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Having been employed for the past two years as a packer at Amazon, I have established a solid reputation for my work ethic. Also, I have furthered my education by completing Amazon’s management training program and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration at Ashford University’s Forbes School of Business and Technology. As a result of this hard work and education, I was selected to become a manager of warehouse operations at a new plant. To begin my new position, I will need to analyze the five functions of management planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controls, to achieve Amazon’s goals
To begin, the planning function is the most important of the managerial duties. It establishes the building blocks by which managers can lay the foundation for achieving the organization’s goals. As I enter my role as a new manager I will use my knowledge of packing, managing, and my work ethic to cultivate a positive work environment. Initially, I would use the SWOT to assist in identifying the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats of the warehouse operations. Also, I would also have the supervisors, with the assistance of their employees, complete a SWOT to get first-hand knowledge of the processes from top to bottom. As a manager, I believe this is the best way I can access the skills, education, and abilities of my first line supervisors and all employees (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). By doing this group analysis, everyone would have a hand in the overall operations, which would move to garner the respect of my teams.
Amazon started as a bookseller to simplify online transactions for its customers but not carry any inventory. However, in three short years, the company decided to begin holding stock to have more control over deliveries. (Hall, 2018) Amazon’s found that if you get the products to the customer faster, sales will increase and their investment in multiple fulfillment centers would be a success. With multiple fulfillment centers and utilizing numerous mail carriers, Amazon found its way to reduce its overall shipping cost. (Yarow, 2013). As a manager, it is imperative to review all aspects that keep your business in front of the competition and stave off any potential threats. With my new-found knowledge and the availability of managerial tools, my team and I should be able to create a stable work environment and meet the organizational goals.
The next step is to review the organizational structure of Amazon by examining the leadership structure and the decision-making process along with the operation of the warehouse, and it fits into that structure. The organizational structure “is a formal system of task and reporting relationships that coordinates the activities of employees so that they can work together to achieve organizational goals” (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). Amazon can be classified as hierarchical because all operations report to the company’s two CEOs; however, there are seven segments that are run independently under the direction of the CEOs (Dudovskiy, 2017). I feel this is a solid organizational structure due to the key components all being funneled to the company’s CEOs. Since the company is divided into these segments, the CEOs essentially have created experts within every operational segment; they are ensured they have all of the information needed when making an overall decision.
In this hierarchical design, it is vital to the overall mission to ensure the relationships with all of the employees is active and open. Ensuring open communication will ensure that all employees concerns are heard and respected. I would move towards operating the warehouse as an organic structure that would allow the maximum flexibility to adjust for future changes and create a strong relationship with managers and employees. Organic structures enable the employees to voice how tasks should be completed meanwhile allowing low-ranking supervisors and employees to have their view in the majority of the organizational changes (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). Together, our crew would be able to create efficient processes with all subsections of the warehouse thus meeting the warehouse mission and overall organizational goals
Now that we have organized our plan and structure staffing the warehouse is the next step. Staffing, if done properly can have a devastating impact on every aspect of an organization. To achieve our goals in the warehouse, we must be able to select the right people for the job. Through staffing, a company can effectively reach its goals by careful selection and efficient placement of people in roles throughout the company (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). Considering the strengths and weaknesses of each potential employee and matching those to the functions needed to be filled will determine if a person would be a good teammate. At times staffing can be costly if a company if a company has high turnover rates: “In skilled and semi-skilled jobs, the fully loaded cost of replacing a worker who leaves is typically 1.5 to 2.5 times the worker’s annual salary” (Cascio, 2014). To avoid this cost a company should invest in strategic human resource management systems that allow a company to match jobs functions with overall business strategies (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). However, regardless of the hiring costs, a company can recoup that cost over time by hiring quality people for a role they are suited from the start. Ensuring the HR department has the expertise to aid management in effective hiring techniques will secure an effective workforce. Over the long term, through effective staffing, a company will reduce the cost of replacing employees if they do not succeed in their functions.
Since we have an outstanding HR department, we can ensure that we staff the warehouse with fully capable employees. Next, we will need to ensure we provide the employees with the proper tools for them to be successful. All new employees will go through an initial orientation and are fully trained before working on their own. All new employees will be introduced to the overall mission, meet with all levels of management and be introduced to new coworkers through the orientation process. They will be trained on all rules and regulations, given initial expectations, and a tour of the warehouse. An effective orientation program can foster higher job satisfaction, lower absenteeism, and reduce turnover by creating a stronger relationship throughout all levels and create buy-in to organizations mission (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). Once the initial orientation is complete, new employees will go through on the job training (OJT) with highly trained and experienced employees. OJT allows these experienced employees to show the new employees how to perform the tasks properly and efficiently, and offer them the opportunity to gain overall understanding and receive feedback after getting an opportunity to do the job (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). Training this way ultimately eases transitions of new employees into their new job and ensures production standards are still being met.
Amazon is aligning as a vertically integrated company through many of their recent mergers. Therefore, so they must have total control of the supplies and distribution centers. To prepare for this dynamic, I will prepare my employees for a system that will require flexibility as I incorporate the organic structure. Amazon is not slowing as it is still growing and perusing an aggressive business diversification strategy and its organizational structure will remain dynamic while being subjected to multiple changes (Dudovskiy, 2017). To maintain morale, I will have to push to be a transformational leader and develop leadership in different roles as this should gain their trust and motivate them by setting high but obtainable goals. (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). Following Locke’s goal-setting theory, I will need to establish clear goals that clarify expectations and establish a measurable reference to guide the feedback process as well as providing a basis for self-management (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). This will help me create relationships with my employees and help us succeed together. As the manager, I need to ensure all employees feel they are part of the overall mission, that they understand their job and its critical role, and they feel they are valued member of the overall process. Remaining engaged and active in leadership will ensure the company’s mission is met and the workforce remains reliable and works as one cohesive group.
The controls serve as a cornerstone to maintain stability and smooth operations. Working in a warehouse requires constant controls to be in place, standards must be upheld through production; if an incident occurs, it is essential for management to take immediate corrective action (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). These control points are enacted by a company to implement effective risk management procedures. There are four stages in this control process: establishing methods and standards, evaluating performance, establishing whether performance matches criteria and taking the corrective action (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). Following this guide, I will need to employ quality control procedures that specifically outline every task and anticipated outcome. “Quality auditing is conducted to assure conformance with standards defined by the organization” (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). This allows for a baseline to be established and the data will determine whether the employee has achieved success or failure. The data derived from this process will then be addressed directly to the employee through their performance appraisal since appraisals should be based from measured results of an employee’s performance (Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C., 2014). In every effort to utilize an objective appraisal process, we will promote open discussion and be used as formal feedback and provide promotion opportunities.
In conclusion, implementing the five functions of management: planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controls will amplify the overall success of the warehouse. Through the use of management tools, the human resources department, quality control procedures, and performance appraisals a manager can maintain high efficiency while effectively achieving the organizational goals. These functions will keep the warehouse on track and prepare us to cope with coming business changes as Amazon sees fit to incorporate into the daily job functions.
- Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C. (2014). The five functions of effective management (2nd ed.). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/
- Hall, M., (2018, August 23). Amazon.com. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieve on October 10, 2018 from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Amazoncom
- Yarow, J. (2013, October 28). Former Amazon Employee Explains How The Company’s Business Model Really Works. Retrieved October 10, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/amazons-profits-what-people-dont-understand-2013-10
- Dudovskiy, J. (2017, August 01). Amazon Organizational Structure. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://research-methodology.net/amazon-organizational-structure-2/
- Cascio, W. F. (2014, September 03). The High Cost of Low Wages. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2006/12/the-high-cost-of-low-wages
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