Unit 16 Managing Communications and Information

Unit 16 Managing Communications and Information

This is a unit solution of LSBM Managing Communications and Information Assignment given in HND Business level 4 course. Here LSBM stands for London School of Business & Management.
INTRODUCTION

Apple has always been regarded as one of the best organizations to work for. Both in terms of employee and customer service Apple has always been in good books. It was last in 1990’s that Apple faced a major dispute. However later on after a major change in its marketing strategy Apple was able to turn around its fortunes due to a major restructuring of its marketing strategy. During that time the manufacturing strategy and plant layout design was considered not a contributor towards the long term sustainability of the Apple brand. The market was new and competition as less. It was only in the late 2000’s that Apple realized the need for manufacturing restructuring. With increasing competition from Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Apple realized that to be in the market the organization needed a major overhaul.
LO 1
AC1.1 Discuss the range of decisions to be taken by your chosen business.

Apple Inc. has been in the news lately because of the recent labour controversythat’s surrounding the company. This controversy has put a major dent on the image and brand of Apple. Another major issue that apple is facing is with respect to its suppliers. The suppliers are not able to meet the deadlines of the raw materials as sent to Apple due to ongoing controversy. It is also posing a problem with the inventory processes of Apple. Apple was always known for its best in class business processes and product quality (Stevenson, 2007). Apple employed some of the most skilful labour in the entire US region. This recent controversy has compelled Apple to modify and change its marketing strategy in order to improve and rectify its brand image in the market. Apple Inc. while focusing on changing its marketing strategy should also focus on changing its manufacturing strategy. For a company like Apple Inc. that manufactures electronic devices, it is imperative that its manufacturing strategy is in sync with its marketing strategy (Medsker, 1997). In order to alter its manufacturing and distribution strategy, Apple should start by targeting to alter its manufacturing processes. By improving its processes and layout firms in the past have shown considerable improvements in the productivity and efficiency of its operations. We will begin analysing the different types of manufacturing facility layouts that can be adopted at Apple Inc. (Dean, 1991).
AC 1.2 Examine the information and knowledge needed to ensure effective decision taking.

To make decision making effective information is needed both on qualitative and quantitative front as it would govern the bottom line of the company. Plant layout basically means, to arrange the equipment and machines in the manufacturing facility, to ensure a smooth flow of the material, information etc. on the shop floor. There are four basic types of facility layouts that help in planning material movement throughout the shop floor (Stevenson, 2007).

Process layout -It is a design of the floor plan of a plant which aims to improve efficiency and movement of resources by arranging machinery and equipment’s according to the need and requirements.
Fixed position layout –In this type of a layout, the resources and materials travel to the end product or customer instead of it being the other way round (Mills, 1995).
Cellular Layout–In this type of layout the resources are divided into small clusters so as to reduce the complexity of process type layouts.
Product Type Layout–In this kind of a layout the main focus is the flow of product and material on the shop floor. The layout of the machines and equipment is in the sequence of the operations that need to be performed on the raw material to turn it into a finished good.

Improving the layout and not changing the job design and job responsibilities of the workforce will not help as they need to be perfectly in sync for the manufacturing strategy to work (Stevenson, 2007).

Job Design is one of the major factors that influence the performance of a worker or an individual while performing the operation or a function, at a particular machine. It is basically work arrangement in such a way that it reduces worker dissatisfaction that may arise due to the job or the operation. These work arrangement techniques are basically non-monetary in nature.
AC1.3 Assess internal & external sources of information & understanding.

After studying the various journals and reports and interacting with consultants the following information is aggregated. Job Design approaches in Apple

Task – Work at hand and which needs to be completed
Job Enlargement – Increasing tasks in a particular job function to give more responsibility to the worker. It makes them feel important and empowered.
Job Rotation – Instead of combining different tasks this makes workers change job functions so that they become adept in dealing with all the tasks on the shop floor. It also enhances their skill set.
Job Enrichment – It basically tries to provide the workers with more opportunities to try and learn what it takes to be a higher level in hierarchy thereby motivating them to acquire these skills before they are actually promoted (Flynn, 1987).

The major advantages of Job design are that: –

Increasing worker satisfaction
Increasing productivity
On time delivery of Goods
Cordial atmosphere at work place
High quality performance with less defects

After interacting with the workers and officials at Apple the following thoughts can be shared. Apple already uses a product type layout. Thus if the layout can be changed to process type it will help in increasing the efficiency of its processes. Apple is already the market leader and in order to maintain a long term sustainable competitive advantage it should try building on to customer relationships which can be brought about the customizing the products according to client’s needs.

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AC 1.4 Justify recommendations for improvement to different departments.

There is no individual approach in particular that should be followed in a company like Apple. In fact it should be an integration of all these approaches that will bring synergy into the processes and enable Apple to successfully adopt a new manufacturing strategy without affecting its long term profitability and market share. Apple needs to modify the layout of the shop floor for all its facilities in order to incorporate the customizations that the consumer is demanding. As discussed a process type layout needs to be adopted by Apple. This will enable it to reduce the process dependence. Apart from changing the facility layout it will also need to change the way it has been designing jobs for its workers (Dean, 1991).
LO 4
AC 4.1 Report on existing approaches to the collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge.

The different approaches relating to the collection, formatting and storage of information are mainly by use of media such as mails, surveys, database etc. For collection of information regarding Apple Inc.’s process and job design focused group discussions were carried out. Also face to face interviews were conducted with the teams at Apple. These were all the sources of primary data and information. Once the primary data was collected, journals and reports were studied. The best practices followed regarding facility layout and job design were analysed and accordingly an implementation strategy was devised for Apple Inc. The information was loaded on to the central database and tools were used to analyse the same to arrive on results. One the output data was obtained the same was passed on the respective departments with the set of recommendations to implement the same in a phased manner. Apple was trying to counter the existing threat from Samsung and other smartphones and laptop majors. To counter Apple was trying to venture into the portable tabs market. The consumer surveys regarding usage of Galaxy Tabs were carried out to evaluate the user experience related to the same.

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AC 4.2 Carry out appropriate changes to improve the collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge.

Few changes based on the strategy followed with respect to data collection and information dissemination would be:

Primary Data collection regarding the smartphone and Tab usage should be evaluated first.
Hypothesis needs to be set before the analysis of primary data is taking place.
Secondary Analysis needs to be carried out regarding the entry of other companies of the same domain in the new markets.
The ‘Go’ or ‘No Go’ decision with respect to implementing the decision should be taken basis the primary and secondary data (Olson, 1975).
Workforce availability and location of facilities needs to be evaluated before venturing into the new market.
The political scenario and setup should be understood in case of any external business environmentinfluences.

AC 4.3 Implement a strategy to improve access to systems of information and knowledge.

To succeed in new geographies and in new product line Apple needs to reduce its process dependence. Apple needs to follow a process type layout for its expansion plans in the Asian Market. Apart from changing the facility layout it will also need to change the way it has been designing jobs for its workers. Once Apple Inc. becomes aware of the political landscape of the Asian Market and the user needs they can plan by launching the new product line by setting up demo workshops in malls and complexes. Users need to be explained in detail about the UI features and changes from the old line as well as the ways in which its features are better than the competitor product lines. Once the demo workshops get over the feedback can be taken from customers about the product and then after incorporating the changes if any, the product line can be launched. In a competitive scenario and a market like Asia where the products fa

Unit 16 Managing Communications and Information
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