For the existence and survival of any business it is pertinent to have visions, set objectives and create strategies to achieve these objectives. Because business objectives are long term and in continuum, a machinery is required to design and implement these plans, this is known as administration. Mullins (2007:414 ) defines administration as a key part of management process that is responsible for the design and implementation of systems and procedures instigated by management to help meet stated objectives.
Structure of the Business (ACCENT HOTEL GROUP)
The business runs a chain of seven hotels in major cities and airports. These hotels include 3 and 4 star hotels. It has 8 directors on its board and Daniel Rycaart the founder also as the CEO. Each hotel runs a semi-autonomous strategic business unit and is headed by a General Manager. All the SBUs report directly to CEO. The units headed by the directors:
-Administration and corporate service (includes IT)
-Hospitality and hotel services
-Legal Service (company Secretary)
-Operations and conferences
-Sales and Marketing
The hotels together offer accommodation to about 800 guests and employ about 800 staff. As part of its commitment to excellence and the provision of a quality experience for all guests, the hotels offers service which include:
-Conference suites for day delegates and function rooms for wedding receptions and parties
-Evening entertainment in the bar
-Indoor heated swimming pool
-Leisure centre (gym, sauna, spas, etc for residents and members)
-Two bars (one of which offer 24 hour bar meals)
-Two restaurants with top chefs (a la carte and self service buffet style)
Due to the CEO Vision and business strategy, aiming to achieve 100% occupancy all year round was achieved by 40% increase in gross profits in the last four years, due to the groups commitment to excellence, which has been underpinned by a number of strategic initiatives, stated below;
The Groups culture has changed with the introduction of a new management philosophy which sees everyones contribution (not just those managing the hotels) as key to its success. This more inclusive culture gave all staff an opportunity to input into the Groups critical success factors and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Commitment to excellence via quality, standards of performance and customer service
Terms and conditions of employment
Outsourcing and in-house services
Health, safety and hygiene
Sales and marketing
Ensuring that KPI were written into their business and operational plans and objectives were set and met accordingly would ensure that the organizations visions and strategies were communicated and understood from top to bottom through the organization.
Learning and Development
The Groups commitment to being a learning organisation and maintaining the status of an Investor in People included the setting up of a new Learning and Development Unit. A learning organisation as defined by Peter Senge (1990) are organisations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together. The organisations commitment to being a learning organisation will ensure that the learning and development needs of the employees were in line with the business objectives of the organization.
A report, commissioned by Daniel, identified a number of inconsistencies with the outdated performance appraisal system, including the fact that reviews werent taking place at regular intervals, individual objectives werent linked to strategic, business and operational plans and some employees (including waiters, porters, chamber personnel and seasonal and casual staff) were not as adept at identifying their own learning and development needs. Performance management entails planning. Organizational overall performance depends on achieving outcomes identified by the planning process.
Commitment to Excellence
Daniels vision commitment to excellence is the flagship behind the groups success. However, with the new culture of team work and openness, Daniel is striving to improve on the already successful quality culture. Daniels has asked for suggestions and ideas from both managers and staff on how service quality and performance could be improved. By linking the results of the internal feedback to performance management and identification of learning needs will further improve the successful quality culture through continuous improvement.
Standard Operating Procedures
In January 2005, a new set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were introduced to support the new culture, specific operational activities and good planning and control within the Group. The SOPs developed included: _ administrative management
_ corporate governance
_ customer satisfaction
_ knowledge management
Daniels vision of a commitment to excellence and the provision of a quality experience for all guests could be achieved through effective administration, this could be provided through the provision of systems, procedures, services and resources to support the business. This effectively will be determined on how effective the administrative management system in place is. Administrative management can be defined as the effective and efficient management of the administration function and associated processes that support the organization in the achievement of its day-to-day business activities, objectives and strategies. (Study Guide, p.49)
Fayols theory on five function of management can also be used by the group in its strive to achieve its visions:
1. Forecasting and planning: This is analysing the future and drawing a course of action to achieve set goals and objectives. Developing administrative objectives and goals, keeping abreast with new development in external environment, determine human resource requirement for the functions and developing administrative budget. 2. Organising: It is the management function of ensuring that all roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. All skill level and training requirements are adequately in place. 3. Directing: This as an administrative function entails commanding to ensure that organizations tasks are carried out efficiently and effectively.
4. Coordinating: This is a very important part of management, it entails that all the resources of the organization are aligned to ensure that input, processing and output functions are supported. It is very important to ensure effectiveness and efficiency. 5. Controlling: Control is an integral part of planning process and involve measuring and correcting the performance of organizational objectives and plans, to ensure that they are implemented efficiently and effectively, within set timescales and allocated resources (Fayol (1916) cited in study, p151).
In conclusion, the onus is on the director of administration and corporate services to ensure achievement of the groups success in its commitment to excellence through cohesiveness, planning, control and coordination of organization activities through effective management skills and administrative management.
In order to achieve commitment to excellence and continually improve their business practices and services, organizations must put in place sound business strategies that must be flexible in nature so as to be compatible with the challenges and dictates of the business environment. This forces within the environment in which businesses operate have created the need for organisations to be effective and efficient in their resource allocation and administrative measures, thus; the quest for business excellence. Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes.
These efforts can seek incremental improvement over time or breakthrough improvement all at once. Continuous Improvement is a strategic approach to driving a cost competitive method for meeting or exceeding customer expectations. Regardless of customer needs, competition, or business challenges, a well executed continuous improvement program can ensure the success of any organization
Different models can be used to illustrate and evaluate how organizations can achieve commitment to excellence and continually improve their business practices and services. Some of the widely used tools are identified below:
Peters and Watermans Eight Attributes of Excellence
Peters and Waterman in their submission in 1982 looked at some of the best-managed companies in the United States and found that they had a lot of things in common. They compiled a list of eight qualities that they believed to be present in the companies. Although not all eight were present in every company, these qualities regularly stood out.
¢A Bias for Action: Company gets things done; increases knowledge, interest, and commitments. ¢Close to the Customer: Customer satisfaction is very important throughout all the roles that the business plays. ¢Autonomy and Entrepreneurship: Encourage risk taking and innovation. ¢Productivity Through People: Everyone is respectful and enthusiastic towards each other. This creates an atmosphere that enables good work. ¢Hands-on, Value-Driven: Company philosophy and values are discussed openly. Leaders in the organization are also positive role models. ¢Stick to the Knitting: Company focuses on doing what it does best.
¢Simple Form, Lean Staff: Authority is shared as much as possible between the employees. ¢Simultaneous Loose-Tight Properties: Good planning and controlling that still allows for worker autonomy and a less rigid atmosphere. Source: Kreitner (1992)
However, organisations should be weary to consider these principles during strategy formulation as against the view that they are solutions to business problems EFQM Business Excellence Model
This model was developed in 1992 by the European Foundation for Quality Management. . According to this body; Organisations can proactively identify areas of strengths and weakness which is allowed through a process of self development and in order to sustain this improvement planning and evaluation has to be continuous. The model focuses on the key elements that sustain business excellence, five of which are enablers (what the organisation does) and four of which are results (what an organisation achieves). The model gives equal emphasis to enablers and result. The five enablers are:
Policy and strategy
Partnership and resources
The four areas focusing on results are:
Source:http://www.ims-productivity.com/page.cfm/content/EFQM-Business-Excellence-Model/ Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle
Another tools for continuous improvement is the PDCA cycle. This cycle is a four-step quality mode which aims at achieving continuous improvement by identifying opportunities for change and planning for them, followed by actual implementation, monitoring and re-evaluation. This model is also known as Deming Cycle: ¢Plan: This entails identifying an opportunity and planning for change. ¢Do: This involves implementing the change on a small scale. ¢Check: This requires the use data to analyze the results of the change and determine the impact and effect it has had and whether it made a difference. ¢Act: This entails determining if the change was successful, and if yes, it is implemented on a wider scale and continuously assessment of results. However, if the change did not work, the cycle will begin.
Another model that can be used in the evaluation of how businesses can achieve continuous improvement is the Six Sigma Model. This model or technique sees tasks as processes that can be defined, measured, analyzed, improved and controlled. All tasks will have inputs and produce outputs. By controlling the inputs, the outputs would have been effectively controlled. This process or model of continuous improvement emphasizes prevention of errors or variation in quality and standards over detection of them. It drives customer satisfaction and achievement of objectives by minimizing variation in quality and waste, with a view of earning competitive advantage.
In conclusion, a review of the models above shows that they are all focused on the efforts to improve products, services and or processes with the aim reducing variations and waste. There is an emphasis on inputs, processes and outputs as well as continuous planning and re-evaluation. The Continuous Improvement Model allows organizations to make incremental change to existing processes, adopt new ways to improve and measure productivity and control, discontinue activity that adds no value and increase emphasis and focus on the organizations mission and objectives. Getting a continuous improvement environment institutionalized takes Executive Level support. A collaborative team approach inspires workers to make the extra effort and strive to do what is beneficial for the company and in line with management objectives. Management and administrators work with employees to implement change and ensure standards are in place and controls are functioning to optimize productivity while managing cost.
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