VicePresident of Operations, Part 2
VicePresident of Operations, Part 2
Theproduct life cycle model has been used by the managers at Wal-Mart topredict the direction of the planning by focusing on the sales thathave been achieved in the past and also by an emphasis on theimmediate sales made by the organization (Narasimhan, Talluri, &Mahapatra, 2006). Whereas the product life cycle model is useful fordetermining the direction of products and service hence enableplanning, it’s hard to predict transitions since the key indicatorsare sales which are tabulated at some intervals, and therefore, thereare gaps at transactions stage, which is only discovered after it hasalready taken place. Furthermore, fluctuations in sales lead toerroneous conclusions, and hence the slowdown of the sales at theorganization may not necessarily imply that the products have reachedthe decline point. Making a determination to reduce the product insuch a scenario and hence divert resources meant for distribution andmarketing among other aspects is wrong (Narasimhan, Talluri, &Mahapatra, 2006)..
Notall Products at the Wal-Mart go through every stage of the productlifecycle because the demand for the goods is not the same. In someinstances some of the products at the organization go straight fromthe introduction to decline informed by poor marketing strategies,little value to the customers, misconceived features or even the lackof demand for the products. The drastic reduction makes it hard tomeasure and predict the direction of the product, which compoundsplanning to weather competition (Narasimhan, Talluri, &Mahapatra, 2006).
Ithas been found out from past experiences that even if all theproducts go through each stage different products spend lengths oftime in each stage which complicates the life cycle. Thecomplications due to the length of time spent at each stage byvarious products make it hard for the managers at the organization todetermine the strategies to employ.
Newproducts design at the organization would be developed via assessingthe current problem to ascertain the severity of the problem in theexisting products in terms of the sales achieved at a given time(Ulrich, 2003). Wal-Mart has a well-established research departmentwhich would work on the current issue to improve the performance ofall the products and services offered by the organization.Improvements in marketing and customer service are essential in thisendeavour. Research would also involve assessing the performance ofthe competitors to evaluate any factor that could be driving away theconsumers. Brainstorming sessions in all the departments of theentire Wal-Mart group would be crucial so that information is sharedon how the products should be offered to the customers regardingdesign (Narasimhan, Talluri, & Mahapatra, 2006). The ideas wouldincorporate the views of all the stakeholders in an attempt to creategoods and services that are acceptable across the board. The finalstep in the generation process would be to evaluate the products thatwork well for the company based on careful consideration of all thefactors. The product selection would be achieved by identifying thesupply gap to determine the current differences between theavailability of the products and the demand. The marketing and thefinance departments would collaborate to avail the necessary fundsrequired in the selection of new products that are enough to fill theexisting market gap. The technical implications of the productselection process would be playing a vital role as any changes in thetechnological requirements would be put into the account(Brynjolfsson, Hu, & Rahman, 2009). Theprofitability/marketability of the selected products would be pivotalin determining the final selection. A team of the required personnelwould be assembled in all the departments of the organization toensure that the selected products are fully delivered to consumersthrough intensive marketing and sales strategies. Products with smallprofit margins should particularly be fiercely marketed so that theypenetrate the targeted markets.
Wal-Martcan strengthen operations through exploration of new markets and alsothrough improvement of the existing markets. The organization shouldintroduce premium products to target the high-end customers despiteits traditional practice of the pricing model of operations(Narasimhan, Talluri, & Mahapatra, 2006). The company should alsokeep the employees involved in all its activities. The company shouldacknowledge that the employees are important stakeholders of thebusiness and should be involved at each level of the decision-makingprocess. The incorporation of the employees in the decision isinformed by the fact that they act as a link between the organizationand the customers and hence understand the needs of the customer`s.Their role, therefore, cannot be ignored as they also serve as theimage of the body to the external world. .Another strategy would beto cut costs in the operations through the restructuring of theexisting processes. Any cost cutting measures would reflect on theprices and hence influence demands of the products and services. Thepricing model is mainly held dear by the Wal-Mart group and hasserved the organization right over the years.
Inthe supply chain management, communication is a fundamental componentat the Wal-Mart. The support provided to the group by the externalforces especially the service providers and key suppliers is highlyvalued. The value obtained from the external players help inachieving the organizational evolving objectives, and that is onlypossible through effective communication strategies. The organizationemploys a developed and well implemented supplier-feedback mechanismwhich ensures that the external players that support the company`soperations and growth are continuously aware of the existingchallenges (Narasimhan, Talluri, & Mahapatra, 2006). The processand operating efficiency is another element which is much valued bythe organization`s supply chain. The improvements in the productsefficiency regarding sales and marketing require increased volumes ofsupply which also affect all the other components such as maintenanceequipment. The energy also requires the timeliness in support by allexternal parties and the contractors. The building of the rightstrategy is vital in meeting the goals and improving theefficiencies. Innovation is an important component in the managementof the supply chain at Wal-Mart. The managing of the daily operationswhile engaging in changes is a critical practice for theorganization. The construction of the innovation requires input andsupport from all the suppliers and service partners who are alwayswilling to give insight and aid in the pursuit of innovativesolutions by the company. The collaborative effort is vital inbracing for all the possibilities in the market.
Environmentaluncertainty is one of the matters that could have an impact on thesupply chain management. The unexpected changes in the customersthrough interferences of the purchasing powers would substantiallyalter all the supply factors. The changes of the suppliers could alsobe a major issue as it would interfere with the smooth flow of goodsand services into the company (Narasimhan, Talluri, & Mahapatra,2006). The competition from other players in the sector could alsoplay a significant role as it occasions the shift of consumerallegiance. The role of technology cannot be underestimated due toits evolving nature which could affect all aspects of theorganization. To overcome the uncertainty, the company shouldcontinuously research on the market forces so that it remains updatedon the changing terrain of the market. The company`s environment isanother major issue. In this endeavour, the level of trust andcommitment and confidence could be a major concern which couldsignificantly affect the supply chain management (Narasimhan,Talluri, & Mahapatra, 2006). An environment of trust should becultivated with the suppliers so that there is a continuous exchangeof information hence avoiding any disruptions. Any alterations couldhave disastrous effects on the performance of the organization. Touphold trust and commitment, there should be effective communicationto address any emerging issues as the company transact with thesuppliers. The support of the government is also significant as itincludes the policies and advice for the sector. The company shouldhence engage with government at all times so that it is updated onthe policies related to purchasing and sourcing. Information ontaxation and regulations on importation would be vital in theendeavour (Narasimhan, Talluri, & Mahapatra, 2006).
Stratificationis a total quality management tool necessary for the adoption ofWal-Mart organization. The tool is a useful means that would separatethe gathered and consolidated data of the company from differentsources to provide important patterns which enhance prediction of thefuture changes. The tool contains information on the variations inthe market including emerging completion and would, therefore, go along way to updating the company which informs the changes instrategies adopted at a given time
Thejust-in-time philosophy is a major concept at the Wal-Mart, which isemployed to ensure that all the operations of the company are veryshort which, makes it easier to halt any process and switch todifferent processes to meet the demands of the customers. The lowlevels of inventory imply that the inventory holding costs, forexample, the warehouse spaces are reduced. The organizations alsoinvest fewer amounts in the stock as little inventory is required inits daily operations. Any mistakes in the various processes arespotted quickly and rectified which reduces the rate of breakdown atany levels of the services ensuring that there are fewer areas ofconflicts with the stakeholders as all matters are addressed as theyemerge. In the employment of JIT, Wal-Mart maintains inventory withmuch smaller lots which reduce the cycle inventory which reduces theamount of time and space required for entire operation processes. Thesmaller sizes of stock help in reducing the lead times because totalprocessing time is greater for large lots than for smaller numbers.Defective items on lots also take longer to be inspected which resultin unnecessary delays. The small lots used assist to achieve auniform functioning system workload because large lots consume a lotof processing time in different working stations which complicatetime allocations.
Qualitativeforecasting of the operations at Wal-Mart would involve the use ofinterviews and questionnaires to gather enough information onperceptions about the management of the company (Cavana, Delahaye, &Sekaran, 2001). Feedbacks from the customers and other stakeholderswould be vital components in the planning of the business. Suchfeedback mechanisms would be used to review the prices and productqualities to come up with strategies for improvements. Theinformation acquired is very accurate and could be of major value inthe development of the organization. The qualitative methods arehowever very subjective and may not reflect the reality. The datarequires high levels of accuracy which mainly is dependent on theresearcher. The company would also employ the quantitative techniquesvia the use of the historical data and develop models that could beinterpreted through observation of the patterns or performance of thecompany. The moving average method is particularly important as itprovides the average scores achieved in each area of operation of theenterprise. The weighted average and smoothing methods are also vitaltechniques in the quantitative methods and are employed by thecorporation in the forecasting of operations. The method providesobjective analysis which is supported by reliable data and pastrecords. However, the methods are tedious since they involveanalyzing several records before a position is achieved .
Based on human perceptions, opinions. it is not mathematical in nature
Based on figures and mathematics hence quantitative in nature
Includes the latest changes within the environment and hence provide inside information
Consistent and unbiased, including a lot of information and data, all at once.
Can cause bias in the forecast of operations and hence reduce accuracy
Quantifiable data is not always available. The results largely depends on the data available
Brynjolfsson,E., Hu, Y., & Rahman, M. S. (2009). Battle of the retailchannels: How product selection and geography drive cross-channelcompetition. ManagementScience,55(11),1755-1765.
Cavana,R. Y., Delahaye, B. L., & Sekaran, U. (2001). Appliedbusiness research: Qualitative and quantitative methods.John Wiley & Sons Australia.
Narasimhan,R., Talluri, S., & Mahapatra, S. K. (2006). Multiproduct,multicriteria model for supplier selection with product life‐cycleconsiderations. DecisionSciences,37(4),577-603.
Ulrich,K. T. (2003). Productdesign and development.Tata McGraw-Hill Education.