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Producing output at various levels is the core objective of every organization (Anderson, 2009, p.58). According to Wyman (2005, p.7), the three main levels include
- Organizational level
- Group level
In its operation, Palm Inc. has incorporated all the three levels which have enabled it to have a substantial output.
In its operation, Palm Inc. deals with three product categories. These include smartphones, accessories, and handheld computers. In addition, the firm also deals with the development of Palm software and Windows Mobile applications. The firm produces a variety of Palm OS and Windows Mobile smartphones. According to Rubinstein and Jeffries (2009, p.4), all the firm’s smartphones depict the firm’s concept of innovation and simplicity. This is in line with the firm’s commitment to providing products that result in maximum customer experience. Some of its Palm OS smartphones include Palm Centro, Palm Pixi, Palm Treo, Palm Pre, and Treo 680.
In an effort to be the market leader, the firm introduced Palm webOS which can be supported on other hardware. Palm webOS also enables smartphones to support other core capabilities which include a camera, memos, calendar, photo viewer, and video player.
To ensure maximum customer experience, the firm offers a variety of services which are mainly transferred over-the-air. Some of these services include software updates, restoration, and back-up of various data. In addition to the above functionalities, Palm webOS enables other functionalities which make the smartphones to be effectively differentiated from other OS used by competing mobile devices (Rubinstein &Jeffries, 2009, p.5).
These functionalities include Palm Synergy, application multitasking, unobstructed notifications, and universal search. In developing Palm webOS, the firm incorporated the open platform. This was aimed at ensuring that other Palm users have the capability of using the application.
Some of the functionalities and features incorporated in the firm’s smartphones include wireless data applications for example messaging, web browsing, and email services. The smartphones also have a variety of wireless communication capabilities for example wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) and Bluetooth. The smartphones also have productivity software; multimedia features and non-volatile flash memory which play a significant role in the protection of data stored in the smartphone. In line with its goal to be customer-focused, Palm Inc. customizes some of its devices in an effort to meet carrier needs (Rubinstein &Jeffries, 2009, p.4).
The firm also targets institutional customers who have incorporated Treo Pro smartphone which is Windows Mobile-based (Rubinstein &Jeffries, 2009, p.4). Treo Pro enables the integration of Windows Mobile and Palm. This enables businesses that operate on Micro software to use the firm’s applications. Some of its Windows Mobile smartphone models include Treo Pro, Treo 500, Treo 500v, Treo 750, and Treo 750v. With regard to handheld computers, the firm owns a variety of brands that are currently available in various retail channels. Some of these brands include Palm Z22, Palm T/X, and Tungsten E2. However, in 2009, the firm ceased to manufacture handheld computers (Rubinstein &Jeffries, 2009, p.5).
At the organization level, the firm’s level of profit can be used to measure its performance. Over the past three years, Palm has experienced a significant reduction in sales in relation to handheld computers and smartphones which are the firm’s major product lines. The table below gives an illustration of the sales revenue for the past three years. All the figures are in thousands.
|Item||Year ended May 31|
|Handheld computers||$69,543||$193, 110||$ 310, 467|
|Smartphones||$ 666, 329||$1,125, 581||$ 1, 250, 040|
|Total||$ 735,872||$ 1,318,691||$ 1,560,507|
The firm also witnessed a reduction in its net income during the past three years as illustrated in the table below. All the figures are in thousands.
|Revenues||$ 735,872||$ 1,318,691||$ 1,560,507|
|Net income (loss)||($ 732, 872)||$ (105, 419)||$ 56, 507|
Its total assets for the past three years also underwent a significant reduction. Its total assets for 2009, 2008 and 2007 financial years are $ 643, 236, $ 1,180, 262 and $ 1, 548, 002 (all in thousands) respectively.
Superior organizational performance is one of the common goals of various organizations. In order to achieve this, various organizations have appreciated the need to form groups. According to Thomas (n.d, p. 95), groups in organizations are categorized into two, formal and informal. A formal group is specifically designed by the firm’s management team in an effort to achieve organizational goals.
This means that these groups are developed for a specific purpose. Thomas (n.d, p. 95) further asserts that formal groups in an organization can be functional groups. Considering the dynamic nature of the information technology environment, firms in this industry are developing different functional groups in their operation (Information Resource Management Association International Conference, 1999). Palm Inc has a number of functional groups which include;
- Research and development.
- Manufacturing and supply chain.
- Sales and marketing.
- Customer service and support.
The research and development team ensures that the firm undertakes the effective development of various products. This is achieved by conceiving and designing products which will result in maximum customer experience. The research and development team either develops the intended product internally or liaises with licensed 3rd parties. Upon effective product definition, Palm Inc outsources firms to undertake the manufacturing process.
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The research and development team ensures the firm’s products are competitive through effective value addition and differentiation. This is achieved through the effective incorporation of software into the hardware developed. The firm has integrated the concept of continuous research and development. To achieve this, the firm’s management team allocates a substantial amount of finance to research and development in its annual budget.
During its 2007, 2008, and 2009 financial years, the firm’s expenses with regard to research and development amounted to $ 191.0 million, $201.8 million, and $ 177. 2 million. It is ensured that the entire amount is effectively utilized. As a result, the firm has experienced better performance in its sales revenue for the period ranging from 2007 to 2009 as illustrated in the table above. However, its sales revenue has been affected by the recession making it challenging to achieve the expected level. In addition, the firm incurred a net change in its cost of revenue with a margin of $16.1 million.
Manufacturing and supply chain
According to Rubinstein and Jeffries ( 2009, p.5), this team consists of outsourced partners whose role is to manufacture various smartphones and handhelds such as Palm Pre, Centro, and Treo. These manufacturers are mainly outsourced from China and Taiwan. The outsourced partners also undertake various roles such as;
- Turnkey material procurement.
- Final assembly.
- Logistics and fulfillment.
To ensure effective product distribution, the firm has established distribution centers that are located in Illinois, Hong Kong, and Ireland.
Sales and marketing
The firm has a well-established sales and marketing team. In addition, it markets its products through distributors, resellers, wireless carriers, and retailers. The firm also incorporated internet marketing which is undertaken through the firm’s website, Palm.com. The wireless carriers form the largest proportion of the firm’s sales force. Palm’s distribution partners are located in various regions such as Asia Pacific, Latin America, Canada, and Europe. Some of the firm’s wireless carriers include Sprint Nextel, Verizon Wireless, Telefonica/02, Vodafone, American Movil, Bell Mobility, Telstra, and AT&T.
Customer service and support
Customers want their needs, expectations, wants, and feelings acknowledged (Bacal, 2004, p. 11). Delivering customer service is one of the most important outputs that a firm can achieve. Effective customer service culminates into an increment in the level of customer satisfaction and hence loyalty (Bacal, 2004, p. 11). In marketing its smartphones in the US, the firm’s partners’ wireless carrier partners undertake a number of roles.
On the other hand, the firm has also established a strong customer support team for its international market. In the international market, the firm offers customer service through outsourced service providers in addition to its internal customer service personnel. The remote control technology is also used in providing customer support. In an effort to be effective in customer service, the firm has introduced a premium support service that is specifically designed to cater to the firm’s enterprise customers. This service is proved at an additional fee.
To ensure the success of the firm, the various functional groups consist of a number of individuals who collaborate in an effort to achieve organizational goals (Jones & Brazell, 2006, p. 45). The operation of the research and development team is made possible by various engineers. Some of these include software engineers who specialize in designing and developing various types of software. In addition, the individual level also includes mechanical, quality, and electrical engineers. In addition, the individual level also includes radio specialists and user-interface design specialists.
These specialists ensure that there is an efficient functionality of smartphones. On the other hand, the sales and marketing department is composed of sales-personnel, marketers, product promoters, and branding specialists. These individuals ensure that there is effective and efficient market awareness regarding smartphones. Market awareness forms the initial step for a product to penetrate the market. Performance at the individual level can be measured by determining the extent of market awareness. To determine the quality of the product, the firm can evaluate the consumer’s perception regarding smartphones. In addition, the firm evaluates the effectiveness of the products of various functionalities.
Palm’s success is directly related to the strong organizational relationship that has been entrenched between the organizational, group, and individual levels. At the organizational level, the firm is aimed at ensuring that it produces products that result in maximum customer experience through innovation. In order to attain this, the firm collaborates with the organization’s group level which includes the research and development team, manufacturing and supply chain, sales and marketing, and customer service, and support.
For example, upon generation of a product idea, a multi-disciplinary team is developed to undertake product designing. The various individuals in the firm’s groups collaborate in an effort to ensure the effectiveness of the various operational processes. Through collaboration, the firm is able to develop its knowledge base. This arises from the fact that various parties in the organization are able to exchange skills. For example, the firm’s internal processes such as idea generation, designing, development, and implementation are undertaken through liaising with various individuals such as the internal engineers. At the group level, the firm collaborates with external partners such as supply chain organizations in an effort to ensure that it attains its customer focus objective.
In order to ensure effective product development, Palm’s organization level also collaborates with the individual level such as the marketers and salesperson. As a result, the firm is able to access market information such as customer product requirements. This increases the effectiveness with which the firm’s product attains market acceptability. This arises from the fact that customers want their needs, expectations, wants, and feelings acknowledged. This enhances the firm’s effectiveness in designing its products by including the required functionalities.
For a firm to achieve a high level of performance considering the intensity of competition, it is paramount for it to operate as a unit. Through collaboration, the firm is able to attain synergy. This indicates that there is a strong degree of congruence between the various outputs in the organization. The resultant effect is evident in the firm’s superior performance.
Anderson, D. (2009). Organizational development: the process of leading organizational change. New York: Sage Publication Inc.
Bacal, R. (2004). Perfect phrases for customer service: hundreds of tools, techniques, and scripts for handling any situation. New Jersey: McGraw-Hill.
Information Resource Management Association International Conference. (1999). Managin g information technology resources in organizations in the next millennium. London: Idea Group.
Jones, B. & Brazell, M. (2006). The NTL handbook of organization development and change: principles, practices and perspectives. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Rubinstein, J. & Jeffries, D. (2009). Palm Inc. Washington: United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
Thomas, R. (n.d). High performing organizations. Chicago: Tata McGraw-Hill.
Wyman, O. (2005). The congruence model. Web.