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Qualitative methods, sometimes called subjective or judgmental are in the first case applied when historical data relating to the forecasted event are not sufficient or are not available and in the second case when forecasted events cannot be described by quantifiable information or it refers to technology changes. Or, here can be also classed so-called pre-forecast derived from intuition and experience. Basic procedures used in qualitative methods are based on experience, contemplations or opinions of experts. Qualitative procedures are either research or normative. Research methods issue from information on the past and presence, they apply heuristic approaches to the future (often by studying all possible scenarios) so that the resulting forecast could answer to the question what and when will happen in the future.
The common three qualitative forecasting methods includes: 1) Delphi Method; 2) Market Research and 3) Jury of Executive Opinion (or Consensus-based forecast).
Qualitative could be described as more freeform, often with broad questions such as "what do you like about that?" or "what would your ideal product look like?"Â Often questions asked of respondents in qualitative research don't include specific answers; instead they simply prompt the respondent to answer the questions in their own words. Allowing customers to answer in their own words, without constraint or suggestions, does tend to uncover factors that may be working underneath the surface. This can lead to an "a-ha" moment in which there is an insight into their customer's needs and motivations.
Disadvantages of Qualitative Market Research:-
Qualitative market research does not allow for statistical analysis;
The cost per opinion in qualitative market research is significantly higher than it is in quantitative market research, typically because the economics of scale is not helped by the typically lower numbers of respondents used in qualitative research; and
Qualitative market research is sometimes followed up with quantitative market research in order to understand what percentage of the target customer group feels the different ways that were discovered in the qualitative phase.
Advantages of the Unaided Judgment:-
It is common practice to ask experts what will happen. This is a good procedure to use when:-
Experts are unbiased;
Large changes are unlikely;
Relationships are well understood by experts (e.g., demand goes up when prices go down);
Experts possess privileged information; and
Experts receive accurate and well-summarized feedback about their forecasts.
Disadvantages of the Unaided Judgment:-
Unfortunately, unaided judgement is often used when the above conditions do not hold. Green and Armstrong (2005a), for example, found that experts were no better than chance when they use their unaided judgement to forecast decisions made by people in conflict situations. If this surprises you, think of the ease with which producers of current affairs programmes seem able to assemble plausible experts who confidently express forecasts on how a situation will turn out, or how things would have turned out had they followed another approach.
Question & Answer for Assignment 2 - Question 2
Bad Design: Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is modern, efficient, clean, and easy to use, and it's also much faster than the older modes of transportation. The only difficult thing about it is trying to remain seated on the slick, stainless-steel seats (you may laugh now, but wait till you've tried it, refer to Figure 1). Also, take note that there are no public toilets at any of the stations or on the trains.
Design Suggestion: Principles of ergonomics should be applied to the design of many elements of everyday life, from office / home seats to transportation seats. A concave shapes dividers are proposed to help passengers remain seated, as refer to Figure 2.
Figure 1 - Difficult to remain seat due to slick, Figure 2 - Improved seats with consider stainless-steel seats Ergonomics
Question & Answer for Assignment 2 - Question 3
It is recommended to bring the following ideas for the public school operators;
Number of students: Class size is usually larger-children don't get as much one on one attention. To implement smaller classroom sizes that could allow child to receive a lot more individual attention from teachers;
Number of Activities: Unlike private school, funding from Government for public school is always limited; this also limits better extracurricular programs for children. More money should be available for high tech equipments and extra-curricular activities in public school;
Introduce Innovation and Flexibility: With reduced state education regulations/ constraints on content of teaching programs or syllabus, the public school could develop programs and practices best suited for their students. For example: Some students in public schools never really fully understood the basic concepts of math or other various subjects. The public schools would usually just pass students onto the next grade regardless ofÂ being able to do basic math or not. They would let the students slip through the cracks so to speak;
Introduce Competition: with introduction of competition concept together with other public school, teachers are forced to improve their teaching quality, because of this competition; and
Introduce Continuous Evaluation for Children: The private school can help people with learning disability or those who are slow learners. Some of them just need a little help with learning the basic skills such as math, but this help not always implement in public school.
Question & Answer for Assignment 2 - Question 4
Advantages of Standardization in IT or New Technology Field:
Reduced cost of IT deployment:- Standard architectures allow deployment teams to roll out new applications faster and with fewer people.
Reduced cost of interoperating with business partners:- Electronic communications and access to common databases are easier to develop and support for multiple partners when standards are involved.
Improved negotiating power with vendors:- Standards drive product differentiation toward price and service and away from features and functions once basic expectations for those features and functions are met. This benefit makes buying decisions faster and simpler to make.
Simplified IT support and training:- Standard platforms simply demand less training and specialization by IT staffs.
Simplified purchasing, procurement, upgrade, and disposal:- The ecosystems that evolve around standard platforms create new services and lower administrative costs for buyers; and
Economies of scale in software development, training, and application rollout:- Development teams don't need to be split across multiple platforms; the need for complex software ports or integration goes away.
Disadvantages of Standardization in IT or New Technology Field:
Of course, there can be barriers to standardization, as well. The leading barriers include a perception that there would be performance and power issues with such systems and incompatibility with existing nonstandard products. This barrier begins to fall when the price performance advantage of standardized systems outweighs switching costs. It erodes even more rapidly as the percentage of standardized products installed in an enterprise increases. Other issues that hinder standardization include lack of key software and a perception that these systems might not be available for mission-critical use.
Standardization as a Driver for Innovations:
Quit a lot of research showing that more new standards are published in innovative sectors (e.g. new technology) than in those which are less so. A similar correlation was found using R&D expenditure as an alternative indicator. By use of example in German: - While the cross-section analysis did not permit any conclusions to be drawn regarding causal relationships, a time series analysis was carried out to examine whether changes in the degree of innovation are reflected in standards work, and whether the standards collection has an effect on technological change. Because the simple cross-correlation analysis provides evidence of such a connection, we examined the extent to which the degree of technological change - measured by the annual number of patent registrations and by R&D expenditure - has an effect on the rate of standardization and the size of the standards collection. Both variables were shown to have a significantly positive influence on the number of standards, and at least at the greatly aggregated macroeconomic level, the assumption seems to hold that German standards work responds adequately to technological change. This conclusion is supported by the results of an analysis of the longevity of standards, which showed that in most subject groups the lifetime of standards was shorter where there was a higher degree of technological change.
On the other hand, the question emerges as to how far new standards and increasing numbers of standards have a positive, or possibly a negative, effect on innovation in Germany.
It is difficult to use statistical methods to answer this question, since innovation, when measured by the number of patent registrations, is greatly influenced by other factors, such as R&D expenditure. However, a positive influence is evident, in that the size of the standards collection - which in most subject groups is growing - has a positive influence on Germany's innovation potential.
Because of the close link between innovation and its diffusion by means of standards, the selection of subjects for standardization must be more closely guided by technological change and the current state of science and technology.
In sectors characterized by very short product lives and development cycles, standardizers should systematically withdraw, and not replace, standards which have outlived their scientific and technical significance. In general, the standards collection should focus on sectors which are important to the economy and society.
Because standardization is a form of technology transfer, it is particularly important to get businesses that are leaders in their sectors involved in new standards projects. Further, all participating businesses must be convinced that the benefits of sharing the R&D results of other companies are greater than the risk involved in revealing their own results..
Question & Answer for Assignment 2 - Question 5 (need Rewrite)
Advantages of installing an ERP system for my ice-cream company:-
Retail based components - Compared to a general ERP package, retail ERP consists of components which are retail based and able to meet the specific requirements of retail organizations in a more efficient way.
Segment specific expandability option - There is a wide range of different segments inside the retail industries, a retail ERP package therefore provides assistance to meet the varying demands of each different segments within the retail industries.
Support for the store system- Retail ERP suite offers support for the store systems that form the pivot of a retail business. The critical functions include keeping track of the inventory, ordering and replenishment, loss prevention and task management. This makes retail ERP system suited to the specific needs of a retail organization.
Configuration and scalability - A good retail ERP system allows a high degree of customization and is easily scalable to attune itself to the size of the organization and its level and scope of operations. Such configuration and scalability prove to be a boon in managing the retail operations across an enterprise. This allows a retail ERP system to grow with the organization.
Phased implementation support - Modern retail ERP systems provide support for phased implementation. This feature allows the software package to be implemented in a step-by-step incremental manner rather than in one go. This makes the transition to an ERP package a lot easier. This feature allows the users to acclimatize themselves to an ERP package that may initially seem complicated to use.
Support for advanced functionality - Modern retail ERP systems provide support for advanced functionalities that is helpful in the decision making process such as formulating pricing strategies, merchandise planning, inventory optimization and store execution. The advanced functionalities help the users formulate business strategies to introduce efficiencies in the critical business processes. The top management uses this feature to set the benchmarks and achieve the desired results.
Workflow automation and enterprise process management - Modern day retail ERP packages offer workflow automation and enterprise process management to make the workflow smooth and seamless across the entire enterprise. This allows the management to monitor and keep track of the workflow while also undertaking the enterprise process management leading to the identification and removal of any inconsistencies in the business process.
Technology and application integration - A good retail ERP system allows technology and application integration to allow a platform independent, seamless transfer of processes across different modules running on different technologies in an enterprise wide environment that may include interaction with legacy systems and external entities such as the suppliers and the customers. Such integration provides the critical enterprise-wide view to the management.
Disadvantages of installing an ERP system for my ice-cream company:-
Lack of price differentiation - Annual license fee of ERP is independent of the scale of the organizations or companies which adopt the ERP. They have to be paid periodically for the ERP vendors. This lack of price differentiation erects a barrier for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) which will to adopt the retail ERP systems.
High installation and maintenance costs - High costs are required for the installation and maintenance of ERP systems.
Non-customized technical support - The callers often end up getting replies from the technical support personnel that are inappropriate to their corporate structure. This non-customized approach proves to be a barrier to address the unique problems in retail ERP implementation faced by a company.
Security concerns - Using an ERP package gives rise to a number of security issues. For example, telling a non-programmer how to change a database on the fly, at a company that requires an audit trail of changes so as to meet some regulatory standards might be tricky. Enforcing the various security protocols while using an ERP package proves to be difficult since an ERP package shares a lot of data among its various components.
Low flexibility - One of the main causes for the failure of ERP systems is that they are often seen as too rigid and difficult to adapt to the specific workflow and business process needs of the client companies. The workflow and business process needs differ from one organization to the other. This calls for minute customization by the user organization that may not be allowed by the ERP package.
Situation misfit - An ERP package may prove to be a misfit in a particular situation. Many companies end-up re-engineering their business processes to fit the "industry standard" prescribed by the ERP system and this frequently leads to a loss of competitive advantage. Ideally, an ERP package should suit the requirements of a company and not the other way around.
Limited scope for customization - The ERP software packages allow only a limited scope for customization. Some customization in the ERP package may involve making changes to the ERP software structure that are not allowed under the license agreement. This can make the situation of the ERP package user very difficult indeed.
Complicate to utilize - Due to the complication for utilizing the ERP systems, successive training are required for ERP users, which costs significant amount of time and money.
High restrictions - Some ERP systems are too restrictive and do not allow much flexibility in terms of the implementation and usage of the software package. These restrictions prove to be a bottleneck in efficient use of this resource in streamlining the business process.
Weakest link problem - An ERP system can suffer from the "weakest link" problem where inefficiency in one department or partner may affect the other parties. An ERP package spans an entire organization while aiming to streamline the business process as a whole and introducing efficiencies that ultimately lead to an increase in the bottom line or profits of the retail organizations. The integration of different components produces more problems due to the weakest link effect.
High switching costs - Once a system is established, switching costs are quite high for any one of the partners involved. This leads to reduction in flexibility and strategic control at the corporate level. The high switching costs can be attributed to the fact that installation of an ERP package involves considerable investment of both time as well as the money.
Reduced departmental Insulation - The blurring of company boundaries can cause problems in accountability, lines of responsibility, and lead to reduction in the employee morale. Since an ERP package spans an entire organization, its implementation integrates the different departments in such a way that no department works in isolation from the rest of the organization.
Requires total transparency - Resistance in sharing sensitive internal information between departments can reduce the effectiveness of the ERP package. An ERP package is designed in such a way that seamless information interchange between the different departments is an essential prerequisite to achieve its full benefits.
Compatibility issues - There are frequent compatibility problems with the various legacy systems of the business partners. A company may have installed the latest ERP package but it has to be compatible with the legacy systems used by its associates or business partners.
Overkill - An ERP system may be over-engineered relative to the actual needs of the customer. Such a situation may be called overkill since an organization may not require the functions or capabilities extended by an ERP system.