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The aim of this assignment is to show how communication, information, and knowledge integrate within the organisation to make the organisation more competitive to work with its competitors. This assignment will cover how IT system can be used as management tool for collecting, storing, disseminating and providing access to knowledge and information.
This assignment is based Aryan trade worldand the author will base the report on the following parameters: -
How information, communication and knowledge plays a role in gaining a competitive advantage for a business.
The role internal and external information and knowledge plays in making and taking decision by the managers of Asian paints
The strategies ATW uses to widen personal networking to improve employees' involvement in decision making
The role communication plays in improving decision making and organizational knowledge
The role knowledge management plays in managing the organization strategically
About the company
Technological innovations have introduced complicity in remanufacturing market. Mumbai based Aryan trade world pvt.ltd understands this and tries to match their product offerings as per the demand. The company's main aim is to supply quality products at an economical price.
Aryan trade word PVT Ltd is a leading player in the Indian market, particularly in the north eastern region of the county. The company provides IT imaging products, compatible laser and inkjet toner cartridge, toner powder, ink, opc drums.
Aryan trade world Pvt. Ltd (ATW) has many departments such as finance, HR, marketing and purchasing so it will be difficult to assess the entire organization. So in this assignment the author will be concentrating on the marketing department of ATW. He will also try to find out how knowledge, information and communication help the organization compete with other firms.
To an average person marketing is promoting. To some small businesses this can be true but in reality it's more than just promotion. Marketing is telling people about your product and why they should have it. It is giving the customer what they desire. Marketing can save us from huge losses. Market research tells us what the people want and knowing what people want will help us design the product according to the customer preferences. This way it's very unlikely that people will not find the product desirable. Marketing is also very important because it's the only way in which product awareness can be spread. People will not buy the product if they don't even know it exists. In the 21st century marketing has become one of the most important factors in success of a company and with all the social networking sites available to market the products it's all about how intelligently you can market your product or service profitably.
What kinds of key decision the marketing department of ATW takes?
Branding for the company?
How to Promote and advertise the company and products?
How to conduct market research?
What methods to use when researching?
When to launching a new product?
ATW's organization structure is very well defined which will make communication between departments, managers and subordinates very smooth and effective.
The marketing manager understands the industry very well and is quit experienced and has a lot of tacit and explicit knowledge.
The marketing team conducts weekly meetings. They share views, information and try to work on ways of continues improvements. This also helps in clearing misunderstanding between team members. It also motivates everyone to perform as everyone is equal here, no one is the boss and no one is the staff.
The main product of the company is its toner powder and the fact that the company only provides premium high quality product they are losing on a huge segment of customers who don't mind the quality much but what cheap, less prices products. The company immediately understood the problem and started researching on some foreign suppliers who can provide them with medium quality product at low prices. The company used secondary information such as industry articles and magazines and also used primary research. ATW found out many Chinese manufacturers that supplied the toner powder at a very competitive price. The next step was to choose the best one so ATW started communicated with the Chinese companies. They used different ways and mediums to communicate. They used emailing, visual conferencing, telephonic communication to name a few. They tried to get as much information like manufacturing process, transport process; faulty goods return policy and many such important aspects. Language with some companies were a barrier but in order to make sure the message was send and understood by the Chinese firms ATW made sure to take regular feedbacks from the companies.
1) What role information, communication and knowledge play in gaining competitive advantage for a business?
Information is Clusters of data that are meaningful and useful to human beings and data is Streams of raw facts representing events such as business transactions. No one can be 5.11 feet long and 6.2 feet long at the same time. Data is always correct, we can say they are the fact of the world but information can be wrong. The data needs to be processed and once processed; the data can be used as information by anyone.
Sources of information in ATW
The above diagram shows the different sources of information for ATW. All these different sources have different amount of authenticity and reliability. Primary information is the first hand data which is originally collected by the researcher. It's often very time consuming and expensive but using this data doesn't require much precaution as its very authentic and reliable. ATW collects Primary data through surveys, interviews, questionnaires and reliable people from the industry. On the other hand secondary data are second hand data which had been collected by someone else in the past. It's very easy to find secondary data and also relatively cheaper, but it lacks originality and cannot always be trusted. ATW collects secondary data from imaging magazines like NCN, reports, and net. Formal data are collected from formal source of information like seminars and meetings. Informal information in ATW includes break time conversations and company dinners. ATW's internal information sources could be work experience and training of employees, past years marketing cost collected from finance department and new product development. External information for ATW could be market trends, competitor's market share, and governments import duties.
Knowledge is intangible, dynamic, and difficult to measure, but without it no organization can survive. Basically knowledge is what we know. To get knowledge our brain uses information. Kinds of knowledge:
Tacit: or unarticulated knowledge is more personal, experiential, context specific, and hard to formalize; is difficult to communicate or share with others; and is generally in the heads of individuals and teams. for instance, if we ask any famous public speaker what is their secret of success or try learn from them, how to speak we might not be as good as them. This is because their knowledge is tacit.
Explicit: explicit knowledge can easily be written down and codified. Synthesis Objective and rational knowledge that can be expressed in words, sentences, numbers, or formulas
Communication is the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another; it involves a sender transmitting an idea, information, or feeling to a receiver (U.S. Army, 1983).People in organizations typically spend over 75%of their time communicating. Communication is the transferring of a message from the sender to the receiver, who understands the message.
The following diagram shows the different tools that ATW used to communicate internally and outside the company.
Benefits and difficulties
A competitive advantage is an advantage over competitors gained by offering consumers greater value, either by means of lower prices or by providing greater benefits and service that justifies higher prices (porter, 1985). Your competitive advantage is what gives you the edge over a competitor. Imaging industry in India is a big market with many big multinationals like HP and Samsung. ATW came into this industry not very long ago and in order to survive and compete with multinationals and local companies ATW needs to deliver extra value to its customers. They can do this by creating a brand image in the market, customer loyalty and cost leadership and in order to have all these information, knowledge and communication play a important role in having that required edge over other companies.
To gain knowledge it's very important to have information. Information is essential in daily running of a company and it can lead ATW to better decision making and with effective communication the sharing of knowledge will lead to competitive advantage.
The data collected from different sources of information will help ATW understand the changing trends in the market and new entries in the market and will help them take the right decisions fast. Knowledge about customer preferences and behavior will help ATW in coming up with a product that is better that their competitors and which give them an edge over them. Knowledge will improve efficiency and productivity which will increase ATW's profits and give them an edge over others.
Traditionally companies relied on telephone and paper-based processes to communicate internally and externally. Today, ATW understands the importance of communication and is effective with network-based communications tools such as e-mail and a Web presence. These tools support the high levels of productivity and customer support that growing companies need to compete in larger and more lucrative markets. A sound network foundation will also support the new technologies and applications necessary to sustain ongoing competitiveness.
Effective communication will lead to completion of delegated task in time, and achievement of aims and objectives. Feedbacks from employees and other stakeholders will help with new ideas and will help in growth of the company. This will help ATW in competing with bigger competitors.
The main problem in companies is that with the advancement in technology, the IT systems have huge volumes of data but the problem is turning that data into information. When there is too much information most of it is inaccurate or unreliable. Information is everywhere but knowledge is hard to come. Another difficulty for ATW is converting tacit knowledge to explicit Knowles.
2) What managers are doing to improve decision making by using information and knowledge internally and externally to improve decision making and taking?
Decision Making is the study of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision maker. It is process of sufficiently reducing uncertainty and doubt about alternatives to allow a reasonable choice to be made from among them (Parcon, 2006).
In an organisation different types of decisions are taken at different levels. The 3 different types of management decisions making taken in ATW are strategically planning level of decisions, Tactical planning level of decision and operational planning level of decision.
Decision making process in Asian paints
While making a decision both internal and external information and knowledge are needed. The above diagram shows what relevance of information required in each stage of decision making. The relevance of internal information decreased as it moves from strategic to operative level and relevance of external information increases as the level moves from operative to strategic, both are inversely.
Strategic decisions at ATW are long term decisions and it deals with complex issues. Strategic planning is a process of deciding on objectives of the company and working on ways to completing those objectives. Strategic levels at ATW uses tools like SWOT analysis to achieve their set goals and objectives. The managers use both internal and external data to conduct the SWAT analysis. Making the right decision in difficult and complex situations is very important so the mangers at ATW also use cost benefit analysis to choose the best option. Executive managers also prepare on future demand reports, new product development report, research on competitor analysis, PESTLE report and ESS report to make to most appropriate decision for long term and also to have the correct future predictions as strategic planning involves high levels of uncertainty and risk of future planning going wrong.
The decisions that are taken at this level are rare and major. Some of the possible decisions of ATW include mergers, takeovers and changing from private limited to public limited.