Developing the Channel Design


Channel design refers to those decisions involving the development of new marketing channels where none existed before, or to the modification of existing channels. Channel design is an important decision as the channel is a means through which the firms can find new prospects, communicate to customers, and physically deliver the product. Of all the marketing decisions, the ones regarding distribution (channel) are the most far-reaching. It can revamp a promotional program, modify its product line. But once a company sets up its distribution channels, it generally find changing them to be difficult. Channel design, therefore, does not refer to channel structures that have simply evolved, it refers only to those where the management has taken an active role in the development of the channel.

 

Specifically, the channel design decision includes:

1.    the number of channels to employ;

2.    the number of levels to be included in each channel;

3.    the type of intermediaries to employ; and

4.    the number of channel intermediaries at each level.

 

The selection of the best channel (channel design decision) to accomplish the objectives is challenging because:

a)      channels need to be adopted depending on the target segment and positioning;

b)      the goals of the channel members may differ;

c)      the alternatives are numerous.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Locking Customers in


Winners care about their clients’ businesses. They take specific steps to become more intimately involved. They share information and knowledge and pass on leads. They are always on the look out for ways of ‘adding value’ or helping customers to solve their problems.

 

They lock out competitors by integrating their own systems and processes with those of their customers. They may become involved in joint planning and the development of their client’s services. Relationships they forge grow into formal partnerships with joint and mutual objectives, shared rewards and savings, commitments to specific and measurable performance improvements, open book accounting and simple, quick, low-level dispute resolution procedures.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

What’s Your Opinion?


A key part of the optimum result method is to get people to express themselves. Everyone has an opinion about a lot of things: What the company is doing, right or wrong; what’s good and what’s bad about the economy; how the mayor or president is performing; and whether any policy will survive.

 

And many people in a business have opinions about how the enterprise could be better run. The problem is, in most organizations the people who do the work are never asked, “What is your opinion?” “Got any ideas for doing this better?” and “Can you suggest a way to do this in less time?” As a result, a large amount of intelligence is untapped, the people with ideas feel frustrated, and the organization’s performance suffers.

 

A number of things explain, but one thing you should be doing is to get the opinions of your people before making key decisions. The best intelligence often comes from front-line staff. We install the steel we fabricate all over the country. Make it a point to talk with installation crews; ask for their opinions about what our customers are thinking. Maintain a steady flow of opinions, gathering information from your installation and sales people.

 

All people think. Encourage them to tell you what they’re thinking about. When you ask for opinions from employees doing different functions, you accomplish two things. First, you win their cooperation because they’ve had a chance to give you their views. Second, you pick up a lot of good ideas you can turn into profit.

 

Nevertheless, there is a problem when you teach the what-is-your-opinion technique to few managers. Some of them are conditioned to believe that asking other people, particularly subordinates, for their ideas is a sign of weakness. Letting other people express their opinions is a sign of strength.

 

Use the optimum results. It works wonders in getting what you want—a sale, a better job, and cooperation and support.

  • Find out what is the ideal benefit the other person seeks.
  • Tailor what you have to offer to provide that ideal benefit.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Strategy and People


The successful implementation of a strategy depends on people. It depends on the extent to which employees share common goals, how knowledgeable they are, their organizational culture, and what motivates them. It also depends on the types of key roles that individuals in the organization play. In the development of the product or service these individuals also play a critical role. Gatekeepers and boundary scanners, and innovation champions can help a firm’s efforts in recognizing the potential of an innovation. In the development of the product or service these individuals also play a critical role. Gatekeepers and boundary spanners act as inter-firm and intra-firm information transducers, respectively. The champion continues to communicate his or her vision of the potential of the innovation to the firm, especially to different functional groups and customers, even as the innovation makes its way from design through prototype and testing to manufacturing and launch. The sponsor is still the “sugar daddy” of the project. The most important function at this point, though, is that of the project manager.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Vision and Decision


This phase is really a process of moving from awareness to commitment, especially among the key managers who must prepare to drive the rest of the organization. The aim here is to convince key people that a great opportunity—or looming problems—lies ahead and that radical thinking around a new paradigm is necessary to make real progress. All the work a company does during this phase—reckoning where it stands competitively on time-based performance, building a vision, and deciding how to proceed—is preparation for the big moves to follow. Some changes in how the company works occur naturally in this phase—good analysis always produces some early obvious action steps. But the real purpose of this phase is to build commitment to a new way of looking at the competitive game and how the managers must play it.

 

Reckoning where the company stands includes looking hard at its own current performance and direction in relation to what the best companies are doing and what the near future will surely bring. So the process has both an internal and an external analytic component. The internal part involves putting together moving pictures of how the company actually works in time—how it processes information, manages projects, moves materials, engages customers, and so on, and how all this is influenced by the firm’s briefs, practices, policies, and systems. The external part involves describing what customers what now and how they would be served ideally, and pacing together moving pictures of how the best time-based competitors operate. Together these two parts allow management to self-discover in concrete fashion the new time-based paradigm and the capabilities the company must build to gain control of it.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Integrating New Services


Because of the nature of services—they are processes, typically delivered at least in part by people, consumed and produced simultaneously—any new service introduction willaffect the existing systems and services. Unlike when a manufacturer adds a new product to its production facility, new service introductions are frequently visible to customers and may even require their participation. Explicit recognition of these potential impacts, and planning for the integration of people, processes, and physical evidence, will encourage success. This recognition will help in both (1) deciding which projects to pursue—sometimes the disruptive effect on existing system is too great to warrant the investment—and, (2) knowing how to proceed with implementation—what elements of existing processes, people, and physical facilities will need to be adjusted, added or changed.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Same-day Delivery


Same-day delivery, or same-day service, is an excellent promotional scheme for increasing sales at very little additional cost. As the economy becomes increasingly attuned to a “buy it now, have it now” attitude, we become more and more frustrated with waiting days (or often weeks) for purchased products to arrive or for service to be performed. Companies willing to guarantee same-day delivery have found this to be an extraordinarily effective sales tactic that practically ensures a competing edge.

 

Despite the fact that most people regard time as a valuable commodity, few businesses pay any attention to rapid service. Manufacturing, retailers, and service forms want their bills paid on time, but all too often, they do not reciprocate.

 

Although sales tactics that promise and then fulfill same-day delivery within a specific area must always bring in new customers, for some businesses, same-day delivery is impossible.

 

Doing what you say you are going to do when you promise you will do it will inevitably increase service sales as effectively as rapid delivery does in product businesses. It is simply good public relations. Turning it around, when a plumber, electrician, or furnace repairperson promises to take care of your service problems tomorrow and actually does so, the chances are very good that you will call that person again when the service is needed.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Preparing Salespeople


A new product is an intrusion. It takes time. It disrupts schedules. It involves change and risk. Salespeople are known for wanting new items to sell, but there are still negatives. Salespeople are not usually given reduced territories when asked to sell a new product.

 

It is important (1) to investigate in advance any possible reasons why salespeople might object to the new product, (2) to give them all the training and materials they need to be effective, and (3) to make sure the product is available, in their territories, when they start writing orders for it.

 

The key is to do your job such that they can do their job. That means to have a product that customers will understand to try, and to train the sales force to understand and communicate the story. This training should use the latest technologies

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Corporate Structure in the Global Economy


Corporate structures will be increasingly expected to deal with tension-producing forces, as well as compressive ones. Among them is the tendency for companies to become increasingly spread thin as they respond to an expanding multitude of masters. And it is likely that both employees and their governments will take their turn demanding greater attention to their particular needs and requirements. On top of these whiplash-inducing pressures will be the ongoing operational tensions arising from the continuing use of speed as a competitive weapon.

 

As if these ongoing pushes and pulls will not be enough of a challenge, most businesses will also face the requirement to be more flexible than ever in deploying and redeploying resources to mact the moving targets provided by customers’ requirements and competitors’ advances. The globalizing marketplace tends to be unforgiving when corporate inertia or bureaucracy limits flexibility. This degree of organizational elasticity—stretching to accommodate special situations, then returning to the original shape to meet regular demands—is already a necessity in many industries. Soon it will be mandatory in most.

 

A measure of plasticity will be needed, as well. The ability to change an organization’s shape, to adapt to new markets or to reconfigure around emerging capabilities, will be another dynamic quality in the repertoire of the new corporation. This attribute—the ability to reorganize completely every several years without succumbing to terminal brittleness—is a rarity in most companies today. But it will be common among those that thrive into this 21st Century.

 

Just as architects have never found a single, always appropriate building block for every structure, organization designers are also unlikely to find one. But the old building blocks of narrowly defined jobs used in tandem with traditional supervision are not working. Perhaps the lead of the architect can be followed, and companies can learn to select organizational building blocks that can be adjusted to cope with the forces they face at a particular time. In keeping with what has worked for the architect, organization planners can:

  • Reinforce jobs to ensure they have the strength to resist the tensions and compressions they must increasingly cope with.
  • Use the organizational equivalent of composites—teams—when job reinforcement alone is insufficient to provide the company with an appropriate degree of flexibility.
  • Make sure that the company’s managers are in load-bearing roles—ones vital to the organization’s structural integrity—and act as drivers of the business’s ongoing adaptability, rather than mere definers of unneeded internal walls.

 Reinforced jobs, composite teams, and load-bearing managers—these may well be the most useful raw materials from which the structure of the corporation is shaped.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Innovation Defined


Innovation is the use of new knowledge to offer a new product or service that customers want. It is invention together with commercialization. It is a new way of doing things (termed invention by some) that is commercialized. The process of innovation cannot be separated from a firm’s strategic and competitive context. The new knowledge can be technological or market related. Technological knowledge is knowledge of components, linkages between components, methods, processes, and techniques that go into a product or service. Market knowledge is knowledge of distribution channels, product applications, and customer expectations, preferences, needs, and wants. The product or service is new in that its cost is lower, its attributes are improved, it now has new attributes, it never had before, or it never existed in that market before. Often the new product or service itself is called an innovation, reflecting the fact that it is the creation of new technological or market knowledge.

Innovation has also been defined as the adoption of ideas that are new to the organization. Generating good ideas or adopting a new one, in and of itself, is only a start. To be an innovation, an idea must be converted into a product or service that customers want. Coming up with the idea or prototype—invention—is one thing. Championing it, shepherding it, and nurturing it into a product or service that customers want is another. Innovation entails both invention and commercialization.

A distinction has also been made between technical and administrative innovation. Technical innovation is about improved products, services, or processes or completely new ones. This contrasts with administrative innovation, which pertains to organizational structure and administrative processes and may or may not affect technical innovation. Technical innovation may or may not require administrative innovation. A technical innovation can be a product or a process.

Product innovations are new products or services introduced to meet an external and market need whereas process innovations are new elements introduced into an organization’s production or service operations—input materials, task specifications, work and information flow mechanisms, and equipment used to produce a product or render a service.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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