Whitehats is the company that provides different IT solutions with its headquarters in Dubai, and the enterprise is a part of the Pharaon Group of Companies.1 It offers hardware and equipment while paying vehement attention to the needs of customers and their perceptions.1
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Thus, its array of services includes cloud storage, data back-up, and server, vendors, and voice solutions.1 It is one of the most innovative companies in this segment, as its initiatives and achievements were recognized by different funds and committees while the company was awarded for its contribution to the IT industry. Its high revenues and recognition could pertain to various partnerships with IT giants such as Microsoft and Acronis.1 A combination of these factors ensures its competitive advantage and continuous development of its customer base and recognition.
In the context of this assignment, I will be the head of the customer service department for several product lines, and I have to manage six employees within this department and a diverse range of financial, human, and physical resources. Generally speaking, this department is responsible for handling different customer questions and issues while replying to them rapidly using phones and the Internet. It is essential to manage these resources effectively in this entity while setting the goal of increasing customer satisfaction as a priority, as its efficiency depicts its image.
As was mentioned previously, the central goals of this department are to increase customers’ satisfaction, enhance the company’s image, and enlarge the customer base. Generally speaking, to achieve these goals, Whitehats has to rely on a diversity of resources, including time, finances, equipment, and workforce. In the context of any enterprise, the resources mentioned above have to be integrated, as only using them wisely can help reach the alignment with corporate strategy.
Being a head manager of the customer service department implies sufficient monitoring and allocation of these resources while identifying the types that are utmost required. For example, to ensure high customer satisfaction levels, it is of paramount importance to hire competent account managers, call center operators, and customer service coordinators, as these individuals are reflections of the organizational culture and its attitude towards clients.
As for finances, cash is required to make contracts with suppliers to ensure the constant Internet connection and the functioning of phone lines. Simultaneously, paying these bills promptly also implies sufficient integration with customers. Hardware and software such as computers and CRM systems are internal physical resources. They could be considered the core of the business processes while defining the overall speed and quality of collaboration. Overall, these resources help reach established goals and gain customers’ recognition.
The objectives that have to be achieved can be identified through the SMART objective principle. These objectives imply that the goal has to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. For example, the organization may comply with the following SMART objective – increase customer recognition level by at least 30% using the improved CRM system by the end of this quarter.
The Process of Planning Resources Use to Achieve Objectives
As it was stated previously, effective planning is one of the definers of a successful business. With the assistance of analyzing the industry and economic environment, it is possible to predict the quantity of each resource required to reach the set goals and objectives. The data presented in tables 1 and 2 are show combines the elements of business planning, forecasting, and budgeting, as these factors assist in understanding the percentage of required resources and ensure sufficient strategic planning.
Only focusing on combining these aspects enables the department’s alignment with the corporate goals and mission while prioritizing growth and customer satisfaction. Nonetheless, the numbers are estimated and generalized due to many product lines covered by this entity.
Table 1. Financial budget for January to June.
Thus, when developing a budget, it is of paramount importance to consider potential changes in supply and demand and their fluctuations due to the seasonality of the business. For example, it is evident that IT business is in demand throughout the year, but most of the issues occur during summer. The primary reason for that is that the company operates with different businesses, while some choose to optimize their systems during this season. Consequently, it is rational to increase the number of call operators to interact with customers effectively.
Table 2. Financial budget for June to December.
At the same time, it is crucial to consider any unpredictable changes in the economic environment. Operating under Pharaon Holding SAL Group of Companies ensures the enterprise’s position in the market by providing it with a sufficient financial platform to mitigate risks and changes.1 Nevertheless, I, as a department manager, have to maintain the emergency financial pool at the appropriate level, as, otherwise, the inability to react promptly will lead to bankruptcy and decreasing the quality of the provided services.
In this case, the amount of emergency pool is based on resources spent and seasonality of the market. Overall, these concepts of budgeting and planning help assume the required quantity of resources effectively. The planning process will include gap analysis, SMART goals, and monitoring progress. The first step is crucial because it will highlight the gaps between the organizational vision and its current affairs.
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To complete this analysis correctly, the organization will have to research several areas outside the organization (for instance, customer satisfaction and market share). Then, the organization will develop a SMART objective to systematize its employees’ efforts and get to the next stage. Monitoring the goals is the last stage of the planning process. The organization will concentrate on recurrent status updates coming from each employee that will have to occur at least once throughout the quarter. The last thing that will have to be done is an annual review of the organization’s strategic plan intended to ensure that all the objectives are developed based on the current state of the organization.
The Costs Associated with the Resource Required to Achieve Objectives
Apart from defining the precise quantity of resources, it is vital to consider costs and their development. As mentioned earlier, it is essential to consider the past performance of the enterprise and industrial research when making these estimations. For example, the costs of salaries and electricity were forecasted, and they provided generalized sums of money. At the same time, it was necessary to simplify them since this department was only a small part of the company. Nonetheless, relying on these matters would help make the right adjustments to the costs and predict when more workforce could be required.
Simultaneously, the appropriate amounts have to be based on the company’s overall revenues. Apart from Whitehats, Pharaon Group of Companies has its branches in various segments such as insurance, healthcare, and agriculture.2 For example, Libano-Suisse is one of the parts of the enterprise operating in the sphere of insurance, and it had $1.4million in revenues in 2014 while serving 200,000 customers.3
As for Whitehats, its revenues accounted for one million, but its position in the stock market could not be evaluated. Having this outstanding performance and being a pioneer in the industry can be considered favorable factors for increasing spending on customer service. These matters are reflected in tables 1 and 2 in increased expenditures during the summer months. Overall, exceptional financial performance or recital and being a market leader makes Whitehats more flexible and responsive to seasonality. The three resources that have to be considered within this analysis framework are finances, equipment, and workforce.
These costs will be based on the progress of the organization in terms of complying with SMART objectives. For example, the company’s finances will have to be analyzed before the implementation of the new plan and then evaluated throughout the year recurrently. Both the costs of equipment and the workforce will be mediated throughout the fiscal year because they cannot be adequately forecasted.
Sources of Supply to Meet Planned Objectives
For any company, creating a well-developed supply chain is of high importance, as it is a critical contributor to the brand image of the enterprise and its services. For example, Porter defines a clear connection between internal and external processes and the development of the overall value of a product or service, and suppliers become an essential part of this chain. Thus, in the first place, it is critical to assess what resources are required to reach corporate goals.
For example, the company would rely on external suppliers such as the Internet and network providers by making contracts. The only option is to outsource these services, as offering them is highly expensive and requires an exceptional level of expertise. Meanwhile, it will also be rational to utilize internal supply sources to have the right number of different types of employees and IT maintenance. In this case, a priority is given to internal services, as they entirely support the corporate strategy and organizational integrity while emphasizing outstanding quality.
Whitehats has a well-designed procedure for selecting suppliers and evaluating its reliability. The current Internet and phone line providers comply with the company’s quality standards since they prioritize high-quality services; their prices are reasonable; it is possible to establish contacts with them long-term. In turn, the reliability of internal sources of supply is high since these departments comply with the corporate strategy and can help it reach the desired goals of improving the quality of the services and enlarging the consumer base.
Finally, when assessing the value-to-cost ratio of suppliers, the company evaluates the impact of the service on the overall sales and customer satisfaction. Based on these comparisons, it is possible to determine whether it is reasonable to continue using them. The company will also have to pay closer attention to managing its financial outlays. This will allow the organization to create an efficient internal source of supply. This decision is based on the idea that the organization possesses all the required resources and only has to make a continuous resource network.
Processes to Manage the Supply, Continuity, and Quality of Resources
The previous section implied that selecting suppliers is a complicated process. Before choosing a supplier, it is vital to evaluate the needs of the department, as this assessment will be used as a basis. After that, the Committee conducts research, evaluates all available options in the market, and estimates the price-to-quality ratio. After that, during the meetings, the contract is signed. This model applies to external suppliers while the company pays for unlimited Internet and several phone lines once a month.
The quality checks are regularly made to maintain interaction with the customer at the right level. Speaking of human resources, I, as a department manager, consult the HR entity, and when working in collaboration, we create a job profile and description. And after that, the HR department is responsible for finding the most suitable candidates and providing training. The quality checks are represented in the form of tests and performance measures. When the IT specialist is needed, it is vital to submit a request to the maintenance services, and the cost is based on the amount of work completed.
Apart from the well-established way to choose suppliers, it is vital to ensure that the resources of every department are responsive to the changes in demand and supply. In the first place, making purchases and other transactions centralized is one of the first steps to ensure high quality and continuity. Coming back to the SMART objective that was specified earlier, it is necessary to make sure that the company only hires professional individuals that are capable of maintaining the current state of affairs and reaching toward the wished state of affairs at the same time.
Another idea is that all the financial expenditures have to be evaluated before the beginning of the fiscal year based on the information from previous years. Third, the organization has to concentrate on its inventory and make sure that most expenditures are planned in advance. At the same time, to mitigate risks, the company tends to use multi-sourcing since this approach assists in having a continuous flow of the required services and products.
Along with that, assuring that the data in the SAP system is correct and complies with the adjustments made in budgets and financial projections will help understand the number of required resources. For example, with the assistance of using the existent financial projections, it is possible to say that one more operator will be needed during the summer months. Overall, reacting to changes in the business environment and reflecting them in the corporate systems can help ensure business processes continuity.
Disruption Management in Resource Supply
Apart from the sufficient development of the organization, it is vital to propose different practices to ensure the adequate functioning of the system, disregarding any disruptions in its processes. In the first place, these strategies are vehemently linked to continuity management, and centralizing the services is one of the fundamental approaches. This method assists in monitoring inventory effectively, along with using SAP and CRM systems.
Simultaneously, the company also relies on back-up Internet plans and network providers. Otherwise, using only one service provider may be risky. At the same time, the enterprise also employs Service Level Agreements since it is highly dependent on IT and human resource management departments. These agreements are cost-effective, as all entities aim at organizational integrity and prioritize working as a team to offer high-quality services by creating mutually beneficial partnerships.
Here, the issue consists in the fact that continuity is rather hard to elicit when the IT infrastructure is weak and requires serious investments. This leads to the idea that such agreements can cause disruptions to impacting organizational performance and employee output.
In this case, to avoid disruptions, my department pays vehement attention to constantly training personnel such as call center operators to assure the sufficient flow of human resources when the current employees are unavailable. This procedure is costly to implement, but only providing basic training can help maintain supply and help avoid panic in the cases of emergency, and as for physical resources, creating back-up partnerships with Internet providers is also costly to implement and may negatively affect quality.
Apart from contracts, the company has the supply of back-up equipment to ensure its sufficient functioning in an emergency while supporting it with the emergency financial pool. These strategies are expensive to implement, but employing them is rational since they ensure contingency and help minimize the adverse effects of the emergency. The issue with highly trained personnel consists of the fact that many resources have to be spent to deliver organizational education and training of the highest quality. Otherwise, the organization will be subject to a higher rate of employee turnover. The allocation of resources will depend on the management of human resources, which may become a limitation from the perspective of the organization’s budget.
To predict disruptions in supply, some forecasting models can be employed. The company’s resources do not provide a profound analysis of this scheme, but various risk management strategies can be used. For example, Whitehats can utilize a unique blend of procedures, including data mining and Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA), as these methods help understand the nature of the event and predict it and mitigate the risks when it incurs.
Simultaneously, along with these procedures, the company can rely on financial forecasting to predict seasonal fluctuations of supply and demand and determine any potential disruptions and shortage in inventory. All of these procedures can be regarded as effective when managing disruptions at global and local levels. Thus, the disaster planning covers the following stages
- defining the general scope and framework of the issue;
- identifying potential failures, their causes, and effects;
- proposing ranking and potential possibility of occurrence;
- establishing control, detection, and reaction system.
For example, when responding to a disaster, after identifying the severity of the risks, evacuation, or restoration of the system will take place depending on the nature of the disaster. It is predicted to be efficient, but the procedure to restore the supply of resources by relying on the additional contracts with suppliers was effective. All potential risks related to the low quality of interactions were successfully managed.
The issue with disaster planning and forecasting models also consists in the fact that they critically impact the number of financial resources that have to be spent by the organization. In practice, the implementation of such instruments should be premeditated and outlined for at least one year in advance to be considered adequate and worth adhering to within the framework of the existing state of affairs.
Progress of Actual Resources Use Against Planned Resource Use
At the same time, it is essential to discover the methods to compare the actual resources used against the planned ones. In this case, the company uses its budget planning sheets to record any changes in the amount required to manage operations effectively. For example, table 3 displays the actual recording process. Its columns provide information about the forecasted quantity of resources and their costs while also comparing them to the real numbers.
This approach helps to see the frequency of making these payments and provides budget variances. In this instance, the budget suggests that I, as a department manager, have to increase the monthly budget by $1,700 to cover unexpectedly escalating demand in an additional call center operator. It is apparent that the emergency pool mitigates this increase in costs. Still, this supply of the workforce has to be reconsidered in the subsequent months to minimize this emergency occurrence in the recent future.
The presence of the emergency pool creates a back-up and ensures financial stability. At the same time, this example also displays the ability of Service Level Agreements with the Human Resource Management department to restore a shortage in supply. Along with the variance analysis, the enterprise can rely on comparing the actual and expected business environment while referring to the projected costs as ideal conditions and actual ones as attainable. Overall, using different analysis types and sufficiently recording all budget fluctuations can advance financial planning and make it more informative and precise.
The budget utilization process can be characterized as consistent with the SMART objectives identified above because it reflects the main areas that have to be addressed by the organization to keep up with the organization’s needs when it comes to its short- and long-term objectives. The importance of this stage consists of a close relationship between the resources that were identified as the basis of the creation of the SMART objective intended to improve the state of affairs at the organization.
Table 3. Budget: Variances.
Methods of Recording and Monitoring Resources Used
To conduct effective analyses of the variances, it is necessary to use different methods to record these changes sufficiently. In the first place, any changes appear to be depicted in the annual budget of the company. It helps control it within a year while making insignificant adjustments if necessary. Also, these states of expenditure tend to be reflected in other financial reports, such as the statements of cash flow and accumulated income. Recording them in these financial documents can help understand and monitor the company’s financial stability and performance.
Along with that, a combination of these systems provides a profound image covering the company’s viability and its possibility to survive in the market. In turn, the enterprise uses these findings when conducting variance analysis, as these outcomes can be actively utilized when creating a budget for the subsequent years of operation. The example of variance analysis reporting is presented above (see table 3).
The red values in the variance column depict negative financial fluctuations while showing that some adjustments have to be made. As a real-life example, the IT department of Dell can be mentioned here because they are similarly monitoring their resources, and their resource management is strictly aligned to the organizational objectives regarding the quality of proposed services. It is safe to say that the proposed methods of monitoring and recording resources can be successfully implemented in practice.
Methods of Using Resource Information to Improve Future Action
Apart from controlling cash inflows and outflows, Whitehats uses its budget to estimate future costs and predict potential fluctuations in demand. For example, it can utilize sensitivity analysis principles and develop a diverse range of positive and negative scenarios based on the past budget. This method will define the corporate course of actions while giving the company a distinct competitive advantage and financial stability.
Based on these findings, it is possible to estimate the associated costs and develop an effective budget and forecasting system. The number of units per month should be defined at £30 per unit. This numeric data is based on the previous calculations regarding fiscal resources available to the organization. In the future, this resource information can be used to review the organization’s financial state and create a plan that will eradicate the most ineffective decisions from previous years.
When designing the current budget, the company highly relied on the expenses of the previous year, and this matter implies using the concepts of an incremental approach. Generally speaking, Whitehats tends to make adjustments to the budget of the last year while forecasting potential change in it with sensitivity analysis. For example, general estimations from the previous years were taken into account. Nonetheless, the company still utilized the emergency pool to react to any fluctuations successfully. Thus, when designing a budget for the subsequent years, the following steps can be employed:
- evaluating variances of the past budget;
- conducting sensitivity analysis;
- developing a new budget based on cost-effectiveness and other assessments;
- keeping an appropriate amount of financial resources in the emergency pool;
- making slight adjustments while constantly conducting variance evaluation.
Overall, using a unique blend of techniques assists Whitehats in staying financially viable and surviving in the intensified rivalry.
- Leech, Corinne. Pathways to Management and Leadership: Unit 5004V1: Practices of Resource Management. Chartered Management Institute, 2013.
- Whitehats: Remote solutions. Whitehats, 2015. Web.
- Pharaon Holding S.A.L. Pharaon Holding S.A.L., 2010. Web.
- Libano-Suisse. Lebano-Suisse, 2015. Web.