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Management Value Survey
Enhancement of Productivity through Management value Survey
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Management experts have repeatedly stressed that a proper corporate ambience and environment is imperative to bring out the best in employees. While ambience is largely dependent on…
Management experts have repeatedly stressed that a proper corporate ambience and environment is imperative to bring out the best in employees. While ambience is largely dependent on external factors as office furniture, layout and general décor, environment mostly depends on the quality of personnel at the disposal of the management. For any organization to strengthen its bottom-line, thus the first step would be to undertake a Management Value Survey to ascertain the intrinsic qualities of various categories of staff. Once an evaluation with respect to certain critical categories is done, the Board of Directors can start taking remedial actions based on such evaluation.
But common experience have shown that any honest attempt by a management to conduct a value survey is usually viewed with suspicion by employees as they feel it to be cost-cutting exercise where all those who are not in the good books of the management will be fired citing some charts, figures and management clichés. (Adam, 1993) Thus, the first and foremost task before any management survey is undertaken is to convince the participants about its effectiveness, not towards retrenching existing staff, but towards improving their skill levels and attitude towards work place which will eventually lead to a healthier profit line and increased financial prosperity to all stake holders in the process. (Martin, 1997)
The other roadblock which any Management Value Survey is expected to hit is the general perception that it is not a cost-effective way of improving levels of productivity in an organization. But an in-depth cost benefit analysis of several Management Value Surveys undertaken in diverse industries have gone on to show that these surveys usually constitute about 0.3% to 0.5% of the entire annual expenditure of these companies. The average savings in expenditure after taking remedial actions indicated by these surveys have however been around 5%. (Dobrow, 1978) These figures should effectively put to rest any misconceptions which any management may have about these surveys.
The key findings have been depicted in three charts which are referred to as:
In each chart the available workforce have been categorized according to established management hierarchy as:
In this chart, the responses of various categories of workforce to several parameters of technical competence and interpersonal relationships at workplace were measured in a scale of 0 – 100. The parameters chosen were:
The sixth chart (Totals) showed the cumulated weighted average result of all these parameters.
Starting with the ‘Totals’ we find that while the executives are at the high end of scale showing an overall response rate of 82, the line managers are languishing at lowly 5. This is probably due to a sense of insecurity and lack of faith in management on the part of lower level employees. They have not come forward whole heartedly to participate in the survey.
The second chart – ‘Task’ again shows the high degree of participation by executives and the near absence of any response from the lower ranks of employees. The general attitude of the employees remains the same in third chart entitled ‘Peoples’. A quick glance at the remaining three charts also show the eagerness and alacrity shown by the executives towards well organized procedures and systems of functioning while the remaining three categories preferred to remain where they were and in general chose stability over change. This, as mentioned earlier, reflects a deep sense of mistrust towards the top management and any move to alter the present day order is viewed as a camouflage to trim down existing workforce.
This is reflected very starkly in the chart entitled ‘Cooperation’. While the executives were always eager to cooperate, the enthusiasm among managers to do so was roughly half of that of the executives and the wish to cooperate fell to even lower levels at supervisory and line manager categories. This surely must be disconcerting news since cooperation is an essential ingredient to commercial success of an organization. Micro and macro relationships within a workplace are very important catalysts in corporate performance and productivity. (Daddow, 2005) The other equally disturbing trend which shows up in these six charts is the huge difference in approach and attitude between the higher and lower rungs of workforce. Managers’ response, however, disheartens a dispassionate analyst the most. One expected them to respond far more favorably. (Fowler, 1990)
These data and charts relate to milk and dairy industry and given the current crisis looming large over this industry, an urgent overhauling in attitude of the entire workforce is absolutely essential for survival of any company in this scenario. Poor weather and consistently rising farm costs have already cast a huge shadow of uncertainty in this sector so much so that the supply of raw milk fell by 274 million liters in UK during year ended March 2008. The price of wheat based bovine feed has increased by almost 50 during the course of 12 months ending March 2008 – it is a 50% increase over the prices same time previous year. NFU apprehends a steady decline of 2 – 3% in supply of milk every year as more and more milk producers would be unable to meet the challenges of soaring costs.
This chart essentially lists three important skills which are necessary to be present in any workforce for the organization to be efficient and profit making. These are:
While the lower ranks are experts at survival and passable in functional areas; they are hopelessly inadequate in teambuilding skills. But teambuilding happens to be a critical factor for sustained growth of any institution and this is where a majority of the workforce in dairy industry lag behind. This industry is almost as old as human civilization and traditions remain very strong in this sector where scientific outlook is usually given a short shrift.
It is therefore not a surprise that when the value matrix which measures strengths and weaknesses of each category of workforce is drawn up, with the lone exception of executives, all the other categories show up more weaknesses than strengths.
A downward sloping curve signifies strengths being more than the weaknesses while an upward sloping curve shows just the opposite. The gradient of these curves signify the disparity between strengths and weaknesses of each individual group. While the weaknesses of line leaders range somewhere around 60, their strengths are a measly 8 or 10. Thus the blue line is the steepest while sloping upwards from left to right. Though the situation is not so acute in case of supervisors and managers, they are close cousins of each other with managers being only slightly better than the supervisors. It is rather difficult for an organization to survive unless this imbalance is rectified especially in these trying times.
An analysis of existing data indicates the problem being more with attitude than with anything else. While the functional and survival skills are passable, the problem centers on attitudinal problems of the lower ranks.
While it is only normal for the less secured groups to cling on to whatever is the current norm and be instinctively suspicious of any innovative approach (Covey, 1989), the top management must take proactive steps to break this mold. This can be done by sending line leaders and supervisors to workshops conducted by various dairy federations and farmers’ unions across the country. Another way to remove misconceptions in the minds of the lower ranks is to arrange for company sponsored trips to dairies that are prospering due to transparent management worker relationships.
The managers need to be more exposed to the current market scenario. They must be made aware of the fact that unless bottom-lines improves the company cannot survive. For that, if need be, they must be enrolled in some short term dairy management courses so that they get a broader perspective of the problem at hand and the remedial steps that need to be taken.
Dairy farming does not depend on cutting edge technology as such but advanced methods of storage and processing must be introduced (if not already there) and adequate financial and non-financial incentive has to be given to the all staff downwards of executive level so that there is complete cooperation from all corners.
The dairy industry needs to break away from the age old tradition bound approach to milk production and distribution if it has to survive these turbulent times. With constant demand on bio fodder for use in bio fuel purposes, the prices of bovine feed would not come down in near future. The onslaught of cheaper milk and milk products from emerging economies would not help matters either as imports will steadily corner sizeable chunks of domestic market. So, the only way to survive in these tough market situations is to improve production and productivity and that can only be achieved through complete cooperation from a skilled and efficient workforce.
Skill is not that difficult to acquire, if one has the will to do so. It is the attitude of stakeholders which holds the key to success or otherwise of an enterprise. Taylor, the father of scientific management, realized the criticality of this constituent and quite rightly coined the term ‘Mental Revolution’.
Adam, E. Value Management : Cost Reduction Strategies for the 1990s. Melbourne: Longman Cheshire Pty Limited, 1993.
Covey, S. R. The 7 habits of highly effective people. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.
Daddow, Therese and Skitmore, Martin. “Value Management in Practice: An Interview Survey.” Why Reinvent the Wheel? Hong Kong: 7th Annual Conference of the Hing Kong Value Management, 2005.
Dobrow, P. V., Macedo, M. C. and O’Rourke, J. J. Value Management for Construction. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1978.
Fowler, T. C. Value Analysis in Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990.
Martin, S. J. “SAVE International Conference Proceedings.” 1 August 1997. SAVE International Proceedings – 1997 Annual Conference. 16 October 2008 <http:\\www.valueanalysis.com./whatdif.htm>.