LWT is a company manufacturing interior shutters. Last year, a lot of cheap Chinese shutters appeared on the market. Due to that, the company had to design a new business model; to begin with, they decided to broaden the range of products. Apart from that, it is essential for them to start collaborating with customers directly instead of selling goods to decorating centers. Also, it was decided to improve online advertising.
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It can be said that the given case is related to some of the chapters we studied during the course. For instance, when it comes to Chapter 4 devoted to forecasting demand, it touches upon the importance of forecasting in business. As is clear from the case, Chuck Keown has applied this tool in order to strengthen the position of the company and gain a competitive advantage over Chinese manufacturers.
As for Chapter 7, it tells about production processes and touches upon customers’ ability to influence process design. If we regard the case in connection with the service process matrix presented in the chapter, it becomes clear that Keown aims at making LWT a company with professional service which is capable of executing the orders with no middlemen involved. There is one more chapter devoted to capacity planning that explains the notion of efficiency. It is obvious that the measures taken by the higher management of LWT are aimed at improving efficiency with the help of the adoption of a customer-centric strategy.
In Chapter 14 that we studied, the authors present important information concerning MRP and ERP – commonly accepted techniques used in order to process relevant information and make effective decisions aimed at mitigating the most important risks. It is known that ERP is closely interconnected with customer relationship management. As is clear from the vision expressed by Keown, the company has to pinpoint attention upon the quality of customer service, and this is why the chapter is related to the case.
The higher management of the company is ready to implement changes to its mission statement due to the fact that the position of LWT in the market is precarious – a lot of manufacturers from the country with the low-paid manpower manage to create exact copies of their products. Due to that, many companies prefer to collaborate with these companies because of low prices. As it follows from the statements made by Keown, adoption of the new business strategy may be the only chance for LWT to improve its positions. In fact, doing business based on the new mission is a difficult task for any company, but changing strategy and implementation of a customer-oriented approach is the best alternative for LWT considering challenges that it faces.
The decision that Chuck Keown is going to make is to change the way that products are sold. To begin with, LWT is planning to deal with customers directly in order to attract more attention to the company and let customers enjoy a high-quality service.
The decision involves significant changes in strategy for competitive advantage – due to it, the company will be able to strengthen its positions and attract customers’ attention to a wide range of high-quality products, and it will help LWP to compare favorably with its competitors. Therefore, the strategy will be improved. In order to accomplish the changes Keown envisions, LWP has to create a customer database, develop an effective advertising campaign, and change production processes in order to fulfil individual orders. More than that, the company managers will have to invite new specialists responsible for customer support and provide additional equipment that may be needed to complete some orders.