Technical Expertise


Managers need technical expertise, the specialized knowledge and training needed to perform jobs that are related to their area of management. Accounting managers need to be able to perform accounting jobs, and production managers need to be able to perform production jobs. Although a production manager may not actually perform a job, he or she needs technical expertise to train employees, answer questions, provide guidance, and solve problems. Technical skills are most needed by first-line managers and least critical to top-level managers.

Today, most organizations rely on computers to perform routine data processing, simplify complex calculations, organize and maintain vast amounts of information, and help managers make sound decisions. For this reason, many managers have found computer expertise to be a valuable skill. For the manager of the 21st century, such expertise will be critical.

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, and my Lectures.

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Why do Organizations Exist?


The production of goods and services most often takes place in an organizational setting because people working together to produce goods and services usually can create more value than people working separately.

People who work in organizations may become more productive and efficient at what they do than people who work alone. For many kinds of productive work the use of an organization allows the development of specialization and a division of labor. The collective nature of organizations allows individuals to focus on a narrow area of expertise; this allows them to become more skilled or specialized at what they do.

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, and my Lectures.

Virtual Corporation


As more and more companies are outsourcing various organizational functions and are paring together down to their core competencies, they might not be able to perform all the tasks required to complete a project. However, they certainly can perform their own highly specialized part of it very well. Now, if you put together several organizations whose competencies compliment each other and have them work together on a special project, you’d have a very strong group of collaborators. This is the idea behind an organizational arrangement that is growing in popularity—the virtual corporation. A virtual corporation is highly flexible, temporary organization formed by a group of companies that join forces to exploit a specific opportunity.

Technologies are changing so rapidly and skills are becoming so specialized these days that no one company can do everything by itself. And so, they join forces temporarily to form virtual corporations—not permanent organizations but temporary ones without their own offices or organizational charts. Although virtual corporations are not yet common, experts expect them to grow in popularity in the years ahead.

My Coultancy–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, Lectures, Line of Sight

Creating an Integrated Marketing Communications Program (IMC)


a)        Use zero-based budgets. Most companies use incremental approaches in allocating promotional budgets. A preferred approach is the objective and task approach. Start with a zero budget and force all promotional managers managers to justify their investment.

b)        Focus primarily on current customers. Many organizations direct 80% or more of their advertising and selling effort activities to trying to win new business (conquest marketing).  An Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program recognizes the importance of retention marketing and inverts that ratio so that a majority of the promotional activity is earmarked for relationship building with existing customers. This reduces customer defection, upgrades business relationships, and creates advocates for the firm’s services.

c)        Use highly targeted mass promotion. Direct mail, specialized lists, trade publications, and the Internet can be used effectively to reach prospects rather than suspects. A website has become an indispensable marketing technology for 21st century companies. It has evolved into a one-stop, online corporate information source, customer support tool, distribution channel, order taker, product catalog, price list, promotional vehicle, research technique, segmentation source, and a strategic and tactical marketing differentiator.

d)        Build marketing relationships. Strategic partnering is a major part of a good IMC program. In addition to Internet and intranets (protected corporation information resource centers), progressive companies are creating extranets which link an enterprise’s extended family of suppliers, distributors, retailers, and partners. Hence, customer, channel, referral, and stakeholder relationships can all be nurtured through carefully conceived promotional efforts.

e)        Note that everything an organization does send a message. Image and atmospherics are very important in communicating value to customers. The little things, such as stationery, signage, telephone greetings, and website design, etc., should all reflect professionalism and a consistent message to the marketplace.

f)          Two-way dialogue is key. In an over-communicated society, the marketing challenge is to establish a meaningful dialogue with customers as to how the firm’s service mix can provide maximum benefits/value. Interactivity and involvement on the part of the customers is important for sharing information and creating firmer bonds. The Web is an ideal medium to accomplish this objective. Its selectivity and flexibility create a customized business experience for each user.

g)        Use 21st century communication technologies. In today’s changing marketplace, companies must seek new and better ways to stay in touch with their target markets. Appropriate communication options include e-mail, electronic commerce, fax-on-demand, telemarketing, point-of-sale promotion, special events, multimedia, etc.

h)        Measure promotional effectiveness. Traditionally, advertising executives competed with sales managers for their “fair share” of the corporate promotional budget. Today, management requires accountability and demands to know and justify the return on investment of limited resources—they will no longer accept the non-measurable communications methods used by marketers in the past. A marketing information system/database is the key tool for effectively monitoring and measuring the success of an IMC program. As part of this process, job descriptions and reward systems are likely to be redesigned. In a strong IMC-centered environment, in-house competition is replaced with cooperation and teamwork. Joint rewards help the organization do what is best, rather than just project individual turfs.

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

Concentrated Marketing


Rather than trying to market its products separately to several segments, a firm may opt for a concentrated marketing strategy. With concentrated marketing (also known as niche marketing), a firm focuses its efforts on profitably satisfying only one market segment. This approach can appeal to a small firm that lacks the financial resources of its competitors and to a company that offers highly specialized goods and services.

Along with its benefits, concentrated marketing has its dangers. Since the strategy ties a firm’s growth to a specific segment, sales can suffer if new competitors appeal successfully to the same segment. Furthermore, errors in forecasting market potential or customer buying habits lead to severe problems.

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

Managing a Shortage


In the real world, equilibrium prices are always changing. A flood in Brazil may cause the price of coffee to rise; good farming weather in the Midwest will lead to a fall in the price of wheat; advancing technology steadily lowers the price of computers. If enough people are drastically affected by the price change the government may decide to do something about it—whether wisely or unwisely. Rising apartment rents will lead to pressure for rent control, falling wheat prices will lead to pressure for agricultural price supports, and so forth.

When the government controls the price of a good below the market-clearing level, there will be a “shortage.” A shortage is not the same as scarcity. Scarcity simply means that not all desires can be satisfied, and so scarcity is always present. Diamonds are scarce, but there is no shortage—anyone who can pay the price of a diamond can buy one. A shortage exists when goods are not just expensive but unavailable to some people—except perhaps by unlawful means. In a city with rent controls, newcomers may be unable to rent an apartment at all, regardless of their willingness to pay. Thus, faced with a supply shift or demand shift dictating a higher equilibrium price, consumers are bound to lose out one way or the other—either from the higher price if the market adjustment proceeds unimpeded, or from the “shortages” that follow when government interventions keep the price low.

Using the concepts of short-run and long-run supply, let us trace out the consequences of coping with upward pressures on price by imposing a “ceiling.” There are some less visible consequences of price ceiling. Unable to raise price openly, firms may use subtler strategies. They may eliminate discounts or seasonal sales, reduce quality or variety or convenience of their offerings, or concentrate production in product lines that happen to have received a better break from the price-control authorities. Supplies may be sold abroad, leaving even less available for domestic consumers. And of course black markets may arise, providing a wider scope for people specializing in illegal activity. In extreme cases, there may be a breakdown of legitimate trade. In this connection, we can learn much from a previous great inflationary episode associate with World War 11 and its aftermath.

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

The Japanese Philosophy


Everyone is aware, to some degree, of the major inroads the Japanese have made and are continuing to make in US markets, including automobiles, electronics, cameras, computer hardware, machine tools, and aerospace. In automobiles, the United States has fought back strongly.

There are many examples where the Japanese have taken over an American plant, kept the same workers, laid off half of management, and doubled productivity! Some of the elements of Japanese philosophy include:

  1. 1. Worker Flexibility: Rather than being specialized, workers are trained to do many different tasks, making for a flexible process and reduced WIP.
  2. 2. Jidoka Quality at the Source: If a bad unit is made, it is not set aside. The entire process is stopped, and everyone looks to find the problem. This again reduces WIP and does not allow continued production a bad goods.
  3. 3. Just-in-Time Production: An item is produced exactly when it is needed. This works best for repetitive manufacturing, so all processes are designed to be repetitive manufacturing. Kanban control systems were developed for this situation.
  4. 4. Uniform Plant Loading: Confusion and shock waves from changing things are avoided by having exactly the same thing made every day. One way to do this is to establish a standard mix of products to be made every day.

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

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