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Table of Contents
Executive Summary Pg. 1
Presentation of DataPg. 7-9
Findings and DiscussionPg. 10-11
After assessing the situation we realized that Investment in technology and training of both management and staff could see sales figures double. There seems to be an impending problem where IT and communication is concerned, and that has led to the company not maximizing profits. The mindset of both management and staff needs to change in order for the company to move forward. There has been a stand-off for some time now because of how things are handled. Better communication on both sides will see an end to this problem.
Training could help managers and staff alike understanding how important communication is to the survival of the business, and the implementation of information technology will definitely aid in this feat. Currently the knowledge is present among persons within the company and staff members are willing to make a meaningful contribution, but what is needed is a means of facilitating all of this and ensuring the continuation. It will be imperative to put training into motion right away to ensure that within three months the company will be performing at the ultimate or at least very close to it.
The location of the company is very strategic and furnished with all the necessary equipment to aid in the continued success of the business. It has the capacity of supplying the other locations that you have in mind without risking a shortage in supply for the current market. There seem to be very talented managers and staff alike that can contribute to the growth of the company. As soon as all the recommended steps are taken the company will definitely have a brighter future.
Tahgit Jamaica LLC has been a well-established business consultant firm since the mid-90s. We specialize in analyzing established and start-up businesses, facilitating businesses to establish and develop resourceful strategies in a bid to meeting and exceeding their goals, assessing and crafting solutions to problems. The motto of the firm is “Equipping our clients with the requisite knowledge to make informed decisions”, and as such persons of stature in the line of business analysis were pursued, hired and placed in senior positions to help clients and ultimately the firm realize the promise. We maintain annual trainings and keep abreast of what’s happening in our line of business in order to optimize the service provided.
A & J Windows and More, a company specializing in Aluminum windows and doors, saw an opportunity to invest in Gregory’s Chemical and grasped the opportunity with both hands because of the known business potential. Strategically located in the outskirts of numerous inner city communities, the chemical company was a potential gold mine if properly managed and harvested. Gregory’s was equipped with the resources to manufacture their own chemicals and that made them one step ahead of the rest. They not only depended on their niche market but also had sales representative going out on the road marketing the products. Apart from providing the surrounding communities with services, they also offered numerous job opportunities as they employed in excess of 50 employees and ensured that persons from surrounding areas were included in that pool.
According to Sam Ashe-Edmunds “Research on aspects related to your business, such as your target customers, marketplace trends, production processes, and financial practices, can help you predict trends, project sales, spot opportunities, and avoid potential problems. Understanding the nature of different types of business research will help you use data to maximize your sales and profits”.
After assessing the business (Gregory’s Chemical), A & J realized the potential, but they also identified that there was a need for professional analysis of the business as there seem to be a breakdown in the use of information, communication, and knowledge throughout the business. There was little or no Information technology utilized and they wanted an assessment of how that could be changed and the possible impact it would have on the profitability of the business. There was unrest among the partners of A & J because of the impending problems; they therefore contracted Tahgit to ensure that they are prepared to meet the needs and challenges of the business and that they respond to potential complains/problems in a timely manner.
- Tahgit will be assessing how communication, knowledge and ultimately information are integrated and utilized in the business in a bid to realizing full potential.
- We will also examine how much emphasis is placed on Information technology in the day to day running of the business and the impact, if any.
- Assess the use of Internal and external information and the understanding of both
- Recommend improvements where necessary and justify same
A & J Windows and more has long been a company which concentrates on giving customers ultimate satisfaction. For years they have led the western end of the Island in the aluminum window trade and now they are about to embark in the chemical business which they intend to revolutionize. With four locations and employing in excess of 200 workers, for years they have been delivering exceptional services to clients in over five parishes. Their hope is that they can use their expertise and already established locations to increase the sales of their newly acquired business.
After assessing the concerns made by the acquiring company and having decided on the main objectives of this study, we identified the information source which are the outgoing owners, the managers and of course the staff. The most suitable methods for collecting the necessary information were determined to be interview questions, observation and the general study of the market. We developed two interview sheets, one for the owners and managers and the other for the staff. We figured our research would only be successful if we directed the relevant questions to the right persons. It was also thought to be the most effective of method since you would be hearing from the persons from both sides of the business.
Six interview questions were geared at management while five were asked of staff members; we targeted ten persons in total five managers and five staff. We selected randomly across the sphere of the organization, the questions were geared at helping us achieving the main objective of our study.
We also went in and observed how things were being done in the workplace in a bid to not only make our own observations but to also match it against what we would get back on the interview sheets. We observed the market place on a whole and had conversations with players in the business to find out what was happening. It was important to take this route as you didn’t know if any of the interviewed would refuse to be truthful in their answers.
Presentation of Data
Bar graph showing average sales figures on a daily basis
Based on questions asked and data gathered I was able to put together this bar graph showing the sales trend for a particular week.
Pie Chart showing the percentage of sales representative feedback
Based on the survey done 90% of the sales representatives did not provide a feedback of what’s happening on the road or in the market.
Bar graph showing the distribution of hours over a selected quarter
I selected a particular quarter to see how much emphasis was placed on communication, knowledge and information.
Findings and Discussion
According to the book business communications “Work requires communication. People communicate to plan products and services; hire, train, and motivate workers; coordinate manufacturing and delivery; persuade customers to buy; and bill them for the sale. For many business, nonprofit, community, and government organizations, the “product” is information or a service rather than something tangible. Information and services are created and delivered by communication. In every organization, communication is the way people get their points across, get work done, and get recognize for their contributions”. My purpose is to determine if communication was utilized in a bid to serve the intended purpose. Through communication comes information and through information comes knowledge. How much information was communicated upward, downward or even horizontally? Was the power of communication under estimated? I wanted to determine what needs to be done to ensure that communication was optimized and how information technology could aid in this feat.
I encountered some problems while gathering the data for my research, there was lack of co-operation from managers and staff alike. Some resented the fact that there was a take-over, which could possibly meant that their future was uncertain while others were afraid to comment, fearing that it would lead to their dismissal.
Based on investigations through interview questions and observation I discovered that the greatest problem at Gregory’s chemical is a lack of or too little communication. My research result proved that management was not fully utilizing communication to equip their staff with the knowledge and information needed to ensure the continued success/improvement of the business. The main emphasis was getting the ultimate out of their staff without providing them with the tools to get this done (knowledge). Little or no emphasis was placed on training or retraining, and staff relation was certainly at the bottom of their list. One on one meetings were not facilitated and staff interpreted this as not being valued, hence their reluctance to make meaningful suggestions to the company. I found out that sales representatives could have presented data about competitors or the industry in general that could possibly influence the way the company does business. For instance the use of mobile credit card machines were used by other companies and that contributed to the overall sales figures as some clients were moving away from the use of cash. The observation was made but not necessarily reported or acted upon.
Gregory’s chemicals old fashion way of doing business was certainly having a major impact on the business. They did not invest in information technology or even attempt to educate their staff to utilize IT in the running of the business. The business had outgrown the manual way of doing business and they failed to recognize this. The rapid expansion of the business and the increase in staff meant that they needed to invest in IT to stay competitive and be more efficient. Take for instance the bar graph showing the sales figures for a week, they had no tools in place to present the data in this manner. This data could have influenced the way things were done and possibly increase sales on the days they seem lowest by implementing different measures. Those days could have also been better utilized by planning staff related activities or other in-house activities.
The first thing that needs to be done is an investment in information technology. The company has been left behind where that is concerned and has suffered dearly. The use of information technology could ensure the dissemination of information to persons who would have otherwise missed it. For instance because sales representatives are always on the road they sometimes miss vital information needed to carry out their task but if they had email addresses it could be sent to them and they could access it when they get a chance. Another instance of where IT could be utilized is in the case where mobile devices are being utilized to facilitate non-cash customers. Based on my research and expertise in the field, 50% of a company’s sales are paid for by credit cards. This means that with proper marketing and equipping your company and by extension your staff with the requisite tools, on days when sales are $1,200,000 it could actually be $2,400,000.
The next step would be the retraining of the staff and management. I would recommend that everyone is introduced to a communication course as this would help them understand the relationship between communication, information and knowledge. Management needed to understand that by improving communication they would get the staff more involved in the business which in-turn could lead to improved production or sales. On the other hand employees needed to understand how important they are to the success of the business and needed to be implored to provide feedback to both peers and managers alike.
I discovered that communication between owners and management was not really the issue as they frequently came together to discuss tactical issues to move the company forward. The draw back with this was that relevant information was hard to gather in helping them reach the right decisions as they were not investing in information technology or the staff. Same went for the operational decision, the lack of the proper tool and communication techniques made it almost impossible to effectively implement plans successfully. With the investment in information technology and training as recommended, the company could move forward. Until the company is equipped with all the proper tools to make the right decisions and improve production they will remain stagnant and possibly be driven out of business by their competitors.
Ashe-Edmunds, Sam 2014, Small Business, Demand Media
Kyo Kaczmarek, Stephen, O. Locker, Kitty 2007, Business Communication, Building Critical Skills
Interview questions to owners and managers
- How much do you invest in technology
- How often do you have meetings
- Do you have refresher courses and if so how often
- Do you encourage your sales representatives to keep you abreast of what’s happening in the industry
- Are your business decisions influenced by information gathered internally and externally
- What are the means of communication within the company
Interview questions for staff
- Do you think you’re equipped with the knowledge to make the right decisions
- Do you relate what’s happening in the industry to your managers
- Do you feel valued by the company
- Are you kept abreast of what’s happening in the company
- How do you think the company could utilize technology to make a positive impact