The Hallmark Experience

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1. “The only absolute essential element is that change is directed at a process rather than a function.” Discuss. The above statement speaks to the fact that:

a) Business re-engineering looks at the business as a whole instead of a particular department in order to establish how the functional processes can be amalgated to improve the business and give the company a competitive edge. b) Inorder to achieve a defined business outcome a set of logically related tasks must be performed. These tasks are termed processes. c) Change is ongoing. It is not a once off project that is taken up over a defined period of time. We live in a changing environment thus the need to reevaluate the changing business circumstances and match or exceed that. d) Business re-engineering should focus on processes and not be limited to thinking about the organizations.

2) ‘Change was preemptive competitive strike in the Hallmark experience.” Discuss.

A preemptive competitive strike is a strategy that protects a company against potential loss on market share by strengthening the company’s position with new products and other tactics.

The concept that is highlighted above is to attack before one is attacked and be proactive in one’s approach. The case study clearly highlights the fact that Hallmark’s re-engineering process wasn’t in response to any external threat. To quote, “Hallmark was the only company that was doing just fine when it decided to re-engineer – not in response to any life-threatening problem but in a farsighted effort to keep such problems out of the company’s future”.

It is further stated in the text that Hallmark dominates the US market and it faces no threat from non-US competitors.

Thus in order to ensure future sustainability and gain a competitive advantage Hallmark saw the need to take up re-engineering.

3) What kind of major change was Hallmark looking for?
Hallmark was looking to change the product life cycle time, product lead time, communication and broaden the product range. a) The communication between Hallmark and the distributors and retailers was delayed. This affected the sales forecasts which spilt over to production. Hallmark was slow to respond to market demand to extent that popular products would only hit the shelves after the customers had looked for alternatives which resulted in slowing moving products and increase in inventory. This factor thus hampered on the product lead time. b) It took long to manufacture a product and put it on the shelf for sale. Departments operated in silos and the process took time. Departments took time to make decisions and instead of work as a team, once the product of the hands of the other department it will be not longer be their responsibility to ensure the completion of the product thus 0the increased product lifecycle time. c) Customers required variety thus the pressure on Hallmark to broaden the product range. The distribution channels also increased thus the need to cater for more retailers. 4) What skill set was required by Hallmark to make change a success? It is important for Management and change team leader to possess strong change management skills for a company to move through a successful change. The change management skills include;

Leadership development- To get people to believe in you
Marketing and sales ability- To promote your case to change
Communication skills- To help build support for the decision to change A good understanding of the psychological and emotional effects of change Technical skills- take ownership for the overall change design, development and successful implementation. 5) How important was information technology to Hallmark and how would you advise them on this issue? Information technology is a major enabler for new forms of working and collaborating within an organization and across organizational borders. This is evidenced by the fact that Hallmark had to 260 of the...
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