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INTRODUCTION

The modern competitive era has brought forward the issue of business sustainability. In lieu
of improving quality of products, productivity and the speed, businesses have started to adopt
new practices such as reengineering, benchmarking and Total Quality Management (TQM).
Tremendous alterations have happened to the operational business plans but with little
success to earn profitability in a sustainable manner. This tools and methods have steadily
moved towards the role of strategy. When the management focuses on improving the overall
activities of their firm, the emphasis on competitiveness of the company is lost. Concentrating
on operational aspects of the firm is not adequate because though it necessitates better
performance, it is very much easy to mimic them. In disparity, strategy means selecting a
unique precious state based on the system of functions that are not matched easily (Harvard
Business Review Article).

TASK 1

(A) STRATEGY: MEANING


Strategy refers to the method through which the goals and aims of an organisation are
achieved purposefully and methodically over a period of time. The word strategy was derived
from the Greek terminology “strategos”, which was derived from two terms, namely,
• “Stratos” which means an army and
• “Ago” which means to lead, guide or to move.
As per the military terminology, the word is almost similar to stratagems which refer to the
way through which a captain plans to overcome their enemies, along with plans and methods
for the campaign, and for their moves and disposal style in battles. In today’s world,
definition of strategy is as an art to analyse, project and direct campaigns aimed at attaining
particular organisational objectives. It does not mean the process of planning. It refers to the
state of competitiveness exercised in an environment without any control. On the other hand,
planning refers to dealing with conditions under environments which are totally controlled.
Out of the great inventions of mankind, strategy can be said to be the greatest tool for
winning. It provides the management with clear ideas on expected future encounters that they
have to face. This enables them to act logically and alert fully thereby reducing the
requirements of intuitions and guess works (http://www.easy-strategy.com).

ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGIC LEVELS


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Strategy in an organisation can be categorised into three major levels, namely, corporate or
strategic level, business or tactical level and operational level. The first level has to deal with
long term decision making, the second level with medium term and finally the third level
deals with day to day operations of the firm.
Corporate Level:
This is the top level strategy which is related to the organisation as a whole in terms of
enhancing its scope, growth and value to various departments or units of the business
organisation. It includes various aspects relating to geographical area to be covered, products
and services differentiation, variations among departments and resource allocation among the
organisation’s various parts. This strategy is supposed to fall within the expectations of the
stakeholders (especially shareholders). Corporate level of strategy reflects the long term
objectives or missions of an organisation and forms the root for various other strategic
decisions.
Business or Tactical Level:
This strategy, otherwise known as the competitive strategy or tactical level strategy is
concerned about the different activities that come across in the corporate strategy in order to
enhance competency to survive in their own markets. Examples of these strategies could be
strategy for new pricing policies, product differentiation and innovation (quality
improvement, new distribution channel, etc.). Thus corporate strategy is related to a business
enterprise as a whole and business strategy is related to decisions for specific business
departments. Specific business departments are popularly named as Strategic Business Units
(SBUs) which form a section of a company and has a market for goods and services which is
different from any other SBU.

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Figure 1- (Source: http://www.google.co.uk/imgres)
Operational or Functional Level:
It is the third level in strategies. As the name suggests it is at the organisation’s operational or
functional end. This reflects the effectiveness of the implementation of the first two levels of
strategy, that is, corporate and business. Operational level strategy operates with the help of
people, processes and resources. In fact, the level of success of the business level strategy
depends on the efficiency of the operational plans. Hence, integration of the corporate,
business and operational level strategy is very much significant for the successful
implementation of overall strategies (Gerry Johnson et al, 2008).

(B) EVALUATION OF SHERING WEIGHING GROUP’S STRATEGIC DECISION


Shering Weighing Group adopted a strategy to produce all products by itself instead of
following the industry trend of outsourcing almost each and every component required for the
business. This was part of their Corporate Level Strategy. Corporate level strategy is the top
level strategy which is related to the organisation as a whole in terms of enhancing its scope,
growth and value to various departments or units of the business organisation. It includes
various aspects relating to geographical area to be covered, products and services
differentiation, variations among departments and resource allocation among the
organisation’s various parts. This strategy is supposed to fall within the expectations of the
stakeholders (especially shareholders). Corporate level of strategy reflects the long term
objectives or missions of an organisation and forms the root for various other strategic
decisions.

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The concept of purchasing the different components from various suppliers’ spread around
the world, results in problems such as logistics, support and service issues. Shering followed
the philosophy of reversing the trend prevailing in industry by developing facilities to design,
manufacture and serve themselves. This enabled Shering to have uniqueness, flexibility and
capability, facilitating control over their future and develop innovation in products which
would be of supreme quality and revolutionary. This further would bring outstanding
financial and operational advantages to their customers
(http://www.shering.com/history.htm#).

(C) CHANGES IN TRANSFORMATION PROCESS


There are changes that can be noted in the organisation operations management
transformation process. These are mainly classified into four main categories:
Align organisation to Process:
This helps the organisation to follow the proper functional systems within the firm. This is
due to the increasing complexity levels of modern business. Various functions like
manufacturing, production, distribution, sales, marketing and finance form the part of today’s
business activities. Business has to coordinate all these activities so as to ensure its smooth
running.
Align to strategy:
An organisation must closely follow its set strategies for the success of its business. Strategies
form the skeleton for designing an organisation’s plan of action. So sticking to the
organisational plans would help in better organisational performance. Further this would
result in positive growth for the company and facilitates diversification.
Align accountability and incentives:
As the organisational functions need to be coordinated together, all the departments and
employees need to be accountable and the incentives given should also match with the
organisational objectives and systems to follow. In short, the company must be aligned to
accountability and incentives provided.
Define and acquire the right skills:
The global market in the present situation is very complex and is subject to frequent changes.
It is a difficult task to align people to these changes and adjust accordingly. In parity with the
changing technology, the knowledge and skills of the human resource of the firm must also
improve. Thus, defining and acquiring the proper kind of skills is another aspect.

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All these aspects involve change and affect the organisation in one way or the other
(http://findarticles.com).

Evaluation of Customer Type


Both the customers of Shering Weighing Group belong to the first category of aligning
organisation to process. Both these customers focussed on maintenance of vehicles, reliability
on these services offered, integration with business information system, preventing frauds and
errors and finally safety and security to the requirements of a good and quality systems for
weighing. This in fact marks their change in the transformation process at operational level as
it affects their day to day or operational strategic level.

TASK 2

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(A) COSTS OF QUALITY
The information relating to cost of quality depicts how the business profit is affected by
quality. It enables a business to recognise the activities that are obsolete. The costs of quality
is mainly categorised into two:
• Cost to Attain Good Quality: This refers to the costs which aim at attaining better
quality of products and services. This can be classified as prevention costs and
appraisal costs.
o Prevention Costs- Preventive costs are those expenses incurred so as to
prevent the level of quality falling below the standards. These are incurred in
order to keep the costs of failure to the lowest possible amount. Examples of
those are market research, quality enhancement projects, consumer surveys
etc.
o Appraisal Costs- These costs are related to the measurement, evaluation or
audit of products and services to ensure that it meets the standards specified.
Calibration costs, internal audits and procedure evaluation etc. are instances of
appraisal costs.
• Cost of Poor Quality: Costs of poor quality refers to the costs or expenses incurred
owing to poor quality standards of the products and services. This is divided into two,
namely, internal and external failure costs.
o Internal Failure costs- This cost is incurred when there is failure of the
product or service before it is handed over to the customers. Examples of these
could be scrap, rework, downgrading, excess inventory etc.
o External Failure costs- This cost incurs when the product or service fail to
meet the expected quality and it happens at the customer’s end. This is in
terms of claims for warranty and loss of reputed status etc. Dissatisfaction of
customers, loss of market share, costs of warranty, etc.
(http://www.authorstream.com).

EXAMPLES FROM CASE STUDY


Cost to Attain Good Quality:
• Shering Weighing Group’s annual calibration costs with standard test weights.
• Full maintenance service costs for hiring calibration service.
Cost of Poor Quality:

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• Excessive wear and tear of vehicles due to huge traffic on daily basis.
• Customer dissatisfaction due to less reliability of maintenance service.

(B) MERITS OF FULL AFTER-SALES SERVICE


Among a number of companies which stress the significance of complete after-sales service,
Shering Group is also one. Support for the customer which is followed after the sale of a
service or a product is known as after sales service. In many cases, after sales service is as
significant as the first and foremost purchase by the customer. It is the power of the
manufacturer, service provider, or retailer to determine what comes in the guarantee or
warranty package. Usually warranty packs are valid until the first year of purchase or it could
be free or charged replacement or/and maintenance policy. Items like the speed of the
company’s response and charges for labour etc. may or may not be included in them. From
the side of the service provider, providing effective after sales service calls forth extra
training for the staff and availability of helpdesk. Along with these, the readiness of the dealer
to listen to customer grievances and the speed of response and actions taken are also factors
that are equally significant.
After sales services helps both the customers and the business alike. It means both the
business and the customers gain from these services. At end of customer’s it brings about
ways to identify the customer needs and wants and keeps them satisfied to a great extent. This
also helps in building customer loyalty.
As far as the company or organisation is concerned, perfect after sales services result in
minimised cost in attracting new customers. This is due to the fact that attracting additional
customers could be much more expensive than maintaining the existing ones. Also if the
present customers are satisfied, due to brand loyalty they themselves bring in new and
potential customers. Another factor is regarding competition in the market. Excellent after
sales service to customers enables the firm to compete with their competitors in an excellent
way. This also helps in getting customer feedback which would further help in new product
design as the expectations of customers could be identified easily through customer service or
after sales service (http://benefitof.net).

(C) ISO 9001 STANDARDS OF SHERING

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As per the details given in the case study Shering Weighing Group has a number of features
which helped it gain the ISO 9001 standard certificate. They are as follows:
• Design with patent which is fully technology based.
• Telemetry communication and tamper proof instrumentation weighbridges that are
electronic.
• Restrain post system with patent, which prevents damage and shocks. It has a Unique
Impact Damage Eliminator “IDE” Restraint Post System.
• Safe and durable designing and coatings on surface.
• Supreme quality products and services.
• Software upgrades on the latest installations for enabling condition monitoring
process from Scotland.
• It has proven its structural strength and reliability of services.
• The cables used are water proof and also protected from rodents and is very much
flexible.
• Also it possesses a long term system of protecting materials from corrosion.
All these helped Shering Weighing Group to attain the accreditation from ISO 9001. Along
with ISO 9001, they were approved by the stringent European Weights and Measures
Standard EN 45501.

TASK 3

(A) HEALTH AND SAFETY RISK ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES


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Health and safety in workplace is very much significant in the present day. Today the
technology and processes have been really complex and the need to stress health and safety of
the employees and customers has turned to be one of the foremost responsibilities of the
business. The main steps involved in health and safety risk assessment are as follows:
1. Identify hazards and obtain information regarding the frequency of accidents.
2. Rooted on this information, evaluate or measure the severity and risks of hazards.
3. Formulate and implement programs to control, prevent, or reduce the possibility of
accidents.
4. Set specific, difficult, but attainable targets regarding the minimising of accidents or
safety problems.
5. Monitor results constantly.
6. Provide positive feedback for correct safety procedures.
7. Monitor and evaluate the program against the goals.
Thus, these are the basic procedures involved in assessing the health and safety risk at the
workplace.

(B) J.A.WOOD’S RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DRIVERS HEALTH AND SAFETY


J.A. Wood quarry area is completely automated and hence it provides assurance to the health
and safety of its drivers and other employees. It has to be cautious in dealing with its
employees as all the procedures inside the quarry are extremely dangerous. So it has the
responsibility to ensure that the drivers enter the quarry and leave without any safety
problems or health related issues.
J.A.Wood’s management has to take necessary steps to facilitate safety to drivers and other
employees. From the time when the driver enters the quarry till he leaves, it is the
responsibility of the management to ensure their safety. The management have to provide
them with safety masks to protect themselves from dust and other hazardous smoke and/or
particles in the quarry. They also should ensure that the driver do not leave the seat and
always sits inside the vehicle. Only then the risk of accidents can be eliminated. For ensuring
the same closed circuit televisions and other technological devices could be fixed inside the
quarry. Other preventive measures could also be taken to ensure their safety and security.

(C) EMPLOYEE REACTIONS AND CHANGE MANAGEMENT

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Shering Weighing Group introduced electronic weigh bridges in the year 1991. If this would
have actually involved the group to bring about a major organisational transformation, it
would have resulted in major confusions and chaos at the side of employees.
Employees may have had that panic of being confronted to an entirely new system, and
would have shown hesitations to work. The major employee problems would be lack of
familiarity to managing the new technological devices or processes. The employees would
have a feeling of awkwardness and ill at ease. People always emphasises on what they have to
sacrifice rather than concentrating on what they have to do. The employees would be at
various levels to accept change.
The management should take adequate measures to tackle with the changes brought about in
the organisation. They must provide proper training to staff and familiarise them with the new
processes and procedures. They should have informed the employees well in advance of the
organisational change so that they have enough time to make themselves prepared to accept
the change. Thus, in fact any change within the organisation can be managed efficiently if
proper steps are taken by the management.

CONCLUSION
Strategy is thus an inevitable part of organisational management at all levels. The three levels
of strategy are needed for the business to be successful. Strategy if formulated and
implemented properly would result in better organisational results and performance.
Managing with the changes in the organisation is also vital from the perspective of the
management. Dealing with safety and security and the health of employees is also important
from the point of view of the management. Shering Weighing Group’s case study was also
discussed above which threw insights into aspects such as their strategic decisions, costs of
quality, after sales service, ISO 9001 standards, etc.

REFERENCES
1. Harvard Business Review Article, “What Is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter,
21 Pages, Publication Date: Nov 01, 1996. Prod. #: 96608-Pdf-Eng.
2. “Strategy Definition & Fundamentals”, available at http://www.easy-
strategy.com/strategy-definition.html [Accessed on 17/01/2011].
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3. Gerry Johnson et al (2008), “Exploring corporate strategy: Text and cases”, 8th
Edition, published by Prentice Hall.
4. “Shering Weighing- History”, available at http://www.shering.com/history.htm#
[Accessed on 17/01/2011].
5. “Business Publications: Process Change”, available at
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0DIS/is_4_6/ai_n15759771/ [Accessed on
17/01/2011].
6. http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/Hassanasif-493959-cost-of-quality/
[Accessed on 17/01/2011].
7. http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-customer-service/ [Accessed on 17/01/2011].

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Tony Morden (2007), “Principles of strategic management”, 3rd Edition published by
Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
2. http://www.change-management.com/change-management-process.htm
3. Steve Brown (2005), “Strategic operations management”, 2nd Edition, published by
Butterworth-Heinemann.
4. http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Op-Qu/Operations-Management.html
5. http://www.bized.co.uk/fme/5-1.htm

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