During this essay, many topics will be discussed in detail. There will be three questions answered at depth about Glenn Carter & Associates (GCA). These will include company efficiency, process improvement and competitive strategy. Business tools will be used to help make sense of the areas discussed. Mckinsey 7s will be used to identify GCAs efficiency problems and give a breakdown of GCAs hierarchy. This allows improvements and recommendations to be done which will benefit GCA. The SWOT analysis will be used to understand GCAs competitive position plus the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the business itself. It will allow recommendations to be made on how GCA should maintain and gain competitive advantage in the current market.
1) How can the company be made to function more efficiently?
Efficiency can be described as the volume of output in relation to the inputs used. From the case study, one may argue that GCA can be inefficient at times as this is pointed out by the owner Glenn himself. This can stifle growth and in turn affect GCA negatively by things such as poor performance and low morale of employees. One might argue this is because of their current company structure. This can be supported by the Mckinsey 7s model. This was developed in 1980s by two men called Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. This model shows that seven aspects of a business need to be fully aligned for the business to be successful and in this case efficient. In terms of GCA we will be focusing on just one of the seven aspects, this will be structure. Although we will be assuming all other elements will be fine when changing the structure, this is not the case as changing one element will impact the others. However, for this we will assume all other parts are aligned correctly except for GCAs structure. GCA is currently divided into four main teams which are sales, development, training and we will call the fourth one management for the time being. GCA run a very centralised structure as it is not a very upscale business meaning most decisions are made by Glenn the owner meaning all teams report to him. This can be advantageous in terms of coordination and decision making but can also have negative effects. This can add extra layers to the hierarchy that isn't needed which may decrease efficiency for GCA as communication can then become more difficult and time consuming. This is an area that could be improved by moving more towards a decentralised structure. Starting with sales, Alicia and Nathalie are the two employees in this section. They have similar roles but both feel their jobs are more difficult than each other's. This could cause tension between them meaning morale and performance could be negatively affected thus decreasing the efficiency of GCA. Moving on to the development team, this includes Aabir and Joanna. They have a high workload as they prepare things such as training manuals and e-learning materials. They both set their own hours meaning they have a relaxed schedule and can manage their own work. This can be advantageous for them both as it means they can plan their work around their social lives. However, it could be disadvantageous because some tasks may not get completed. It would be vital for Aabir and Joanna to be disciplined in their work so that this team can be efficient and improve the efficiency of GCA. The training team are there to run courses for GCA and therefore play a massive part in the company's efficiency. Lastly, it is the management which are a very important team made up of the owner himself, Janet, Ash and Naya. Janet is the PA for Glenn meaning she has a very high workload, this includes screening calls, supervising Ash and staff complaints. The case study states that Janet feels uncomfortable supervising Ash as she has little technical knowledge, this is an area which needs to be improved for GCA. This could be improved by offering Janet the extra training she needs to be able to cope with the high workload she currently is enduring. This could cause a decrease in motivation thus reducing the company's efficiency. Ash is the ICT technician so he makes sure GCAs computers are running, supports the development team and answers technical queries. He is an important role for GCA as he also needs to set up company laptops for training days. Many things about the structure need improving so that the company's efficiency can be improved. Ways to improve this could be by removing some of the layers of the hierarchy. This would make it more of a decentralised structure. However, changing structure of a company can impact other areas of the business so GCA would need to make sure that the other six aspects are also aligned. For this case, we have assumed that all other aspects are aligned but when the structure does change, the other aspects are expected to change also.
2. Document one of processes described in the case study (your choice). Discuss how the process might be improved.
3. How can the company gain/maintain competitive advantage? Give specific actions/strategies that could be taken.
Competitive advantage can be described as an edge over competitors by offering customers higher value in terms of quality or prices of products. For GCA to gain competitive advantage over its competitors, they need to improve their marketing in terms of the online appeal. Due to constant increase in technology, the website of GCA would be vital to their success. This could increase costs for GCA as they may have to hire specialists to enhance the websites current outlook. However, this will benefit the company as the sales generated from the website should increase. The SWOT analysis supported this point as it was a weakness for GCA that near enough no business is generated from the website. The added income the website produced could be used to take advantage of another opportunity in the form of new training rooms. Not only would new training rooms decrease costs, it could also attract new trainers to be hired for GCA. However, the case study does state Glenn has tried to move to new premises but hasn't got very far, therefore he will have to identify why he hasn't got very far and work on expanding for the benefit of the company. The SWOT analysis also identified another strength of being able increase profits by selling training materials. This will provide more revenue to spend on various ventures such as expansion or paying off potential web designers. The SWOT analysis has also highlighted threats such as competitors luring current trainers or potential trainers away. This would be negative for GCA as it would increase labour turnover and could give their competitors an edge over them. Possible recommendations to improve GCAs competitive advantage are as follows. The main task is to massively improve the online appeal as this will make GCA look a lot more attractive to potential clients and trainers. This will provide an edge over competitors. Although this may cost extra money, it is almost guaranteed that more revenue will be created from the change in website. They could also sell their training materials which would help pay off various outstanding payments. Another recommendation is opportunity to expand into new premises. This is very promising as it may attract new trainers and clients, it will also save costs in the long run thus increasing GCAs competitive advantage over their rivals.
• Loyal trainers therefore lower labour turnover
• Increase profits for GCA by selling GCAs training materials
• No business generated from website
• Room for sales from website
• Expansion in non-ICT training
• New training rooms
• Trainers being lured away from competitors
In conclusion, several business tools have been used to highlight important issues with GCA as a company. The McKinsey's 7s model has been used to identify the problems with GCAs organisational structure that needs to be improved. The centralised structure should be adapted and moved more towards a decentralised structure for levels of the hierarchy to be removed and for communication along teams to improve, therefore increasing the company's efficiency. This is an urgent step that needs to be done so that all other aspects of the business can run smoothly. In terms of gaining/ maintaining competitive advantage. One key area was highlighted by the SWOT analysis which was the lack of online appeal. This needs to be changed urgently as it will improve competitiveness massively as sales from the online side will be improved. Web designers may need to be hired but in the long run, costs will be covered as more revenue will be generated from the improvement of the website. This website will also impact other areas of the business such as recruitment as trainers may be attracted as the business will look more serious rather than just a small company.
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