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It 520 Milestone one Guidelines and Rubric: Area of Focus and Framework

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BoldFlash: Communication Challenges

Background

The following is a short timeline highlighting some of the key dates and events in the history of the company (Beer & Shelton, 2012).

  • 1982:
  • BoldDisk founded by two science professors.
  • Located in Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Manufacturer of computer storage media, primarily floppy disk
  • Early 1990s:
  • Attempted to gain access to the MP3 player market without success.
  • 1995:
  • Mobile division split off of OEM group
  • Manufacturing moved from Waltham, Massachusetts to Austin, Texas
  • 2000 - 2012:
  • Renamed to BoldFlash
  • Shifted focus to flash memory
  • Customer base includes both OEM and direct to consumer markets.
  • Primary manufacturing moved to Shanghai, China with secondary locations in Austin, Texas and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • Total sales rose from $2.8B in 2007 to $3.9B in 2011 (See Appendix A - Table 1). Over the same time frame, the mobile division held steady at $1.5B. Even though the mobile division’s total sales has stayed the same, the net income as steadily decreased (See Appendix A - Table 2).

Do to the unexpected death, in early 2011, of the existing Vice President of the Mobile Division, the CEO, Jack Young, appointed long time employee, Dr Roger Cahill to be the new VP. One of Dr Cahill’s first taskings as the new VP of the Mobile Division is to resolve the issues that have allowed the company to fall behind its competitors in price and the ability to get new products to the market quickly.

At the time that Dr Cahill took over as the VP, the Mobile Division consisted of three departments. But after analyzing the situation, he realigned some of the staff under a new group. At this time the four departments are (See organization chart in Appendix B):

  • Product Development
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Manufacturing

Areas of concern

During the first year as the new VP of the Mobile Division, Dr Cahill has documented a number of troubling issues (Beer & Shelton, 2012):

  • Unproductive conflict between departments
  • Underperformance
  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of teamwork
  • Dysfunctional product development process
  • Disorganized and unproductive product development meeting
  • Employees at the manufacturing facilities feel isolated from corporate
  • Frequent special request from product development to manufacturing causing issues with deadlines.
  • Sales making unrealistic promises that manufacturing has to try and meet
  • Lack of clearly defined roles and level of authority for marketing specialists
  • Too many products with no buyers
  • Too many reports from marketing. Other department not reading them.
  • High turnover rate of employees in sales and marketing
  • Over lapping roles and responsibilities between departments
  • Lack of coordination between sales and manufacturing on proposals
  • Following product development process designed for slowly changing product lines.
  • Product documentation lacking

After analyzing all the issues within the Mobile Division, the issues have been grouped into one of three main areas of concern.

  1. Internal business processes (SNHU, 2017): Revamp the processes to make them clear, efficient and well defined with a focus on how to operate in a rapidly changing market.
  2. Product documentation (SNHU, 2017): Improve quality of product documentation. Implement quality assurance.
  3. Technical Service Communication (SNHU, 2017): Rework the communications channels between R&D and marketing and technical support.

Of the three areas of concern, fixing the internal business process needs to be the number one priority. By reworking the internal business processes, each department will have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities and the roles and responsibilities of each of the other departments. This will also clarify the rules of engagement for interactions between the departments. By improving the internal business processes, overall efficiency will improve which will give the departments more time to improve the product documentation and technical service communications.

Key Stakeholders

“A stakeholder is anybody who can affect or is affected by an organization, strategy or project. They can be internal or external and they can be at senior or junior levels.” (Morphy, 2015) Based on this definition, the stakeholder group would encompass every supplier, customer, corporate management and all employees within the Mobile Division. A more focused definition and the one that we will use for our purposes is: 'People or small groups with the power to respond to, negotiate with, and change the strategic future of the organization' (Eden & Ackermann, 1998, p. 117).

By reworking the internal business processes for the mobile division, each of the four departments will be affected and will require each department to modify the way that they currently conduct business. The key stakeholders for BoldFlash Mobile Division include the following people:

  • Jack Young – BoldFlash CEO
  • Dr Cahill – VP of the Mobile Division
  • Kevin Cheng – Manufacturing Director
  • Karl Melzer – Product development Director
  • Kavita Patel – Marketing Director
  • Chip Bryant – Sales Director

Proposed Communication Practices

The first step in creating effective communications practices is to document the roles and responsibilities of each department. The lack of any clearly defined roles and responsibilities has led to duplication of effort on multiple occasions which are a waste of company money and resources. The following are a few examples of current duplication of effort and lack of well-defined roles and responsibilities:

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