Thursday, February 18, 2010

Customer Focus

Companies, as they say, extend effort just to provide a solid foundation on the four enduring core concepts- Customer focus, Turned-on workforce, Management by fact and Continuous Improvement.

Solid foundation, in the sense that it becomes the lifeblood and backbone of an organization in doing their usual operations, addressing social responsibility, and upholding the intangible value of their names. Of course, it is pleasing to highlight those companies who capitalize innovation in upholding the value of customer focus. They customize their systems to keep the value of their customers in place. This article somehow, spotlights the role of Information Technology that encompasses the strategic plans of organizations, be it short term or in long term.

To different industries, such as airline company’s CRS (Computerized Reservation System), American Hospital Supplier’s Computerized Distribution System and Frito-Lay’s hand held computer to its sales force, information management system is truly a “strategic necessity.”

Perhaps, Information Management is part of the managerial activity which transforms “meaningless data” into vital information for all relevant users which suggests that top management must be critical in pointing out the foundation of their database. With that internal pool of information, it increases the accuracy and precision in connecting with the external factors of organization. Moreover, with an established streamline of technology, one can protect its asset and generate more output effectively and efficiently.

Now, having the idea and importance of Information Management, it is ideal to attach this with the traditional “Order Management Cycle.” This primarily covers the assets, organization and attention of an entity by which it demonstrates the full execution of its business cycle.

In Marketing, we learned that demand of your product is not enough that is why analysis to customers must be conducted. The idea in here is that, to be more efficient in selling quality products, organization must source customers by their actual behaviour. Sourcing out to customers is a key factor to generate orders more efficiently and so they have to update their records of retention of their customers. I realize truly the value of record keeping in as part of the quality management system because it helps the management fix their eyes to the ideal targets in the market. “Obsolete” ones are being taken off and now they see the clearer view of the picture. With that, they are able to spot those areas that need corrective action and those that need for improvement.

Keep customers longer by managing across OMC

Because of the established system, customers are already recognized and can be categorized according to preference and other parameters being set by the management. The company will be efficient in tracking their prospective customers and those who are loyal. Let us take for example a “Business Delivery System” which is used by the organization to be efficient in the operation. This system is open for customers’ judgement. They can judge based on the performance of its other links. This also brings integration of multiple steps into 1 which is very advantageous in business operation setting and last but not the least; it demonstrates speed which is also a strategic advantage.

Influencing Customer Behavior

Communication is the vital aspect here. How can you influence somebody if you lack communication, in the first place? The greatest challenge is to analyze the satisfaction rate of customers. This speaks more of just listening to their demands but also, doing something about it. To get customers to articulate their needs in a way that it is manageable is impossible to achieve if communication boundaries are too high.

We have been encountering many times the business mantra: “Maximize profit and minimize cost.” But most often than not, we tend to overlook some vital segments in an organization which are very much contributory to the life and survival of a business entity. Will this mantra suffice the necessities of organizations to withstand the complexity of business cycle? The answer lies in the ability of top management to decide on what investment to choose and we all know that installing a system is equivalent to a long term investment. Before a company climbs up to a higher level, they should consider the factors that contribute positively and negatively to the interdependence of such system. So, the issue here is not only in the difficulty of installing such system but of course, in maintaining it.

My point in here is clear: Making everybody involved in the corporate way of life. One important component to this less travelled path is to consider “continuous improvement.” This defeats the idea of implementing a system as an event rather than a part of culture and strategy. When a company do not consider continuous improvement a part of culture and strategy, ten to one it cannot be continuous. The idea of having an extremely short sighted view to business is one way of destroying the system. Perhaps, what makes continuous improvement discontinuous? Basically, it is because of the “Retention of command and control management” wherein, communication barriers are not efficiently eliminated and other ideas are not being heard. This has been a problem to other companies because opportunities for improvement are most of the time coming from the top.

We are blinded by the usual schema of “top-down” method of deciding to development and bringing out of ideas, having the idea of great ideas come from the top. We constantly neglect that most opportunities for improvement are relatively small. Again, it is a matter of culture. In Japan, for example, the number of ideas per employee is 37.4 compared to USA’s .12. Few managers that install systems and policies being aligned at big ideas realize how limiting this is. It is very impossible to achieve continuous development and excellence in many aspect of performance without the ability of paying attention to details. These details come from large number of small ideas.

Turning Data into Dollars speaks mostly in the asset management of a company that is supported by Information Management System. As time progress, competition in the world market becomes tougher and its usual result is the rising of entry capital to be able to be in the “competition arena.” Also, as competition increases, quality springs out to be noticed by potential customers. The tougher the competition, the greater the quality being served. This whole article somehow, exposed the innovative way of handling an intangible asset- trust. Trust, as we all know, takes time to be developed but it only seconds to destroy it. It is also the fuel to nurture relationship and as we all know, nurturing relationship is one big step to succeed in this world. Mostly, trust warrants us to go beyond the limited zone of attention.

With an expanded zone of attention, company aligns to individuals and other external factors and these individuals offer their responsibility to the company. With these, there is a proactive approach in managing the system installed.

There was this saying that, if you love what you are doing and passionate about it, the money will just follow.


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