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Managing Activities to Achieve Results focuses on the successful and resourceful planning and management of work activities. It offers employees with the knowledge and skills to design implement and transform operational systems to develop their effectiveness and efficiency and to accomplish the desired results. Employees are persuaded to consider the consequence and interrelationship of business processes and the implementation of operational plans with quality systems and health and safety in attaining satisfactory results.
1.1 Overview of British airways
British Airways is the largest international airline in United Kingdom and is assigned in the operation of international and domestic carriage of cargo and mail, and the auxiliary services The British Airways Group comprises of British Airways, British Airways Holidays Limited, BA Connect Limited, Deutsche BA, and British Asia Airways, amongst others. Since privatization in 1987, British Airways has persisted to develop as competition in the market becoming the worldï¿½s first airline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to let passengers to print online boarding passes.
British airways group revenue for 2007/08 was ï¿½8,753 million, contrasted with ï¿½8,492 million in the previous year. Following figure 1 explains that so far for the performance over time, British Airways is in an uptrend; with a 1.5 percent increase ever since 2005.So British Airways is in good circumstance but still managing the economical changes. (BA 2007/08 Annual reports and accounts)
Figure 1: Performance of BA, 2007/08 Annual reports and accounts
1.2 Structure of British airways
Before the privatization, British airwaysï¿½ was having a more formalized bureaucratic structure with rules and procedures, as a result of its size and its activities. But a main change in the last years has been the decrease of its management levels and it now has formal structure with responsibilities across different functions. Therefore the structure of British airways is flat type because it has only one level of hierarchy that separates managing directors at the top from bottom-line employees. The organisation has segregated management-level positions into ten departments and each department has own subordinates. British airways structure is shown in figure 2 in which its departments include Planning, Investment & Alliances, Commerce, Ground Operation, Engineering, Flight Operation, IT, Finance, Law, and Human Resource. (British airways, 2010)
Figure 2: British airways organization structure, (British airways 2010)
However market influences created a leaner, structure at the top of management. As illustrated in figure 2, British airways has a flat hierarchical structure that needs them to co operate within all the levels of as strategic where the board of directors take decision on the long term objective the information which flows to the managers in the tactical who furnishes the information to the operational level and the operational level (front office staff, flight stewards etc) drives the data into meaningful messages to be operated conveniently and efficiently.
In addition, British airwaysï¿½ communicates internally as well as externally. The company internally deals with staff weekly via staff newspapers, British airways news, intranet communications, major conferences and events and by facilitating proper communication to staff within their departmental areas. Besides the company encourages flexible communication due to the structure of British airways which is flat type as it has only one level of hierarchy that separates managing directors at the top from bottom-line employees. The organisation has divided management-level positions into ten departments and each department has own subordinates, therefore it can be said that company encourages horizontal integration communication as well. (British airways, 2010)
1.3 Culture of British airways
As explained in 1.2, British airways flat structure encourages the company to have a corporate culture which can be described by applying McKinsey 7Sï¿½s model which includes Staff, Skills, Style, Shared Values, Systems and Structure and strategy (Refer figure 3)
Shared values of British Airways
Figure 3: McKinsey 7Sï¿½s model related to British airways, www.britishairways.com
So .according to McKinsey 7Sï¿½s model the author has found out that British Airways has a role culture in order to perform its structure.
Figure 4: Role Culture, Roger 2010
As shown in figure 4 British airwaysï¿½ culture has bureaucracy in its form. The power of this culture incurs within its pillars. Communication takes place in job descriptions, procedures, rules and systems and the authority is based on job descriptions. Co-ordination of British airways is narrow and the system provides the essential integration. Performance is not encouraged. Role culture of British airways is suitable as the organisation which is not subject to steady change. As after the privatization British airways has become customer oriented culture. (British airways, 2010)
1.3.1 Management style and leadership at British Airways
As clearly stated above, British airways had been bureaucratic, between functions and hierarchies. It has changed to a style of employeesï¿½ empowerment. This means management get help from employees outside the formal structure and across functions.
British airways used to have a more autocratic style but at the moment company is delegating responsibility directly to key individuals. The management at all levels mutually responsive to relationships created with customers and stakeholders. In other words company is experiencing democratic leadership style.
1.4 Functions and business Processes of British airways
Business process is a collection of interrelated activities and tasks that will create a service as well as products for the consumers of business. There are three types of business processes involve in British airways and they are management process, operation process and supporting process. The management process of British airways is all about the operation of a system which includes the strategic management and the corporate governance. Strategic planning in management process is very important because it includes business plan, risk assessment, risk management, financial objectives, management responsibility, continuity planning, quality control, IT threat, contingency plan, disaster recovery, and fulfilment.
Another type is the operational process which is the most essential among all the types of the business processes. It generally comprises the core business of British airways which is transporting passengers fast, safely and comfortably. In addition to this, it also generates the primary value stream. Purchasing, sales, manufacturing and marketing functions are usually included in its operational process. And the supporting process of British airways gives support to the core processes by recruiting personnel to increase manpower. It also includes accounting and technical functions as well.
These three types of business processes of British airways have their own distinctive attributes which add value to its service delivery process (Figure 11 and refer appendix 2) that is clearly shown in figure 12.
Figure 11: Service delivery of British airways, Lovelock and Wirtz 2007
SUPPORT ACTIVITIES FIRM INFRASTRUCTURE
Structured hierarchy permits BA to build a massive amount of specialist knowledge in order to get competitive advantage over economized firms.
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Invested in the expansion of customer service training in 2007 drawing attention of the best employees.
ï¿½Speak Upï¿½ view survey persuades employees to offer feedback (British Airways, 2008).
BA has included value in this group over smaller companies by reason of lack of resources that can be employed to create the service in an innovative way. (e.g. individual LCD screens).
As a result of the size and chronological business relationships and alliances, BA is able to influence suppliers and during economies of scale make efficiencies where competitors may fall short.
High quality training given by City & Guilds (British Airways, 2008).
Continuous relationship with suppliers (e.g. Gate Gourmet.
Enhanced Baggage Security.
Rapid check-in services and safe online bookings with ability to pre-book additional services.
Large database of airport slots facilitate passengers to contact the majority of destinations from preferred airport. MARKETING & SALES
Marketing communications to all stakeholders.
Brand consenting to for large budget to be spent in this field.
POST SALE SERVICE
Loyalty club card is offered.
Bringing up to date communication on other services
Figure 12: Value chain analysis of British airways, www.british airways.com
1.4.1 Inter relationship between the processes and functions of British airways
The success of British Airwaysï¿½ is the best valuable comfort service provides for its passengers. And to build up this solid foundation in market place, British airways utilizes its resources effectively and efficiently. In that manner operations management of British airways plays an important role by transforming inputs (labour, capital, equipment, land, buildings, materials and information) into outputs (goods and services) that offer superior value to customers. Figure 13 demonstrates that ï¿½Transformation Systemï¿½ is the significant element in this model that will verify how well British airwaysï¿½ produces superior services that meet customer needs.
For an example marketing plays an important role in British airways as the customers are more sophisticated in terms of their expectations. And the management functions strategically communicate effectively giving them high priorities. And also the functions such as technology and information provides for the ease of check in including telephone check -ins, valet services and also an online portal at British airways website that consists of many features permitting passengers to verify flight schedules, check personal bookings, travel advice, information on British Airways destinations and even perform online flight bookings. Like that, British Airlines firmly focuses on the significance of the inter relationship between processes and functions with its differentiation and international segmentation business strategies.
1.5 Mission of British airways
Every organization needs to define its fundamental purpose, philosophy, and values. The mission statement clarifies the essence of an organizationï¿½s existence. It describes the needs an organization was created to fill and answers the basic question of why it exists.
British Airways' slogan is "The World's Favourite Airline," and the company's mission is to achieve that by providing a full service experience, both in-flight and on the ground. This mission statement provides the basis for judging the success of British Airwaysï¿½ and its programs. A powerful mission statement attracts donors, volunteers, and community involvement. It helps British Airwaysï¿½ and its stakeholders to verify whether British Airwaysï¿½ is doing its intended job and making the right decisions. It provides direction when British Airwaysï¿½ needs to adapt to new demands, helps the board to stay true to its primary purpose, and serves as a touchstone for decision making during times of conflict. The mission statement can also be used as a tool for resource allocation. The mission clearly states the purpose of British Airwaysï¿½. It is forward-thinking, positive, and describes success. It is clear and focused so that the reader can identify with the statement. It reflects British Airwaysï¿½ ï¿½s values, and clearly enumerates the reasons why British Airwaysï¿½ exists. Creating a mission statement is a group effort. Board members present and past officers, staff, members, donors, and constituents can provide valuable input during the creative process, but the final wording of the statement needs to be approved by the board.
The mission statement should be referred to continuously. It should be reassessed on a regular basis and not simply tucked away in a binder with other board documents. It should be present everywhere: on letterhead, brochures, the Web site, and other official documents. It should be referred to in the articles of incorporation and the bylaws. Before joining a board, all potential board members should review the mission statement to verify whether their understanding of the purpose of British Airwaysï¿½ is compatible with their own beliefs.
1.6 Strategic intent of British airways
Identifying and communicating a clear vision is one of the most important functions a business leader can perform. All business leaders should understand the basic elements of visioning and how to communicate a clear vision.
British Airways is aiming to become a worldï¿½s leading global premium airline. According to the British airways website (www.britishairways.com), the company operates in global, premium and airline market and the details as in below.
In global market
BA will appeal to customers across the globe. Wherever BA operate, individuals and business travellers alike will want to fly with them whenever they can.
In premium market
BA will make sure all their customers enjoy a unique premium service whenever and wherever they come into contact with BA. BA customers will recognise that the service they offer is worth paying that little bit more for.
In airline market
BA will remain focused on aviation, moving people and cargo is their core business. They will develop new products and services to complement this.
Creating a clear and effective vision delivers many benefits to British Airwaysï¿½ . Not only does a clear, shared vision help define the values of British Airwaysï¿½ and its employees, but it also helps guide the behaviour of all employees. A strong vision also leads to improve productivity and efficiency.
With a clearly communicated vision, British Airwaysï¿½ will facilitate buy-in from its employees and create a sense of shared vision that will enable British Airwaysï¿½ to realize the benefits associated with a strong sense of vision.
1.7 Objectives of British airways
The strategic intent leads British Airways to form its key objectives in order to deals with current market conditions and to build a sustainable future for business. Figure 14 depicts what the British airwayï¿½s is for.
Figure 14: Key objectives of British Airways, BA 2008/09 Annual Report
So according to figure 5, key objectives of British airways can be stated as follows,
1. To be the airline of choice for finest customers.
2. To deliver an exceptional service for customers at every touch point
3. To develop the presence in key global cities
4. To build on the foremost position in London.
5. To convene customersï¿½ needs and enhance margins via new revenue streams.
First key objective of British airways explains that people want to fly with British Airways with the premium quality can and the company will continue to introduce great products such as the new business class seat on quality and a redesigned first cabin to complement Heathrow home terminal 5 which will redevelop premium facilities in New York JFK and continue to invest in lounges is in other key cities.
Second objective explains that employees are being trained on the ground and in the air to provide world class hospitality and customer service where customers can already check in their flights from their mobile. Third objective describes British airways provides the best global connectivity for their customers via strong network from London city to New York JFK, with more flights to Dubai and Johannesburg and a return to Saudi Arabia.
Fourth objective illustrates London is positions as the worldï¿½s biggest aviation market, remaining Heathrow as a world class hub by acquiring new slots, supporting plans for a third runway and work with BAA (official airport parking) to enhance baggage and terminal facilities at Heathrow. In fifth objective it says by building profitable subsidiary services that provide customers great value to re-enforce British airways brand. And aim of British airways is to grow their mileage business and boost revenues from third party in engineering, in-flight sales and a new online retail website. On ba.com British airways has initiated a variety of great value hotel and car hire options packaged with their flights.
It can be stated that British airwayï¿½s structure and culture are critical factors that have been influenced by companyï¿½s mission, aim and objectives. Because goals set on the mission offer the long-term targets for the organisational activities which are possibly to be specified for each element of British airways. For an instance when British airways set goals for marketing, customer service, personnel, they should be detailed enough to give a clear picture of the organisation's targets which generalise the characteristics of the mission.
And the On-going Processes of British airways is shaping and achieving broad objectives by having a supportive culture and an effective organizational structure. First, objectives help stakeholders understand their role in an organization's future. And second key objectives are the steps the company will take to achieve its vision. Increasingly managers are expressing a view that they want to develop their strategic skills to help them better understand their organization. They are almost always measureable and thus act as both planning aids and the criteria for performance review.
Chapter 2: Operational planning process and project planning techniques of British airways
Planning for in an organisation needs developing clear objectives which are reliable throughout the business functions. In this scenario, British airwaysï¿½ considers that planning is critical to ensure to identify changes and costs in advance and kept under control. Accordingly British airwaysï¿½ makes plans at different levels. (Refer figure 15). In each level, the organisation's basic functions drive individuals to achieve the objectives and each activity includes the deployment resources which convert into every day performance with policies and quality of behaviour.
Figure 15: Planning hierarchy of British airways, www.stponline.org.uk
2.1 Identifying the project of British airways
As explained in above, British airwaysï¿½ is always ready to response for contingencies in the airline industry due to fierce competition. And the company has notified that other airlines such as Easy jet, Ryan air, Virgin Atlantic persuades to reduce cost by providing less quality products. For an example the author extracted a customerï¿½s experience about Virgin Atlantics which is shown in below.
ï¿½London Heathrow to Delhi.: Upper Class used to be spacious, relaxed, comfortable and that bit special - now it was overcrowded and at best average. The beds lie flat but are very narrow, screens smaller than competitors not being as intuitive to use, the seating layout designed to maximise bodies rather than comfort and the need to twist your neck a lot to see out of the window. I am glad I was not in the middle row front seat that had to sleep with their heads pointing to the toilet. Very disappointing...ï¿½(www.airlinequality.com)
This customerï¿½s experience highlights a crucial weakness in the virgin Atlantic. And after carrying out a market research, British airways made a decision to develop a forward and rear facing seats in the business class cabin with 0% level of carbon foot print. This product development screening process consists of seven stages which are applied below (Refer figure 17) and this new product was launched in August 2009. (Refer figure 16)
Figure 16: product development of British airways, www.britishairwys.com
1. Idea generation: Here British airways generated ideas from customers, the sales team and the market place.
2. Initial assessment: Here British airways looked at the ideas which were adaptable to work on new product and figure out there was a market for this new product which could deliver it to meet customer needs and make profit.
3. Concept development and testing: British airways did a research with existing and potential customers. Monitoring of these groups helped to develop the product.
4. Business analysis: Here British wanted to analyse whether the new product contribute to the objectives of the company and financial viability of the product and ability to add it to the current portfolio.
5. Product development: A prototype was developed and rigorously tested and R&D staff involved in designing the concept into reality.
6. Test marketing: The new product 1st launched with full marketing support in one flight and results of sales and evaluation of marketing in the test market led to modify the marketing mix.
7. Commercialisation and launch: British airways got through all stages successfully and decided to launch product on November 2010, to the market. Here the company planned carefully and all the tasks, responsibilities, budgets and timings Cleary defined. Performance was monitored and controlled throughout.
Figure 17: Stages in the screening process in product development of BA, Kotler,1986
2.2 Goals and Objectives of the product development plan
The goal of this project is to enable business class passengers to have a higher level of privacy with higher quality of products and services.
And the author has laid down two main objectives which assist to achieve goals set in above mentioned product development plan and the author personally argues the effectiveness of the objectives below.
ï¿½ To increase business class passengers by 65% in 2010
ï¿½ To increase market share by 25% in 2010.
For an organization to be practical and effective it should have annual growth. The objectives set upon goals, should be specific because when the objective is material, detailed, focused and well defined it can gain outcome effectively. At the same time these objectives were achievable because if objectives were too far in the future, British airways would find it difficult to keep motivated and to strive towards its attainment. However these objectives, has followed aspirations and visions, but still was achievable to keep employees motivated. And also these objectives were measurable, it meant that the measurement source was identified and British airways were able to track the results of their actions, as the company progress towards achieving the objective. Measurement is the standard used for comparison. Importantly, measurement helps British airways to know when they have achieved their objectives. Finally, time-bound could see in both two objectives as it has set deadlines for the achievement of the objective. Deadlines create the all important sense of urgency. If British airwaysï¿½ did not set a deadline, the company would reduce the motivation and urgency required to execute the tasks. Deadlines create the necessary urgency and prompts action.
Ultimately, legitimacy of the project is vital because UK government is controlled where airlines can fly, and this can be affected to British airwaysï¿½ product planning and pricing policies. But British airways has entitled into open skies agreement which changes the regulatory background significantly. And also this event is ethical by having 0% carbon foot print in product designing.
2.3 Techniques in project planning
Planning techniques plays a significant role in this project plan as it guides to arrange and organize the schedules and budgets to generate more effective work and productivity. The steps of project planning of British airways consists of, development of Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) which involves identifying of all the tasks that are to be carried out to complete the project, estimation which emphasizes the importance of time management to carry out each task in the WBS and scheduling involves the rational sequencing of activities.
2.3.1 Work break down structure
As explained in 2.3, a complex project like this, can manage by breaking it down into individual components in a hierarchical structure which is clearly shown in figure 18.
22.214.171.124 Identify the resource of project
Resources play a vital role in developing a work break down structure. In general resources are commonly identified as sources of supply such as money, people, materials, technology, and space. But according to this scenario of product development, British airways required more sophisticated resources such as system developers, project managers, system analysts, development environments and developed information procedures.
However British airways utilized three primary types of resources used in project plan namely,
ï¿½ Human resources
ï¿½ Financial resources
ï¿½ Capital resources
Human Resources of this project include all project stakeholders, such as customers, project team members, support staff, project suppliers and end users. And this project used information technology highly therefore it required system analysts, system developers and system Programmers.
Subsequently, The Finance division of British airways provided accounting, production and contracting services, assisting to utilize resources effectively and allocating legislative responsibilities of this project. Since this is a new product development the project team had to highly invest on advertising process and also lot of testing. As a result the proposed budget was 2.4 million.
Finally capital resources of this project were the equipments and infrastructure. The management of capital resources were particularly important when considering opportunity costs which were a compute of the alternative opportunities forgone in the chosen of one activity over others.
In fact it was efficient and effective to use resources to work out this project. The allocation of resources cancould have a major influence on project schedules. Such as limited programmers consequences time, cost , quality and risk management.
2.3.2 Estimation of the time and effort of project
As mentioned in 2.3, estimation of the timing in order to the requirement of project is significant. Hence a detailed proposed time schedule is supplied. So the following Gantt chart (Figure 19) reflects how the timing of activities occurs over time.
2.3.3 Scheduling the tasks in project
The project schedule leads the project management team of British airways to effectively manage the project in a skilled manner from start to finish. The project schedule of British airways included all elements of the project from the pre-planning stages to closing stages of the project. Hence, the project team identified that it was necessary to show dependencies and descendant relationships. As a result the network diagram (Refer figure 20) was created from the WBS to demonstrate the order in which tasks should be carried out. And also network diagram enable one to rationally produce the critical path which will explain in 2.3.4.
2.3.4 Critical path analysis of the project
The project team of British airways identified that critical path analysis was an effective method of analyzing this complex project. Because it helped to compute the minimum length of time in which the project can be completed, and which activities should be prioritize to complete by that date.
According to WBS there were many decisions that needed to be made when developing a new product with latest technology, such as, what new functionality should be included, what resources needed to be involved, who were the key players, how much time each key player needed to complete their task, etc. And this analysis allowed project manager to prioritize activities for the effective management of project completion, and to shorten the planned critical path of a project by reducing critical path activities such as by performing more activities in parallel or reducing the durations of critical path activities by adding resources.
Since project schedules changed on a regular basis, critical path allowed continuous monitoring of the schedule, allowing the project manager to track the critical activities. According to the net work diagram the critical path analysis suggested WRITE tasks were critical to keep on time, anticipating that the delay in any one of the tasks will delay the entire project.
2.4 Monitoring and controlling plans of British airways
The purpose of this project monitoring and controlling was to communicate the projectï¿½s progress. By identifying the projectï¿½s performance, appropriate corrective actions and preventive actions could be taken. And also project monitoring and controlling process led to successful project delivery. At the same moment the project team of British airways needed to keep the project informed. This included updates on completion of activities, any expected delays to activities, any new activities that were not previously foreseen, any new dependencies not previously identified and any issues. Therefore, as a result, project team of British airways developed an action plan which shows in figure 21 to monitor activities that must be performed well, for a strategy to succeed.
Objectives of the project plan:
1. To increase business class passengers by 65% in 2010
2. To increase market share by 25% in 2010.
Carried out quality and advertising campaigns to highlight the uniqueness of new product.
Introduced new customer loyalty programmes.
Maintained consistent and quality supply chain where competitors cannot reach.
Always focus on cost but still ensure the best quality than other airlines.
Adopted in to consistent change management
Initiator Identified goals for the meeting including ways to work on goals
Information seeker asked for clarifications of ideas or further information to support of an opinions.
Coordinator coordinated subgroups and pulls other ideas
Project manager involved with planning, controlling and monitoring, and also managing and directing the assigned project resources to best meet project objectives. 6 months
Financial resources such as estimated budget.
Human resources such as men, money, machinery, material.
Political and legislative resources to show the project is ethical and legal.
Legislation barriers always occurred though BA got through this by entitling into sky agreement.
The cost of buying and leasing equipments, safety and security measures, customer service and manpower was much higher and this needed to be recover soon.
There was a threat of copying the new service concept from other competitors.
The project team communicated with the project manager all throughout the project plan and the management in a vertical integration. As it was so effective and could easily get the feedback.
Figure 21: Action plan of new product development project, Field work
According to the action plan co-ordination of activities which were carried by project manager was vital to achieve the objectives of a project and to meet specification, schedule and cost baselines.