According to Good Mark Company Limited (2007), Good Mark Industrial Ltd has been in existence since 1992 with its base in Hong Kong. It is a company that has specialized in manufacturing plastic mold. Over the passed 20 years period, it has undergone tremendous expansion. This can be indicated by its growth in human resource as it grew from a 300 workforce to a huge size of 5000 workforce. Moreover, in terms of its industrial products, it has diversified its product line from one product industry to a diverse production which ranges from assembly of electronic components, technology in mold decoration, plastic injection and mock sample. As a result, the company has employed diverse expertise in all of its sections. Its manufacturing plants are based in Chang An, Sha Jing and Suzhou while its trading points are located in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Notably, the company caters for both local and international market throughout the globe. Moreover, it has prioritized standards in its production and business operations. This can be affirmed by various standard certifications such as ISO 9001:2000, ISO 16949:2002 and ISO 14001:2004. However, despite being engaged in plastic production, the company is environment conscious as it has prioritized ecological life as part of its moral responsibility. This can be affirmed by some of the environmental standards that it has achieved from its operation. The company’s mission is to ‘unceasingly strive for betterment and create a better tomorrow’ while its vision is to continuously strive for improvement; contribute to the society, to be customer oriented and to have a positive working attitude amongst its workforce.
Major problems and challenges being faced by GM
Good Mark Industrial Limited has faced various problems and challenges in the past period it has been in operation. One of the main problems includes difficulty of sustaining its operations in an environment that is experiencing stiff competition. Given the fact that plastic business is profitable, many organizations have ventured into this business hence providing stiff competition. As a result, it has become extremely difficult for the company to maintain its profits and sales in the market.
In addition, the company is facing environmental problems given the nature of its products. The main raw material for the company is plastic materials which have hazardous effects on the environment. As a result, the company is forced to follow various environmental standards in the effort of coping with the problem. Moreover, according to Mangena and Brent (2006), it is opined that governments in various parts of the world usually ban the use of plastic bags. This is so since plastics are believed to have numerous negative effects to the ecosystem. In such cases, business operation of the company is affected to a large extend since their market niche is usually constrained.
Furthermore, there has been competition in the environment for the plastic molded products. As a result, it has been extremely difficult for the company to find new market ventures. According to Nagel (1977), it is believed that competition in the market results to increased cost of the company in the attempt to maintain its competitive edge. As a result, the company ends up spending more as a result of market competition.
Nonetheless, it was acknowledged by Leonard and McGuire (2007) that in a market environment that is habited by two or more entities providing the same products, survival for the fittest becomes the rule of the jungle. Therefore, it becomes imperative for an entity to learn tricks on how to compete. As a matter of fact, it is more challenging for Good Mark Company to design strategies that are vibrant in the market that are capable of giving it an edge against other players in the market.
The study question
Is the ‘unceasingly strive for betterment and create a better tomorrow ’ policy implemented by GM in aspects of sales turnover, labor efficiency, operating and production cost, customer appreciation and the environmental effects on the performance of the company still effective?
Significance of the study
The study has various importances to the Good Mark Company Ltd. Nonetheless, the study will determine whether its policy of “unceasingly strive for betterment and create a better tomorrow” that was launched in 2011 was necessary in terms of its business operations. The study will also help to establish this through accessing its effectiveness in increasing sales turnover, aspects of production and operating cost increase, customer satisfaction and effectiveness in aspects of its products’ effects on the environment. Moreover, the study will also be significant since it will analyze effects of internal and external factors to the general performance of the company.
Key performance indicators
According to Lengnick and Lengnick (2003), key performance indicators aid business entities to measure their progress in terms of attainment of their business goals. Nonetheless, this is made possible when an organization has a mission, vision, policies and goals which are used as metric scales in determining their achievement by using specific identified success factors. According to Paladino (2010), key performance indicators are understood to be quantified metrics that shows success areas of a business entity. These factors differ from one organization to another.
On the other hand, it was acknowledged by Lancaster and Massingham (2010) that an entity that cannot measure its business performance has slim chances of competing in the market hence destined to extinction. In relation to this, Good Mark Company Ltd has its own key performance indicator factors that are geared towards attaining “unceasingly strive for betterment and create a better tomorrow” which is a policy that was adopted by the company. The indicators include increase in sales turnover, customer satisfaction, production and operating cost decrease, labor efficiency increase and reduction of environmental effects.
The study employed a variety of methods in exploring the current problem of the company which helped to identify various ways of exploring alternatives. The method used was capable of studying both internal and external environment of the company hence forming good basis for drawing conclusion and recommendations for the existing problem. As a result, the researcher carried out various evaluations that were both internal and external to the organization.
To begin with, market analysis was carried out to inform the study on the current trends in the plastic molding market both locally and internationally. The researcher opted to use this approach since according to Pech and Slade (2003) one is able to identify the needs of his or her clients. This placed the study in a better position to determine whether these needs were being met as per the business operational activities. Moreover, analysis of the market as opined by Hanna (2010) also aided the researcher to understand tastes and preferences of the clients. This helped the study in drawing suitable recommendations.
Furthermore, market analysis carried out also helped the study to understand the macroeconomic factors such as inflation and interest rates. According to Johns and Thompson (2008), these factors form part of the external factors that affect business operation of the company. This approach was important to this study since these economic factors have widespread impacts on the market since they are the biggest determinant of supply and demand of the company’s products on the market (Kushal & Ahuja, 2010). Moreover, business analysis also helped the research to understand current price structure of the company and also aided in knowing competitors price structure (Botha & Brink, 2007).
Nevertheless, the study also applied SWOT analysis. This enabled the researcher to establish strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of Company. This analysis was important to the study since it provided both internal and external insights that were necessary in suggesting future plans for the company in order to fully attain its current policy. According to Hoskisson (2008), strengths and weakness provided internal insights while opportunities and threats on the other hand provided external insights.
In addition, PESTEL analysis was used to understand the environmental effects to the company’s business in terms of political, economical, social, technological, environmental and legal forces. These factors provided understanding of the bigger environment to the business activities. Moreover, Harris and Botten (2008) PESTEL analysis helped to come up with actions that minimized negative effects. Nonetheless, the analysis identified various opportunities that provided new market niche to the company’s business activities. Lastly, Porter’s analysis was also used in analyzing problems identified hence helped to seek for solutions to minimize their effects.
Data collection method
On the other hand, various data collection methods were employed in the study. To begin with survey method was used to collect data from various stakeholders in the company. For instance, survey of sales staff was done to get a deeper understanding of the sales turnover for the two financial years (2010 and 2011). Moreover, information relating to competitors and their products, customer feedback, pricing and quality was some of the information that the sales staff was more resourceful. In relation to this the survey of the sales staff indicated that sales had increased by 10.4 percent in 2011. Nonetheless, in respect to competitors, it was established that GM competitors were still getting their feet in the market.
Besides, survey of the administration department was conducted where information on the latest environmental standards was collected. This group comprised of the senior management of the company hence they were conscious of these standards. For that matter, it was assumed that since one of the core principles of the company was to safeguard the environment, its administrative staff prioritized environmental issues. Therefore, it was established that GB/T 24001 was one of the most important environmental stand that GM prioritized in its industrial processes.
On the other hand, surveys on the competitors were carried out using online sources on the internet. Some of the competitors’ strategic plans, financial statement were freely accessible on the internet. It was found out that GM was performing better than its competitors in the market. This facilitated insightful analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Good Mark’s competitors which was important in identifying present and future opportunities in order to achieve and live its policy.
Nevertheless, survey of the current customers was conducted. The survey helped to collect feedback from clients which was beneficial in assessing the current policy of “unceasingly strive for betterment and create a better tomorrow”. This feedback became the foundation on which recommendations were based in order to address deficiencies in the current business activities. It was established that customer satisfaction had increased by 10 percent which is much far beyond the company’s target of 5 percent.
Lastly, survey of the research and development department and in collaboration with production and engineering department were conducted. In relation to the company’s policy, “unceasingly strive for betterment and create a better tomorrow”, the core purpose of the policy is to make the world a better place both for the current and future generations. Therefore, environmental conservation comes in handy (Halachmi & Bouckaert, 2010). As for such, insights on how to combat the current environmental challenges were also determined through the survey of these departments.
Analysis of the current situation
Analysis and assessment of the present sales turnover
The company according to Krozer (2008) has continued to grow as it now supplies products to all continents of the world. Since its inception, it has experienced tremendous growth and development. This growth for a long period of time has been banked on the adoption of more advanced technologies in molding industry. Nonetheless, the company has strengthened its capital base since its market capitalization hit 2 billion dollars in the 2010 which was a strong indicator for fast and positive growth in its business activities. Since then, Good Mark Company Limited has remained to be successful in the molding industry (Good Mark Company Limited, 2007). With advancement and development of these technologies, the company now concentrates more on making molding products that are more environmental friendly in order to care for the environmental needs of the current and future generations.
As a result, the company has encountered tremendous increase in sales turnover. This is well demonstrated in its sales turnover analysis where by sales increased from 2,900, 131 US dollars in 2010 to 3,200, 420 US dollars in 2011. This represented a 10.4 percent increase in sales turnover. As a result, the company achieved its set goal of 10 percent sales turnover increase.
Analysis of the external environment of Hong Kong molding products market with regard to GM
The overall environment analysis
Asia as a continent is critical in the global economy since it is the major supplier of oil in the world (Burn & Barnett, 2008). However, the financial crisis of 2008 resulted to a drastic drop in the global oil prices which in return had adverse effects to the oil producing countries. For instance, United Arab Emirates (UAE) which is one of the leading oil producers in the world suffered a great deal of the crisis as its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that was at 7.4 percent in 2008 fell to a low of 0.5 percent in 2009 (Chelladurai & Madella, 2006). In addition, Chelladurai and Madella continues to affirm that Saudi Arabia which is one of the major oil producers in the global market had its GDP growth rate decline from the high of 4.2 percent in 2008 to a low of 0.7 percent in 2009.
With respect to 2008 financial crisis on foreign direct investment (FDI), Asian countries were largely affected since their FDI declined by 21 percent which was mainly attributed to fall in oil prices (Dogac & Ulusoy, 2010). Since large proportions of FDI came from major economic powerhouse like US, Japan, Britain who were fighting their stability from the financial crisis, they gave little considerations to matters relating to FDI in other countries.
Nevertheless, Drummond and Ruth (2008) hold that in terms of the fiscal balance, the Asian countries experienced a steep reduction in their fiscal surplus. This was highly attributed to reduction in their exports which was mainly caused by a fall in oil prices that was again compounded by high public expenditure since governments were forced to boost their public expenditure in the face of reduced foreign earnings from oil exports (Analoui, 2002). Rise in public expenditure exerted a lot of pressure on the economies of these countries which in turn resulted to bigger fiscal deficits that were detrimental to the economic well being of these countries (Audreys & Judah, 2003).
PESTEL analysis is a method that examines external factors of the business environment in which it is operating. In relation to Good Mark Company Limited, its political, economic, sociological, technological, environmental and legal environmental factors were analyzed in order to understand its operating conditions.
Political analysis was carried out to determine how political factors influence Good Mark Company Limited business operations. For that case, it was established that plastic molding industry is governed by strict environmental regulations where by the government has the sole power of imposing fines for the companies that do not meet environmental law requirements. For that case, companies like Good Mark Company Limited are forced to operate within the laid down regulations.
Moreover, laws on environmental issues and laws relating to foreign jurisdiction affect company’s operation in various ways. For instance, since Good Mark Company Limited is in the process of expansion to other foreign countries, its efforts is usually constrained by laws on jurisdiction. These regulations and laws include those relating to taxation, accounting standards and environmental laws.
Furthermore, economic analysis was carried out that examined local, national and international economy and how it impacted on the business performance of Good Mark Company Limited. Locally, the government managed to contain recession at a manageable level hence providing good economic condition for business operations. However, internationally, recession in the global market has been unstable hence providing harsh economic condition for business operations on the global market (Slack & Parent, 2006). This had negative effects to Good Mark Company Limited business operations.
Nonetheless, sociological analysis was done to determine sociological conditions of the operating environment of Good Mark Company Limited. This analyzed changes in the market in terms of attitude, tastes and preferences in the market society. In relation to this, it was established that tastes and preferences in the market are changing since many people now prefer organic materials as compared to inorganic products. This was ascribed to the value of preserving environment by the society (Bruijn & Veld, 2010). This came out as a major challenge to business operations of Good Mark Company Limited.
Nevertheless, technological analysis was equally carried out to determine the existing technological development in the operating environment and whether the company is at par with it. In relation to this analysis, it was established that technology in the operating environment is changing rapidly and the company has managed to adopt it as it advances. As a result, advancement in technology has helped Good Mark Company Limited to be environmental conscious.
In addition, legal analysis was carried that determined legal requirements of the plastic molding industry in the operating environment. The analysis established that that there are various legal requirements that have been put in place to guard against environmental pollution especially in relation to plastic industry. However, some of these laws also act as constraints to business operation of the company but on the other hand helping to safeguard the environment.
Michael Porter’s Five Forces
According to Walter (2004), the five forces of Michael Porter help an organization to understand competitive forces in the operating environment. In relation to this, rivalry in the operating environment, entry barriers, buyers, suppliers and substitutes were analyzed in order to understand the position of the company in the operating environment.
In terms of rivalry, it was established that plastic molding industry was seen to be lucrative hence various players ventured into the same business. This brought about competition in the plastic molding industry which in turn affected profit turnover of Good Mark Company Limited. In addition, increase of players in the plastic industry increased rivalry in the market which in turn contributed to designing products that meet clients’ needs in the market.
On the other hand, there were various entry barriers that were established from the analysis. One of the biggest barriers to the entry of business was the value added tax which in most of the potential markets for Good Mark Company Limited is placed at 25 percent. Moreover, in some countries, the minimum wage is high which pose a threat of hiking operating costs in its business activities.
Furthermore, in terms of buyers in the operating environment, it was established that Asia which is the region in which the company has concentrated its operation constitute more than a third of the world’s population. For that matter, it is therefore definite that the company has enough buyers in the market to sustain its business activities (Cameron & Green, 2004).
Nonetheless, in terms of suppliers of Good Mark Company Limited, there are various suppliers of the raw materials in the operating environment. For instance, raw materials such as polyurethane sheets, polycarbonate and roller covering are some of the raw materials that are used in plastic molding. These raw materials are readily available in the operating environment of Good Mark Company Limited and they are a lot of suppliers available to supply the same.
Additionally, according to Porter’s principle, substitute was another factor that was analyzed in the operating environment of Good Mark Company Limited. There are increased attempts in the market to use alternative products such as biodegradable bags especially those made from fabric materials (Pride & Kapoor, 2010). This has in turn affected demand of plastic materials in market hence having negative impacts to molding industry and Good Mark Company Limited in particular.
It is agreeable principle in management that organizations use strategic management in order to deal will ever changing environment in business operations (Watkins, 2002). Every organization always crafts different strategies to respond to environmental change in order to competitively survive (Mintzberg & Lampell, 1990). However, this strategy needs to be proactive, reactive and robust in order to withstand storms that are always present in business environment. In relation to this, there are different approaches that are open to organization in their strategy formulation. For example, a company may decide to use linear strategies which entirely focus on goals and means to achieve them or it may decide to use adaptive approach where there is development of a viable match between opportunities and risks to organization’s (Street, 2003). Nonetheless, before any strategy is formulated, it is relatively important to analyze external environment. Proper understanding of the external environment informs business of the possible way forward in that particular operating environment.
In relation to Good Mark Company Limited, its operating environment was characterized by environmental consciousness. Moreover, this business environment was fast changing in terms of technology (Vaiman & Vance, 2008). Business entities are usually forced to adapt to the external environment of their business operations.
A summary of the Industrial Opportunities and Threats
Good Mark Company Limited is a molding industry which is a major player in Hong Kong in the plastic manufacturing industry. The company produces plastic products in environment friendly manner. This is the biggest opportunity for the company since demographic data indicates that the in the next few decades, the structure of the Pacific Asia population will undergo major changes where will increase by 26.1 percent by the year 2045 which implies that there will be an increased market for the industry market. This therefore means that the company should position itself in order to exploit this business opportunity in the operating environment (Siddiqui, 2005).
Analysis of the internal environment of GM that have an impact on the current situation
Analysis of the internal environmental factors of GM indicated that they have impacted greatly on the current situation of the company in various ways. This ranges from offering competitive advantage to the company, creating a value chain and offering distinctive competencies among others. Therefore, in the analysis of GM internal environment, SWOT approach was used where its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were analyzed.
In respect to strengths, GM is one of the best brands in the field of plastic industry in the world. For that matter, being the industry leader, it was widely recognized by consumers in the market due to its brand recognition. As a result, its long time presence on the market than most of other players placed it in a better position than its competitors. Moreover, it is a widely recognized brand thus it has a strong goodwill name than other new entrants. This has provided a competitive advantage to the company since the highest percentage of plastic products consumers trust the company’s products due to brand loyalty. Moreover, the goodwill also serves as a source of value chain to the company products.
Furthermore, the company boosts for having several production plants in various parts of Asia. This is strength in itself since other players that are entering the industry have only one production plant in one town. Presence of production plants in various parts of Asia helps it to keep transportation cost down since raw materials in these regions only needs to be transported to the nearest plant.
Besides, adoption of advanced technology is strength for the company since most of the processes that were handled manually were automated. Automation reduced labor costs as tasks that were performed by various people were now undertaken by a machine and in a reduced time. This helped to achieve labor efficiency and effectiveness. Nonetheless, incorporation of advanced technology in production processes of GM have also added its products a huge value chain since products produced from this process are considered to be of higher value by customers. Moreover, the advanced technology also provided distinctive competencies to business processes of the company as compared to other companies that have not adopted this kind of sophistication in their technologies (Fredrickson, 2010).
However, there exist various weaknesses that relates to its internal environment (Reed, 2004). These include lack of diversification by the company in terms of its products. The company has not implemented its desire to have alternative products to plastics. This is a major weakness to the company since consumers are currently becoming environmental conscious and they prefer alternative products to plastics especially those that are organic in nature. This is a great weakness to the company since other players are producing alternative products thus faces risks of being phased out of business if it remains adamant on change.
In summary, it can therefore be affirmed that GM strong brand is its biggest internal strength that for which it continues to bank on for competitive advantage. Moreover, various production plants in different geographical location are an internal strength of the company. Furthermore, adoption of advanced technology is a biggest strength that tries to help the company to achieve its targets in terms of decrease in production and operating cost and also in terms of labor efficiency and effectiveness. On the other hand, lack of diversification is an internal weakness to the company that threatens its competiveness in its operating environment.
Key performance indicator as criteria for achieving the competitive edge by GM
Increase of Sales Turnover
In respect to key performance indicators, there were various factors that were used as measures by the company to determine whether it was achieving its goals or not. These included determination of whether there was a sales turnover increase, decrease in production and operating cost, increase in labor efficiency, improvement in customer satisfaction and environmental effects improvement. In relation to sales turnover increase, it was established from the analysis that the company sales increased by 300,289 US dollars in the financial year 2011 which represents 10.4 percent which is shown in table 1 in the appendix. This is a good indicator in performance since any profit making company is geared towards increasing its sales which is a prerequisite for increased profit turnover. For that case, the company was able to achieve this goal which it had initially placed at 10 percent increase. This was ascribed to improved technology that was adopted by the company which resulted to its improved business processes.
Decrease of Production and Operating Costs
On the other hand, in terms of decreasing production and operating cost as a key performance indicator, an analysis was conducted and the results presented in table 2 in the appendix. The results of the analysis indicated that there was a significant drop in production and operating cost in the financial year 2011. For instance, operating and production cost dropped from 410 US dollars in 2010 per unit to 347 US dollars in 2011 per unit. This represented a 20 percent drop. This was attributed to various factors which relate to both internal and external to the company. For example, the drop was ascribed to drop in the cost of the raw material in the operating environment. In the financial year 2010, a price per unit was put at 215 US dollars while in the financial year 2011; it had dropped to 187.5 US dollars per unit. According to the data collected from company’s stakeholders, this was believed to be as a result of stabilization of the market from the financial crisis of 2008.
Moreover, operating and production cost also dropped as a result of the drop in direct labor. In the financial year 2010, variable manufacturing overhead costs per unit was valued at 70 US dollars per unit of production but in the financial year 2011, variable manufacturing overhead costs per unit was valued at 68 US dollars per unit. Nonetheless, from the data collected from the company’s stakeholders, this was attributed to the advancement in technology by the company. This was so since some tasks that were performed manually by human beings were now automated and performed by automated machines which resulted to decrease in operational and production costs. This is well illustrated in table 2 in the appendix.
Increase of Labor Efficiency
Nonetheless, increase in labor efficiency was another key performance indicator that was used as a measure by the company to determine whether it was attaining its mission of ‘unceasingly strive for betterment and create a better tomorrow’. This was analyzed together with production and operating costs since it is one of the factors of production. For that matter, direct labor analysis was conducted and it was established that its cost had drastically dropped to 92 US dollars up from 125 US dollars per unit. This was ascribed to the fact that manual processes in the company were minimized as a result of the adoption of advanced technology in its activities. This is clearly illustrated in table 2.
Improvement of Customer Satisfaction
Furthermore, customers’ satisfaction was another key performance indicator that was analyzed to determine effectiveness in performance of the company. Therefore table 3 in the appendix illustrates various areas of satisfaction or dissatisfaction from the survey conducted on the company’s customers. From the survey, 73 percent of the customers were satisfied with the way the company was processing its purchases in terms of meeting targets and timelines. However, 27 percent of the customers were not satisfied with the way the company was processing its purchase. For that case, the company needs to improve its purchase processing in order satisfy the dissatisfied lot (Powell, 2010).
Moreover, in terms of the company’s relationship with its customers, it was established that 65 percent of the customers’ were the ones who were satisfied while 35 percent were not satisfied. On the other hand, efficiency of customers’ helpline was rated to be at 57 percent since 43 percent were dissatisfied with its helpline. Nonetheless, the most satisfied service was customers’ training and staff knowledge since it was established that 81 and 79 percent were satisfied in the two areas respectively. However, the highest percent of dissatisfaction of customers was on company’s website since 58 percent had a perception that the company’s site is difficult to use. For that case, it was affirmed from the customers’ survey conducted in the company that the company has tried to achieve improvement in customer satisfaction but various gaps were yet to be filled to achieve a total customers’ satisfaction. This is well illustrated in table 3 in the appendix.
Improvement of Environmental Effects
Furthermore, improvement in the environmental effects was also taken as a major key performance indicator. Therefore, improvements on the effects to the environment were analyzed to determine how the company had improved in its performance environmentally. For that case, various environmental friendliness issues were measured to determine whether the company had attained its targets. In relation to this, environmental education was surveyed to establish the company’s desire to increase its customers’ awareness of environmental issues through user education. For that matter, 78 percent of the education programme was successful but 22 percent of its customer base was yet to be enlightened on environmental issues. Moreover, the company also intended to achieve green manufacturing in its industrial processes by having a zero industrial wastes released to the environment. The company was yet to fully implement this as 35 percent of green production must be put into practices in order to achieve this. In addition, recycling of wastes was only placed at 43 percent hence it was still far from attaining its target of having a 100 percent recycling of waste products. Importantly, it is also good to mention that the company desired to produce alternative products to plastics but in terms of implementation it was still at zero percent implementation level. This is well illustrated in table 4 in the appendix.
Business Challenges and Opportunities
In consideration of the GM case and its business operation environment, there exist several business challenges and opportunities. It is always a will of any business venture to deliver maximum customer value, customization and satisfaction while reducing inventory and cost (Paladino, 2010). In attempt to achieve this, most companies are faced with the challenges that nearly threaten survival of their business activities. However, business entities must respond to these challenges proactively to minimize their negative effects (Gerardo & Wong, 2008). In relation to this, Good Mark Company Limited is no exception and it has several challenges that need to be tackled.
Challenges to business operations to any company can be external or internal to the environment (Singla, 2009). One of the major business challenges facing Good Mark Company Limited is competition from other players in the sector. Other player also recognized the potential that the sector has, therefore, they have ventured into the same business operations providing services similar to those provided by Good Mark Company Limited. However, from the company’s annual review, its management indicates that there are still growth opportunities available to plastic sector and therefore competition will not be futile to its business operations (Gerardo & Wong, 2008).
Analysis and assessment of whether the current policies being implemented by GM are effective in aspect of sales turnover increase
The current policies being employed by Good Mark Company Limited are effective in aspects of improving it growth in their business in relation to its sales turnover. This is well illustrated in table 1 where by sales in the financial year 2011 increased by 10.4 percent as compared with preceding financial year. One of the greatest policies for the company that has accelerated its sales turnover is the quality assurance that is being applied by the company (Anderson & Linda, 2010). The policy ensures robustness and improvement in quality of the products produced as well as the continued sustainability of these standards. This has been the reason for distinction between the Good Mark Company Limited products and the counterfeit products.
Moreover, the company has a policy on competence and as a result, it has established a certified Customer Competence Center (C.C.C) which helps users to solve their problems faster. This center ensures that customers receive possible support form the trained and highly skilled staff. These centers also help to improve the company processes. In so doing the trust of the customers is captured and maintained which makes the company to retain and increase customer base. This has helped to increase sales turnover as clients keep their loyalty to the company (Wiig, 2004).
In addition, improved technology in the company’s processes is another critical success factor for the company’s growth in terms of sales turnover in 2011. The technology includes electronic manufacturing, real time quality and production control which is core for the high standards in the products produced. These make achievement of high products standards which is a prerequisite of growth in the business venture (Burn and Barnett, 2008).
Criteria for allowing annual sales turnover increase
It is relatively important for any business entity to develop some criteria to allow for annual sales turnover increase for its business activities. For this reason, Good Mark Company Limited needs to intensively increase marketing efforts of its brands which have a global reach. The brands have a presence effects in all continents where by they are highly sought by a large base of customers in these regions. Therefore, continued marketing of these brands will guarantee its increase in sales turnover (Armstrong, 2007).
In addition, Good Mark Company Limited should undertake economic and social responsibility as part of its corporate responsibility. These corporate activities will be taken as a give back to the society which is not only done by corporate a sector as a sign of good performance in the industry but also as a way of saying thank you to the society (Richard & Geoffrey, 2004).
Importantly, it is relatively important for the management to create guiding coalition where by a team of people with the sufficient knowledge and power to lead strategic plans of the company to successful implementation must be constituted (Saaty & Vargas, 2006). This team must reflect representation of all cadre of management in the organization where by right from the operational staff to the top management must be represented in order to have an inclusive team. The guiding coalition is also intended to play a communication role across the organization and represent the view and interests of their respective constituencies in the organization (Leat, 2007). This is likely to guarantee continued increase in sales turnover of the company due to this participative management approach
Gap analysis for the increase in sales turnover
In respect to gap analysis, it can be affirmed that sales turnover was able to increase by 10.4 percent which was above the initial 10 percent target. This is illustrated in table 5 where gap analysis for the increase in sales turnover is shown. However, in various jurisdictions, there exist policies that are geared towards inhibiting usage of plastics. These are policies which are basically aimed at making cessation on plastic products usage in order to conserve the ecosystem (West, 2004). Ideally, such policies act as inhibition factors for the growth of the company. This generalization derives its impetus from the notion that any business entity is supposed to increase its client base for it to realize substantial growth at any particular period. However, despite presence of these political factors, the company was able to increase its sales turnover due to good policies that were instituted hence achieving positive gap in sales. For that matter, the company was able to achieve its goal since its target was put at 10 percent increase but it ended up with 10.4 percent increase. This was ascribed to various policies that were implemented include adopting advanced technology and increased customer education.
Analysis and assessment of whether the current policies being implemented by GM are effective in aspect of operating and production cost decrease
Annual average operating and production cost in year 2011
The current policies being implemented by Good Mark Company Limited have been effective to a large extent in cutting on the operating and production cost. The most important policy that the company implemented to help it cut the operating and production cost was the adoption of technology in its business processes. Moreover, the company also followed this by recruiting highly skilled labor force with higher academic qualifications that were compounded with good technical skills to be able to manage the adopted technology. This helped the company in a great deal in cutting on direct labor from 125 US dollars per unit in 2010 to 92 US dollars per unit in 2011. As a result, the total operating and production cost came down from 410 US dollars per unit in 2010 to 347 US dollars in 2011 which represented 15 percent decrease. As a result, the company was able to achieve its target of decreasing this cost 15 percent. Therefore, it can be affirmed that the current policies being implemented were effective in respect to decreasing operating and production cost.
Criteria for decreasing operating and production cost
Besides, there are various criteria that the company can use to decrease production and operating costs in their business processes. One of the criteria is to reduce complexity in their business processes. In most cases, unnecessary complexities form part of the cost drivers in the production process. For instance, it is an established fact that product lines and products are developed independently. This exacerbates labor costs since people like engineers are forced to concentrate on every task at hand which in the long run duplicates activities and raise production costs. For that case, it is relatively important that these complexities must be reduced.
Furthermore, improvement of technology further is another criterion that will aid in reducing production and operating cost in the company. This will help in saving manual labor costs since some of the tasks can be effectively and efficiently performed by robotics hence cutting tremendously on the labor costs. Moreover, improvement of this technology will also aid engineers to work in teams irrespective of their location remotely. In addition, improvement of technology will speed business processes that have been time consuming.
Gap analysis for the decrease in operating and production cost
For that case, from the analysis of Good Mark Company Limited, there exist various gaps in reduction of production and operating costs. First and foremost, the company is spending a lot of its budget on power consumption. In relation to this, the company can decrease it operation and production cost by going green in terms of their power usage. This will reduce power consumption hence cutting on power costs that raise production and operating costs. However, the current policies being implemented by the company, has resulted to positive gaps as operating and production cost have decreased tremendously as it achieved its set target of 15 percent in 2011. This is well illustrated in table 6 in the appendix.
Analysis and assessment of whether the current policies being implemented by GM are effective in aspect of Labor efficiency improve
Annual average productivity and scrap wastage in year 2011
Based on Robert and Jackson (2008) postulations, the most important resource in an organization is its employees. Precisely, the authors clarify that, “no matter how sophisticated the systems, processes and technology of an organization, it is the capabilities and commitment of its employees that ensures success” (p.63). In relation to this, analysis of the company indicated that its policies being implemented are not effective in aspects of labor efficiency improvement. For instance, in respect to policies that relate to recruitment and selection, they are poorly instituted since they recruit managers who don’t have good experience in the production industry and who later employs autocratic style of management.
This results to staff discontentment among employees. However, as Rothberg and Erickson (2005) opine, in any work environment employees will always want to be treated as rationally, to be valued as employees and to be allowed to work in a safe working environment, to be allowed to grow and develop as employees and to be paid and rewarded fairly. In absence of one of these factors, employees are subject to develop discontentment in their work which is likely to affect the company in a more negative way. As a result, this affects the annual average productivity and leads to wastage of its labor as it can be affirmed in its production of 2011 as production capacity remained constant. Nonetheless, in terms of saving on labor, the company was successful in doing so since it was able to reduce its labor costs by 26 percent in 2011. This is well illustrated in table 6 in the appendix.
Criteria for the increase in productivity and decrease in scrap wastage
For that case, there was need for the company to have criteria for the increase in productivity and decrease in scrap wastage. This was attained through applying sound workplace relations that entail the use of applied psychology. This included continued training of the staff, encouragement of the employees’ innovativeness and creativeness where by employees were rewarded for their innovative ideas that were successfully implemented (Eckerson, 2006). Moreover, the decision to make the staff to be part of the shareholders of the company was as well perceived as psychological. This was instrumental in increasing productivity and decreasing scrap wastage as employees felt part and parcel of the company. Even so, as Swart and Kinnie (2003:4) opined that to obtain performance management, “a hard strategic approach to managing labor costs” need to be incurred by companies to achieve effectiveness”.
Gap analysis for the increase in productivity and decrease in scrap wastage
Nonetheless, there exists a gap in the increase in productivity and decrease in scrap wastage. The company lacked self prophecy of its future in the labor market. However, it was important for the company to have a self prophecy of the future in their management plans. The company needed to do prediction of its labor needs and prescribe remedies for the predictions. This is important since it cushions the company from the unexpected challenges that occurs in their operational environment and helps in increasing productivity and decreasing scrap.
Lastly, the company required to initiate a performance measurement of its human resource in relation to its mission, vision, and objectives. This was capable of contributing to a positive advancement of the company since any employee was evaluated to determine his or her effectiveness in the company. Performance measurement of the employees and subsequent reward on performance motivated employees in their work and therefore in the long run bring performance effectiveness in the company. As a result, the company was able to achieve a positive gap in its attempt to decrease labor cost as it was able to save up to 26 percent. This is well illustrated in table 6 in the appendix.
Analysis and assessment of whether the current policies being implemented by GM are effective in aspect of customer satisfaction increase
Annual average customer satisfaction in year 2011
For any organization to achieve customer satisfaction, it is relatively important for the organization to continuously examine and monitor opinions, experiences and suggestions of their clients and even their potential customers (Kay & Banfiled, 2008). Moreover, it is important to remember that customer s’ retention majorly depends on satisfaction of their expectations, needs and their treatment.
For that matter, the company has tried to implement various policies that are effective in aspect of customer satisfaction increase. This include better communication framework that have been placed between the company and its client. This makes customers to be well informed of the available products that can satisfy their needs. Moreover, this communication framework enables clients to communicate with the company in respect to their needs. This makes the company to produce products that directly meets the requirements and needs of its clients (Bamber, 2008). This has resulted to the growth of customer satisfaction from 65 percent to 75 percent which represents 10 percent growth. This is well illustrated by table 7 in the appendix.
Moreover, the company has put in place a client-oriented culture which includes frontline services that address customers’ needs. This makes the company to be more responsive to its clients concerns. Moreover, the frontline services provide a platform on which customers feedback on the products are received and acted upon. This has helped to increase customer satisfaction in 2011 which has been a reason for increase of sales turnover. In addition, corporate social responsibility is another policy that the company has adopted to further its customer satisfaction. The company participates in social activities for the benefit of the society at large. For instance, it intensively participates in environmental related activities that are geared towards its conservation. This helps it in achieving customer satisfaction since its client also appreciate its role in the society.
Criteria for the increase in customer satisfaction
However, there exist various criteria which can be used to increase customer satisfaction further in the organization. According to Grugulis and Wilkinson (2002), one of the best ways to increase customer satisfaction is through providing credible and neutral customer information that relates to the company products. It must be acknowledged that plastic products are harmful to the environment and therefore, customers must be provided with neutral and credible information. This will help make informed decision when using these products hence satisfying them.
Gap analysis for increase in customer satisfaction
For that matter, there are various gaps that exist in the current policies being used by the company for customer satisfaction. Importantly, consumer information is not being provided by the company. This is one of the biggest gaps since consumers are not trained on how to properly use these products and as a result of that, they use these products wrongly which in turn makes them not to be satisfied with them. Nonetheless, the current policies that are being implemented by the company to increase customers’ satisfaction have resulted to a positive gap since clients satisfaction have increase from 65 percent to 75 percent hence representing a 10 percent positive gap. This is well illustrated by table 7 in the appendix.
Analysis and assessment of whether the current policies being implemented by GM are effective in aspect of environmental improvement
GB/T 24001 in year 2011
Good Mark Company Limited has taken various policies to conserves the environment. Some of the major steps have been to containing pollution in its operating environment. For instance, industrial wastes are not disposed to the environment but they are recycled back to produce other related products. As a result of environmental consciousness, the company has gotten accreditation to some international standards such as ISO 14001 that pertain to the environmental effects of any organization’s products. As a result, the company is following all the guidelines stipulated in such standards.
Criteria for passing GB/T 24001 and renewing ISO 14001
For that matter, the company requires to follow some criteria in passing GB/T 24001 and renewing ISO 14001. Some of the criteria include eco-friendly operation of its industrial activities. The company needs to use technologies that are friendly and harmless to the ecosystem. Therefore, there is need to intensify processes that can be recycled in order to minimize environmental effects to acceptable level.
Gap analysis for improvement of environmental effects
Nonetheless, there exist some gaps in the environmental management of the company that are necessary in order to improve management of the environment. First and foremost, the company lacks qualified personnel in matters of the environment for effective management of the environment. Therefore, according to Armstrong (2004), there is need to have proficient environmentalist to help the company in managing environmental issues. This will help the company to accurately report on the environmental accounting standards hence being in a position in renewing ISO 14001. Nevertheless, the company has been effective in achieving its goal that relates to environmental issues since it was able to get GB/T 24001 in year 2011 and also renew ISO 14001. This is well illustrated by table 8 in the appendix where average environmental improvement increased from 33 percent in 2010 to 47 percent in 2011. This represents a 14 percent increase in issues relating to environmental conservation.
Facts and Finding
According to the sales turnover analysis of the GM, it was established that its sales had increased from 2,900, 131 US dollars in 2010 to 3,200, 420 US dollars in 2011. This represented a 10.4 percent increase. As a result, its sales turnover was far much above its global competitors in the plastic molding industry. This aspect was attributed to both internal and external factors that played major role in increase in sales turnover. For instance, internal factors such as adoption of advanced technology and recruitment of qualified personnel to its workforce, intensification of corporate social responsibility and marketing of its products were some of the factors that contributed to increase in sales turnover in 2011. However, in terms of external factors, there were some aspects such as aftermath shocks of economic recession of 2008 inhibited sales of the company since it is also operating in regions that were extremely affected by the recession. Moreover, competition from emerging players in the industry was also an inhibiting factor.
From the analysis, it was evident that the current policies being employed by the company are effective in improving it growth in their business in relation to its sales turnover. Policies such as quality assurance, competence and application of current and advanced technology in the company’s processes were some of the critical success factor for the company’s growth in terms of sales turnover in 2011.
In addition, the current policies being applied by the Company have been effective to a large extent in cutting on the operating and production cost. This is so since the analysis established that cost of operating and production had decreased from 410 US dollars in 2010 to 347 US dollars in 2011. This represented a 15 percent decrease. As a result the company attained its goal of decreasing this cost by 10 percent in 2011. This was ascribed to its improved human resource recruitment policies as it started being keen on hiring qualified personnel with good technical skills. Moreover, the company adopted advanced technologies in its business processes. These have been attributed to be some of the reasons why the company has cut its labor costs tremendously hence cutting its operation and production costs.
Nonetheless, analysis of the company has established that the current policies being implemented in aspect of labor efficiency of labor efficiency improvement are not effective. For instance, in respect to policies that relate to recruitment and selection, they were poorly instituted since they recruited managers who did not have experience in the production industry and who later employs autocratic style of management. As a result, discontentment existed amongst employees. However, the company was able to decrease labor cost due to adoption of advanced technologies as it was able to cut its costs by 26 percent in 2011. This is well illustrated by table 6 in the appendix.
On the other hand, analysis of the company of its current policies in aspects of customer satisfaction, it was established that the company has succeeded in implementing various policies that are effective. The policies include better communication framework which helps the company in understanding customers need hence being in a position in meeting them. This resulted to improved customer satisfaction of 75 percent in 2011 which was up from 65 percent in 2010 hence having a 10 percent increase. The company was therefore able to achieve its goal of 5 percent increase in customer satisfaction that it has initially set.
Importantly, from the analysis of the company, it was established that the current policies being implemented by the company in aspects that relate to job satisfaction are both positive and negative policies. The policies are negative as the company is recruits managers who have little experience in the production industry and as a result, these managers employ autocratic style of management. This demoralizes employees which lead to job dissatisfaction. On the other hand, the policies are positive in ensuring job satisfaction since policies that guides adoption of advanced technology which makes work processes to be performed easily. This has resulted to a large extend of employee’s job satisfaction.
In summary of the findings, it was established that the company the current policies being employed are to a large extend helping it to attain effectiveness in its business processes. This has resulted to increase in its sales turnover, decrease in operating and production costs. Moreover, the company has applied policies that have contributed to customer satisfaction. For instance, it has intensively involved in corporate social responsibility which has made customers approve its products on the market. Nonetheless, policies that relate to staff motivation have been negative since the management has applied autocratic policies that have affected employee job satisfaction negatively.
Implications and Discussions of the findings
According to the analysis taken, it was established that the company was employing managers were had no experience in production industry. Moreover, these managers were using autocratic form of management in the organization. These results to negative impacts to the company and if no action is taken employees on the operation level of management will continue to operate under fear in their work. Therefore, this will continue to be a challenge to performance since the style inhibits the spirit of innovativeness among employees (Urip, 2010). Furthermore, it kills the spirit of creativeness in the organization.
In conclusion, despite management being a universal practice, environments and nature of businesses that organizations are involved in are dynamic and different from each other. In respect to this, managers who should be recruited should be having experience in management of a similar organization with similar functions. It was therefore a challenge that affected performance in terms employee satisfaction and motivation because recruitment of the managers by the company was not based on their experience in working in a production industry but were solely based on their skills and intellectual ability. This posed a challenge to employee performance management since these managers employed autocratic style of management and were not in touch with industrial processes. It is therefore imperative that managers should be recruited based on their experience and skills in the industry.
In summary, it is necessary that the company should change its management style from autocratic to participative. Moreover, in the event of recruitment of senior management, emphasis should be given to experience and skills in the production industry.
Recommendations and Implementation
From the analysis carried out of the company, the paper suggests various recommendations that must be implemented in order to positively revolutionize the company. These recommendations can be categorized into two categories; the improvement actions and implementation plan. Furthermore, in both cases, the action takes short term, medium term and long term actions.
There are various gaps in the management policies of the company that it can institute for improvement. These actions take a form of short term, medium term and long term improvement.
Short term improvement action for “Immediate action” item(s):
Improvement of customer awareness services needs to be put in place in order to increase product awareness to customers. This can achieved through marketing activities such as promotion that will help to bring product awareness to customers.
Medium term improvement action
Customer education programme must be improved to increase customers’ awareness of the product. This programme must be aimed at empowering customers on how to use the company’s products well in order to minimize on the negative impacts on the environment.
Long term improvement action
Corporate social responsibility that is being implemented by the company should be improved further. These activities should be enhanced by the company and even make them part of the corporate culture. This will help further the company’s image in its operating environment and help to achieve higher customer awareness of their products.
Short term improvement action
Employees’ performance appraisal needs to be implemented. However, this appraisal should be accompanied by reward of higher achievers in the organization. This will improve on the general performance of company as it will motivate employees to perform better.
Medium term improvement action
The company should consider going green in its industrial processes. It can achieve this by intensifying reuse through recycling wastes, using alternative energy solutions such as wind, solar and hydro power. This will ensure that it promotes conservation of the ecosystem and that it maintains its ISO 24001.
Long term improvement action
The company should start producing alternative products to those it is currently producing. This should be a long term implementation plan since most customers are now opting for alternative products to plastics due to their negative effects to the environment. This will help the company to remain in business even in the event when plastics are totally faced out of the market.
Evaluation and Control
Feasibility study and cost and benefit analysis
Nonetheless, form the evaluation and analysis carried out of the company’s operations and in terms of its economic performance, it can be affirmed that the company is productive in terms of its sales turnover. Moreover, it was also established that the company cost effective in it operating and production costs since it is able to is able to yield more than it consumes in terms of operation and production. However, it is imperative that the company should continue adopting current technologies in order to help in cutting on operational and production costs.
Table 1: Sales turnover
|Year Ended||July 31, 2011||July 31, 2010|
|Sales of products||$3,200, 420||$2,900, 131|
|Variance in dollars||$300,289|
|Variance in percentage||10.4%|
Table 2: production and operating cost
|Production cost for 2010||Production cost for 2011|
|Production capacity||150, 000 units||150, 000 units|
|Actual output||120, 000 units||120, 000 units|
|Production cost components||Per unit||Totals||Per unit||Totals|
|Raw materials||$215||$25,800, 000||$187.5||$22,500, 000|
|Direct labor||$125||$15,000, 000||$92||$11,000,000|
|Variable manufacturing overhead costs||$70||$8,400, 000||$68||$8,150, 000|
|Total manufacturing costs||$410||$49, 200, 000||$347||41,650,000|
Table 3: Customers’ satisfaction
|Area of satisfaction or dissatisfaction||Specific Issue||Percentage satisfied in 2010||Percentage satisfied in 2010||Percentage satisfied in 2011||Percentage dissatisfied in 2011|
|Purchase processing – timescales and targets||Expectations that purchases could be processed more quickly||73%||27%||79%||21|
|Company’s relationship with customers||Suggestion for the customers relationship to be prioritized||65%||35%||72%||28%|
|Efficiency of customers’ helpline||Need to revolutionize helpline for customers’ satisfaction||57%||43%||61%||39%|
|Staff Knowledge||Perception of inconsistency of the staff advice given to customers||79%||21%||86%||14|
|Efficiency in customer training||A need an up to date and clearer end-user training||81%||19||84%||16%|
|Company’s website||Perception that the company’s website is difficult to use||42%||58%||68%||32%|
Table 4: Improvement of environmental effects
|Environmental preservation concern s||Metric||Percentage in terms of implementation||Over performance metric|
|Environmental education||To achieve 100 percent of customers education||78%||Passed the GB/T 24001 – Republic of China|
|Green production||Zero industrial wastes released in the environment||65%|
|Recycling||100 percent recycling of its waste products||43%|
|Alternative products production||Production of alternative products to plastics||0%|
Table 5: gap analysis for the increase in sales turnover
|Criteria||July 31, 2011||July 31, 2010||The Gap|
|Product sold in a financial year||$3,200, 420||$2,900, 131||$300,289 |
Table 6: Gap analysis in aspect of operating and production cost
|Criteria||Pre (price per unit In 2010)||Post (price per unit in 2011)||The gap|
|Raw materials||$215||$187.5||$28 (13%)|
|Direct labor||$125||$92||$33 (26%)|
|Variable overhead costs||$70||$68||$2 (3%)|
|Total manufacturing costs||$410||$347||$63 (15%)|
Table 7: Gap analysis on customer satisfaction
|Criteria||Pre (Percentage satisfied in 2010)||Post (Percentage satisfied in 2011)||The Gap|
|Purchase processing – timescales and targets||73%||79%||6 %|
|Company’s relationship with customers||65%||72%||7%|
|Efficiency of customers’ helpline||57%||61%||4%|
|Efficiency in customer training||81%||84%||3%|
|Average customer satisfaction||65%||75%||10%|
Table 8: Gap analysis of Improvement of environmental effects
|Criteria||Pre (Percentage in terms of implementation in 2010)||Post (Percentage in terms of implementation in 2011)||The Gap|
|Alternative products production||0%||0%||0%|
|Average percentage of improvement||33%||47%||14%|
Table 9: cost benefit analysis of implementation and improvement plans
|Short term improvement actions|
|Customer awareness services||$350, 000||Improved customer awareness. |
Improved customer satisfaction.
|Medium term improvement action|
|Customer education programme||$670, 000||Promote positive usage of the plastic products. |
It helps to spread environmental conscious leaving.
|Long term improvement plan|
|Corporate social responsibility||$1,200,000||Promote environmental conservation. |
Giving back to the society in order to develop its goodwill.
|Short term plans|
|Employees’ performance appraisal||$125,000||Promotes employee performance effectiveness and efficiency.|
|Going green in industrial processes||$750, 000||Promotes conservation of the environment.|
|Long term actions|
|Production of alternative products||$132, 000,000||To help the company remain in business when plastic products are fully prohibited.|
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