For advice on structure of the report, preferring and other details please refer to ‘Assessment’ section on the module Stumpage. 2. In addition, your group should submit a group journal which should include a critical reflection (3-4 pages). The template of the group journal can be found at the end of this assignment brief and in ‘Assessment’ section of Stumpage. 3. Based on your group report and journal prepare a group presentation.
Your presentation should have maximum six slides (excluding the first slide containing the title of the presentation and names of all group members) and the duration of your presentation should not exceed five-six minutes. All group members should present in class and be ready to step in if one or more group members do not turn up for the presentation assessment. Students not in attendance and not presenting will receive a mark of 0% for this element unless they have mitigating circumstances. The suggested structure of the presentation can be be found at the end of this assignment brief.
For presentation tips please refer to ‘Assessment’ section on the module Assignment questions: Your report should address the following three points: 1. Do you consider that the different departments at Ironwoods are groups or teams? Justify your answer making reference to appropriate B theories and drawing on examples from the case study. 2. Making reference to appropriate B theories and drawing on examples from the case study outline and diagnose underlying issues and problems at Ironwoods.
Issues and problems at Ironwoods may relate to group work, organizational culture and communication, motivation, and other areas. 3. Conclude the report with recommendations as to how things may be improved, i. E. Write an action plan for the company, basing your recommendations on your analysis of problems and issues as well as appropriate theoretical knowledge. Prioritize possible actions and consider the implications of your recommendations based on your knowledge of the company. Firing on three cylinders…
Lifestyle Cars Ltd, as is general amongst car manufacturers, distributes its vehicles through a series of authorized dealerships all over the 1. K. In order to successfully qualify for such authorization, each potential dealership has to undergo rigorous vetting procedures to ensure that Lifestyles quality standards will be adhered to. Competition for authorized dealership is always fierce, never more so than when, as with Lifestyle, the products are popular and sell ell. Dealers are expected to meet sales and growth targets laid down by the manufacturer – in trade jargon ‘to move the metal’.
Rewards for success are not just monetary: dealers who are performing well are awarded a variety of other prizes, from holidays to extra deliveries of new models into their showroom. Out-of-date models are obviously not as easy to ‘move’ and not dealer wants deliveries of these cars in favor of new or improved styles. Once accepted as an authorized dealer, the relationship between dealership and Lifestyle is not always an easy one. The two organizations must live side by side for as long as he contract lasts.
Lifestyle has no direct authority over a dealer but indirectly have great power. To understand this situation more fully, let us look at a typical dealership, Ironwoods Ltd. Founded more than twenty years ago by Alan Ringworm, it has seen steady growth over that time from its humble start as a vehicle repair shop to the present day which sees it as a Lifestyle authorized dealer. Founder Alan Ringworm, managing director of his own company is also the Lifestyle ‘dealer principal’; the organization chart is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1: Organization chart of Ironwoods Ltd
Managing director/dealer principal Car sales manager Used-car sales New car sales Fleet sales After-sales manager Parts manager Service manager Speedy fit exhausts Overlaid on this is the Lifestyle organization of two regional managers, responsible for either sales or service. Thus the car sales manager reports directly to Alan Ringworm and indirectly to his Lifestyle regional manager who has his own company targets to meet. Equally Ringworm, whilst being managing director of his own company, is also equally accountable to Lifestyle Cars via the two regional managers and their bosses.
Failure to meet standards and targets set could well result in the loss of the franchise. It would appear from Figure 1 that the dealership falls naturally into two distinct areas: Sales and After-sales. Even if this were the case, it would not be a welcome division: profit margins on new cars are low and a dealership relies on the after- market to engender customer loyalty and boost revenue. However, in the case of Ironwoods, the groups divide even further.
Let us look at each section separately: Car Sales The car sales manager is responsible for essentially three separate and distinct areas: new cars, used cars, and fleet sales. To take the first two, historically there is always a bigger profit to be made from used cars than from new. ‘Used’ cars can mean anything from a five-year-old vehicle to one which has only been owned for six months. An unknowing customer, therefore, intending to purchase a brand new car may be successfully ‘prospected’ by a used-car salesman to buy a six-month-old car before they even get as far as the showroom door.
Behind-the-scenes arguments ensue as to the customer’s intentions and to whom the commission should go, particularly if the customer has always researches ‘new’ before. Similar arguments occur within each team as to who the customer ‘belongs’ to: comments such as, ‘She was my customer, I talked to her first but Debbie signed her up on my day off – I deserve a percentage’, are frequently heard and in an industry where base salaries are low and made up by commission, are hardly surprising. Sales techniques can range from the subtle to the not so subtle.
Subtle, in that test drives will always take a left-turn route so that the ‘prospect’ does not feel worried or unsure about how a car will perform if they have to turn right cross the traffic. Not so subtle is the use of ‘controlled selling’ techniques where ‘prospects’, on a flimsy excuse of taking the used car for a test drive, find themselves minus keys and virtually locked in a room until they sign on the dotted line. After-sales This area also tends to fall into two distinct sections: Service and Parts.
The Parts department serves two masters: the general public (be it a sleepyhead motor mechanic or a private car owner intent on doing his own servicing) and the Service department itself. The Parts manager is under increasing pressure o keep his inventory levels as low as possible and is frequently heard on the telephone trying to ‘borrow’ essential but slummed parts from other Lifestyle dealers in the region. The Service technicians are highly trained mechanics who these days have traded in their ring spanners for state-of-the-art computer diagnostics.
They are paid by the number of jobs they complete. Tailors is alive and well in the motor industry: each job has a set time allotted to it and listed in the job book. Therefore if a technician can ‘beat the book’, not only are they paid for he number of hours that it should have taken but they can also go on to another job. It is not unusual, therefore, for a technician to be paid for seventy-five hours having only physically worked for thirty-nine.
Clearly, therefore, there is tension between workshop and Parts: the former do not want to be held up waiting for a part which the department is trying to locate at another dealership. Against this general background we then have the manufacturer imposing strict controls in all areas from the showroom layout to the procedure for warranty claims. As mentioned, the car industry is a competitive one and Lifestyle have cited to introduce an even greater element of competition by introducing a set of ‘customer care principles’ against which each dealer will be measured.
Ten in total, five for Sales and five for After-sales (but primarily Service), they detail the main stages in a customer transaction and include areas such as ‘manner, tone, and attitude of the salesman’, ‘quality of purchase experience’ and ‘right first time, every time’ for Service. Performance against standards will be measured by customer questionnaires and each dealership will be given their results in a monthly league table for the whole region. Lifestyle have decided that each dealer who consistently falls below the region average will lose discounts – a not inconsiderable amount of money over the year.
After the first quarter’s figures had been issued, Alan Ringworm called a meeting of all staff and explained the results. Overall they were below the group average in the following areas: C] Customers considered that salesmen were too ‘pushy’ and they felt that they were abandoned once the deal had been done with them. C] Service department was experiencing a high level of repeat repairs. Further analysis showed that this as partly due to standard of work but also due to the fact that the fault could not be immediately rectified because parts were unavailable and had to be ordered.
All in all, if the dealership were to continue on this slippery slope it stood to lose up to EYE,000 in the coming year. Asking each of his managers to come up with some solutions ‘UPS’, Alan Ringworm then wandered around the dealership where he overheard the following comments: C] ‘l don’t know why he’s getting at us – the customer care principles don’t include Parts. ‘ (Parts manager) O ‘l hope he’s not going to change the payment system unless he’s going o double wages. ‘Beating the book’ is the only way I can earn a living wage. (Technician) C] ‘l try to “move the metal” so that I get my commission and keep Lifestyle happy and now they’re saying that I’m too pushy – in this job you have to be, otherwise somebody else gets the deal. ‘ (Nectar salesman) O ‘We’d be a lot better off if Parts got their act together. ‘ (Workshop supervisor) ‘We do the best we can and Service lets us down each time. ‘ (Seedcase salesman) C] ‘A lot of the problems are due to the Lifestyle warranty procedure – they’re just too picky and that’s why it seems as if we’re getting repeat repairs. (Service manager) Returning to his office Ringworm murmured to himself, ‘l just don’t know what to do. Read an article recently about ‘quality circles’ but you need a spirit of cooperation for that – this lot aren’t even speaking to each other. ‘ Source: Adapted from Muddle and Called (1996) I. Report Marking Criteria (30% of the overall module mark): 1. Overall style of written report and structure 10% of total marks Writing style should be simple and fluent in terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation. The report should have a clear structure and organized into identifiable sections with introduction, main body and conclusion. Analysis Question 1 of total marks. The answer should have good theoretical underpinning drawing on the appropriate theories/issues of groups, teams and group working and should not be just a repetition and description of facts that are contained in the case study. There should be evidence of an indents examination of relevant issues with supporting evidence from the case. There should be evidence of logical development of arguments. Question 2 – 20% of total marks appropriate theories/issues of organizational culture, communication, group working, motivation, etc. ND should not be just a petition and description of facts that are contained in the case study. There should be evidence of an in-depth examination of relevant issues with supporting evidence from the case. There should be evidence of logical development of arguments. Question 3 – You should provide recommendations to the company management indicating actions needed. Recommendations should be based on your analysis of problems and issues at Ironwoods as well as appropriate theoretical knowledge and also be realistic.
They should demonstrate proportioning of possible actions that will combine coherently into a plan of action and should be flowing and integrated, not lists of bullet points. You should consider the implications of your recommendations based on your knowledge of the organization. 3. Referencing of total marks There should be a properly constructed list of references using Harvard referencing system with a minimum of five appropriate academic sources and all referencing and citing in the text should be correct. 4.
Group Journal 20% of total marks This is a very important element of the group assignment. Please discuss and reflect on the following questions and provide your answers as a group: a) Your group profile. Drawing and collating your individual results from the skills questionnaires found in some of the ‘Tutorial Topic Guides’ on Stumpage give an overview of your group identifying your strengths as a group as well as your weaknesses (this exercise could be done at the first group meeting to get to know each other better). B) Working together as group.
How did your group work together? C] Did any leader(s) emerge? C] How did you allocate the tasks between group members? 0 Did you learn anything new about yourselves? What has worked best in your group? What were the positive aspects of working in a group? C] What were the negative aspects of working in a group? C] What academic and employability skills did you develop in the process of working on this assignment and how can these skills be used in the future? C] What would you do differently if you had to work in a group again? C) Non-contribution of any group-member’s.
At the end of your journal please indicate very clearly if any group member(s) has not contributed sufficiently to the group assignment. Also, clearly indicate non-contribution in the assignment cover sheet when you submit your presentation slides. II. Group presentation (10% of the overall module mark). Based on your group report and journal you should prepare a presentation and present in class for formal assessment w/c 15 December. The presentation (Max 6 slides excel. The cover slide) should include the following: 1. Title of the presentation and names of group members (1 slide) 2.
Brief analysis of main issues and problems identified in the case study company (Max. 2 slides). 3. Recommendations to the case study company as to how main problems and issues identified can be addressed and overcome (Max. 2 slides). 4. Academic and employability skills you have developed in the process of working on this group assignment (Max. Slides). This part of the presentation should be based on your group report. The presentation should be coherent and fluent. It should be well executed with smooth handovers and good eye contact.