Evaluation of the existing operations

Introduction

In the initial part of the article, I critically evaluate the existing businesses and identify areas of improvement in the machine. While undertaking this process, I have also recognized some problems in the prevailing operations, and also have suggested some methods to overcoming them, in line with modern approaches. I've chosen to attempt an analysis of the businesses of TBS Publishers Distributors for my work.

Methodology

The information in this task is largely sourced from the principal way to obtain information. I personally visited, seen and conducted various studies and interviews with employees, management and customers for undertaking this assignment. Various websites, journals and online materials have been researched for undertaking this work, though primary source of information is stresses more and given more significance.

I have approached this whole task, applying the key points and ideas of Total Quality Management (TQM), i. e. , through ongoing evaluation and improvement of the complete businesses system and looking at it holistically from customers' perspective, as well as demanding the consistent participation of all stake holders involved in the ongoing improvement of Quality. The Quality Circles approach and Quality Function Deployment (QFD) in addition has been applied/suggested to suggest quality of quality issues that might happen while putting into action TQM.

Scope and intro to the problem

TBS is one of the most notable selling book shops in Calicut, India. During maximum times and the kick off of bestselling titles, there is marvelous hanging around time for customers, leading to customer dissatisfaction and reduced/lost customer devotion. After detailed evaluation of the procedures system (explained in the later part of this statement), it was found that the high hanging around time for customers was because of the inefficient forecasting of demand, which also added to insufficient volume of employees. This may be solved by non-adoption of latest modern forecasting methods, as well as integrating all the various resources of the company by implementing a sophisticated Enterprise Reference Planning software solution such as SAP or Peoplesoft.

About the company

According to its website, TBS is a leading provider of literature, music, and other educational services and products in the state of Kerala in India[1]. Kerala is positioned in South India, which is renowned for its high literacy rate and its improvements in modern educational establishments. TBS have grown to be one of the top book-stores and publishers in Kerala with earnings predicted to be over INR 20 million by their unique combination of customer support, innovation, efficient functions and cost competitiveness. [2]

TBS is headquartered at Calicut in northern Kerala and has branches multiply across Kerala in places like Kannur, Kottayam, Trivandrum and Trichur. In addition, it has a massive network of real estate agents across Kerala by which it distributes its products. TBS also markets office stationery, all types of lab machines, raw materials for labs including chemicals, operative items and apparatuses, equipment for small companies, computer and IT components, sports and athletic goods. [3] 80% of TBS' revenues, and 85% of its revenue are believed to be from its books business alone, and hence this little bit of my procedures management work targets the books business together, and every time a specific shop location should be mentioned, the main bookstore of TBS at Calicut is used as reference point. [4]

Total Quality Management (TQM)

TQM helps in the delivery of finest quality standards and the next increase in operational efficiency and performance. Thus, TQM constitutes the following: strategy implementation, plans and functional strategies for combining all the relevant useful quality control methodologies (Quality Confidence, Reliability Research, Statistical Quality Control, Random Sampling Inspection, etc) with the whole organisational mechanisms stimulating the constant and constant quality improvement. TQM concentrates in the entirety of the complete system and not just in its specific parts. Failing could be triggered by various factors such as culture clashes/shortfalls, teamwork related issues, command and management issues, HR related issues, specific determination issues and staff dedication issues, and other mental health and social issues as well as skills scarcity or inadequacies of specialized manpower and gadgets. [5]

Under TQM, customer is the primary focus, and every aspect of improvement is usually to be seen from a customers' perspective. A holistic way can be used from a standard organizations' point of view, and the clients are the most important and focus point of the whole approaches, and they are cured as the vital component of the whole procedures. All stake holders must interact to accomplish its aims, i. e. , a all natural procedure with customers as the center point, and affecting all stake holders of a business. Thus empowerment of employees as well as their team work is very critical for this approach to achieve success. [6]

Customer Satisfaction Survey

According to David Garvin, eight characteristics that customers are interested will be the following[7]

Since Customers are the central concentrate of TQM, a person satisfaction survey was conducted with an example size of 250 customers predicated on a review questionnaire, to learn what matters most to the customers. In this survey conducted to judge the above variables, it was seen that has and Performance were the main lagging indicators, and there is much opportunity for improvement in these areas. The next chart demonstrates the customer satisfaction index (out of a complete report of 10), the blue being the present rating and red displaying the areas which has opportunity for improvement.

Analysis of Operations

Processes under consideration

The businesses of TBS was analysed using the ideas of TQM (Total Quality Management). TBS could be grouped into a "mass service" business, with high capital investment and high amounts, medium variety of service offerings and low degree of customization for its customers. The basic business proposition of TBS is that of a company of quality catalogs and other services from the publishers to the potential end customers (Amount 1). TBS' business can even be classified as a service business relating both 'Transformation of Place' and 'Transformation of Ownership' operation. 'Transformation of place' because this business requires plenty of storage and travelling, and 'Transformation of Ownership' because it entails the change of possession from TBS to the finish customer.

The Value Era Process / The role of customers in the system

Applying the rules of Total Quality Management (TQM), the clients play a major role in TBS' business since the business of educational services in Kerala is highly competitive, with a whole lot of small bookstores and a greater competition from pirated literature market. There exists usually no intellectual property rights or exclusivity contracts, and hence virtually all leading booklet stores in this market offer the same product & services. However, TBS has managed to have a competitive setting in the forex market, by ensuring a dedicated customer bottom part.

By aiding end-customers buy journals, lab equipments, CDs, books and other educational items, in an exceedingly straight-forward and simple and easy method, TBS generates value for its end customers. Again applying the principles of TQM, for just about any efficient organization to achieve the long term, they must provide a 'great buy' for both itself and the customer. This 'great buy' in cases like this, could be described in shape 2

The value making model could be seen as a the five key tenets (Figure 3) as per the model of service management system[8] by Normann.

Applying the rules of TQM, it can be seen that People, Systems and Processes should work in perfect harmony with each other, under a conducive culture, effective communication and excellent commitment from all stakeholders, as detailed in Number below

Market Segmentation

The demographics of end customers of the 'educational' market segment transcends across occupations, genders, age groups and financial conditions. The key distinguishing feature is the need of these end customers for TBS' educational products. Through the use of the principles of TQM, in my own observations, it was discovered that the categories of customers that shop at TBS are (figure 3)

Service blue printing technique[9]

By using the "service blue printing strategy"[10] of Zeithaml & Bitner (2003), the next process maps within the next few pages demonstrates the many buying stream map of TBS' various customer sections. The various type of customer sections found were
  1. Focussed Customers
  2. Topical Customers
  3. Unfocussed Customers

These are explained in detail in the next few pages.

  1. Focussed Customers - these were customers who recognized just what product they wish to buy, seek advice from the customer service personals on its price and stock availableness and then make the buying decision. These customers usually only bought the precise product they arrived looking for, and would spend very little amount of time in the store. The frequency of purchases created by this portion of customers were found to be high, compared to the other two sections.
  2. Topical Customers - we were holding customers who were thinking about particular matters. However, they are not aware of a particular title/product. They might directly go directly to the appropriate portion of the store, check out various game titles under that theme and the many offers etc, and lastly make a decision on which name /product to buy. The consistency of purchases created by this section of customers were found to be lower than Focussed Purchasers, though much higher than Unfocussed customers.
  3. Unfocussed Customers - They were completely random customers, who arrived to the store without having any anticipate which title or topic to buy. They would randomly proceed through various parts of the store, and make impulsive purchasing decision. The occurrence of purchases created by this segment of customers were found to be suprisingly low, set alongside the other two sections.

Service Concept

Applying the concepts of Total Quality Management (TQM), the service concept of TBS can be categorised based on the identified customer segments into

  1. Core services and
  2. Peripheral services

Core:

a. Location - vital for any reserve store. TBS in Calicut can be found very near a active bus terminal and a leading supermarket, thus rendering it an extremely convenient and accessible spot for customers.

b. Information counter/desk - it is very essential and important because it helps TBS' customers make decisions on which CDs, books or other educational products they need to buy, its location in the store and its own inventory status.

c. Variety - a vast number of different services and literature can be found at each TBS store, supporting customers select their based on their individual personal preferences.

d. Customer care and attention facility - TBS offers excellent customer support facility to provide their customers. For this, they employ

e. Ease of reading/browsing - The store structure has been carefully designed in that manner that the customers can search successfully and effectively e. g. adventure books by creator, Playstation CDs by release night out etc.

Peripheral:

  1. Posters, Newsletters and other communications helps to improve TBS' presence and information services by giving helpful information to customers.
  2. Sofas - TBS always encourage customers to spend additional time in their stores. They have got realized that, additional time customers spend in the e book store, the greater they purchase. Sofas are given inside the store for reading the books in comfortable areas.
  3. Internet Connectivity - There may be Cellular Internet (Wireless) inside the TBS stores, providing additional income to TBS. In addition, it attracts a lot of new and prospects to the stores, especially travelers and travellers who want to gain access to the internet.
  4. Coffee shop inside the stores - Customers use this additional service as it permits them to invest additional time inside the store insurance firms some refreshment during or after shopping. This service also attracts potential new or future customers to the store.

Delivery System

In series with the guidelines of TQM, for delivering maximum value to its customers, TBS has designed and put in place a delivery system which is sketched out in Physique 4. The main components of this technique include
  1. For catering to ever changing customer needs and requirements, TBS has ensured that it maintain many unique layers of inventory. In each store, a back-office inventory is always looked after, to ensure option of much demanded literature, whose supply is important to prevent lost sales); also local warehouses are also maintained, permitting TBS to ensure that realistically fast-selling literature are available in a timeframe of no more than 2 times; a central warehouse is also taken care of to ensure that specialised catalogs are stored, for those books that end-customers usually have to wait up to a maximum time frame of 5 times.

    TBS views inventory as both a secured asset and an insurance/warranty against fluctuating demand, which is common in this turbulent market. However, the large amount of inventory at any point of amount of time in their supply chain costs a whole lot for TBS, including:

  2. Physical/Geographic location: This is an essential factor of its business, because TBS depends primarily on end customers who visit its stores. With an increase of customers browsing its stores, the greater possibility of sales. Also, it was observed that many new customers who primarily go to the store's restaurant become clients of TBS' other product offering.
  3. TBS has a characteristic store plan/layout system, where game titles are grouped into matter (background, economics, politics etc), category (Posters, Blue-rays, books etc) and genre (comics, film etc). TBS also has different parts for "specials" such as new arrivals, offers/sales etc. to help customers. Furthermore, facilities such as sofas, restaurant within the store, clean premises including passenger lifts and toilets. Also, other intangible factors like a dazzling and available atmosphere, large passages, passenger lifts and meticulously designed and put in place book-organization helps make it an appropriate experience for end customers.
  4. TBS has always ensured that good relationships with their vendors, suppliers, and web publishers are retained. This ensures more author visits, timely supply, higher goal treatment for new produces, and excellent price good buys from these suppliers/publishers.

Critical Evaluation of TBS' operating and service delivery system

For measuring the real most important talents of TBS' operating and service delivery system, it must be assess at different levels
Based on my personal observations of the TBS bookstore and the opinions obtained with the interviews and relationships about the different types of customers who consistent TBS, the effectiveness of the businesses management system could be examined by the next main criteria

a. Variety: TBS' end customers demand a great variety of products including Literature, CDs and newspapers, and variety inside each of these categories as well. Hence, TBS must ensure a right mix of quantity as well as variety of CDs, journals and books. TBS does not have a demand forecasting system right now, and therefore it is very difficult to make any affordable and accurate forecasting of demand soon.

b. Availability: The buying decision of any customer is highly reliant on the ready option of the product. In the event the merchandise they want for is unavailable, it is possible that the client might buy it from its challengers. This is especially critical because TBS' tensions a lot on customer retention and commitment.

c. Customer service experience: The clients overall experience in the store must be pleasant, and is also a very important factor. TBS ensures the option of different ranks of customer-care service staff, who are well versed with expert understanding. Each of them serve about 6-7 customers/hour, and each customer on an average spends 6-10 min at the customer-care counter-top. TBS provides extra facilities like a restaurant, sofas, very clean wash rooms, baby feeding rooms and toilets. It was witnessed that almost 30% of the clients visit the coffee shop on span of their shopping experience in TBS.

d. In-store promotions: Included in these are campaigns such as "buy 1 get 1 free", happening celebrations, discounts, celebrity visits and authors' book signing events. Within my observation for just two hours (2-4pm over a Sunday), 25 in 92 customers opted for a book that was under the marketing promotions section.

e. Purchase quantity per customer - About 35% of customers purchased a minimum of 1 Magazine/CD/book. As detailed in Body 6, we could plot a matrix to recognize the various kind of customers predicated on the amount of time they spent in the store, and the amount of buys they made. TBS uses this matrix to identify the most profitable "high value customers" as well as minimal profitable "unprofitable customers".

The functional efficiency of the system determines the long term success of your business such as that of TBS. This could be evaluated and measured in various ways

a. Inventory flow is vital for a fast-moving business such as educational catalogs. Success is not identified by the quantity of catalogs stocked in each store. But, how fast the product is transferred from the provider/vendor to the end-customer decides the best success of the business rather than finding the final number of catalogs stocked.

b. We should remove any bottlenecks that is there in any businesses system. In the case of TBS, the primary bottlenecks determined are

Bottlenecks in Dealer stage - It is difficult to obtain enough levels of some best vendor catalogs (especially those around which a media hype is created even prior to the unveiling) from the distributor, as they are popular by all book vendors, thus resulting in lost sales. This is actually the case especially through the initial introduction of literature (Eg: Harry Potter catalogs).

Bottlenecks in in-store Queuing system - Customers are extremely demanding it terms of the time they spend in a queue in a shop, due to the fast standards of living and increasing availability of online book outlets. During my observations, it was found that the common dispensation time for each and every end-customer was 1. five minutes, and the common queuing time was 6-8 minutes.

Bottle neck in Customer care desk - Customer satisfaction is vital in a highly competitive business such as reserve stalls. Any lack of customer care staff, or the quality of service offered, could lead to lost sales. The number of customer care employees in TBS was limited during peak hours, and each customer during peak hours had to wait for typically at least 3 minutes before he/she acquired some kind of help/support.

c. Inventory Forecasting - Within the books business, it is very important to effectively forecast demand and take care of an optimum degree of inventory in the complete system, i. e. , both in-store and in warehouses. It must have the ability to predict much in advance, the expected peaking of sales (for eg: Cake cooking literature during Xmas season or athletics magazines during the time of a major sports event). TBS does presently this by using a multi-stage inventory, and promotional free home delivery offers during such top periods.

Suppliers as well as customers possess tremendous amount of electricity in the educational e book industry. To truly have a profitable business, the books selling companies sign prior long term contracts with different stakeholders
a. Contractual contracts with web publishers - The discussions with web publishers are centered around the following areas

b. Business factors - Booklet stalls has to consider other factors such as employee salaries, cost of preserving the stores, the total annual rents etc.

The success of TBS depends intensely on the dedication and performance of its employees, both in-store employees and warehouse employees. The following factors are needed

A major reserve shop like TBS requires various kinds of employees for manning the various office inside the store such as administrative, billing, marketing & sales, commercial, Human being Tool Management and Inventory Management etc. TBS employees work in triple shifts and at any point of time, uses 13-17 employees inside the store, and during peak hours the amount of employees can go of up to 20.

b. Worker Training - Employee training is expensive, and it costs time, money and effort for TBS. To ensure that employees will work to their maximum efficiency, they have to be trained need to be ready to deal with the high criteria expected of these.

c. Efficiency - The efficiency of personnel needs to be monitored continuously, which could be achieved by measuring various variables such as average time per customer, average period to fetch a book, volume of positive customer feedbacks, etc.

The largest customer who add maximum to underneath type of TBS was found to be the "unfocused buyers". Hence, it is critical that TBS attempts to obtain additional of the customer segment to go to their store, and make sure they are spend more time in-store (time spend in the store shows strong correlation to the purchasing decision). I'd like to recommend the next changes, consistent with principles and methods of TQM and Quality Function Deployment (QFD), with the primary focus on customers and ongoing quality improvement respectively as their goals.

1. Establishing an Enterprise Learning resource Planning (ERP) solution - To effectively have a alternative and total methodology as envisaged by TQM, I would recommend building a companywide Enterprise Source of information Planning (ERP) solution such as SAP or PeopleSoft. This technique will integrate all the sub systems of TBS such as Inventory Management, Inventory Forecasting, Billing, Logistics, Human being Source of information Management, Marketing, Customer Service, Information Management etc. For instance, under the inventory management module, if the stock(inventory) gets below a specific amount (counters occur advance), the system will automatically place the requests for added stock from the publishers/suppliers.

2. Suppliers may be given access to the stock levels of each store, or when the customer places a fresh order, for their particular products. Thus the basic principle of Just WITH TIME (JIT) inventory management is also integrated. By implementing this technique, the holding out time in-store could be reduced dramatically leading to better client satisfaction. Also, information and requests can be located/obtained from anywhere, or customers in distant locations could order and gift idea products with their friends in Calicut, by purchasing online as envisaged by TQM.

Delivery system & demand forecasting before applying ERP system

3. Improvement in online/web presence - There are a great number of customers who visit the physical TBS store, however this has created bottlenecks in the system, especially in terms of billing counter and customer support desk. This has translated into customer dissatisfaction, and therefore applying the rule of TQM, I recommend building a full-fledged, simple to use website, where customers can view the literature, preview its webpages, and make an order using debit or credit card, and have the book sent at home. The delivery and repayment mechanism may be made flexible, such as "reserve and pick-in-store", "cash-on-delivery" etc. Thus the theory of Total Quality Management is applied effectively and proficiently.

4. Loyalty Programs - On top of the in-store customer experience and campaigns, TBS should also offer devotion programs (eg: Reward/Discount credit cards) to praise and promote duplicate/high value customers.

5. Starting a DVD/Compact disc/Blueray rentals section in-store. - The amount of customers switching from Literature to CDs and Dvd videos are increasing. Since, our company is hiring them, customers would get back to give back them possibly resulting in future sales. It must be linked both to the web presence of TBS as well as to the ERP solution to be applied. Thus, client satisfaction could be improved upon because they can get all necessary related products from the same roofing. Thus, the excellent aim of TQM can be successfully satisfied by reaching the requirements of customers and making them satisfied.

6. Increase the number of customer-care service personnel - Non availability of staff or high ready time for customers in the client care ends up with enormous customer dissatisfaction, and lost customer devotion. These have a long term influence on TBS brand and customer notion. Thus, this will ensure that Quality Function Deployment (QFD) goals are also satisfied, and could save TBS considerable amount of money that could have been lost scheduled to bad quality. Simple changes such as setting up a calling buzzer in the counter could potentially deal with these issues.

7. Modern Billing Self-Desks - Nowadays, customers have become increasingly advanced and more comfortable with modern technology. They can without difficulty home use a Radio Rate of recurrence Identification (RFID) billing self-desk by their own. Thus, personal savings on Human Resources as well as decrease in longing time for customers can be obtained.

8. Well qualified and personable support personnel - Personnel must be well aware of the locations of various titles, and should be passionate about the products these are dealing with. They must be extremely patient, and hospitable. Personnel must be continually be well dressed and hygienic, and if they're not, it could result in an undesirable customer experience.

By making use of the concepts of Total Quality Management (TQM) and Quality Function Deployment (QFD), we provides enormous value to customers, and substantially enhance their satisfaction levels, at exactly the same time providing value to us as well. I would recommend, primarily the implementation of any ERP (Business Reference Planning) solution that will holistically and totally take a look at and improvise all the various components of the service delivery system. Customers are the key concentrate, and main concern is given for "Do-it-right-the first-time" deal with, alternatively than rectifying after a problem occurs. Thus by putting into action the suggested suggestions, the operational success of the organization should increase.

[1] http://tbsbook. com/About. php (seen: 22/01/2010)

[2] http://tbsbook. com/About. php (utilized: 22/01/2010)

[3] http://tbsbook. com/About. php (accessed: 22/01/2010)

[4] Estimates, predicated on Personal Interviews with Management of TBS

[5] RDI Online Course Materials for Procedures Management

[6] RDI Online Course Materials for Functions Management

[7] Garvin, David 'Competing on the Eight Proportions of Quality', Harvard Business Review, December 1987

[8] Richard Normann (1991), "Service management: strategy and leadership in service business", Wiley (1991)

[9] Zeithaml, Valarie A. and Mary Jo Bitner (2003), "Services Marketing, " International model New York: McGraw Hill, third edition

[10] Zeithaml, Valarie A. and Mary Jo Bitner (2003), "Services Marketing, " International edition NY: McGraw Hill, third edition

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