The focus concept refers to an ordered way of organizing resources with an aim of achieving a specific objective. It states that small scale firms can efficiently control their activities by concentrating in the production of a limited number of products and services. A focused firm has a limited quantity of demand arising from its production processes and customers thereby enabling the firm to operate efficiently (Schroeder & Pesch, not dated). As a result small firms should major in the protection of focus rather than mass production in order to satisfy the market demand which causes a huge strain on small firm’s resources in terms of finances, production capacity, and energy. Failure to focus leads to downgrading of the product quality and management bottlenecks which are largely detrimental for the company (Mendoza, not dated). Larger firm’s have larger capacities in terms of human resource and machinery and are thus less sensitive to issues of focus in production as opposed to smaller firms (Skinner, 1974).
Implementing of focus concept in PowerDrive Golf
Small firms faced with the inadequacies of venture capital can use the focus strategy to keep the business running without necessarily exhausting their available capital (Mendoza, not dated). PowerDrive can restore the firm’s production efficiency by focusing on production of clubs. Riding on the high quality in the manufacture of woods and iron, then company can establish a name and a strong brand for itself thus endearing itself to other medium sized buyers who will not strain the firm’s capacity. It is apparent that the business deal with Golfer’s RUs placed unnecessary strain to the company being the largest discount golf retailer in UK. Golfers’ RU’s by the virtue of its huge size presented PowerDrive which is relatively smaller with a huge challenge of satisfying its huge demand. As a result PowerDrive was unable to engage competitively with it due to its limited capacity. There was a heavy constraint in terms of human resource as the factory was located in an area with very limited skilled staff to manage and oversee the production process. The best way out for power Drive would be to source out for medium size retailers through which to market its clubs rather than to engage with large retailers where it lost its bargaining power. The focus concept works on systems and routines (Olmstead, 1995).
Application of the focus strategy
|Type of premise||Substandard|
|Type of work||Permanent||(see product/service mix)|
|Quality assurance||Low quality/ poor quality assurance measures|
|Use of standards/procedures||Statistical quality checks||Nonfunctional|
|Job specifications||Workers inconsistently trained|
|Wage system||Probably on low wages|
|Supervision||Authoritarian (Gertrude) |
|Customers||Golfer’s RUs||unreliable due to under capacity|
|Product (service) mix||Narrow service offering|
The focus on largely permanent tasks and narrow range of services presents PowerDrive with an opportunity to build strong competencies through learning and repetition of tasks (Wesson & De Figueiredo, 2001). This initially worked well until Golfers RUs came into the picture causing a strain in production capacity. Jock Wallace emphasizes on mass production to meet the market demand which compromises quality. Due to heavy bulks of tasks, the staff could not perfect the performance of any specific tasks which had a detrimental effect on the performance. They ended up ignoring procedures thereby reducing the quality of their clubs. PowerDrive focused on quantity at the expense of quality to match the rising demand of the clubs. As a result there was little prospect of developing competency through learning and repetition. In addition, the training offered through seminars and by the chamber of commerce on process mapping to staff was ineffective as it was offered in shifts thereby resulting to inconsistent training which caused confusion in operations.
Office operations were further compromised by the resignation of Angus who was replaced with Gertrude. Gertrude authoritative style caused distress and friction among staff which had devastating effect on the firm’s output. The employees became de-motivated, demoralized, absenteeism increased while the rate of staff turnover rose. The firm’s cash flow was badly affected damaging its financial position severely. The idea of employing Gertrude chiefly on basis of expertise rather than her soft skills was mistaken and as a result became counterproductive.
Incorporating systems and routines for SuperDrive
The greatest importance of these systems and routines is that they give the company’s staff time to understand and internalize the working of the company systems (Wrennall & Lee, 1993). Sporadic changes to the company disorients the workers thereby causing confusion in the firm as evident by attempts by the firm to introduce new systems of inspecting the quality standards of the clubs. To meet the heavy delivery demand the firm was again forced to increase its man hours and machine hours which caused a strain on the workers and the machinery thereby increasing breakdowns and the costs of operation. These inefficiencies are detrimental to the operations of the company.
PowerDrive also ought not to rush with the expansionary motive and rather concentrate on familiarization and creation of habits in production. This will be made possible through internalization of the best management and production practices (Anon, not dated; focus strategy). Workers will develop and perfect skills through this routine leading to higher output. Maximum efficiency in production will be achieved through familiarizing with the working procedures and practices and informality in execution of tasks (Lee, 1992). This can not be achieved in a rapidly expanding medium sized firm with a constrained capacity.
Competitive recruitment of administrators and improvement of office practices
Additionally, frequent change of the management personnel could impair production as each manager comes with his own style of doing things and a different attitude altogether. This has a negative effect on the workers morale and cause disruptions in production as was observed during the transition from Angus to Gertrude as the production supervisor. Sporadic change of strategies that come with different management staff disrupts the flow of operations as workers try to adapt to the new strategies which undermines the firms output (Czinkota & Ronkainen, 2007).
Power Drive is enough prove that operational bottlenecks that are manifested through compromised office practices and quality of service could seriously hamper a firm’s production processes. This rears its ugly head in the firm’s inability to generate adequate cash flow to sustain its operations (Barsch, not dated). For instance, the employees who were overwhelmed by the workload could not keep up with the required procedures thereby compromising the quality standards of the club. This underscores the importance of maintaining a certain level of systems and procedures in a firm to maintain efficiency and quality in production (Anon, not dated; Focus strategies).
Focusing on permanent tasks and lean production
A small firm caught up in a dilemma of whether to continue with an expansionary strategy or to maintain its existing production activity has an option of optimizing its production by concentrating its core activity on largely permanent tasks and a thin line of service delivery (Levy, 2009). PowerDrive seems to be on the right path by focusing on permanent tasks which creates an opportunity to specialize on specific procedures thereby building skills on that line. This would be a better strategy for PowerDrive rather than to engage in a rapid expansion of production to expand output in order to satisfy the demands of the market (Lee, 1990). The PowerDrive’s approach poses a great threat to a small firm faced with big capacity constraint trying to quench the thirst of huge bullish market.
Building competencies through learning and repetition
Repetitive activity helps workers to develop a trade hence increasing their levels of productivity as a result of specialization in production (Anon, not dated; Focus strategies). At times it becomes prudent to decline offers by customers if they portend a future production and operational bottlenecks for the firm. For example it was erroneous for PowerDrive to enter into contract with Golf RUs given its large magnitude. As a result of its small size, PowerDrive could not meet its huge demand and even lost its bargaining power in the business dealings which dealt a severe blow to the company. Huge revenues were short lived as quality and even quantity nosedived amidst production problems that resulted from the overstretched capacity. The company did not scrutinize third party arrangements with Golf RUs which could hamper its production. As a result, Golf RUs arrangement with Duncan Mouth posed a serious problem in production due to their unrealistic demands that fell on PowerDrive.
To lift out PowerDrive from this rot, the firm needs to develop a clear strategy for its operations. The firm must invest in capital investment if it wishes to expand its operations without interfering with its productivity (Anon, not dated; focused strategy). As observed from PowerDrive, applying an increasingly quantity of variable inputs on a fixed level of fixed capital leads to diminishing marginal returns of any additional capital input. A clear strategy ensures constituency in production (Schroeder & Pesch, 1994). The Implementation of this strategy by PowerDrive will require the company to focus in the customer needs, the product mix of the company, high levels of quality assurance and use of specific quality standards. Matters to do with staffing should also be ironed out. These include supervision of staff, specification of the job, and development of an appropriate wage system to motivate workers.
PowerDrive’s rapid growth add an effect of damaging the flow of existing systems, structures and routines which drew down the firms productive and production processes (Skinner, 1978). It’s thus important for the company to focus its activity on permanent productive tasks and lean manufacturing concept in order to produce tangible results. Despite of heavy pressure from the market to upgrade its output, it’s important to let the firm continue with a line of natural growth rather than proceed with a spree of unnecessary investments which would only be detrimental to the company.
Lack of proper systems and routine practices due to sporadic growth caused complexity in production, confusion in the work place which interfered with the smooth running of the firm thereby causing immense inefficiencies. As a result, it is important for the firm to infuse proper routine, system and routines in order to ensure the human capital work at optimal level. To develop suitable levels of competency, the firm must place some level of repetitive tasks which will enhance development of skills and thereafter lead to higher productivity.
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