In this report we are going to be looking at Glenn Carter and associates, a small ict training and consultancy company. I am going to use a range of techniques to show how the company can be made to function more efficiently, improve processes in the company and see if and how the company can gain and maintain competitive advantage. By using certain techniques such as a swot analysis, porter's generic strategy, work space layout improvement. Also see how process streamlining can help the company. With ten Employees it is very important to have the right structure. SWOT analysis will show us the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that all affect GC and associates. Potters generic strategy will show us the best way for GC and associates to try and gain and maintain a competitive advantage through the use of; cost leadership strategy, focus strategy and differentiation strategy. We will also be taking a look at Social network analysis (SNA). This is a process of quantitative and qualitative analysis of a social network. SNA measures and maps the flow of relationships and relationship changes between knowledge-possessing entities. Simple and complex entities include websites, computers, animals, humans, groups, organizations and nations. SNA will allow us to see what the best way is to use the structure based on the jobs of the individuals and how much they interact with other people from different departments in the country.
We are going to take a look at how GC and associates can gain and maintain competitive advantage. A competitive advantage is what makes an entity's goods or services superior to all of a customer's other choices. There are a few strategies that a company can use to gain competitive advantage they are known as porter's generic strategies. By evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy we will decide which way is best for the company.
The first way of competing includes cost leadership strategy also known as cost reduction. Cost reduction is the process of eliminating waste and improving processes to reduce overhead and/or selling price. There are a number of ways GC and associates can reduce costs:
• Having enough training rooms and facilities so they would not have to spend money to book rooms and facilities
• Automating some of its processes, this reduces human error and increases productivity
• Negotiate better prices with suppliers
• Stop doing credit checks and ask for 40% deposit from every client
If the cost of making the product or delivering the service is lower than that of the competitors, the company would have gained a great competitive advantage as they can sell their products and services for a far cheaper price than their competitors. This will also increase profits for the company. GC and associates have to be careful not to lower the cost price so much that if affects the quality of the services.
Another strategy could be differentiation. Differentiation is marketing strategy that allows businesses use to different factors to distinguish a product from similar offerings on the market. GC and associates already offer customised training sessions, which could be looked at as a form of differentiation strategy. With this differentiation strategy GC and associates can increase brand loyalty. GC and associates can focus the differentiation strategy on the quality and design of their products and services and gain a competitive advantage in the market without decreasing their price.
In addition to the previously stated strategies, the last strategy of porter's generic strategies is known as focus strategy. The focus strategy would allow GC and associates to be able to focus on a particular smaller segment of the market, this is also known as a niche market. According to the case study there seemed to be an increase in demand for web design and non-ict training. GC and associates can try and be one of the first companies that specialise and offer in web design and non-ict training exclusively. And due to the size of the market GC and associates is likely to build a strong loyal bond with its new customers in the new market.
In conclusion, all these strategies all have their merits, and i believe the strategy that would be best for gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage would be cost leadership. The best strategy to use would not be differentiation. Differentiation would mean that GC and associates would have increased the price of its services, seeing as the economic downturn has caused many of GC and associates customers to cut their training budget. Using a method that allows you to increase the selling price of services would not be the best option. Moreover, the focus strategy would not be the best option for GC and associates as this would require the company to start operating in a new market, offering a new service. This could be expensive as there would be a need to retrain staff or to hire new staff. With the current economic downfall, the most effective strategy has to be cost leadership. The reason or the previous statement is a follow. Cost leadership would allow GC and associates to offer their services at a lower price at a time when clients are lowering their training budgets.
Business efficiency is how much output a business produces for a unit of input. It is the opposite of waste. Efficiency measures how well a business converts inputs such as capital, labour and materials into outputs like revenue, products and services. In terms of GC and associates i see efficiency as being able to deliver high quality training to as many clients as possible.
With the help of this swot analysis, we can see where GC and associates are thriving and can possibly thrive, as well as, their shortcomings and anything after that.
Now we are going to see how we can improve on strengths, cut down the weaknesses, exploit opportunities and try to minimise or neutralise any threats.
In order to become more efficient GC and associates first of all need to redesign their website. The current website has been said to be simple with limited functionality. Competitors with more complex and functional websites do not have any trouble generating business through their website. With a website set up more people can find out about the company and the services it has to offer. In addition, another way GC and associates can be made to function efficiently is by getting more training facilities. With their being only one training room, GC and associates cannot possibly be made to function more efficiently. With the addition of more training rooms and facilities and facilities, clients that come to GC and associates will be impressed, and it will reduce cost.by having more training rooms and facilities and facilities they would be able to save time and money on travelling expenses and renting anther rooms and facilities. Subsequently they can even charge for use of the rooms and facilities. In addition to the previously made state it can be argued that, by cancelling the credit check GC and associates can save a lot of time, asking all the clients to pay a standard percentage of the agreed upon fee would be the best course of action for GC and associates. Moreover, the structure of the company is very poorly designed. I say this because, Janet, the office manager, has a very crucial role in the office and her work space is not positioned in a central location. Social network analysis tells us that the person that communicates the most with people from all departments is called a central connector and as the name states, should be positioned in a central area around the office to allow for easy flow of information.
Having a growing library of their own quality training material is also another way the company can function more efficiently as they would be saving money on paper and they would have a standard to hold all their trainers to.
There are many ways GC and associates can be made to function more efficiently. However, finding the best way to make sure that GC and associates deliver high quality training to as many clients as possible is the task at hand. And the best way to do that is by fixing up the website and getting their own training rooms and facilities.
There are many processes involved in the daily activates of GC and associates. There is an example of the work flow of what a broker has to do after a trainer has agreed to take a job.
This whole process seems to be tedious. And with a few minor changes it can be made quicker. For instance, if the credit ‘check section' was cut out, as well as, which “facility is available to use” were taken out by making every client pay 50% up front and having multiple training rooms and facilities and facilities of their own it would look more like this:
Now with the process looking simpler, GC and associates can save time and get the set up for the training faster which means they can handle more clients.
So, in conclusion, a lot of GC and associate's problems revolve around one thing, not having their own training room and facilities.
By getting their own training rooms and facilities GC and associates can cut costs and by doing so this will give them a chance to sell their services below competitors price. With several large competitors entering the market and LearnTech opening 3 new facilities in the region, finding a way to bring down your selling price without affecting quality is the best way to get customer attention. Also, with the economic down turn having lower prices on services that clients have reduced their budgets on can help the business stay afloat. Cost leadership strategy is the best way for GC and associates to gain and maintain a competitive advantage over its large competitors.
If GC and associates have their own training rooms and facilities it would make the process of getting a client and delivering a process much faster. Seeing as that will allow them to run through more courses and serve several clients and will help them achieve the type of efficiency they are looking for, by delivering high quality training to as many clients as possible. Also, as the time they have saved on looking for a venue to train their clients they can focus that time on creating more training material for their library.
Finally, by getting new training facilities and rooms GC and associates can function more effectively and they can serve many clients with their very highly trained staff. Not only will they be able to do this, but they can also impress their clients with this.
...(download the rest of the essay above)