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Thesatisfaction of customers is an important aspect for any organizationdoing business. Many organizations rely on gains made from businessprofits after large sales volume. High sales volume is only possibleif customers are treated fairly and given quality services. In themodern age of competitive businesses, the image of the firm that isspread out by satisfied customers is more than public relation(Dean, 2009).Customers and employees are the brand images of any organization.Most successful firms that have set large businesses locally andabroad have well-defined strategic policies of dealing with issuesrelating to customers and the employees (Kotter,2011).
Therefore,it is the prerogative of any business manager, entrepreneur or thesupervisors to create an enabling environment through which workersand clients get satisfied by the organization’s services. It is areality that happy employees mean happy customers dissatisfiedstaffs always gives substandard services to business clients or evenengage in unethical business practices such as bribery and stealing(Tushman& O’Reilly, 1997).Therefore, organization managers need to be at the forefront inmotivating employees so that the same effect trickles down to clients(Kotter,2011).
Theforces of change involved
Foryears, AVISI Inc. has had great business success turning into $700annually in sales. These sales were done through the company’slogistic department composed of a team of ten employees. Although thebusiness has been running well for years, at the beginning of year2013, the company began to face numerous complaints from clients. Theoverall problem from these issues was that, customers receivedshipment late, damaged, incomplete, wrong address, wrong quantitiesand missing documents. The company was clearly facing a crisis as theripple effects and recovery costs by the firms cost AVISI Inc.millions of dollars. The clients did not have complicated orders anddelivery demand request they just wanted clear, simple and directservices without problems or any excuses and they did not have aproblem in paying.
Theprimary change needed: changing the People and Culture
Thehead of logistic and distribution at AVSI Inc. was a middle-agedlogistician who had served other several corporations in seniorleadership, but not in the distribution and logistics departments. Assuch, he had no prior training or experience in managingdistributions. He had only served as a senior executive in thefinancial appointments. In the same note, the support staffs wererecent logistic graduates who did not have much experience inmanaging overseas distributions lest local distribution.
Anothercompounding aspect was that, the distribution team headed by thelogistic manager was a team on their own and rarely followed advicefrom other departmental heads. The junior staffs were cooperative buthad to follow the instructions of their manager lest they bereprimanded for insubordination (Tushman& O’Reilly, 1997).The department was, therefore, in dire need of urgent changes torecuperate the organization brand image among the clients (Anderson& Anderson, 2001).
Mainchallenges of the change
Variousapproaches were tried in the attempt to solve the crisis by otherdepartmental managers who felt affected by the increasing number ofcomplaints from customers who had being loyal to the firm for manyyears. After great efforts to solve the problem, the only option leftwas presenting the matter to the organization president who wasrarely in the country. The situation was made worse by the fact that,after addressing the problem through the President, he reverted backthe problem to the logistic department for fixing or used privateconsultants to investigate the matter.
However,nothing changed, customer complaints continued and even salesdwindled. The many, consultants, meetings time, resources andtechnology used to address the problem was all in vain. The logisticanger treacherously, the misdirected all these efforts from the realailment in the department. Great changes had been implemented in thedistribution department such as using bar technology to scan goods inthe warehouses, computing the sales process, operations in thewarehouse as well as the shipping process yet the complaints stillpersisted.
Aftermuch deliberations and efforts amid dwindling sales, reports and badpublicity of the firm reached the president abroad. Three monthslater, the president convened an all staffs meeting in which thediscussion was held. During the deliberations, it was revealed thatall options had been exhausted, and the logistic manager had shownlittle effort in solving the problem. The remaining approach was,therefore, to transfer the logistic manager to another lowerdepartment. In addition, all supporting staffs were put underprobation and training, and a new experienced logistic managerappointed (Anderson& Anderson, 2001).
Thebiggest achievements of the change
Thenew logistic manager used previous reports and gathered muchinformation from the dissatisfied clients and the rest oforganization managers in order to have a strategy of implementingchange (Anderson& Anderson, 2001).In collaboration with other departmental heads, a list of problemsand issues that needed improvement was debated on. One importantpriority was to change the top-down command structure in thedepartment (Tushman,& O’Reilly, 1997).The previous manager censored and disapproved any junior staff fromparticipating in making distribution decisions. In addition, themanager fought criticism, and this had weakened the spirit ofteamwork and motivation among the departmental staffs(Dean, 2009).
However,the new management and staffs opened doors for participation,feedbacks and criticism (Tushman& O’Reilly, 1997).There was increased interdepartmental cooperation. The logisticdepartment began collecting weekly feedbacks from clients, staffsand other managers as a way of identifying the ‘gaps’ and deviceways of improvement. Another major improvement was organizingfrequent meetings for managers, staffs and some clients. In mostcases, employees are innovative and strive to do their best(Kotter, 2011).However, when workers meet obstacles and fail to get support fromothers, they develop hate for work and give substandard services.
Inthe same note, when employee performs below the employers’expectations, they start getting more scrutiny which develops in moredissatisfaction. In the same way, this is what the former logisticmanager had made with the logistic support staffs the team haddeveloped cold feet, dislike for management and failed in makinginnovative moves due to the adversarial environment facing them(Kotter,2011).
Thenew team and management devised a new approach of enhancing open workenvironment for staffs to relate and share in the management ofdifferent issues(Dean, 2009).In addition, the process of distribution was changed a new approachwas implemented where a group would handle a single client’stransaction from the start to the end thereby reducing chances oferrors and time wastage (Tushman& O’Reilly, 1997).The resultant effect was a motivated work force and a new culturalwork environment based on renewed teamwork and efficient serviceprovision (Anderson& Anderson, 2001).
Performanceof management rating
Theperformance strategy was enhanced by drawing up the department visionand goals to achieve. Regular monthly meetings were used as aplatform of sharing, correcting one another wrongs as well asrewarding the best performing individuals. Clients were encouraged togive both positive and negative feedbacks on a regular basis. Inorder, to achieve this, questionnaires were issued to staffs andcustomers to assess the department performance. In the newmanagement, arbitrariness and ambiguity were eliminated, each staffknew what to do, each staff got new techniques and tools necessary toget things done and each person worked positively and enhanced apositive work environment(Anderson & Anderson, 2001).
Salesdistribution began to rise as well as positive feedback on qualityservices. The number of new clients increased by 10% compared to theprevious year’s customer database. In addition, sales volumeincreased substantially recording an increase in $ 5 billion from theprevious high sales volume. The department was now full of motivatedand self-managed staffs who enjoyed servicing clients. In a surprise,the president rewarded the department by raising the staffs’salaries and other benefits(Tushman & O’Reilly, 1997).
Althoughthere has not been a major improvement, the efforts and strategiesimplemented were the only effective means of addressing thesituation. The change put in place had been well deliberated on byall stakeholders who continue to support the changed implementation.Moreover, constant feedbacks are collected from the clients and thestaffs as a way of filling in the gaps. The change process has beeneffective and with continued collaboration and support from otherdepartments, the company will regain its full competitiveness, imageand increased sales volume (Dean, 2009).
Anderson,D. & Anderson, L.A. (2001). Beyond Change Management-AdvancedStrategies for Today’s Transformational Leaders. San Francisco:Jossey-Bass.
Dean,Christina (2009). Managing Successful Change. Australia: Uniforte PtyLtd.
Kotter,J.P. (2011). Change Management vs. Change Leadership-What is theDifference? Forbes Online.
Tushman,M.L., C.A. O’Reilly. (1997). Winning Through Innovation. Boston:Harvard University Press.