Effective management is a demanding process, requiring considerable efforts on behalf of the leadership. Business operations comprise a series of steps, and good performance at each stage accounts for the general success. Managers who have experience working at lower positions within the same company are capable of understanding the particularities of the whole process.
Nevertheless, professional expertise and experience are not the only factors contributing to effective management. Leadership is an area of intense interest within the framework of contemporary business studies, and there are several prominent theories that can be applied in each particular setting. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the application of five management functions and the four-step control system in the context of an Amazon warehouse.
Planning is the first essential function of management, as it sets the vision for future operations. The primary objective of the Amazon warehouse is to pack orders and distribute them among customers. Accordingly, the planning process will concern the methodology and amount of work to be done in the upcoming period. The functions of a warehouse may seem simple, as the primary work process consists of order reception and storing, followed by packaging and delivery. Nevertheless, it is important to estimate the facility’s capability correctly and manage the workload accordingly. The manager’s prior experience provides insight into the packers’ functions, but not all of them are equally efficient. Therefore, one of the areas of interest would be the right balance of order packing per shift.
Team culture is another factor contributing to the proper functioning of the facility. In order to ensure a positive workplace atmosphere, the manager should start by examining the current situation. As this facility is new for the leader, the exact nature of its corporate culture is yet unknown, and there may be some underlying issues. In any scenario, the leadership must remain ethical, meaning that each packer and supervisor will be treated with due respect and recognition.
Gotsis and Grimani (2016) refer to ethical leadership as one of the models that can significantly increase team efficiency. Positive workplace culture will be attained through close cooperation with the supervisors, who are familiar with their colleagues and will be in charge of spreading values among them.
Once the plans are set, the manager must ensure that they translate into work. This objective can be accomplished through proper organization of the process. Amazon warehouses have the reputation of a difficult, exhausting workplace. However, prior experience suggests that the actual conditions do not differ greatly from other facilities of a similar kind. Packers perform much physical work, and their shifts vary between night and daytime to ensure stable operations. Nevertheless, one of the first goals at the new location will be to evaluate the possibility of work organization improvement.
Foy et al. (2019) state that workplace stress is one of the primary negative factors in the modern corporate environment and the United States’ economy loses 300 billion dollars annually because of it. Accordingly, finding potential ways of alleviating it will be a matter of paramount importance. As the team consists of ten supervisors, nine of them will be assigned ten packers with fixed shift rosters. This way, mutual communication, and understanding will be on a higher level. Simultaneously, one of the supervisors will help to oversee the entire operation cycle, being an indispensable link between the manager and the team.
Human resources have acquired special significance in the corporate culture of the 21st century. The company spends considerable resources on searching, employing, training new workers, which is why the recruitment must be efficient. Accordingly, it will be wise for the manager to control the process either personally or through the chief supervisor’s expertise. New candidates should have a clear understanding of all functions and advantages implied by the position. This way, vacancies will have a higher chance of attracting responsible workers.
This model primarily concerns entry-level positions, as the plan is to fill all supervisor openings through promotions. The manager’s experience highlights the advantages of such an approach, as supervisors will retain the valuable perspective of the position below them. In addition, if workers see clear career prospects, they will be motivated to work as efficiently as possible.
However, it will be vital to reduce the staff turnover to a minimum through the positive atmosphere established by ethical leadership and discussed earlier. Each member of the team must feel comfortable at their workplace. Delery and Roumpi (2017) state effective human resource management plays a pivotal role in maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage.
Amazon is a colossal company, and a single warehouse’s influence on the entire business may seem insignificant. Nevertheless, major changes are achieved by small steps, which is why it is crucial to cultivate and preserve meaningful values at all levels. When a team is content, it is more likely to demonstrate outstanding results, which will undoubtedly attract the attention of the company’s executives. The individual success of this warehouse has the potential to extend the philosophy to other units.
The points discussed above are united by the same aspect, which is the crucial role of effective leadership. There are several approaches to management in today’s business environment, and it may be difficult for young leaders to choose the correct one. In fact, each strategy, which is successfully implemented in one setting, may prove to be inappropriate in different circumstances. Afsar et al. (2016) write that leaders “play a vital role in encouraging and supporting the initiatives of individual employees to explore new opportunities, to develop new products or to improve work procedures” (p. 307). Indeed, while setting the vision is important for a manager, they must also be able to convince their followers to accept it.
As discussed earlier, the planned management strategy for the Amazon warehouse suggests that the ethical model should be applied. This way, workers will receive a sufficient level of respect and support, which, in turn, alleviates work-related stress (Foy et al., 2018). Simultaneously, the leadership is going to be transformational, as research suggests its particular effectiveness when the team feels empowered. Therefore, transformational leadership, combined with the ethical management model, will bring good results.
When the vision is set, and the process is organized, adequate control becomes a pivotal factor of success. There are four major aspects of control, which enable effective operations of the facility. First of all, the company must set clear standards, showing workers how their work will be evaluated. As far, this point is concerned, it seems appropriate to remain within the general framework of Amazon, as the company offers unified, comprehensive standards. Secondly, the team’s performance must be measured in order to see if the standards are met in practice. It would be unfair to evaluate the packers by speed alone, which is why packaging correctness is going to be a major part of Key Performance Indicator calculations. Simultaneously, the assessment of supervisors will partly depend on their shifts’ results in order to promote mentorship.
Thirdly, once actual performance indicators are calculated, they must be compared to the standards set at stage one. It will be done in an electronic form, and previous data will be used to correct some standards so that they correspond with the actual capability of the warehouse. Finally, the results must be analyzed to create a plan for further action. The plan will be discussed and devised during monthly meetings will all supervisors.
The exact nature of actions will vary, comprising the change of packers between shifts in case of poor results and introducing additional incentives. In order for the control process to succeed, each stage must receive due attention. This way, the results will be accurate and useful.
In conclusion, the promotion and assignment to a new Amazon facility seem like a unique opportunity for the young manager. In the course of the first months, the primary objective will be to assess the team’s current operations and prepare a comprehensive plan. The manager must set a clear vision of the strategy within the framework of ethical and transformational leadership. Even though some structural changes will take place, it is important not to alter the pre-existing system excessively.
Otherwise, the manager risks disrupting existing processes and earning a poor reputation among the team members. Accurate, thoughtful actions will allow the entire staff to succeed and maintain a positive workplace atmosphere of trust and respect.
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