Business process management can be explained as the measures or systems put in place to ensure that the organisation and all its subsystems, including its departments, processes, teams, and employees, among others, are working together in an optimum way towards achieving their goals and the results desired by the organisation (Poirier et al. 2005: 33). This field can be broken down into three critical components: people, technology, and information that help to create efficiency while managing organisations. These components consider the performance of a company as a whole, evaluate the effectiveness of top management in reaching company goals, and evaluate employees with a view of helping them develop. This paper will focus on the case study, “Kimball Electronics Wales Ltd.” to give an informed report on the business process management and its effectiveness. This will be achieved by providing information on the organisational structure, quality, business processes and systems used by the firm.
Overview of the Company
Kimball Electronics Ltd. is an electronic manufacturer company, and one of its locations is in U.K. following the purchase of Bayer Healthcare Diagnostic. Since then, it acquired the name Kimball Electronic Wales Limited and employed 164 employees from UK, who reflected professionalism in their field of interest (Fletcher & Brent 2009). As a result, it started manufacturing industrial, medical, automotives, as well as public safety electronics. More so, the Kimball Electronic Group has a number of manufacturing premises in China, Thailand, Mexico, and the United States (Kimball Electronic Group 2012). It is clear that in February 2008, the company had expressed concern over poor running of the firm; however, it was decided that quality initiatives could be applied to improve the firm. Further, it was observed that linking each employees and customer goals to the organisational goals would greatly help the company in achieving its objectives (Fletcher & Brent 2009).
The Kimball Electronic is a public limited company, as evidenced by the manner in which it reveals its annual report. For case in point, the Kimball Electronics Group reported a sales volume amounting to 673 million dollars as at 30 June 2007 (Fletcher & Brent 2009), just one year after the formation of the Kimball Electronics Whale. Even though the management has the overall responsibility in decision-making, the firm takes consideration of its stakeholders in times they need clarification of certain information. For case in point, following the Kimball electronic company’s decision to close their business in the U.K., the shareholders, including the employees, entered into a 90-day dialogue that facilitated further operations of the company.
The Type of Business Organisation
The Kimball Electronic Whales operates on private sector. Purchasing Bayer Healthcare Diagnostic reveals that the company embraces provision of services to the customers with regard to their specific requirements. Hence, the company’s provision of services to the customers is based on a long-term basis (Kimball Electronic Group 2012). At the same time, the Kimball Electronic Company maintains other engineering teams in an effort to attain outstanding performance from the introduction phase of a product to the end of its life cycle. But with a high rate of competition for electronic products, trading on private sector is paramount for Kimball Electronics Whale to flourish. Most importantly, operating on private terms does not only serve to benefit the company but also its customers. And it is for this reason that Kimball Electronics Company has been considered a viable manufacturer, as it provides its customers with a guaranteed market in both the short-term and long-term basis.
Thus, the first reason why private trade is valuable for Kimball Electronics Whales is that the customers can be guaranteed a long-lasting market, since it takes the approach of providing them with distinctive, quality products. With the close interaction developed with customers, the Kimball Electronic has the capacity of improving its products, and consequently maintaining its customers. Secondly, private trade is paramount because it helps the company attain a competitive advantage in the sense that the company gets into a position of analysing the environmental factors affecting the demand of its products in a comprehensive manner (Gitman & McDaniel 2008: 33). Through this analysis, the Kimball Electronics stands in a position of demonstrating unique selling points that facilitates information exchange with the employees as well as with the customer of its products.
In an effort to analyse the environmental factors affecting electronic businesses, Kimball Electronics has already taken the initiative of speaking to the customer concerning its products. More so, operating on private sector or contract terms facilitates market differentiation (Gitman & McDaniel 2008: 572), and therefore helps to assess the demand of the electronic products in each sector. This is critical because it helps the company identify ways of approaching its customers in relation to market demand. This, in turn, facilitates control of stocks levels in the market.
The Structural Style Adopted, and How This Works With Kimball Electronics Business Processes
Owing to the fact that the Kimball Electronics Group has a number of manufacturing premises in China, Thailand, Mexico, and the United States, the Kimball Electronics Whale has adopted a traditional organisational structure that is based on geographic departmentalisation (Kimball Electronic Group 2012). The Kimball Electronics has adopted this structure in an effort to enhance productivity and management of a given location. This emanates from the fact that a company that supplies its products to diverse regions creates an avenue for corporate culture, thus facilitating decision-making process for each region (Kono & Clegg 1998: 312). Hence, the Kimball Electronics Whale is in a position of recognising synergies, and this makes it easier to reform them. Thus, the organisational structure works under the platform of midway between the centralization and decentralization from the Kimball Electronic Group, thus facilitating operations that are only confined within the U.K.
Additionally, the traditional organisational structure based on geographical departmentalisation suits Kimball Electronics Whales because, despite the fact that it would want to operate under a centralized structure in an effort to retain the group’s values, it is extremely hard to achieve organisational goals due to differences in culture between diverse regions across the globe (Weitz & Wensley 2002: 157). Hence, the Kimball Electronics Whales can only acquire speed and comprehensive information of diverse cultural practices of the employees and economic capabilities of the customers by fully embracing traditional structure based on geographical departmentalization.
Given that the aim of this organisational structure to create efficiency for people, technology, as well as the flow of the information, the structure adopted works well with the business process since the workers approve innovative ways of carrying out business operations. The Kimball Electronic Group upholds a business management process that states that diversity without innovativeness does not amount to productivity (Bosilj-Vukšić et al. 2008). This necessitates a change of vision and mission statement in the event where there is a change of technology or cultural values in the U.K.
However, inasmuch as the traditional structure based on geographical departmentalisation takes precedent at the Kimball Electronics Whale, the structure is also faced with disunity amongst workers from different regions (Fletcher & Brent 2009), perhaps due to differences in working conditions. This emanates from the fact that organisational culture plays a crucial role on the performance of an organisation, and this necessitates coming up with an organisational structure that shares a common organisational culture (Rant 2004). Therefore, the organisational structure adopted by Kimball Electronics Group can only work effectively with the Kimball Electronics Whale if they manage to resolve their differences to a level where they achieve common ground.
Business Processes And Systems
How Kimball Electronics Supplies its Product to its Target Market
At the Kimball Electronics Whale, the financial institution is responsible for verifying credit cards from the customers; their responsibilities range from making decisions to disseminating information to the sales department. The sales department is tasked with the role of authorising payment; it does not debit the customers account until authorisation is authenticated and approved. The sales department subsequently hands over the order to the sales person, who approves it by checking whether the specified specifications match with what is available in stock. Incase none is found, he/she notifies the management for further decision making. If found matching, he/she acknowledges to supply the products. And after the order is packed, it is shipped to the appropriate customer, as shown in flow chart below.
How Kimball Electronics Integrates its BPM?
An effective BPM creates room for efficiency as well as improved quality for the products (Peter & Claus 2007). As such, it connects various processes involved in manufacturing and sales transactions to a point where transparency, communication, as well as accountability are evident. The Kimball Electronic Whale has managed to integrate the BPM by making sure that it checks irregularities within the request form. This include checking the company’s name, heading for the request in question, date of the report request, product specification, report description, and name of the requestor, among others.
To remove additional discrepancies, the Kimball Electronic sales department works hand in hand with the financial department to scrutinise the specified order; the order is only approved after meeting the specified regulations. This is integrated with the managers’ point of view, as he has the overall responsibility of assessing whether there is a conflict of interest between the customers needs and the business operation (Harmon 2003: 126). Effective communication between the sales department and the distribution department is also called for. This entails carrying out a cross comparison between the order and the stock at hand, and after verification, the product is supplied to the appropriate customer.
Value Added at the Kimball Electronics Whale Business Processes
With this BPM at hand, the Kimball Electronics Whales is in a position of satisfying not only the employees but also the customers. In this case, the employees are rewarded by the fact that they are provided with enough support whenever possible. This, according to Green (2001: 78) is a key motivator because it helps in preventing individual from fears of incompetence through training programs that prepare employees to cope with the business process.
Additionally, the business process analyses a critical role of the manager: asserting authority. Deutsch et al. (2006: 817) facilitates understanding of the role played by an organisation’s authority by affirming that “… behaviors are learned and, as such, are amenable (in varying degrees) to change.” The management team has influenced a strong business process of the organisational team using rules and regulations that are in line with the U.K culture, hence helping to create a sense of belonging for the local employees, who, in turn, create value added for the customers through provision of quality services.
Recommendations on how Kimball Electronics Whale can improve its Current Supply Chain and BPM
An appropriate contract arrangement for the Kimball Electronic Whales with its customers should involve the evaluation of demand and supply curve. This helps to come up with an appropriate buying strategy that would reduce the chances of incurring losses (Kloppenborg 2008: 332). Due to high competition for electronic products, the Kimball Electronic Whales should endeavor to limit the chances of incurring losses by eliminating mass production strategies of a specific product. The company, therefore, should incorporate its business process with a framework that forecasts the demand, supply, and the price of its products.
And while the Kimball Electronics Wales handles its manufacturing process by defining the roles of the financial institution and supplies departments, the company should delve into ways in which it is able to achieve effectiveness of the supply chains, as well as defining the role of the marketing department. The contract should be done after monitoring and forecasting the contract successfully. The performance of the contract should then be evaluated using the computer software that helps to manage risks. As such, the software should be in a position of enhance the following functions:
- Ensuring adequate supply of commodities at all times;
- Predicting costs;
- Reducing costs associated with inventory from within as well as outside the company in order to improve the supply chains (Kloppenborg 2008: 336).
Product, People/Processes, and Marketing
Business entities cannot survive without innovations since the environmental and behavioral factors make them face numerous changes and uncertainties, which form part of the innovation (Burke 2007: 118). Therefore, the Kimball Electronics should continue to create solutions that encourage and enrich people’s lifestyles by continuously inspiring creativity amongst the employees in an effort to transform the company from traditional approach to new approach of process/ people (Indihar & Jaklič 2006). As a result, the products of Kimball Electronics Whale will be closely associated with the activities of the people, and this shows a deep understanding that people are prone to innovation.
The current technology has changed the way employees communicate amongst themselves as well as with their customers. As a result, the periodic and manual work has been replaced with effective technology, thus eliminating communication conflicts in a company setting. With the current technology at hand, the Kimball Electronics Whale has already developed a good relationship between employees, basing on well-documented findings of employees performance report.
BPM that upholds the current technology improves the quality of marketing department significantly. As such, the management gets into a position of identifying the company’s strengths and weaknesses from the revenue reports, as well as identifying the organisation’s strength and weakness from revenue reports easily. This is critical in the marketing approach, as it has provided the Kimball Electronics Whale with well-documented findings on market trend, which, in turn, facilitates decision-making process within the business.
This paper has provided an informed report on the business process management and its effectiveness at the Kimball Electronics Whale. As such, the paper has provided a thorough evaluation of the outcome of a business management process through a critical analysis. More so, this paper reviews different approaches taken by the company to ascertain the company’s sustainability for both the employees as well as the customers. The evaluation has been done through analysing the organisational structure, quality, business processes, and systems used by the firm.
More so, the paper provides a report on critical analysis of the Kimball Electronic Whales Ltd. by exploring the main target group for the business, and the correlation between the Kimball Electronic Whales and the Kimball Electronic Group. Additionally, the paper analyses the role of people, technology, and information in improving the quality of the company’s products. The analysis helps in identifying the strengths and the weaknesses of the BPM adopted, hence strengthening the process by providing recommendations for improvement.
However, even though the BPM adopted has managed to make a considerable amount of profit for the firm, it would be imperative to adopt an information system that does not only ensure adequate supply of electronic goods but also reduces cost associated with inventory, thus improving the supply chains. Therefore, the paper recommends that the BPM adopted should be incorporated with a framework that forecasts the demand, supply, and the price of its products on short and long-term basis.
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