As one of the established members of the target market, Corus, a steel manufacturing company, has an extended resource base and a large number of customers. In its activities, the enterprise promotes effective operational management strategies and covers various aspects by focusing on the needs of customers, employees, partners, and other stakeholders (“Continuous improvement,” n.d.).
However, based on the assessment of its strategic approaches, some weaknesses in performance control hold back Corus’ sustainability. While taking into account personal experiences and existing principles of work in the field of operations management, appropriate optimization recommendations will be given.
Being one of the world’s leading steel suppliers, Corus, as a subsidiary of Tata, has a sustainable goods distribution policy. The organization possesses a large number of facilities in which raw materials are stored and subsequently transported to other hubs. In terms of resource management, Corus is characterized by an innovative approach to controlling all available materials. The principle of inventory resource management, promoted by the company, corresponds to the modern conditions of operations control and minimizes the risks associated with the irrational use of assets (Oluleye et al., 2020).
From a continuous improvement perspective, Corus promotes a customized small-step intervention strategy that has proven to be effective. Due to the active use of a wide range of data, the implementation of digital methods is seamless, which is in line with modern innovative approaches (Buer et al., 2018). In addition, the company’s current practices are based on the utilization of an individual value map that allows monitoring all operational processes and drawing up a long-term plan.
Although Corus is showing growth, some weaknesses slow down the development of the enterprise. From the perspective of the distribution of goods, Corus is controlled by the parent company, which hinders the decision-making process and complicates establishing new networks. Direct distribution practices promoted in the organization are associated with additional costs, for instance, high transportation expenses (Shah & Singh, 2021). Concerning resource management, some methods, including manual control, are obsolete, and numerous operations to take into account require making many efforts. In addition, engagement indicators could be higher compared to previous years.
Along with the aforementioned weaknesses, Corus’ continuous improvement course also needs to be optimized, although the company promotes this principle at the heart of its development. For instance, from a teamwork perspective, the organization lacks coherence. Workshops are a convenient but not effective strategy to train staff, and in general, continuous improvement is slow in terms of growth rates.
Concerning current practices, the benchmarking that Corus promotes should cover not only the operating environment but also other areas of work to address potential gaps. The performance measurement system also needs improving: KPIs only evaluate time frames, and focusing on long-term goals reduces the success of short-term interventions.
When summing up the analysis of the general features of Corus’ operations management, one can highlight both strengths and weaknesses. In general, the company is moving forward, but the pace of growth is slow, and some constraints, such as outdated development strategies, are barriers. Along with modern tools that control the performance of the staff, the organization uses inefficient approaches to improve employees’ professional potential. As a result, some areas of Corus’ operations management can be optimized, and to analyze this, individual examples from personal experience will be used.
Based on my personal experience, I can state that KPIs, despite their relevance in many cases, do not reveal all production and sales gaps without exception. Corus should pay attention to additional process improvement metrics and consider the total quality management strategy as an approach to address different operational aspects (Lamghari et al., 2019). Moreover, my professional experience proves that with outdated practices of manual control, innovation pays off slowly, and the key task to strive for is to achieve the quality of work but not to root optimization courses.
Although Corus relies on productive collaboration between managers and subordinates, leaders remain responsible for the success of operational processes, and a horizontal system of work does not always justify itself. If the company’s management applies effective strategies for workforce use, this will have a positive impact on the microclimate of the team (Lueg, 2019).
At my previous job, the staff was unhappy with the distribution of the workload, but by implementing a production control mechanism, the morale of my colleagues improved. Therefore, advanced communication in the team to convey current concerns should be encouraged at the highest level.
I have encountered situations where sellers, trying to sell as many goods as possible, accepted orders but could not process them and deliver goods timely, explaining this by high demand. However, this approach is fraught with the loss of trust from the target audience. If the delivery time cannot be accelerated, appropriate measures should be taken, for instance, revising the terms of cooperation with suppliers. Otherwise, the risk of a decrease in the customer base arises, and real losses threaten enterprises.
Plan of Recommendations
In terms of optimizing goods distribution, Corus should gain more freedom from its parent company to develop customized product delivery strategies based on demand parameters. In addition, due to high shipping costs, transportation optimization should be part of the development plan. Regarding resource management, Corus management should be more flexible in this activity. As Novikov and Sazonov (2020) state, using digital tools may contribute to minimizing manufacturing defects and speeding up operational procedures. To increase engagement, relevant motivational approaches are useful, for instance, personal rewards.
To enhance the continuous improvement process, Corus should strengthen teamwork by introducing the quality management framework. For the personnel to be more qualified, in addition to workshops, other professional training should be offered. Advanced planning tools may solve different tasks, for instance, speed up the whole improvement process and plan short-term goals effectively. According to Hellwig and Beyer (2019), the benchmarking process is not limited to one or two principles and can offer different optimization scenarios. Finally, Corus can retain KPIs, but their application may be expanded to cover more crucial indicators, including delivery sustainability, engagement parameters, and other important criteria.
To begin with, this is crucial to finalize and optimize Corus’ transport scheme of deliveries, which will take about one week. To optimize the speed of all activities, the monitoring of available suppliers should be performed. The assessment of current assets can help identify available resources for planning personal rewards to increase engagement and analyze costs that can be minimized. For these purposes, the accounting department should be involved in calculating the corresponding costs and planning the scenario for purchasing digital equipment for effective resource management through innovative tools.
In the next two weeks, to strengthen teamwork and enlarge the knowledge of the staff, training will be held, and for this purpose, qualified mentors and coaches will be involved. To expand the range of performance metrics coverage, the company’s analytics department will be involved, and in addition to the existing KPIs, more parameters will be calculated. The use of planning tools will help formulate clear short-term goals for the organization, and within two weeks, they will be developed and communicated to Corus’ employees. Regarding the benchmarking process, technical improvements will be complemented the assessment of the competitive environment and customer loyalty.
In the planned optimization project, the corresponding roles will be distributed among Corus’ employees. The heads of departments will present reports on the planned changes to the senior management, and appropriate instructions will be given to the accounting department that will be involved in the audit and analysis of the enterprise’s assets. HR specialists will convey the necessary information to technical workers, who, in turn, will follow the recommendations of line managers. To establish partnership contacts and analyze the competitive environment, the employees of the quality management department will be given the necessary instructions.
Tools to Measure Productivity
The aforementioned strategy of personal rewards to stimulate performance is a common method. However, in addition to this approach, individual monitoring tools can help evaluate the performance of Corus’ employees. Colleague feedback can be used to reveal the level of teamwork and support in the company. Since the enterprise provides manufacturing services, customer satisfaction is a crucial parameter to measure. Earnings analysis is the simplest approach, and for a more detailed evaluation, revenue per employee can be calculated. The preparedness of subordinates for changes can be tested by assessing the speed of solving operational issues.
Despite Corus’ recent success, the company needs to optimize its aspects of operations management. Individual areas are analyzed based on the current performance of the enterprise and personal experience. The recommendations concern the strengthening of such aspects as goods distribution, resource management, continuous improvement, and current practices. Based on the identified gaps, an optimization plan is presented, and the roles of managers and employees are distributed following the staff’s responsibilities and performance measurements conducted through relevant tools.
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