1 Product development involves a lot of planning. There is no point in developing a product that may be highly technical, if there are no market for them or if the present market standing and reputation becomes obsolete in the near future. If true customer satisfaction is the company prerogative, hen there must be a serious debate on whether the company can and will invest in technological product development In order to do so, the first and foremost objective would be to analyse the organisational capability and resource availability to match customer demands.
The organisational heads need to address the following issues before proceeding with product development: 1. Understand the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the product in question 2. Weigh the customer’s options on why they will buy, or won’t buy 3. Assess the ability to produce and develop these products over a long period of time, keeping in mind the customer’s needs and demands 4. Factors that can hamper future production An organization must place its customers before self. It is therefore desirable to view the product in the context of what customers value rather than the organisation.
A reason why many reputed organisations falling by the wayside is due to their ineptness in ignoring customer needs, and engages in image changes to glamorise themselves and their products. In the cause of the customer, it is necessary to examine in detail, the nature of product(s) and activities of competitors (Richard Pettinger, p. 215-217, 2004). Algeiser Software Pvt. Ltd. is a company of national repute. Despite its size, the company has been able to grow steadily in a highly competitive market. The list of growing clientele is testimony of its product reliability and user friendliness.
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With the advent of foreign companies into the Indian market, Algeiser finds itself fighting a new kind of competition, a global brand and ample financial resources to attract the best talent in the country. This has brought worries to many smaller organisations, who risk losing their brain to lucrative financial offers. This is why Malhotra has been entrusted the job of seeking alternative means to fight for market presence in the country as well as abroad. Malhotra is faced with the situation of rethinking his marketing and development operatives. In order to do so, Malhotra had to answer some strong queries.
His company now had to fight for international recognition first, quality was a prerogative, backup was deemed a necessity, and lots of money to finance R&D, the only way to stay in front. This led him to debate on the possible solution to this problem. With the advent of the big players, Algeiser had no other option than to go in for co-production, involving a foreign participant. Certain points that had to be addressed were: • Markets had to be created to sell the new product • Product is market-led; the organisation identifies gaps in market, and produces in anticipation of filling gaps.
• Products are considered from the benefits they deliver to customers, and their life cycle • Product benefits, such as: 1. Security, comfort and confidence 2. Product reassurance 3. Creativity 4. Power 5. Tradition (Richard Pettinger, p. 218-220, 2004) 2 Business Development A customer’s relationship with an organization is built on trust and reliability. A customer’s relationship strategy fundamentally reshapes the thought process of an organization to build a strong customer base. Focusing on people, business processes, performance management systems and technologies are sure ways to satisfying customer needs.
With an effective Customer Relationship Strategy, an organization can: • Identify, acquire, retain and develop more profitable customers • Align the business, marketing, and sales strategies with customer care • Achieve a customer centric organization with a clear contact management strategy (Hitachi Consulting, 1994). No product or company can survive competition or sustain its identity without asserting itself on two basic components in marketing: Image, and people. If not managed properly, these components can break a brand. Brands and people have to be owned, nurtured and developed by an organization.
They are the ultimate differentiators and value creators. Companies such as Pepsi, Coca cola, Levis, and Cadburys are a few examples of well managed brand companies, whereas Enron and Anderson are the adversaries. So powerful is this medium, that unless harnessed properly, sustainability, popularity, and growth are at risk. Thus, the elements that affect an individual's relationship with a brand are: The relationship between the product and the customer, and The type of person the brand represents. The consumer obviously would like the personality traits to be that of his own.
One important relationship for many brands is a friendship link characterised by trust, dependability, understanding, and caring. A friend is there for you, treats you with respect, is comfortable, is someone you like, and is an enjoyable person with whom to spend time (Brand Personality-The relationship Basis Model, groups. haas. berkeley. edu). An organisation depends on its management and strategic leadership capability to make critical adaptations for higher performance, especially in highly competitive markets like mobile telephones.
These leaders capitalise on external and internal market changes, stimulate debate, and motivate people to take action. This may sound easier than done. One must not forget that it takes a lot of persuasion and dedication to exploit current business opportunities while developing new ones. What organisational designs best facilitate this? Strategic renewal process of course! In such a situation, the strategic leaders arrange for a back-to-basics meeting with their support team to identify and analyse what the organisation stood for.
This is a time for introspection and a revisit to the drawing board where among other things the following questions are asked: 1. What does the organisation stand for and what does it do to achieve this? 2. Why does the organisation do this and how does it do this? 3. Does everyone know the way this business operates and also how the organisation covers its risks? 4. Do you all know how well the business is doing and if so, is it going in the right direction? Do you foresee further growth potential, and if so, how? This is the time for introspection.
How many times have employees of an organisation been called for such a critical meeting or discussion as this? None, to be honest, would be most replies. It’s true. Management never brings their support staff into any critical decision meetings, for the simple reason that they see workers as slaves. This is not the right attitude towards workers. Strategic management involves the participation of all class of employees, whether they are programmers, developers, marketers, or managers. Many people work for an organisation, yet only a chosen few would know how their organisational business evolves and how its many components work holistically.
Process mapping is a way to demonstrate these issues. Once these issues are addressed, questions are raised and answers recorded. Questions in the context of total participation sharpen the awareness of process interrelationships among the working group. The strategic team then uses these inputs to identify ways to improve quality and productivity and to drive significant cycle time out of operations. As in the case of Algeiser BC Pvt. Ltd. , the competitive landscape demands new strategy formulation and implementation (John Kittredge, p. 1-2, 2003). Employment Opportunities.
When a company pursues its interest of developing or expanding its existing business, employment opportunities arise. Stiff competition in the U. S Mobile industry has led to mobile phone (Cell phones) manufacturers to look for features that can enhance their market value and develop brand equity. The U. S and UK have a strong mobile usage base, and this has led to many more companies entering the fray to bite into the large market segment. Production costs are cut through lay-offs and contracting works and some of the major players have opened their production units in these countries to beat logistic costs.
With the opening of such production units within their country, many natives are assured of employment and better life. As mentioned a little earlier, production increases on demand, and demand arise from additional features and other attractive parameters that customers elicit from it. This leads to increase the country’s GDP, employment level, and government revenue through taxes. The following figure 1 gives an insight of how the economics works. Figure 1 showing the Supply and Demand side of the cellular wireless industry in the United States Figure 1: Courtesy: Benefits from wireless technology, Entner et al.
2005 The above figure gives a clear demarcation between supply and demand. Once supplies decrease, prices tend to rise with demand. This can be overcome by strengthening the workforce to produce more. This directly leads to more employment opportunities, a definite increase in the national GDP, demand for better and much improved systems, and hike in government revenues. On the demand side the use of wireless technology enhances the performance of American conglomerates, which has access to the latest technology involving wireless voice services and wireless data services.
When the demand for wireless phones increase, it’s but natural to interpret that the business community is healthy and vibrant. No longer do individuals need to climb the walls to do business. However, all of the effects which are described above have already happened. Has wireless technology begun to experience a decline in marginal revenues? If that be the case, production would stagnate for insufficient orders and labour cuts would be effected. Therefore, the incorporation of new features through advanced technology is imperative for growth. Consumers’ interests must be tickled and they should be encouraged to continue their buying trend.
The market will also continue to grow along with the latest technology. Who would want to be tied down with the same old technology and features? It’s no good to do business that way, for the loss of business is the loss of the economy. The market must be encouraged to innovate and bring about changes from time-to-time. Take for example the automobile industry. Japanese car manufacturers work tirelessly to introduce new models and features to their existing models to rekindle the interest of the consumer. There may be a handful of people around who still love their 60s and 70s car.
The same thing should and will happen in the wireless mobile industry. Schumpeter (1934) described the concept of creative destruction. To develop new technology requires resources (finance, know-how and raw material); however, in a competitive economy this means either making existing products more efficient or channelling resources from other projects to improve existing product. Either way, to bring new features into mobile phones, old ones must be removed from the market. Not surprisingly, most mobile phone outlets offer spot exchange on old telephones; an incentive to encourage sales. 3. 0 Background.
It was almost 25 years ago that mobile phones came to the United Kingdom. And when they did, they were huge in size with very limited features. They were expensive fashionable tools used only by the elite class. It took sometime before the common man could get his/her hand on such a luxury. The huge progress since is thanks largely to a progressive, deregulated environment, and the work of some pioneers and evangelists who understood where mobile could take the country to. Believe it or not, but this country today boasts of more mobile phones than UK citizens; 63 million according to data collected in 2005.
The big handsets have given way to minute palm-size phones that have just about everything that a man could hope for. These phones are capable of amazing things. Playing music, checking email and playing games are standard practice. As technological advances bring about revolutionary features, the demand and crave for more has only heightened competition and opportunities. That’s right! With the growing demand for better products, companies are pressed to expand their operations and employ more people, improving the company’s and the country’s revenue.
As the technical capability of devices accelerates, so has the UK’s mobile landscape. It is still evolving incredibly fast. Five years or so ago, there were only a handful of significant companies operating outside the network operators’ world, but this has changed rapidly, and now there are hundreds. A survey conducted by O2 in conjunction with Real Business, identified more than 200 independent firms that were creating innovative mobile products and services for businesses and consumers.
Of these, there were a list of 50 companies to watch, which accounted for nearly ?1bn in revenues in the past year, a sign of the trend in mobile telecommunication in relation to mainstream telecom and internet technologies. The implications for UK businesses are vast, with most of the listed companies in some of the fastest-moving and most profitable markets, devising marketing strategies for the likes of Google, Disney, Coca-Cola, Ford, Cisco and Visa (Short, 2005). In order to understand the impact of telecommunication in the development of a nation’s economy, I would like to state the case of China, which till a decade ago was among the poorest of nations.
The Chinese telecommunication sector witnessed tremendous growth during the period 1997-2002, which was about 20%. This formed a very strong portion of the country’s GDP and is considered the strongest and fastest growing industry in the world. In such a prospective market, the major Chinese fixed-line and mobile business houses have invested approximately 25 billion American dollars on network infrastructure in the past year alone, considerably more than the whole of Western Europe put together. This goes to show the market potential in China and is amply illustrated by the 1.
3 billion fixed-line and mobile connections in operation there. Only one out of ten Chinese citizens had a phone five years ago. Today, this figure has more than multiplied and more than one out of three have a fixed telephone subscription and more than 1. 25 million cellular subscribers signing up every week. It is estimated that in another five years, this figure will jump vertically to reach a figure of 950 million fixed and mobile subscriptions, thrice the population of the United States (Uria-Recio, 2004). China’s economic growth has created a greater boon for the telecommunication market here.
It is forecast that by 2010, there would be over 600 million cell phone users in mainland China alone and this figure is expected to jump further. The Ministry of Information Industry said the number of users in 2007 is expected to reach a mind-boggling 520 million pieces, up from 460 million in 2006. Liberalization has fueled the telecommunication revolution in this country and the ministry is having said that the number of Chinese using the internet will cross 200 million, accounting for 15% of the country's population (China Economic Review, 2006).
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