Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Case Study Templeton hardware

Case Study Templeton hardware Executive Summary This report provides an analysis on the case study of Templeton hardware and its acquisition of the two companies, namely lodestone landscapes and the great outdoors. Through this case study of Templeton hardware, it can be seen that the acquisition of this two companies have had its detrimental effects, therefore requiring the need to accurately identify the source problems. Three toolkits are used in this report to diagnose the issues that are present. They are namely SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), six thinking hats and brainstorming. These toolkits help to remove the communication barriers and organisational conflicts which are present. Adding to the toolkits, interventions could be used together with the toolkits to ease the change process in the organisation. The report proceeds on to provide further recommendation which could be used as a platform to make necessary changes to curb the economic downfall of Templeton Hardware. The recommendation s thus aim to aid in the recovery process. It is recommended that Templeton Hardware should set goals and targets with their employees which are both challenging and achievable. This would enhance cooperation and cohesiveness among the employees in the company. Intervention strategies can also be used to achieve the organizations overall effectiveness. 1. Introduction This report recommends measures and solutions to Templeton Hardware on improving business prospects and helping the organization restructure in the best approach to enhance its performance. The toolkits that have been used to diagnose and identify key issues are the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), six thinking hats and brainstorming. 1.1 Case Overview and Key Issues Templeton Hardware was Australias leading hardware chain. It acquired The Great Outdoors and Lodestone Landscapes to cement its place as the leading retailer of â€Å"all things outdoor†. Its CEO, Jacquie Todori overconfidence had drove what was later discovered as a poor business decision with detrimental effects for the organisation. The Difference in management styles caused organisational conflicts and problems started to arise one at a time. Expectations were not met and the business as a whole was spiralling downwards at an alarming rate. The board was not happy with Jacquies decision and was anticipating changes to the company. 2. Diagnosis 2.1 SWOT Analysis SWOT analysis is employed at a management level to evaluate the current position of the business and determine future management strategies by putting problems into perspective. It also helps to uncover opportunities that can be exploited, manage and minimise threats, understand business weaknesses and capatalise on company strengths (Clark, 2008). 2.1.1 Strengths Strengths are the internal characteristics of the business that give it a competitive edge over others(Marketing Teacher, 2000). Templeton Hardware was recognised as Australias biggest hardware chain which shows its position as a market leader. They secured a significant portion of the market share and had the capability to acquire two established companies. Templeton Hardware had a constant growth vision to expand and diversify its companys products and to enter different market segments to make it more profitable. Part of its growth vision required decisions which had adverse effects and Templeton Hardwares willingness to take the risk to acquire the two companies can be considered a strength. Templeton Hardwares decision to offer jobs to the franchisees shows the necessary measures taken to retain employees and keep them in employment without retrenching them. 2.1.2 Weaknesses Weaknesses are internal aspects that could possibly endanger the business or obstruct further economic growth (Mindtools, 1996). Insufficient market research and lack of foresight led to a decline in sales targets and failing to achieve its profit expectations. The loss of product exclusivity resulted in Templeton Caravans not being able to attract its primary target audience, essentially the baby boomers, whom were perceived as having the capital and mindset to purchase caravans. Templeton Caravans had clearly failed to understand the trends, mindset and spending patterns of baby boomers and that led to dissatisfaction and avoidance. The change in management style saw few franchisees from Lodestone Landscapes accept offers in the new organisation, namely Templeton Landscape Solutions, and even they decided to leave after a period of time. The acquisition of The Great Outdoors led to generic products being produced. Products were generally seen as being mass produced and not client s pecific. By outsourcing the projects it had received, Templeton Landscape Solutions managed its talents poorly and overall service standards dropped. The company as a whole saw negative survey comments and this poor feedback started to feed its growing unfavourable reputation. The organisation also had ineffective management of its resources and had not been hiring enough staff to ensure work ran efficiently in the optimum manner. 2.1.3 Opportunities Opportunities are external aspects that an organisation can use to its advantage to improve existing conditions (The Economic Times, 2014). Templeton Hardware should first look into achieving a good financial position which would improve its declining reputation and would enable it to secure bank loans for future investments. It should also look into sending its employees and management executives for team building activities and to increase the cohesiveness among them. By providing its staff with the relevant skills, its workforce can be effectively managed and relevant departments could have job specialists who have broad knowledge on their job scope. This helps to reduce the role ambiguity among its staff since an employee is assigned to few specific tasks and not many interdepartmental roles. Templeton Hardware could also invest in technological infrastructure to improve its customer management system. Employees can then follow up with clients in a more efficient manner and this removes the need for clients to repeat themselves which dealing with different. This system could also record a history of transactions to facilitate future purchases or warranty conditions. Templeton Hardware could move into creating a conglomerate-like business model by having unrelated businesses running under one roof, move its existing products into new market sectors or seek takeover opportunities from competitors whom are on the verge of bankruptcy. 2.1.4 Threats Threats are components in the business environment that could cause potentially cause trouble for the organisation (The Economic Times, 2014). The large and increasing number of competitors could give potential choices to its customers and could deter them from purchasing at Templeton Hardware. This could lead to loss of market share and revenue and pave further downfall. Continuous usage of outsourcing its projects can result in its outsourcing companies becoming competitors in the future as they will now have direct contact with the clients. With respect to its employees, the companys inability to retain existing employees would cause a loss in tacit knowledge and staffs years of experience and it may have to consume time and resources to train new employees. The rising cost of wages and higher employer to employee contributions could affect the profitability of the business. Also, if Templetons existing products lines become unpopular or not needed in large quantities, downsizing of the organisation would be a looming possibility. The SWOT analysis diagnoses in a prioritised manner and actions can be taken accordingly. The SWOT analysis offers a way of collecting data but can sometimes be used as an overview of the situation. 2.2 Six Thinking Hats The Six Thinking Hats is used in business settings by various organizations. During meetings, everyone present would have to put on different hats and approach the problems from different perspectives. This notion allows organizations to diagnose issues effectively, make better decisions and come up with creative ideas (De Bono Consulting, 2000). There is no one best approach to using the six thinking hats with reference to which hat should be used first. 2.2.1 White Thinking Hat This hat is used to gather information that is required to address the issue at hand. Data is presented objectively without the presence of arguments and beliefs. (Volunteering North Queensland Inc, 2003) In the case of Templeton Hardware, it can be seen that it is currently facing an economic downfall and the presence of a new competitor in the market added pressure. Templeton Hardware had acquired two reputable companies, namely The Great Outdoors and Lodestone Landscapes. After the acquisitions, the franchisees were offered jobs but they were rejected. The centralized outlook was seen by the baby boomers as a big generic business which impacted the exclusivity of the caravans. Feedback from customers projected poor customer follow-up, constant rotation of sales persons and poor time management. The customers also disliked the impersonal approach of Templeton Hardware and outsourcing. Lastly, the board was unhappy as the business was declining. 2.2.2 Red Thinking Hat Feelings and emotions are addressed when using this hat. (De Bono Thinking Systems, 1992). The red hat identified the boards unhappiness and frustrations with the company’s performance. In addition, the franchisees who were offered jobs after Templeton Hardwares acquisition left after sometime due to conflicting management styles. The board was also fearful of losing the companys image and reputation to a competitor. The annoyance and dissatisfaction among customers was evident through the feedback received and the baby boomers were disappointed with the lack of exclusivity of the caravans. 2.2.3 Black Thinking Hat This hat helps to identify complications and limitations in a situation and helps to steer the organization into the right path. (Mercier Associates, 2012). The lack of market research conducted prior to the two acquisitions and the overconfidence of the board led to the downfall of Templeton Hardware. The board was not prepared for failure and there was no contingency plans in the event of a failure. Templeton Hardware did not understand the spending trends and mindset of their target audience, namely the baby-boomers, which led to the outlook of low brand exclusivity. This resulted in declining sales and possible bankruptcy. Poor customer service was evident from the customer feedback. Clients were unhappy that Templeton Hardware outsourced their projects instead of getting it done on their own. However, the shortage of manpower could be one of the factors why it had done so. It may be necessary for Templeton Hardware to increase their expenditure with regards to hiring new staff and training them. 2.2.4 Yellow Thinking Hat This hat signifies positive thinking, new possibilities and advantages. (Volunteering North Queensland Inc, 2003). The acquisitions of the two companies showed Templeton Hardwares plans to enter a new market segment and increase its profits. By increasing its staff, its efficiency can improve and can lead to a positive impact on sales targets and customer satisfaction. Better sales numbers can also increase the long-term sustainability of the organization and market share with the possibility of overthrowing its competitor. 2.2.5 Green Thinking Hat This hat helps individuals to come up with new recommendations and alternatives to solve the company’s problems through creative thinking (Marissa Martinez, 2009). Templeton Hardwares board could restructure the organization into a more de-centralized one and re-brand its products to increase its exclusivity. Templeton Hardware can improve productivity and time management standards by looking at how other companies operate. Advertisements can be placed in the media for job positions and opportunities to bring in an influx of employees to solve the shortage of staff. Employees should be given opportunities to voice out their concerns and put through special programs to enhance their level of service orientation and communication skills when handling customers. Job scopes can also be better enlarged and enriched in order to improve performance standards. 2.2.6 Blue Thinking Hat This hat sets the agenda for meetings, manages the processes and helps to reach productive conclusions (De Bono Consulting, 2000). There is a primary need to identify the issues, analyse them and solve the problems. Some of the key objectives would be to ensure the long-term sustainability of the company, improving the job security of employees so as to prevent the shortage of manpower, improving customer satisfaction by sending the employees for training and lastly to regain a bigger piece of the market share in order to have a competitive edge over the new competitor. Templeton Hardware can reach these objectives by adopting a change in management. The staff should also be briefed about the challenges during and after the change (Holley et al, 2011). In addition, the creation of a clear company vision would better inform its employees of the company’s core values. It is also imperative that the transition is managed effectively and a momentum is sustained after this transiti on. After the transition period is over, the team can strategise to increase the profitability of the organization. 2.3 Brainstorming Brainstorming is often used as an effective tool to come up with innovative solutions for problems which may exist internally or externally in an organisation. A general process can be used to create an outline of the issues and solutions to the key problems (Oslapas, 1993). 2.3.1 Problem Definition The main problem to be addressed would be the declining yields and returns in Templeton Hardwares business model. The customers, the companys board and management and organisations circumstances are established criterias to be used to convene the brainstorming. 2.3.2 Collating Data Creating Solutions The management decision to acquire two new companies without enough market research and its lack of foresight is evident. It failed to foresee all the outcomes that may arise from the acquistion and was overconfident that the outcome would be a positive one. The solution would simply be to conduct more extensive research on market conditions and develop products according to the market needs and requirements. Templeton Hardware should also look into enhancing its brand value and exclusivity. The companys board should take a more proactive role in making major decisions from a broader perspective and contingency plans can be drawn up in the event of an adverse outcome. The change in management styles and poor employee management led to high job dissatisfaction levels. This impacted employee retention numbers and the employees willingness to remain at the organisation as they did not feel appreciated. The employees felt overworked and were unsure of their own job scope as they had been tasked with interdepartmental duties. Team building and bonding enables each of their staff to get to know one another better and increases the staff unity and morale (Spaho, 2013). To prevent the staff from feeling stagnant in their job, they should implement job enlargement measures by retaining its existing staff and retraining them with the necessary skills (Cloke et al, 2000). Employees can also be more involved in decision making as this would give them a sense of responsibility and make them feel valued in the company. A flatter organisation structure would bridge the gap between the management and the employees and help the management to get a bottom up persp ective from ground zero. Customer service declined as employees were usually engaged in multiple responsibilities. This made customers dissatisfied and sales targets were not achieved. Previously, it was perceived that if a customer had patronised the store and purchased something, he/she would return to make future transactions. However, this is a wrong perspective and Templeton Hardware should look into providing something which surpasses its competitors marketing strategies. This could be customer service or the use of an â€Å"no frills, rock bottom pricing† marketing strategy. By adopting a customer centric structure, they need to train staff to have higher service standards (Pathak, 2010). The staff should understand customer needs and should be rewarded accordingly using performance appraisals or awards as a form of recognition (Lucas, 2009). 3. Recommendations Templeton Hardware should look into team building and team bonding activities to enhance cohesiveness while increasing its autonomy to involved more employees in the decision making. It should retain and retrain existing staff to increase job productivity and specialisation. Temporary downsizing should be implemented if the situation calls for. Through investments in technological infrastructure and by adopting a customer centric structure, it can enhance its customer management system. Templeton Hardware can also create a RD department to conduct extensive market and product research. The board should also contribute by increasing its pro-activeness in making decisions and contingency planning. It can also look into potentially enhancing the brand value and image through marketing campaigns or word of mouth. 4. Conclusion In conclusion, by using the appropriate Organization Development Consultant’s Toolkits such as SWOT Analysis, Six Thinking Hats and brainstorming, a deeper perspective of the companys situation has been attained. The main problems have been identified and a constructive approach can be taken towards resolving the problems. From the diagnosis conducted using these toolkits, enhancing Templeton Hardwares overall cohesiveness while maintaining the level of employee performance and management is a realistic target. Furthermore, implementing structural change strategies during organization change would further enhance organization effectiveness and better facilitate the transition period.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Decision Support Systems :: essays research papers

Decision Support Systems (DSS) A Decision Support System (DSS) is an information system at the management level of an organization that combines data, analytical tools, and models to support semistructured and unstructured decision-making. A DSS can handle low volume or massive databases optimized for data analysis. DSS has more power than other systems. They are built explicitly with a variety of models to analyze data or they condense large amounts of data into a form where they can be analyzed by decision-makers. DSS are designed so that the user can work with them directly. In the proceeding paragraphs I will give examples of some decision support systems and how they are being used. Integrated Decision Support Corporation (IDSC) is a company that provides decision support software to the truckload transportation industry. IDSC focuses on providing superior decision making software by creating state of the art optimization algorithms. IDSC released a product called NETWISE 3.0 in response to shippers requesting packaged and conditional bids, carriers having a difficult time selecting the lanes that compliment their current network, and determining the dedicated opportunities within a bid. NETWISE 3.0 are a decision support tool used in the analysis of profitability, pricing, and network balance. Companies were having a problem of having their carriers spend countless hours of manpower responding to single bid. NETWISE 3.0 addresses this issue by providing them with an enterprise software package that provides the with the same opportunities as the shipper. IDSC solved the problem of having the carrier determine how to price a lane so that it appears attractive to the shipper and yet still be profitable. During the bid preparation process, NETWISE utilizes a data correction engine that provides an intelligent search for city names and postal codes. Overall NETWISE provides users with a tool that significantly reduces the amount of time required to process a shipper bid. This allows item to be spent on the strategic issues instead of the monotonous details. NETWISE provides an intelligently discipline to the pricing process, resulting in a excellent solution for responding to shippers bids, or determining appropriate annual or daily pricing action. Innovative Systems Techniques (Insyte) designs and installs database management and decision support systems using Vision, their object oriented database technology. As both a technology developer and systems implementers, they uniquely offer clients access to their Vision technology and the direct involvement of their Vision TECNOLOGY and the direct involvement of their Vision Vision TECNOLOGY nad of their highly capable staff.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Internet has made classroom-based lessons redundant Essay

Ever since the creation of the internet in 1990, the applications on this 21st century program have grown exponentially, ranging from study tools to online markets. With such tools, schools and institutions are unnecessary. In a recent survey conducted by Babson Survey Research Group, it was found that 77 percent of the academic leaders agreed that the rate of learning outcomes via online education is superior to classroom education. One might say that the internet has a wide range of information, but with such a diverse spectrum, it would be tough to have a fixed course. This would cause students the deviate from original objectives, and hinder the learning process. However, critics fail to consider that this would allow students to plan their own preferred course. A preferred course would enhance a student’s education as they will only study topics or courses which they are interested in. Furthermore, educational websites such as Khan Academy provides students with a course outline and would also show their progress over the years. Thus, students would have a course outline to follow and keep track of their learning. In contrary to popular belief, educational platforms have multiple users and these sites allows students to chat online on forums and chats, several even have notes and lectures created by students to enlighten others. Such functions would grant students a chance to exchange knowledge and improve both parties’ proficiency. P2PU — Peer-to-Peer University is one such MOOC –massive online open course which incorporated these functions. More than 50 percent of the responses from a MOOC survey have agreed that MOOCs have helped them in their work or studies. Not only did MOOCs help academically, they helped decrease the gender gap by 20 per cent as compared to traditional education. As such, MOOCs can benefit the education both academically and socially. MOOCs also provide an informal setting for students to study in. In a classroom environment, there are strict rules and etiquette. With several dozens of students in a class, students may not feel comfortable to ask questions and would have to consult the teacher after the lesson. Without such regulations, students can openly ask questions and would not feel uncomfortable. In addition, unlike traditional schooling, MOOCs can be accessed 24/7, regardless of location. This would surpass time differences and geographical boundaries. Participants can learn anytime they are  comfortable to. Eventhough students may be travelling, they can still learn and make full use of their time, instead of killing time by playing games or listening to music. Therefore, MOOCs can help students by allowing them to harness their time well and giving them the courage to ask questions. Traditional schools limit their student intake by restricting them by their age, gender, highest qualification achieved, and their grades. Online schools currently do not reject or classify students according to measures mentioned above. This allows people of all demographic backgrounds to participate and learn as long as they have a stable internet connection. By nullifying these domains, not only would there be a larger number of students, the both sides can have a broader perspective of situations around the world. Lecturers on MOOCs are world-class academics, achieving degrees from top colleges and institutions all over the world. As compared to teachers in conventional schools, these lecturers would have a more diverse and deep knowledge. They would be able to better ‘inculcate’ students and conduct the tutorial more efficiently. After completing courses, students would be given certificates of accomplishment. Almost 80% of the universities in USA accept such certificates and can be used for admission to old-school learning modules. Students of all backgrounds would hence have an opportunity to excel and have an internationally-recognised certificate. Although many of these MOOCs and other platforms have not gained worldwide recognition yet, it would, in the near future, being proportional to the proliferation of the internet and smart phones. Online education will become a significant chapter in the history of mankind, due to helping millions with a single video. Despite being effective, traditional learning styles would have to be phased out with the coming of this phenomenon. 1. Do you agree that city life is becoming increasingly unattractive? (YES) (CP + CA) Ever since the proliferation of heavy machinery, a growing figure of people are being irritated by the noise pollution of cities. City dwellers have to endure the daily, unceasing annoyance from shrill sound of all sorts. The cacophonous sound of colliding metals from ongoing construction, the piercing blare of horns from vehicles or even the accumulating talking between people have gradually made most cities become less attractive days by days. Because of these factors, it is easy to  understand why most retirees are moving to the outskirt of their cities to enjoy the rest of their lives. 90 percent of elderly in the USA are trying to save their money daily in order to move to the peaceful coast which is surrounded by the deep blue sea with breaking sound waves. Even in less developed countries like Vietnam, places which give people the most pleasure are still villages with ultimate green paddy fields. All over the world, cities are about to be places to work only, not for living. The excessive urban noise that is only going to increase in the coming years will continue to eat away at the urban fantasy.1 One might say that cities are becoming safer from crime. With a more efficient police and advanced technology, syndicates would be discouraged to commit crime due to its high hey risks. However, critics fail to consider that attractions would be a ‘honeypot’ to syndicates. An increasing number of tourists visiting a city, would equate to crime rates growing exponentially. This is caused by the large numbers of tourists who flock to attractions, causing guards to be unable to have a overview of the actions of people. Residents of the city would therefore have to take precautions against such crime, rendering the city’s residents to be . The Louvre in Paris has an annual average of 8.9 million tourists visiting. Despite the fact that an adequate force of over a thousand security officers are hired in the museum, crime rates are high and constantly growing in the cosmopolitan. Cities are thus getting more vulnerable to crime and its attraction to mankind is constantly decreasing.2

Friday, January 3, 2020

A Complete Fall Color and Autumn Leaf Viewing Guide

One of natures grandest color displays — the autumn tree leaf color change — will develop as early as mid-September in the northern latitudes of North America. This annual autumn tree leaf change will manifest itself in living fall color through most of October, then wane toward the end of November in the southern part of the United States. You will have at least two months of quality autumn leaf viewing somewhere in North America. The best part about viewing the fall color is, it wont cost one red cent to enjoy — that is if you are lucky enough to live in or near a deciduous forest or have trees in your yard that express fall color. All others better get ready to pay for the experience. City escapees spend over one billion dollars each season taking in what many consider the splashiest show in nature. Autumn leaf viewing is a major vacation attraction — especially throughout New England, the central Northwoods and the Appalachian Mountains of the Eastern United States.  No forestry site would be complete without some mention of the October tree viewing pilgrimage — and how people can better enjoy viewing the autumn foliage. This quick leaf-viewing reference includes some basic tree leaf science and leaf viewing tips, along with enough information to enhance your next autumn leaf viewing trip. Use this guide as a starting point for your next leaf-viewing vacation. Starting Tips for Viewing Leaves Review the most beautiful trees naturally on display during fall leaf viewing season.Review these leaf silhouettes of common tree species.Get a recommended field guide to enhance the trip.Learn how to organize, build and display an autumn leaf collection.Use this field guide and key  to identify an autumn leaf by tree species. The Science of Leaf Change Fall leaf color change starts very subtly late in September and early October in temperate North America. Trees respond to such factors as autumn drying conditions, temperature change, altered sun position, and light. It takes approximately two weeks to begin and complete the fall color change so timing and a little luck are essential for the perfect view. Fall color change and flow take place as three primary waves in mixed hardwood forests. A simple flow and wave model was designed at the University of Georgia to illustrate what leaf experts call the fall color wave.   Autumn Leaf Color Change, The Anatomy of a Fall Leaf The major factor influencing autumn leaf color change is the lack of water. Not a lack of water to the entire tree, but a purposeful weaning of water from each leaf. Every leaf is affected by colder, drier, and breezy conditions and begins a process which results in its own demise and removal from the tree. The ultimate sacrifice of a leaf-bearing tree is the ultimate in visual pleasure for us. The broadleaf tree goes through a process of sealing off the leaves from the stem (called abscission). This halts the flow of all internal water to the leaf and causes a color change. It also seals the spot of leaf attachment and prevents precious moisture from escaping during winter dormancy. Fall Leaf Color Change Follows a Predictable Process of Chemical Leaf Change This lack of water to each leaf causes a very important chemical reaction to stop.  Photosynthesis, or the food-producing combination of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, is eliminated. Chlorophyll must be renewed (by photosynthesis) or be taken in by the tree along with photosynthetic sugar. Thus chlorophyll disappears from the leaves. Chlorophyll is the green you see in the leaf. Once the overwhelming chlorophyll color is removed, true leaf colors will dominate over the receding green pigment. True leaf pigments vary with the species of tree and thus the different characteristic leaf colors. And because true leaf colors are water-soluble, that makes the color disappear very quickly after drying out. Carotene (the pigment found in carrots and corn) causes maples, birches, and poplars to turn yellow. The brilliant reds and oranges in this fall landscape are due to  anthocyanins. Tannins give the oak a distinctively brown color and are the final persistent color most leaves turn before becoming part of the forest floor.   The  Virginia Tech Dendrology  department has two fascinating time-lapse films, one on a leaf turning color and one on a forest turning into autumn gold.   Viewing the Autumn Leaves University of Georgia silvics professor, Dr. Kim Coder, suggests there are ways you can predict how  beautiful a fall leaf color display will be. These simple predictors use known information and apply some common sense to forecast a season with surprising accuracy. By reviewing Dr. Coders key predictors, you will increase your chances of seeing the best leaves at just the right time.   TheFall Color Hotline Probably one of the best resources available online for leaf viewing information is the National Forest Fall Foliage Hotline, though you shouldnt expect to find up to date information until late September of the current leaf season. This federal phone hotline offers you information on viewing leaves in and around the U.S. National Forests and Parks. It is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service and is updated every year to reflect changing conditions and new sites.