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MANAGING BUSINESS PROCESS

Introduction

The Chinese economy has grown at a tremendous pace within the last thirty years. The development has been facilitated by the advancement of technology and globalization. Therefore, there are increased opportunities for Chinese businesses, which seek the best expertise to enable them to achieve a competitive edge in their respective industries. The availability of diverse values, thinking styles, beliefs, religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation of experts working in China has also enhanced the development of the economy. This research was conducted on Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited in China with an intention of finding out the kind of operations carried out by the company and its contribution to the development of the Chinese economy. The organization is a leading shoes manufacturer and supplier that offers a range of new lady shoes with customized designs.

Research Objectives and Questions

The main objective of the research was to determine the internal operations of Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited in regard to its operations and the way it manages its businesses processes. Similarly, the specific objectives included:

  • To determine the economic benefits of the operations of the company,
  • To establish the required tools for managing business processes, and
  • To explore the various challenges the company faces in its operations.

Nonetheless, the study did not contemplate on any aspects of cultural or professional diversity but was rather limited to the organizational perspective of business process management (Bialostocka, 2010). For instance, the research did not consider other organizational aspects such as cultural diversity, the level of professionalism, and recurrent or any forms of miscellaneous expenses that the company incurs during operations (Roger, Hartley, and Rudelius, 2009). Additionally, the interviews were only conducted with high-level managerial staff and not in the middle-level ranks or the subordinate employees with a view to acquiring the most essential data regarding the company’s process management (Melenovsky, 2006, p. 14).

In order to arrive at a satisfying conclusion, the research sought to find reply to the following questions:

  1. What is the level of customers of the company and how does it change over time?
  2. What is the capacity of the company and how does the level change over time?
  3. Which capacity strategy would be most suitable for the company depending on the capacity of the company and its level of customers?

Ultimately, the research intended to derive a reliable business process management strategy for a company in the calibre of Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited.

Research Design

In the present research, the importance of business process management was investigated. The research used the qualitative approach to determine how to manage a company that has markets both locally and abroad. The qualitative approach was used because the research focused on obtaining an understanding of the main research questions and to get closer to the respondents, which could only be achieved using qualitative research technique (Myers 2013, p. 32). In addition, Elloy (2012) states that the qualitative research approach enabled the generation of a broader data with an increased understanding of the business process management and employee interactions within the company. The approach was further suitable because the research aimed at finding out the views of different management executives on process management and how the management team can improve it to be the best. There is evidence that it is only through qualitative methods that related studies can succeed in generating extensive data regarding the research question or study area (Cheney, Chrisesten, and Ganesh, 2004).

The research further opted for the qualitative research approach because it always provides results from a large number of respondents, thus providing a more reliable and accurate representation of how most companies or organizations adopt business management strategies. In addition, the research integrated deductive and inductive elements in its findings. The technique chosen was more suitable because there was a plan to conduct interviews with the knowledge of already conducted studies and an open mind to develop new theories from the findings. There was the likelihood that the research could have produced more realistic results by using knowledge from previous studies within the same topic.

The design of the research was the edge for the gathering of empirical data and its analysis. The research also used experimental, longitudinal, case study, longitudinal, and the comparative research designs. However, the case study research design appeared more appropriate because it provided detailed findings about the topic by providing multiple cases. Nonetheless, previous studies (Myers, 2013) have indicated that a longitudinal design is mainly used to plot changes. Therefore, such a study has to be carried out more than once inn order to effectively identify the changes (Smith and Fingar, 2003, p. 45). This research did not use the design because it is more expensive and could have taken more time. In addition, the experimental design was not used because, at times, it is difficult to create a control mechanism when applied in business. All these conditions made the case study design the most appropriate for this research.

The research went ahead to incorporate the qualitative technique with the comparative design in a move to develop a multiple case study. A multiple case study design was most suitable for the study because it provided comprehensive findings. Moreover, there is evidence from similar studies that case study helps identify, observe, and relate the common behavioural attributes within the respondents (Myers, 2013). Additionally, the design enabled the exploration of the multifaceted concepts within the business process management in detail. Moreover, a comparison of the different findings that were obtained from the company involved in the research was done. A multiple case study design was an important technique because it enabled the researcher to collect the most appropriate data and arrive at a detailed understanding of business process management.

The target population for the study was the managerial team of Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited from China. Allen and Galle (2008) argue that China is endowed with many national and multinational companies with employees from across the globe. Therefore, the study focused on one company that has embraced the new concept of business process management and is effectively using it to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals not only in China but also across Asia and the world (McCombs, 2009). Examples of questions that the research included in the interview were;

  • What are some of the constraints that face your company?
  • How do you maintain a competitive advantage over your rivals?
  • What capacity strategy does your company use?

Research Outcomes

There is an uneven level of demand by customers of Guangzou Evenly Trading Company depending on seasons. Moreover, there is a high demand for shoe products from the organization, especially during the festive seasons in Asia and parts of Africa. The increase in demand of Chinese products has indicated a positive effect across major industries in the nation (Kerin and Peterson, 2004, p. 39). This includes electronic gadgets, automotive equipment, as well as textile products (Intel IT Center 2013). However, this level of demand remains above most shoe companies in China throughout the year as illustrated in the graphical sketch below:

There is a possibility that Guangzou Evenly Trading Company will continue dominating the shoe industry due to the business process management the company has put in place. For example, the company has optimized its processes by improving corporate performance within not only the Asian region but also in other markets overseas. Westerfield and Jordan (2007) postulate implementing such a system is usually a proactive step that makes companies more efficient. Therefore, they are in a better position to change according to customer demands. The type of management at Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited is able to effectively monitor the company’s end-to-end business processes to enable it achieve three crucial objectives. These are the alignment of the company’s resources, clarity on strategic direction, and increased discipline in the day-to-day operations. These three objectives can be achieved by acquiring ultramodern equipment, employing experts and experienced personnel, collaborating with partners from overseas, and producing high quality products.

Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited has an average annual production capacity of 1,000,000 pairs of shoes, with an export capacity of at least 91%. The effective capacity of the company is estimated at 1,200,000 pairs of shoes within the same period. However, the utilization capacity of the company stands at an annual average of 85% due to the many constraints it faces. These products are able to make an average of between $2.5 and $5 billion dollars every year. The company has three main production lines that are dedicated to ensuring the success of the company. Its capacity changes due to various market trends such as fluctuation of international currencies and stiff competition from other companies. However, Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited has put in place proactive measures that enable the company have competitive advantage and overcome most of the aforementioned setbacks. The effective capacity of the company makes it possible for the company to achieve all its objectives despite the current global operating constraints.

Efficiency =  

                                =

                                = 83.3333%

Utilization =

85%      =

Therefore, Design capacity =

                                                                = 1,176,470 pairs of shoes each year.

Effective capacity – Design capacity = 1,200,000 – 1,176,470

                                                                                = 23,260 units every year.

The difference between the effective capacity and the design capacity is brought about by various production and operations constraints. Examples of operating constraints the company faces are:

Marketplace constraints. There are times when the company gets very few orders from international markets. It overcomes this constraint by offering better deals to its customers in order to spur growth.

Paradigm constraints. Some of the workers tend to hold different beliefs from other employees, which causes internal conflicts and misunderstandings (Luthans, 2009, Keegan and Green, 2005). The company overcomes this constraint by effectively managing the aspect cultural diversity. This is achieved by appreciating the level of input of every employee with respect to his or her level of education, race, culture, gender, and age (Stanfeld, 2006, p. 26). 

Policy constraint. There is a rule within the company that requires all departments to meet a defined threshold of production each day. However, some of them fail to meet the target, which causes interference of the production processes. The company eliminates the constraint by continuously monitoring and analysing the flow of work at every level of production.

Physical constraints. Some of the machines in the company break down due to the large amount of work-in-process in queue.

The algorithmic analysis below illustrates the types and level of constraints to the operation flow of Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited:

The goal of the company is to take in as much flow as possible from the start of the illustration to the end at node Z. However, the rule of production is that no edge of production can take in more than its maximum capacity. Similarly, Stanfeld (2006) attests that it is the goal of any company to use the cheapest but most effective mode of production in order to maximize on profits. For example, by adopting path a, b through c, the company takes in a total capacity of 9 edges. On the other hand, adopting path f, e through d, the company takes in a total capacity of 6 edges. Removing any of the edges may cause a breakdown of the process management system. Referring to the illustration above, it is clear that any path considered for operation by Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited portrays different constraints.

Analysis of the Outcomes

James, Rowland-Jones, and O’Brien (2009) attest that most successful companies always have streamlined process management strategies. Based on the findings of the research, a tracking capacity strategy is most suitable for Guangzou Evenly Trading Company Limited. The company currently uses a lead capacity through which it adds capacity in anticipation of a possible increase in demand. A tracking capacity can enable the company add capacity in small but manageable amounts as it attempts to make a positive response to the demand at the marketplace (Aaker, 1998; Fingar and Bellini, 2004). Capacity considerations for the proposed capacity strategy are:

  1. The strategy is specifically built for change
  2. Able to find the optimum or volume operating level
  3. Has the ability to forecast demand more accurately
  4. Understands the required technology and increment of technology

The kind of capacity currently used by the company partially supports the success of the company (Slack, Chambers, and Johnston, 2004). In addition, the strategy tends to blindly add capacity in anticipation that there will be an increase in demand, especially from foreign markets. The content analysis method of analyzing qualitative data was used to come up with dependable conclusions of the research. This was achieved by beginning with some ideas regarding the research questions that could have emerged, which was then weighed against the findings of the actual research (Lamb, Fair, and Carl, 2008).

In conclusion, the shoe production and selling is a very a competitive industry as indicated in the findings. The research can be regarded as a milestone towards establishing reliable business process management and capacity strategies. Findings of the study ascertain the importance of implementable strategies for companies that seek to maximize on profit, customer satisfaction, and market sustainability. There is need to carry out related studies because the global marketplace is changing on a daily basis and as a way of improving business process management.

References

Aaker, D. A., 1998. Strategic market management, (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Allen, F. D., & Galle, D., 2008. Bans on short selling in Europe. Journal arbitrage short sales

and financial innovation, 34.

Bialostocka, P., 2010. Cultural diversity in organizational theory and practice. Journal of

Intercultural Management. 2(2).

Cheney, G., Chrisesten, T., & Ganesh, S., 2004. Organizational communication

in an age of globalization: Issues, reflections, practices. Long Grove, IL: Waveland. Press.

Elloy, D., 2012. Effect of ability utilization, job influence and organization commitment on

employee empowerment: An empirical study. International Journal of Management, 29(5).

Fingar, P., & Bellini, J., 2004. Real-time enterprise. Tampa, FL: Meghan-Kiffer Press.

Intel IT Center, 2013. Platform as a service: PaaS for mobile applications: Intel Publications.

James, P., Rowland-Jones, R., & O’Brien, L. (eds.), 2009. Operations and business systems

management. Harlow: Pearson.

Keegan, W., & Green, M., 2005. Global marketing, (4th ed.). Boston, Mass: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Kerin, R., & Peterson, R., 2004. Strategic marketing problems cases and comments, (10th ed.).

Boston, Mass: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Lamb, C., Fair, J., & Carl, M., 2008. Marketing, (9th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomas South-Western.

Luthans, F., 2009. Organizational behavior, (10th ed.). Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill.

McCombs, M., 2009. Setting the agenda. The Journal of Finance, 58(2).

Melenovsky, M. J, 2006. Business process management as a discipline. Gartner Research,

G00139856,Gartner Inc.

Myers, A., 2009. Qualitative research in business and management. London: SAGE.

Roger, R., Hartley, S., & Rudelius, W., 2009 Marketing the core, (3rd ed.). New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Slack, N., Chambers, S., & Johnston, R., 2004. Operations management, (4th ed.). London:

Pitman Publishing.

Smith, H., & Fingar, P., 2003. Business process management: The third wave. Meghan-Kiffer

Press: Tampa.

Stanfeld, S.A., 2006. Social support and social cohesion. Oxford, England:  Oxford University

Press.

Westerfield, R., & Jordan, B., 2007. Fundamentals of corporate finance (8th Ed.). New York,

NY: McGraw-Hill.

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