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The project concentrates on the issues facing Mercedes Benz Cyprus developing and implementing an efficient and cost-effective conceptual framework for measuring and managing sales performance. As a concrete outcome of this research, a roadmap and a website for non technical business users will be developed, giving them the capability to apply the conceptual framework to measurable and manageable business activities.
The project provides evidence that indicates successful application of measuring and managing sales performance techniques through the use of reports, trainings, communication capabilities and presentation skills. It creates a new political and organisational challenge for the staff of the organisation which in its turn must learn to interact fast and effectively in order to achieve their targets.
The main topics that emerged from the research are defined in derived conceptual framework based on the comprehensive review and analysis of the different models and frameworks that can be found in performance measurement literature. Substance considers the external and internal influences impacting on a sales organisation and how management team and staff can offer an actively sought process to monitor business performance on an on-going basis and to generate recommendations for changes.
The research indicates that there is no single model or process for developing performance objectives and measures, nor is there a process that will guarantee good results. It has been essential to synthesise and extend the existing models and frameworks with the aim to produce the most suitable conceptual framework based on the size, kind, and available resources. Additional it is difficult to become a successful implementation of a sales performance measurement management system without connecting with a blended training activities based on the culture of continuous improvement with apply of personal professional development of the stakeholders supporting them to identify their weakness for improvement.
My target award is Doctorate in Professional Studies 'Development and Implementation Issues for Managing Sales Performance'.
Sales Performance is the basic term under which this project focuses. I propose to outline a general focus on performance with particular reference to automotive industry.
The project report will provide a dynamic, systematic and permanent conceptual framework on management and measurement of sales performance from the view of the business user for the Mercedes- Benz Cyprus. The final product will be a practical user-friendly document and a website, based on sound research, for non technical business users supporting them to measure and manage sales performance. It will provide practical and useful information with real business examples and arguments for measuring and managing sales performance. Furthermore, it will serve as a standard and quick reference for business users, monitoring and evaluating tools and methodologies that are critical in measuring and managing sales performance. The website will be an online learning support area for where you can find online material to support the subject of sales performance together with discussion areas.
It is also anticipated to use this programme as an opportunity to my continuous learning and development in the area of sales performance. My favourite motto from the Greek, Athenian statesman, lawgiver and poet Solon is the motivation for my continuous learning and development, 'I grow in learning as I grow in years' (Plutarch & Langhorne, 1857). As Kolb (1984) has documented, 'we seek to grow and develop because we must do so to survive - as individuals and as a world community'.
Coherence of the Programme
The bellow topics provide a rationale for the combination of modules and Recognitions and Accreditation of Learning (RAL) claims on the programme and how are argue for the coherence and viability of this proposed programme.
DPS 4520: Review of Learning
The module of the Review of Learning provided me with a summary and evaluation of my experiences and education to date, and an analysis of their relevance to my future learning and development. My education and work experiences have impacted my personal development, as I have gained a mixture of both academic teaching and hands, on business experience. Most of my experience comes from progressive roles that I have held with Mercedes - Benz. With Mercedes - Benz, I have been fortunate to have a career that has spanned multiple disciplines including Information Technology, Quality, Sales and Marketing. I present my learning in a chronological and thematic approach, with the following diagram Figure 1:0 to reflect on my learning, which shows my lifelong learning stages.
Starting from school and during my first university degree I have had special focus in Mathematics which helped me to develop my analytical and logical thinking for my doctorate project. My first-degree in Mechanical Engineering, as an Engineer, helped me understand how to bring together knowledge of previously solved problems and understand the current need to combine new solutions.
Following my first degree as a Mechanical Engineer I chose, and successfully applied, for a Master degree covering a range of subjects related to Business and Operational Research. The subjects of this Master Degree provided an excellent learning opportunity, and greatly broadened my knowledge and understanding of Business issues. It has had an important impact on my professional and academic development. As Neely (2002) states 'researchers with functional backgrounds as diverse as accounting, operations management, marketing, finance, economics, psychology, and sociology are all actively working in the field of performance measurement'.
The research project that I have undertaken for my Master dissertation studies was a Statistical Analysis of Labour Accident in Greece. Statistical Analysis can integrate with the business performance management. It helped me develop my Statistical Thinking. Statistical Thinking is the philosophy of learning and the action that builds the foundation for successful decision making in any process (Britz et.al, 2000). Additionally, my Master Dissertation gave me my first opportunity to develop an appropriate research strategy. It has provided me with the basic framework for my research approach to identify the research methods and data collection techniques which are required for my research project.
I have worked in engineering as Plant Manager for a year with one of the most important construction companies in Saudi Arabia and Cyprus. Living in Saudi Arabia strengthened my motivation to work in a hard environment and made me challenge my perception of the importance of simple things in our everyday life and work.
Furthermore, working in the desert alone with my team represented a new type of knowledge and a different way of learning for me. I learnt about personal influence and negotiation. Leading a team was an excellent learning opportunity for me, and one that was very different from my past ways of learning. I also gained specific skills including project management and managing contractors, as I was responsible for installing equipments at our sites.
Having decided to change my direction, I successfully applied to Mercedes - Benz Cyprus for the position of the After-sales Analyst. My education and training from DAIMLER A.G, a highly innovative company with a global presence, has enabled me to understand the practical application of theories, especially at the management level. With the need to improve the stock levels and control the transport cost of spare parts, I developed several information systems. Increasingly I became involved in data analysis and interpretation of data, which strengthened my skills in these areas and helped me to develop my thinking about how information is used. In particular, I began to think about how the end-users of information could influence the way in which that data is produced, interpreted and presented, and the way this can change the meaning of information.
The Board of Director of Mercedes - Benz Cyprus offered me the challenge of the combined position of Assistant Sales & Marketing Director and Quality and Business Manager. My duties have three main directions. Firstly, the developing and managing of the passenger car Sales & Marketing business at both the importer and retailer levels; secondly the designing, the developing and implementing of new Information System for supporting the Sales & Marketing Business and thirdly the developing, carrying out and maintaining of the Quality systems of the organisation. My current role has provided me with valuable experience and opportunities for learning. This has allowed me to develop a deep understanding of various functions including Finance, Sales & Marketing, Quality, Service and Human Resources.
Finally, the module Review of Learning helped me realise my strengths and weaknesses and identify the areas in which I need to develop skills.
Recognition and Accreditation of Learning (RAL 4): Professional Learning
The Master Degree in Business Management and Operational Research has had an important impact on my professional and academic development. It equipped me with skills and experiences such as leading me to the research process starting from clarification of the problem until the presentation of the findings to stakeholders which are necessary for my project.
An important subject undertaken was Total Quality Management (TQM) and Operational Research. It was my first experience with tools to control and develop business. Another important subject in my Master was Economics and Law which was directed at understanding the basic notions of modern economic science, with emphasis on microeconomic concepts and macroeconomic analysis. The style of teaching in my Master involved a large element of discussion of issues, and involved a major piece of group project work, which greatly contributed to my understanding of group dynamics. I had actively engaged the discipline in a way not possible simply by listening to lectures and reading textbooks, but through the reflection from the process of research. Writing and peer review helped me to understand my own behaviour within a group situation. Another main subject was Management Information System (MIS) . It helped me understand how to develop, analyse and design computer applications for organisations and offered me the opportunity to see solutions with the help of technology to some of the most important company problems.
Recognition and Accreditation of Learning (RAL 4): Research and Development Project Capability
This claim is based on the dissertation topic submitted as part of my Master Degree. The study was broad and high-level, focusing on data mining and data statistical analysis with special information systems. Also it was important in the conclusion to forecast the trends of labour accidents in Greece. In planning and designing my research I found tools and methods which gave me the opportunity to forecast the future and helped me understand the past.
My ability to analyse and combine information was developed, and my thinking was expanded in terms of working with very different types of information to those that I had been previously used. The experiences with high-level information systems as main tools in my method for my study represented a new type of knowledge.
Moreover in the research project I had an extend focus in data preparation, as most real-life data sets contained missing data. This gave me the challenge of understanding data mining, which is one of the most important rules for efficient and effective strategy.
RAL 5: Advanced developments in professional practice
I have submitted a claim based upon two projects, the design and development of Information Technology and Business Management Systems. They have been supported by theoretical background, literature review in the area of business and management information systems, areas which constitute integral and essential parts of business performance.
Project 1: Design, developing, performing and maintaining the Management Quality System ISO 9001:2000 for the Mercedes - Benz Cyprus.
Since 2003, with the decision of the Board of Directors of our company, I have been leading the project of designing, developing, implementing and maintaining the Management Quality System ISO 9001:2000 for Mercedes - Benz Cyprus. I realised that for this significant project it was essential to improve my knowledge in the subject of the Quality Management. I did an extensive literature review on the subject of quality systems, which brought me up to date with what is current in the field. Based on this literature, I have established a system of monitoring, measuring, analyzing and improving business performance so that service conformity was demonstrated, conformity to the Quality Management.
An important part of the implementation was the collection and analysis of appropriate data. I have established statistical methods to determine its overall performance and level of customer satisfaction. These analyses were useful in the conversion of market data into market studies, of quality data into quality reports and of customer satisfaction data into information on customer loyalty. As the company developed, there was a greater urgency to focus around the customers, thus allowing management to invest well and wisely to meet their needs. The only way to achieve such a goal was to analyse the data for business and process monitoring. This information was reviewed at management meetings. Data on service problems were collected throughout the process. This data was analysed and prioritised for investigation. Management identified root causes and proposed long-term solutions and preventive actions with mandates for improvement teams.
The data analysed included the following:
Customer surveys and complaints
Audit findings and nonconformity reports
Outputs from data analysis
Staff suggestions, complaints, training and competence.
The procedure for preventive action included the methodology adopted for instituting such action on processes and work operations, which affect process quality.
The flowchart presented in Figure 0:2 below outlines the approach taken by the Company to resolve potential nonconformities.
Project 2: 'Design and developing of the live information system for the Sales Department in Mercedes-Benz Cyprus'
Main targets to achieve for this project were to design an intelligent information system that can quickly give access to the auto customer details, easily keep contact notes, track and manage car sales opportunities, create summaries and reports, and be intuitive and simple for managing new car sales. An important aim to achieve was the time spent by the Salesman in front of the computer screen would be no more of 15% of the total time. In this way, more time remains available for the salesman to establish contact in an active and purposeful manner. For the design and development of the information system project, it was necessary to have a deep knowledge of literature reviews on the theories and approach on how to build an enterprise data warehouse. The interface of the information system, as shown Figure 0:3, came about from the observation of the way in which waiters take orders through a touch screen monitor. Only one screen in front of the users, without menus, only big clickable icons which are different from user to user and from level to level.