addressing an initial problem, but does not necessarily end with an idea to progress with and can be detrimental to a company if no time limit is allotted. Difficult for group dynamics as dominant characters will always drown out the quiet characters if the rules are not followed. It does not take into account where an individual most creative whether within a group or alone in quiet. Delphi and Electronic Brainstorming can be recommended because some of the individuals might have fear of what they are going to say as they might be criticised from the other people.

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The biggest problem in the company is that uses the wrong people with wrong skill in the specific customer roles. The company works only with trade and existing customers. Senior manager is not interested in finding new customers. There is only one person at the sales department with high experience, but this doesn't help him to look after 42 trade customers. The customers at Doves are regular, and there for they need big attention at all times. Complains and the higher discounts are rising compared to last year (finance data shown). The Partnership Programme does not seem to be very effective, or again the person that looks after the customers is not enough skilled and experienced. This is a big part of Doves Clothing business. For this problem can be applied Kaizen's “Continuous Improvement model”, Problem solving process. By taking the eight steps will help to see how this service can be improved. Kaizan; is based on the concept of continual improvement, but it is essential that you have time to assemble data (if available) and you know which problems your are applying it to.

After the Kizen's Continuous Improvement process, Brainstorming is the best tool to find more and better quality suggestions. Delphi - no face to face contact will enable to get honest answers of how customers would feel with the changes and what they think about it. Also Delphi technique is good because there won't be any group interaction effects. This process is very good to be used in situation where face to face contact is not available. Of course, it would be impossible to make a meeting together with 42 companies.

Electronic brainstorming is also good in this situation may be even better. There could be set anonymous questionnaire or survey to competitors and see what they do. Who is looking after their customers and are their customers happy? Electronic Brainstorming is good because can handle large groups and again with this technique is more possible to get honest answers.

A number of the products and services from Doves Clothing organisation are suitable for the “Cantillon” entrepreneur (cited in Wickham, 2004). This is an entrepreneur which brings people money and materials together to create an entirely new organisation. Wickham also suggests that this kind of entrepreneur, “ classic”, identified an exploited opportunity and then innovates in order to pursuit it. However, the author will attempt to put the technical support process through Kaizen, Brainstorming and De Bono six hats techniques to determine how a solution can be found and how that solution could be used by a Cantillon entrepreneur. See table below:-

As Doves works only with regular customers it is really necessary for the company to have a CRM department. So then they offer their customers bigger attention. The existing sales department it is not really necessary because the company interests are not in finding new customers. CRM will help the company to improve customer relationships.

Problem Solving Process: Kaizen

1. What is going on (Identify the problem) ?

Use wrong people with wrong skills to specific customer role

2. What do we know? ( Gather data)

There are 42 customers that need to be look after

There is only one person at the sales departmant

the company interest are in not finding new customers

the existing customers need more attention

the accounting data shows that the company has 8 more customers which have sign the Partnership Programme

big discounts are made not necessary because of customers complains

3. What are the root causes? (analyse data)

The existing sales department it is not effective and helpful with this kind of business

The sales person doesn't know the industry very well

The knowledge of the customers is not high, so most of the time it is necessary to give advice for placing orders

The time consuming is higher

Would be likely to build trustful relationship with the customers

Taking, spending, cashflow forcast, fanacial data

4. What could we do (generate solutions)

To generate solution for this problem, could be used Brainstorming technique:

The fist solution might be to be consider CRM employee

The second solution could be outsourcing CRM

The main idea of Customer relationship Manager is to provide personalised service to each customer, so that they can feel like the company knows them as a person and not as a number.

· Internal CRM would be more cost effective than outsourcing CRM

· The company is going to need CRM software (which is very expensive)

· But the good thing about internal CRM is that the person would be more familiar with the company and its customers

· There would be easier communication between the senior manager and the Customer Relationship manager

· The outsourcing CRM companies have more experience

· They have special softwares

· The disadvantages is that they probably do not understand the industry

· good solution for this problem would be if the company can work with CRM outsourcing company which knows the industry better and its customers

5. What is the best thing to do( select the solution)

The selected solution would be a CRM person that knows the industry uses his/ her own software ( may be hire it) and have been working in the company

so this person knows the customers and the company very well

6. How do we go about it? (Plan for implementation)

· Making market research to find out whether there is CRM company which deals with Embroidery and Printing

· Find out what software they work with

· See how much is going to cost

· Find out if the customers are happy to work with outsourcing company

7. Have we solved the problem (implement and test)?

Working with outsourcing CRM who knows the industry

It is cheaper for Doves Clothing

Doves gains valuable experience because the person know the industry and the customers

There would be less time for the CRM person to get to know the customers and transfer customer data

Yes, CRM problem has been solved.

8. Can we improve on what we have done (continue to impove)

Continuously getting feedback from customers to improve Doves product and services

DE Bono Six Hats system

White hat

The company only works with 42 trade customers

Dove does not have a CRM person

They have a sales person with the incorrect skills in a CRM role

They given out quite a lot of discounts because of unhappy customers

The customers would like a more personal service

The company's turnover has dropped over the past three years

Doves reduced their prices to make more sales

Sometimes customers do not get what they expect

It's not known whether the company previously had a CRM person or if they outsourced their CRM functions

The last three years they have changed the sales person four or five times

Red Hat

There is a feeling that there is a good chance for expansion in the future

It feels like the company is in a position where it needs this kind of service as they are not looking for new customers

It's good to know that there are online software packages that can be rented and cut initial costs for the start-up company

Its good to know that once an outsourcing business has been set up, other companies could use the service

Doves Sales might increase

Black Hat

Trying to convince the owner of Dove that it might be better to use a CRM company instead of the sales person

Initial costs might be high to start the business and Dove might not help with costs

The online software might not suitable for the industry

The customers might not want to work with an external company rather than directly with Doves

Learning how to use a new software system might take time

Yellow Hat

The customers and Doves would be happier because they will have the correct person dealing with both of them

Doves costs will be reduced for a better service

Dove would not need to manage an extra person in the company

The outsourcing company can work with other printing and embroidery companies

There are no local CRM companies that specialise in the printing and embroidery industry

Green Hat

The company will be able to work with other companies

The company could also offer a sales service to other companies

Blue Hat

More thinking will have to be done in order to understand what is involved in managing customers using certain software tools

Look at a broader area to see whether there are any CRM companies that deal with the printing and embroidery industry

Get advice from other CRM companies and see what problems they have faced in the past

Positive and optimistic thinking would help the process