In present scenario of business retail organizations are operating in a strong competition. With the technological advancement, regular improvements at workplace is working as an important weapon for developing and sustaining competitive edge by using diverse knowledge of employees and adopting appropriate learning culture. Although, continuous improvement could be instigated by ideas of manager, consultants and technicians, also it can be encouraged with the involvement of staffs and creativity by following ongoing culture of learning. The present report is inculcating about strategies required to be adopted by Marks & Spencer for developing continuous improvement at workplace to build competitiveness in the market. The company is leading British retailer that specializes in selling of luxury food stuffs and clothing. The report comprises discussion about adequate culture, which support in constant development, available opportunities in the market for business and complete planning needed to lead workplace change.
The culture of company supports in outlining corporate strategy and guides its regular improvement mission. It builds environment at work that helps employees to become more creative, innovative as well as satisfied with their own jobs. The organizational culture has been defined as system of knowledge, standards for acting, evaluating, believing and perceiving, which serve to relate societies of human beings to environmental settings. The culture of Marks & Spencer plays an effective role in its overall success. It has created and executed two basic factors that support to get high level of productivity from its operations. These two aspects are good leadership by perfect management of problem solving and equality issues along with professional’s development by regular learning and training sessions (Management of continual improvement for facilities and activities: A structured approach, 2006).
This type of culture in organization facilitates friendly relations among managers and employees as well as two way communication. With this workers also become motivated and well committed to business. M & S management always value staff member’s suggestions and allow their adequate involvement in the essential decisions. Moreover, the firm shares all important information with its stakeholders to obtain their active support in functions of business. Further, the government of UK offers enough subsidies for the retail sector development, as it contributes more to the economy. Besides this, research and development unit is often well focused towards regular improvements in present procedures. Such factors entirely add to continuous organizational improvement (Williams, 2011).
To make subordinate effectively work towards regular business development, leader should give them perfect motivation. The word motivation is an essential factor, which a manger or leader should help, as de-motivated employees provide less productivity. There are two leadership styles, primary one is transformational that creates positive impact on workforce performance in an organization. The particular style includes varied processes that stimulate plus motivate followers to generate and use enough efforts than what actually they would be likely to produce. Second one is transactional style of leadership, which comprises the process to motivate employees by certain benefits in return for individuals to accomplish the given tasks (Change Management Process, 2011). Besides this, the style of laissez faire can also be adopted by manager for constant development of company. It provides leader with less or no direction and at the same time more freedom to staffs. Sufficient authority is given to workers and they can solve issues, define goals and make decisions on their own. This particular style is best applicable for the regular improvement at M&S because the organization employ experienced and trained staffs for its operations. It is assumed that individuals have ability to do on their own successful work when they are completely competent and trustworthy to perform their roles. Thus, by employing combination of all above given leadership and management styles a corporation can encourage regular improvement in the activities of business (Caluwé and Vermaak, 2003).
Shared vision – With an aim to encourage individuals to learn in an organization, the shared vision development is significant. The company must create long term and transitory goals that are inherent in the place of work.
Systems thinking – The system with which interaction across boundaries are facilitated is referred to Processes. The procedure of management and development together with infrastructure are parts of process. In the learning organization, information is open to both management and employees as a process constituent. Moreover, a mutual reference in process is shared by all teams. The performance of business can be measured by system thinking (Henry, 2011).
Team learning – Through team learning manpower can quickly develop their skills. In constant learning companies there are a definite structure, which assists team learning, such as boundary crossing and openness. Team learning main theme is to engage in dialogue and discussion. Also there are some other features like learning organization should review as well as learn from preceding mistakes. Each employees and management of company must be dedicated to learn and environment of business should be friendly, so that a person from distinct race or religion can easily contribute their skills. Furthermore, there should be a strong connection in between employees and leaders in learning corporations (Parkin, 2009).
Change is deliberately developed in planned approach through intentional and rational process driven from top down on the basis of constant environment of assumption. Its main intend is to obtain manpower’s operation effectiveness development by group application of the change plan. It makes out that a single change with series of linear events can be concerned to each party (Change Management: The Systems and Tools for Managing Change, 2014). There are 6 approaches of change management that have been defined by Kotter and Schlesinger. Organization can use these approaches in order to overcome resistance of change and pull everyone into same direction and these are as follows:
Participation and involvement: Marks & Spencer can involve their employees in decision making process and can consult with them regarding introduction of change. This will motivate staff to work hard and achieve objectives of organization (Williams, 2011).
Negotiation and support: If all employees of company not accept change than in that case firm can negotiate with staff and try to comprise as it will helps them to successfully introduce change.
Education and communication: In order to avoid resistance, organization can use circle communication and education. Marks & Spencer can open learning academy so that employee can improve their skills and can learn about new things. In addition to this, organization can use effective two way communication in order to introduce change with active participation of staff (Castilla and Ruiz, 2008).
Explicit and implicit coercion: Organization requires to first involved professionals as they are adamant and very resistance to change.
Facilitation and support: The management of Marks & Spencer can give time to their employees so that they can adjust with change and provide support if they feel difficulties in their work.
Manipulation and Co-option: Organization can put those people in leading role who highly resist change as it will helps them to easily accept modification (Kaur, Singh and Ahuja, 2013).
Kaizen approach – It is a process that when implemented adequately, humanizes the work place, educate staffs to use scientific methods for undertaking different activities at work and removes overly hard work. Also the approach defines ways of techniques that support in waste reduction in business processes, on the spot learning, thus going beyond simple productivity improvements (Quality Improvement approaches and resources, 2013).
Total quality management – It is defined as huge range of management and control process developed to concentrate entire organization along with its manpower on offering products or services that can lead to higher customer satisfaction. It involves continuous improvement of company’s procedures, which result in superior quality of products and services.
Six sigma’s – This approach main objective is to get rid of business process defects and errors reasons, which is one of the objectives of M&S to increase its quality standards together with clients and suppliers relationships. A series of quality improvement tool is being utilized by this approach like statistical methods that helps in creating a specific substructure as well as people base, which are perfect in employing such methods in business (The Change Management Process, 2013).
Benchmarking – One of the valuable quality management tools is benchmarking that enables the business to obtain competitive edge over others by lessening weaknesses as well as developing strengths. This approach is both time and cost effective one, as includes imitation and adaptation rather than only pure invention.
PDCA – The Deming’s PDCA model provides a comprehensive procedure layout in creating and executing a business development plan. It is defined by Deming that the model principle focuses on all business processes to identify variation that affect company’s performance to meet the requirements of clients. Therefore, Deming’s cycle is significant for quality management that every step of cycle leads to business performance improvement (Perry, 2005).
Strengths – M&S main strength is its high quality, which makes it successful. Consumers always find great quality products, such as vegetables, fruits and other excellent goods in the food hall of company. This is one of the most essential methods that make an effective relationship within M&S and consumers (Samson and Bevington, 2012).
Weaknesses – The Company’s clothing market has several segments. Actually, the merchandise, particularly the female’s outfits is cut and outmoded design. To some level, the organization faces the unbalance in between its system of information technology and stock. Another issue is that the business has huge spaces for stores and also added 75% of square footage from the period of Eighties; however its share in clothing market has not risen. Therefore, M&S is required to indentify some novel items to stuff its additional spaces (Schäl, 1998).
Opportunities – Internet has evolved very fast and provides chances to enhance the online products demands. Due to this, online purchasing of commodities became an innovative trend. Healthy eating gives an opportunity that specific food demand will be improved. Individuals are now paying more attention to the quality of life and thus are demanding organizations to provide several products for satisfying their desires.
Threats – Strong rivals are the major threats for M&S, for instance, in the food segment, there are four big supermarkets, such as Safeway, Asda, Sainsbury and Tesco. In addition to this, the company will be greatly affected by social atmosphere. Since, the social conditions changes at any period, the tastes of consumers are also changed. Moreover, the government of UK is taking measures to reduce pollution and protect natural environment. This probable risk will hinder the M&S development in the future (Sollecito and Johnson, 2011).
Political – M&S workings are affected by governmental policies related to monitoring of firm’s products, such as genetically altered food control and energy saving policy.
Economical – Economical aspects have forced organizations to retrench or extend their business, such as trade their non-core business and close operations that result in loss (Abraham, Fisher and Crawford, 1997).
Social – The consumer’s requirements are changeable, as they want to feel modern, convenient and special. Therefore, individuals buy fashionable outfits and use credit cards to fulfill their desires. The corporation does not take into consideration the client’s needs, particularly in clothing sector; it can result in sales reduction to business (Brown and et.al., 2008).
Technological – Recently, information technology changes very fast and most organizations has developed their own online shops, websites along with databases to enhance their online sales. They gather information as well as examine buyers to identify their wants and needs. In this regards, M&S has initiated its online shops in the year 1999 only and running EPOS (electronic point of sale) systems in Western Europe and UK (Carpinetti, Buosi and Gerólamo, 2003).
The company’s management can assess information from both primary and secondary sources to determine improvement areas. The secondary data can be taken from organization’s records of accounts on communication costs and communication policy. On the other side, primary data is key source of information. These are assortment of attitudes or opinions of staff members through questionnaire. It reflects their actual requirements of materials plus possible changes in present process. The firm can also contact external consultants that can provide perfect advice for required development in the business undertakings. By evaluating different sources information it is determined by management of M&S that organization needed modification or expansion in its current technique of conducting activities (Castilla and Ruiz, 2008). The information collected from different sources can be analyzed with the use of following methods:
Systematic errors versus one-off errors: It is introduced by inaccuracy in the system and they are expected as well as predictable. Further random error is the fluctuations in the measurement of data due to limitation of device of measurement. This can be use by organization as it will help them to identify problems and will enhance their productivity (Caluwé and Vermaak, 2003).
External consultants: M&S can discuss with external consultants regarding their business problems as they will provide creative ideas that can be use by company in order to remove problem at workplace. These external consultants can help in successfully introduction of change as well as continuous improvement of company (Parkin, 2009).
People – Manpower of firm is impacts because they have to adopt and cope up with new working styles.
Systems – The entire management and reporting system of organization is altered together with its policies for conducting distinct projects on the basis of change (Drew and Smith, 1995).
Resources – Changes and expansion in present business resources is also required to successfully execute the new technologies at place of work.
Procedures – Due to the technological changes, individual’s faces huge modifications in complete manners and methods of performing activities (Hyland, Gieskes and Sloan, 2001).
Moreover, the management must give due attention toward analysis of required investment for implementing proposed changes along with financial sources for that investments.
M&S has both internal and external stakeholders that might be affected by proposed organizational activities changes, which are given below:
Suppliers – The suppliers of M&S provides food ingredients and different fabrics for the smooth functioning and fulfilling customers requirements. Because of the proposed modifications, the suppliers are obligatory to offer high quality raw materials (Kaur, Singh and Ahuja, 2013).
Government – They are interested in collection of taxes and by adopting advance techniques for several activities promotion, the business is mandatory to pay high tax to government of country.
Employees – These are the key internal stakeholders of firm, which are greatly influenced by technological alterations, as needed to tackle advanced working procedures and systems. Unique and distinct skills are also demanded to be employed by experts at work due to the changes.
Customers – The customers of M&S are ultimately affected by technological modifications in organization. They are positively influenced because of the proposed alterations, as the advance service techniques bring more degree of satisfaction (McAdam, Stevenson and Armstrong, 2000).
Organization can introduce change in their operation system in which they will incorporate innovative technology into their business transactions. This will helps them to increase their sales and will enlarge their market share. With an aim to introduce improvements in corporate functions, it will be compulsory for M&S to make changes in the following business aspects:
Change in job responsibilities and roles – Because of the changes in working systems and technological advancements at work, the management will needed to change employee’s present responsibilities and roles. It can be performed by moving individuals to different jobs and positions according their knowledge or skills (Partington, 1996).
Change in abilities of management and leadership – The organization will be needed to follow laissez faire leadership style to provide staff members with freedom of utilizing their best potentials to carry out activities in changing atmosphere.
Cultural changes – To make manpower adopt with the modified changing environment, firm must pursue friendly and open culture, which facilitate two way communications in between employees and managers. It supports in defining actual requirements for changes to individuals along with its advantages connected to the growth of their own career (Wang and Ahmed, 2003).
The performance and success of company depends upon its stakeholder’s contribution. Due to this, in the changing period also their prior plus formal agreement is compulsory to lead proposed alternations in the activities of business. The organization can perform stakeholder analysis to determine its key stakeholders and their level of influence by particular change. The firm can undertake workshops to address problems of different stakeholders as well as obtain their active contribution in the changes at work. The management can also maintain effective communication together with mutual understanding within important stakeholders about degree and scope of required change. This communication type supports in receiving stakeholders consent for specific alterations (Oprime, Mendes and Pimenta, 2012).
Furthermore, enduring effectiveness of change can be traced with employee’s survey. Every stakeholder can be adequately managed on continuing basis. The businesses can manage communication through weekend updates, seminars, emails and letters. Questionnaire surveys of staff satisfaction are quite appropriate tool in determining their views about proposed modifications. It also supports in communing them regarding significance of change in clear and simple way and hence gets their effective contribution plus agreement in implementing successful changes in the organizational activities (Cao, Clarke and Lehaney, 2000). They can collect feedback from their customers as it will help to identify their needs, expectations and perception towards products of company. This will helps them to introduce change as per expectations of customers so that they can easily accept it. In addition to this, they can conduct meeting with regulatory bodies and can discuss with them about change as it will helps them to gain support of government (Abraham, Fisher and Crawford, 1997).
It is essential for organization to develop an effective plan for implementation of change within company. Company needs to have right plan with effective communication strategy in order to gain acceptance of stakeholders for introduction of change. The plan for proposed change that can be use by M&S are as follows:
Project planning: Effective project planning is required in order to introduce technological changes in business operations at workplace. M&S can use PRINCE2 technique of management which focus on justification of change and defines structure of organization for management of change. This will be applied at appropriate level of project and will provide flexibility in the planning (Samson and Bevington, 2012).
Documentation: The all work related with introduction of change for continuous improvement is required to be documented by organization.
Communication: Organization needs to communicate all stakeholders about introduction of change after documentation of proposed change. They can use media, seminars, meetings, email and other methods for communication of information (McAdam, Stevenson and Armstrong, 2000).
Setting criteria for monitor: It is essential for organization to set criteria for monitoring as it will help them to successfully introduce change. They can use benchmarking in which they can set standards as per their competitors. This will help them to measure their performance and to introduce change in effective manner.
Timescales: Company needs to develop time scale for implementation of change as they can set 1 month for introduction of new technology at workplace (Partington, 1996).
Resources – Important resources should be identified by management of specific change in business. They should also find out amount required to implement such changes at work. They require qualified human resources those can use newer technology at workplace and also needs finance for introduction technology.
Documentation – After determining needed resources, management must accomplish all paper work and send to departments, which will be affected by new procedure (Wang and Ahmed, 2003).
Communication – To make successful change management and attaining positive results, the key stakeholders should be well informed about proposed changes needs. Company can use circle communication as it will helps them in introduction of change for continuous improvement.
Procedures and policies – Existing policies and process is required to be altered by management to cope with proposed changes as well as these should be developed according to new systems of operations. They are requires to design and implement new and improved policy which will support change at M&S (Sollecito and Johnson, 2011).
Monitoring system development is about keeping track of actual working systems and ensuring performance of activities according to decided budget. Monitoring of change process will helps M&S to identify loopholes and the areas in which can improve more. A firm can monitor its activities as per the proposed changes by sustaining friendly relations at work to deeply evaluate daily activities of employees. Furthermore, management can facilitate feedbacks sharing to comprehend the opinions and needs of manpower for specific change. Moreover, tool of performance measurement can be adopted at workplace by leaders to examine the performance of staffs with regards to attainment of positive outcomes from the change work systems and process (McAdam, Stevenson and Armstrong, 2000). In order to review change at workplace, M&S can collect feedback from their stakeholders as their suggestions will have to improve process. In addition to this, organization can use performance measurement in which they can set standards and will compare their actual performance with set target. This will help company to improve their process and to achieve success (Parkin, 2009).
Finally, it can be concluded that continuous improvement is significant for firm’s success. The business can attain adequate contribution of its manpower while change by implementing open management and adopting friendly culture. In the period of change focus should be given on quality management and stakeholders should be properly informed about proposed changes. Besides this, activities should be regularly monitored after implementing change to ensure better outcomes.
Caluwé, L. D. and Vermaak, H., 2003. Learning to change: a guide for organisational change agents. Sage Publications.
Change Management Process. 2011. [pdf]. Available through: <http://www.it.northwestern.edu/bin/docs/service-manager/ChangeManagementProcess2.7.pdf>.
Change Management: The Systems and Tools for Managing Change. 2014. [Online]. Available through: <http://www.change-management.com/tutorial-change-process-detailed.htm>.
Henry, A., 2011. Understanding Strategic Management. Oxford University Press.
Parkin, P., 2009. Managing Change in Healthcare: Using Action Research. SAGE.
Perry, B., 2005. Organisational Management and Information Systems. Elsevier.
Samson, D. and Bevington, T., 2012. Implementing Strategic Change: Managing Processes and Interfaces to Develop a Highly Productive Organization. Kogan Page Publishers.
Schäl, T., 1998. Workflow Management Systems for Process Organisations. Springer.
Sollecito, W. and Johnson, K. J., 2011. McLaughlin and Kaluzny's Continuous Quality Improvement In Health Care. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.