My Car Spot: Overview

Introduction

To compete in the marketplace, “My Car Spot” needs to cut down production time, provide relationship marketing to clients, and reduce customer complaints. The existing internal systems have to be improved through the application of IT-enabled infrastructure and a state-of-the-art website known as mycarspot.com.

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Mycarspot was founded by brothers Bruce, Mac and Mike McGovern when they were too young to handle cars: the company is an old-fashioned organization that just needs to be re-touched to compete to the tide of globalization, own a website, and be strategically on top with the rest of car manufacturers.

Profile of the owners

  • CEO: Bruce McGovern
  • Age: 30
  • Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Education: Bruce did not graduate from college; he was too busy managing the family business.
  • Work History: Co-Owner of “My Car Spot”
  • Notable experience: Bruce is the eldest of the three brothers. Together with Mac and Mike, they started building cars along with their father who was a long time mechanic. Their father passed away when they were just in their teens, but they continued repairing, and later building cars in their repair garage adjacent their home.
  • Co-Founder: Mac McGovern
  • Age: 29
  • Education: Master of Finance
  • Work History: His brother Bruce encouraged him to pursue a college degree to handle finance matters of the company, and ever since he graduated, the company’s finances went on smoothly.
  • The youngest is Mike McGovern, 25, who assists Bruce in the internal operations of the company.

Overview

My Car Spot needs some changes in operation to cope with new business trends. My Car Spot must answer to the call of modernity and globalization. Operational changes will alter the way employees conduct their lives inside the organization. This case study’s objective is to help minimize disruption in operations, ensure that everything will go on smoothly, and business will be as normal and challenging as ever.

The focus is on implementing IT infrastructure on My Spot Cars. The main IT application features include:

  • An up-to-date information and records for the company
  • A uniform selling price and updated information to the customers/clients
  • A uniform spreadsheet for the executives and staff
  • Customer details in the updated records, and a secured data
  • Minimal use of hard copy, but a hard copy that is accurate and up-to-date
  • Coordination and information sharing within the organization
  • Enhance the ability and effectiveness of employees to perform their jobs
  • Elimination of redundant data entry
  • Minimize impact to the staff and the operations on the changes to be implemented

Currently, My Spot Cars employees are working on computers not connected in a network, i.e., without a centralized network of data and information for the organization. Business is conducted the traditional way, a face-to-face communication which depends on hard copy. Organization documents are typewritten on paper containing incomplete data, and perhaps unreliable information about the products on sale, which are mostly cars and parts.

The plan is to develop an integrated system that shall manage administration functions and management reports. This can be implemented in two weeks’ time after test and trial, at an estimated cost of a million dollars (when operational). However, project has reached the estimated cost, and still incomplete.

The new system will cover some cost on new PCs, software, and staff to man the system. This is the integration of the company with an IT-assisted staff where almost all activities, processes, business, including future plans and actions are implemented.

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Drivers or enablers for My Spot Cars e-business include business strategies and models, business applications, and IT infrastructure (Umar, 2003, p. 1-3).

The company will conduct business online. The cost for this operation shall cover training for the staff, application of the software, construction of a website, the staff to monitor the online sales, new computers, and many others. The spreadsheet will be improved carrying all the data for the products on sale. Everyone will have access on the spreadsheet on a limited basis, but the McGovern brothers, including the staff, will have full access. The old system will be modified and centralized by a computer software to make it available to everyone holding key positions. Operations should not be a secret to the rest of the company. This is what is holding up the successes of My Spot Cars: executives and employees are keeping secret information from each other. The people are working like they are from competing businesses, and so it divides the organization.

With the application of the Information Technology as a means to improve sales, the company can narrow down sales, effect fast and immediate transactions. With this method, the customer is brought or led to myspotcars.com website where information and data about the company are available.

Personal selling by the sales personnel can still be enforced. Traditional way of selling requires little training, but with some modification, it will add more profits to the company. Information Technology can enhance traditional selling. Adverts, infomercials and copy writing through the Internet can reinforce sales for My Spot Cars.

The internet and information technology allow a wider scope of operation, with firms going global and marketing in a wider scope of business. From household appliances to computers, to toys and small stuffs at home, everything is sold through the internet. Having a network of computers in the company for the spreadsheets and communication will revolutionize the operation of My Spot Cars. Business will never be the same. This is the new System, and the new way of conducting global business.

Development of the website

Myspotcars.com website will create a competitive advantage. The IT infrastructure on the other hand will provide the company spreadsheet containing important data and information, company profile, prospective clients, cars waiting to be sold, accomplishments and successes. The process is a systematic way of doing business in the twenty-first century. A staff will man the website 24/7, and IT personnel will be ready on standby. CEO Bruce McGovern and his assistants will do operations with the help of IT software, and they are like in a command center ready for every eventuality. New cars and other products are on display available for scrutiny online.

Discussion: Strategic Planning

A philosopher once said that the only permanent thing in this world is change. In the world of technological innovations, everything changes. Businesses and organizations change so rapidly, year by year, day by day. The McGovern brothers and their employees have to accept this fact.

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Culture change involves changing many things, from the way people are used to do to new operations in the business. Project management is a collection of loosely connected techniques, some of which are useful in bringing projects to a successful conclusion. Clearly, the project manager manages. He must think about motivation, team building, career growth, financial control, and all the other things that concern managers (Reiss, 1992, p. 16). “The role of the project manager is to rock the boat.” (Reiss, 1992, p. 14)

This project implementation will change the old apparatuses of the McGovern brothers. Everyone will be affected, from the lowest staff to the managerial position. Changes will take effect in every aspect of the operation so that resistance from the staff, from those who are running every detail of the operation will surely come out. This can be overcome however through a careful explanation of the details of the changes. It has to be explained that the project is for the good of the company. Improvement is the key to this project planning.

John Maxwell (2008) in his article “The Challenge of Change” tells the story of Henry Ford and his Model T which tells the story of leadership. Henry Ford pioneered the car company with a good sense of leadership, coupled with innovations and creativity. Henry Ford embodied innovation and progress in the face of mounting problems in his business. Ford cut the time to manufacture cars by installing large conveyor belts and maximizing the time of the laborers inside the workplace. He further made innovations by shortening the number of working hours to eight. With these innovations, costs in production were reduced and prices of cars were substantially lowered. Automobiles then became standard possession. Ford’s Model T became a success, and his company grew into an empire.

My Spot Cars’ choice of effecting change is timely and commendable. When habits and behavior are there for a long time, they become a part of the culture.

“Second in importance as an objective for project planning comes the ability to produce and issue reports to everyone so that the proposed timing, method and strategy are available and understood. Not many companies can get everyone involved in the project together to plan the project. There are suppliers and contractors who are not yet identified.” (Reiss, 1992, p.18)

Working as a team will allow information to flow smoothly. Those who will man the online business will have to be trained properly. Even those in the lower ranks will also have to be trained. Seminars will be conducted. Necessary communication will entail more online hours for the staff. Emails, newsletters, news, information, data, and many forms of communication, will have to be composed and written by a well-trained and talented staff and IT professionals.

The Internet

The importance of the Internet in the 21st century cannot be overemphasized. This is the age of globalization where there is the interconnectedness of peoples and computers. The Internet has paved the way for globalization, although the term globalization is not new. This has existed during the time Christopher Columbus and Vasco Da Gama made their voyages beyond the Mediterranean and around the Cape of Good Hope.

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The Internet influences almost every organization in the world, big and small. The global network or the World Wide Web connects businesses and organizations. There is a common saying that the world is now confined to a global village. With the emergence of high-technology, the internet, and globalization, operations in organizations have tremendously changed.

The Internet has impacted the following on organizations:

  1. Distance is no longer a problem, and there is increased mobility.
  2. Business organizations are free to locate many screen-based activities anywhere when they see fit for their organization.
  3. The world is having access to networks that are all interactive.
  4. Large networks enable consumers to order and receive what they want to buy.

Globalization is another business trend. This has gained attention and momentum these past decades due to the advent of high technology and the Internet. Internationalization, liberalization, increased competitiveness – these are some of the aspects of globalization.

In globalization, there is the internationalization of enterprise. The logic in this situation is that due to intensified competition, individual firms have gradually internationalized their production and sales.

Crucial project conversations

The success or failure of major projects can be predicted by examining the quality of 5 crucial conversations that must take place, yet which are often neglected:

  1. Is My Car Spot planning around facts? (or are milestones unrealistic or predetermined)
  2. Are employees and all those involved providing support or working as a team?
  3. Are stakeholders faithful to the process?
  4. Are the progress and risks honestly assessed?
  5. Are all team members contributing? (Executive Fast Track, 2008a)

In carrying out the task, My Spot Cars will have to do some double checking. First, an effective communication should be from the top to rank-and-file. This is to encourage the low- and medium- level employees to know that they are working as a team and working under one roof. They have to be motivated.

Second, communication must also come from down to the top. Top echelons should also know how to respect the low- and middle-level employees. They have to be encouraged to participate in the discussion and air their views. They are the first ones that customers and clients interact and consult. They are the advertisers and propagators of company products and services.

In the middle are the people, the customers, the listeners or the observers. These are the media, the competitors, or the “kibitzers”. A good communication should involve all. In conducting business online, everyone has to work in unison, and there must be coordination among the staff. The Project Manager has to be there always, conducting directions and instructions. The actual performances of the participants who will be conducting business in the presence of clients and customers will be tested on the spot. After the trial runs, actual roles will be played while business is going on.

Problems

Problems should be pinpointed, i.e., how should the Executives and Administrators work as a team?

  • What should the spreadsheet contain?
  • Which client belongs to whom?
  • What were the successful deals?
  • How much was the sale on a particular car?
  • How many cars were sold?
  • How many cars and brand on stock and available for sale, in short what is the stock inventory?

Internal Operations

Provide further description of the case study. Will the company prosper or effect more profitability? Will this improve the company record of transactions? What are other ways of reforming ‘bad culture’ of an organization?

Budget for the project was estimated at one million dollars, but still the project is not yet fully implemented. How should this be fully implemented? Pinpoint the problems that came along the way.

References

Executive Fast Track (2008a). Considerations changing organization cultures. Web.

Executive Fast Track (2008b). Program and Project Management. Methods, Models and Theories. Web.

Maxwell, J. (2008). A leader’s way: the challenge of change. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Web.

Reiss, G. (1992). Project Management Demystified: Today’s tools and techniques. London: Spon Press.

Umar, A. (2003). E-Business and Distributed Systems Handbook: Applications Module. NGE Solutions Inc.

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