The most valuable lesson I learned in the business game

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Management process : Planning, organizing, directing and controlling

It is important to set planning to win the competition in the business. In developing a planning I learned that I have to consider both external and internal factors. In assessing the external factor I had to analyze the industry trend and competitor's condition. I learned that the key success of the company is having a competitive advantage. The competitive advantage could be being a low cost producer, or having the best quality or by focusing on certain market segment. When planning the competitive advantage it is important to study the industry environment and our company situation, what are the company strengths and weaknesses. Once the competitive advantage has been built, it is important to secure the competitive advantage and strengthen the company competitive position. I learned that I need to watch the competitor's action and tried to anticipate their moves. I had to make sure that our market share was not taken by the competitors. In planning, I have to determine what steps need to be taken to move from the current situation to reach the goal. This includes reviewing various solutions and ways forward for any problem areas, analyzing each possibility and making a decision.

In planning I had to think strategically not only for short term but also for long term. There was quantitative objective and qualitative strategy that needed to be set. All functions from production, marketing, finance, HR formulate the company financial objective such as year on year of revenue, net income, EPS and ROE and the growth. To achieve those goals we then decided strategy on the pricing of the product relative to the competitor, the services, the product quality, the product line, the brand image, number of retail outlets and the advertising budget. All of them had to be in line with the company goals and objectives,

After doing the planning, the staff and other resources had to be organized to get the work done. In organizing, I learned how to allocate resources to carry out the strategies formulated in the planning, this included assign staff to be accountable for each area, divide the workload as equitably as possible, taking into account both the volume and the intensity of the work and delegate any authority necessary to get the job done.

It is important to develop a structure of interrelated tasks and allocate the resources effectively and efficiently which leads to the achievement of the company's goals and objectives. I also learned to distribute authority, coordinate of divisions within the company, and control tasks and information flow.

The next process is directing which involve guidance and overseeing the performance and motivating all involved parties to help achieve the organization's goals effectively and efficiently. In this process, I learned that in directing, it was important to create a climate that encourages new ideas and member's input. The more the members felt that they had a say in the company, the more they would be willing to share ideas and attempted to find better ways to improve processes. In directing, it was also important to be an effective communicator. I had to share information and let members know the latest news in the company.

Controlling is the process of monitoring activities to ensure they are being accomplished as planned and of correcting any significant deviations. It is important look out the performance achievement compared with the target. I learned that if the goals were not met, then I needed to identify the problems areas.

I needed to analysis the reason if the company performance exceeded the target and vice versa, whether the management executed the strategy properly. Sometimes the sales did not meet the target however the net profit could exceed the target, because of cost efficiency. We need to be careful if the market share was decreasing while we have already built new plant. In the following year, the company may become in trouble because of under capacity of the plant and over inventory. Cost control was also important, there were several issues related to cost such as salary and wages, cost of material, warehouse expense, marketing expense, administrative expenses and interest expense. Even if sales could exceed the target, if I did not manage the cost in line with the budget, the net profit would not achieve the target. If the company could achieve the target with the right execution, it was still important to assess the competitor strategy in price, model availability service, number of retailer and advertising etc.

Management function : Strategy, Marketing, Operation, Finance and Human Resources

I learned how different functional of the business integrate together. It was important to link execution with strategy in support function. Strategy provides foundation while Marketing Operations and Support functions (Finance and HR) will help the strategy to be implemented. Strategy consists of vision, innovation, brand and competitive advantage, marketing plans, customer needs and segments, financing etc. Operations Performance will play important role in the execution with the help of support function people, back office processes, financial reporting and forecasting, market positioning, information technology.

Business Game has broadened my functional area expertise. Operations function is the area concerned with the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation in support and development of the company strategic goals. Operation function consists of planning, scheduling, and control of the activities that transform inputs (raw materials and labor) into outputs. At the strategic level (long term), operations function are responsible for making decisions about product development, process and layout decisions, site location, and capacity.

In the marketing function it is important to set up attractive price, established a broad network for distribution and built brand awareness. In addition service quality to the outlet also played important role to the sales growth, this included customer service and delivery time. The HR function includes a variety of activities, such as deciding staffing needs, whether to hire employees to fill these needs or increase the productivity of current employs, ensuring they are high performers and dealing with performance issues. I learned that understaffing lost the business economies of scale and specialization, orders, customers and profits. Overstaffing is wasteful and expensive and overstaffing reduces the competitive efficiency of the business.

When planning for staff requirement, I need to assess present and future needs of the company and it should be compared with present resources and future predicted resources.

Financing decisions are quite significant for the survival of firm. The growth and expansion of business is affected by financing policies. The loan paying capacity of the business depends upon the financial operations. Financing, investing, dividend decision are the function of withdrawing fund, investing the fund in asset and distributing return earned on asset to the shareholders. Financial decision is important to increase the value of shareholders.

About working in Team

As a Leader

I must motivate the team toward the fulfillment of the goals. Have a meeting to discuss what needs to be changed, and really listen to what my team has to say. As a leader I have to value the team member idea. It is important to build the commitment and confidence level of each member. My goal is to have members with technical, functional, problem solving, decision making, interpersonal, and teamwork skills. I need to encourage them to take the risks needed for growth and development. Sometimes I also challenge them by shifting their assignments and role patterns. I try to get them out of their comfort zone and get into the learning zone.

I must communicate effectively the team's purpose and goals. One of the challenges is providing performance opportunities and assignments to members of the team. I need to value the team member idea and grow the team by sharing the opportunities among team members.

As a follower

As a follower I must be able to understand and communicate with the leader and other team members. I need to know about the group's goal and I should be organized and prepared. As a follower I need to enhance my ability to listen. It is also important to give feedback to the leader what is working and what is not. As a follower, I need to be cooperative and responsible, dedicated, persistent/patient. There are times when I have to accept the idea that I disagree but there will be times when I should not be satisfied with the idea. Critical thinking is an important part of being a follower.

2. What do I plan to do to take advantage of this experience and lessons back to my work place

As a Director, I will create a vision to my unit, why they are doing, what they do and where they are going. I need to anticipate the future, sets goals and objectives and identifies the actions necessary for my unit to attain the goals and objectives. The management functions must take place within the framework of the company's overall purpose and strategic plan. All management functions (production, maekting, finance, etc) must work and fit together to achive the goal. The key functions of the basic management process (planning, organizing, directing and controlling) will also help me to execute the strategy. This includes:

Identify the goals for the unit.

Assess where my unit is now in achieving those goals.

Identify what is working well and what needs improvement.

Plan what steps need to be taken to move from the current situation to reaching the goals.

Provide encouragement and guidance of employee's efforts

Determine the structure and design of the organization

Allocate resources

Evaluates the performance of an organization and its units to see whether the organization is progressing in the desired direction, and taking corrective action when and where necessary

In making the strategic and operation decision, I will assess the industry and competitive condition, diagnose the strategy of competitor and anticipate their action, moves. It is important to develop distinctive strategies of the company in order to become the market leader in the industry.