Continuous improvement refers to making changes in the organizational processes at regular intervals. This does not aim at bringing big changes in the operations of business (Barnard, 2010). It order to manage continuous improvement, monitoring and control is required. It begins with management and flow throughout the entire organization under effective leadership. In the present study the management of continuous improvement is discussed with respect to the case study provided on Dixons Retail Plc. The report includes assessment of key terminologies related to topic. Further different sources of information are assessed and analyzed. Lastly the study covers system that can be used for the purpose of communicating plan to stakeholders.
There are various features of Dixons and other organizations that encourage and allow continuous improvement. Efficient communication structure is one such feature. With the change in the communication structure it is required for organization make modification in its existing hierarchy. The flow of information from top to bottom or vice versa promotes Dixons and other firms in bringing improvement at regular intervals (Coady, 2010). Another feature that encourages continuous improvement is research and development. Through this company develops new and innovative ideas of carrying out the task in an effective manner. Thus Dixons and other firms need to implement such changes so as to attain success in long run. Hence this characteristic to a greater extent put impact on the organization to bring alteration within its operations.
Transactional leadership style: Such leaders aim at attaining the goals of organization by performing the task within the established standards and procedures. These leaders allocate the duty to different employees and set their accountability for the job done by them (Burgard, 2009). This style can be adopted so as to encourage employee participation within Dixons. This also encourages mutual discussion between leaders and subordinates that facilitates the organization to make continuous improvement.
Participative management style: Under this style the employee are encouraged through rewards so that they can work together and in effective manner. This style takes views of the personnel while making decisions (Perry, 2005). Thus with the consensus among both manager and subordinates Dixons can bring improvement within its internal business environment.
The following are the features of learning organization:
E-enabling formal training strategy: Considering the case, the company has opened its retail outlet in many countries. Thus in order to establish integration and learning it has adopted the strategy of online learning. Under this the employees who are performing the task at different locations can learn in an appropriate manner (McLaughlin and Kaluzny, 2006). Earlier Dixons was dependent on catalogue classroom courses in order to encourage learning. But this was time consuming and costly. Thus as a learning organization, the company has introduced several technologies that ensures deliverance of knowledge within the firm.
Skills and product focused training: In order to fulfill the critical learning requirement organization has introduced new technologies that develop the skills within the employees regarding how to sell and deep knowledge of what to sell (Ball, 2008).
Adopting strategic alternatives: The organization had two strategic alternatives. It can operate alone or expand its business. As a learning firm, Dixons adopted elements of both the strategic alternatives into single plan.
The following are the approaches that can introduce and embed change within the organization like Dixons:
ISO 14001 standard: Dixons can use this approach in order to improve its resource efficiency, minimize the cost and reduce the waste. As per the case, it can be evaluated that with the use of such standards, impact of environment on company management, stakeholders and employees can be improved and measured (Jaca and et.al., 2012). This will assist firm in managing its resources effectively. Thus aims at bringing changes in the organization process and operations so that economic goals can be meet by the firm.
Education and communication: Dixons can introduce changes within the organization by educating the employees (Kattman, 2014). If the top management conveys strategies to subordinates in an appropriate manner then the employees will not restrict changes rather they will allow firm to introduce it.
Facilitation and support: With the top management support employees are provided with required time so that they can adjust with the alterations that took place within Dixons. This would assist organization in embedding changes that can enhance its efficiency (Nakhai and Kim, 2008).
Participation and involvement: With the involvement of employees in the decision making process the company can introduce changes. Thus with this approach less number of people will resist changes.
The different techniques that can be used by Dixons for the purpose of improving the quality within the organization:
Total quality management: Such technique can be used by Dixons so that it can enhance quality. With this technique company can fulfill the expectation of its external stakeholders in an effective manner (Meiling and et.al., 2012). Through the implementation of this approach organization can ensure superior quality product is delivered to customers within specified time interval. This will result in enhancing the satisfaction level among the customers as well as members of community.
Kaizen: With this approach organization can bring continuous changes at smaller level so that quality in operations can be improved. The technique considers that with the assistance of personnel within the firm Dixon can identify the areas where it needs to make improvement (Narasimhan, 2006). Thus implementation of such changes will assist firm in bringing advancement to quality aspect.
Six-sigma: This technique can be used by organization in order to improve its processes. It seeks to bring advancement in the quality by investigating and removing the errors. Under this approach projects are carried out in a sequential manner (Marin-Garcia and et.al., 2008). Moreover qualified value targets are set so that quality can be improved and managed within Dixons.
The different sources of information that can be used by Dixons to make improvements in the company are as follows:
Customer feedback: From the responses gathered from the customers that company can determine the areas which require improvement. With this firm can investigate the opportunity that can be looks upon so as to increase the satisfaction among the customers. For example: through customer feedback the company can obtain information related to its services, prices and delivery time (Burnes, 2003). If customer says that excellent services with fastest delivery is provided by company. This means that Dixons is performing it activities in desired manner which is as per the expectation of the customers. Such source of information can provide accurate knowledge to company regarding the wants and desires of clients which further facilitates the firm in making improvements.
Pestle analysis: This tool assists business in identifying the factors that foster it to makes changes. Dixons can investigate the economical, social and technological factors that can impact the operations of business in future (Mayorga, 2013). For example: With the assistance of pestle analysis Dixons can identify the technological changes that took place in the business environment. Thus this assist firm in bringing new technology within its operations so that customers need can be satisfied.
The information that has been gathered from different sources where the company can make improvements are as follows:
Customer feedback: The information gathered from this source assist firm in knowing the opportunities where it can bring improvement. For example: the information collected from this is that company offer fast delivery service (Bhat and Jain, 2011). Thus this act as an opportunity to business in bringing some more development in the delivery service so that customer’s requirements can be fulfilled. Further it has been evaluated that reasonable prices are offered by company. Hence the company can gain knowledge in relation to wants of customers with this. Hence it provides an opportunity to Dixons in bringing improvement in its existing performance.
Pestle analysis: Through this instrument the organization can gain knowledge regarding the changes that take place in business environment (Nasim and et.al., 2010). Here, the information in relation to changes in the demand of customers with respect to electronic products has identified. With this knowledge Dixons can bring improvement in its products and services.
With reference to acquisition and merger carried out by Dixons with Carphone warehousing the new company that is Dixons Carphone would need to introduce the following changes in so that its organizational activities can be improved. Considering the case, the company has to rationalize the retail estate. This can be done by closing the stores where there exists duplication. Earlier both the companies were having stores at different locations (Gupta and Gupta, 2014). But with merger it needs to open new outlets within city so that it can deal with huge number of customers. This improvement will act an aid to Dixons Carphone in improving their profitability. Another change is required in the structure of the company. This is because the two companies have staff members who belong to different backgrounds. Thus it is required to establish coordination among them so that activities can be performed in an efficient manner. This can be done by organizing ice breaking session with Dixons Carphone so that people of different culture can work together.
The stakeholders within Dixons are as senior managers, top management and employees. The proposed change, regarding closing of stores where there is duplication, is sound because by rationalizing the retail estate the company can open the new store. This will assist them in reaching large number of customers (Rumbles and Rees, 2013). Hence this will provide easy accessibility to the clients. Moreover Dixons with this can attract new clients which will thereby assist it in improving its profitability.
Another proposed change that is regarding structure of organization is appropriate because of the following reason. With the merger the staff members of the different culture within both the organizations are being forced to work together. It is required that changes in structure needs to be done so that coordination among the work teams can be established (Duggan, 2014). Thus with this coordination will be established among the employees belonging to different backgrounds. Therefore changes in organizational structure will assist Dixon in improving its overall efficiency.
The proposed changes to Dixon’s organizational activities can be evaluated in the following manner:
Change in the structure of organization: Such proposed change will add cost to business. But at the same time organization will benefitted with this. With the change in the structure of the organization coordination will be established among the work teams. Moreover this would result in making work flow run in smooth manner (Barnard, 2010). This proposed change will affect the stakeholder such as employees and senior managers. As with this top management will not have to keep strict supervision on the activities of employees. The efficiency of the work will also be affected with this. Such as change is essential because this will assist firm in remaining competitive in the market place.
Opening new retail stores: By establishing new retail outlet Dixons can attract new customers. As before merger the companies were having different outlets. But after the merger Dixons Carphone can close those outlets as because of them there is duplication of the activities which adds to the cost of new firm (Coady, 2010). With this proposed change organization can provide benefit to its stakeholder that is customers. Further it can assist top management in improving its profitability with this. Opening of new retail outlet will adds to the cost but its benefits are larger than investment.
Plan for the proposed changes and time scale is designed in the form of tables that is presented below:
Change in structure of organization
Opening new retail stores
Designing system and procedure that support proposed changes
The system and procedure that can be used by Dixons to support the change are as follows. In order to provide assistance to the proposed change that is regarding the organization structure, Dixons can use performance management system. With this company can determine the capability of the personnel further the roles and responsibilities can be assigned on that basis. The firm can use common procedure for the purpose of managing projects (Johnston, 2014). This will provide great to employees in carrying out the work in a smooth manner. Thus to a greater extent this procedure will support the proposed change. The system of partnering with other firm on shared goal can be used in case of change that is opening of new retail outlet by rationalizing the retail estate where duplication exists. With this system coordination can be built and further the profit ratio can be determined. Thus would result in reducing conflicts.
Communication of plan to stakeholders
The plan can be communicated to employees by conducting meeting so that awareness regarding the proposed change in built within them. Further by organizing training session the staff members can be provided with knowledge regarding the roles and responsibilities they are required to perform. The shareholders of Dixons can be informed regarding the plan by organizing conferences and meeting.
The proposed changes have been implemented within Dixons along with the acquisition that took place earlier. The proposed changes are monitored so that its effectiveness can be measured. By obtaining feedback from the employees it have been determined that coordination has been built among the employees to a greater extent. But change in organization structure has increased level of confusion regarding to whom the employees are accountable. There are flaws in the establishment of relationship between authority and responsibility (Mayhew, 2014). Through graphical scale rating technique the trend of profit of new store from the previous one can be compared. This provides great deal in analyzing the effectiveness of opening new retail outlet after merger. Considering the case the technique of observation can be used to determine the degree to which the employees are performing their task in an appropriate manner. This assists the firm in gaining insight to whether or not the change has been effectively implemented within Dixons.
It can be concluded from the study that in order to increase the efficiency of business small changes are required to make at regular intervals. In the present study the changes that have been proposed are related to structure of company and rationalizing the retail estate by closing outlet where duplication exists. This will increase the profitability of Dixons. Further such change will enhance the ability to firm to attract more number of customers.