Many times we think of planning as one function of management with no variety. Any time you are looking to the future you are just planning. Throughout this week's readings, the class has learned that there are actually four levels of planning. These levels include: strategic, tactical, operational, and contingency planning. Each level has a different purpose and impact on the planning process. In the following paragraphs, we are going to describe three of the four levels of planning and how three different companies (MCI World Com, Empire, and GE) use them to their advantage. First we will look at how GE uses tactical planning in the employment of producing parts for turbine engines. Then we will talk about how MCI's operational planning built a reputation that carried them through difficult times. Lastly, we will discover how Empire embraced a new product and used strategic planning to overcome some daunting obstacles.
Tactical planning is a set of procedures for translating broad strategic goals of an organization down to a specific set of goals for a distinct portion of the organization (Bateman, 2003, p. 112). Our goals for GE Energy is to provide our customer with the highest quality part with unparalleled customer service, while effectively utilizing every employee working in an environment of mutual respect, dignity and unyielding integrity. You will see how this translates to our facility (GE Energy).
We are a small facility that falls under the GE Energy division. At our facility we manufacture the blades that go into gas turbines to generate electricity. This is just a small part of what goes into building a gas turbine. We strive to manufacture blades at the lowest cost while providing our customer with the highest quality part. We have a set of procedures to follow based on standards set by years of experience in manufacturing blades. At our facility we strive to manufacture our blades in a timely manner to meet the customer requested date for their turbine.
We have developed this plan based on the external downsizing of the need for gas turbines and the resources we have within our facility. We have brought in a majority of the parts manufactured at other facilities to our facility which has strengthened our opportunities for growth. This has helped us to maintain a profitable company in the ever changing economy.
MCI's (WorldCom) has been focusing on using their global network, and expertise to deliver innovative products that provide simplicity and unsurpassed value to customers. MCI (WorldCom) delivers complete local to Global services. MCI (WorldCom) was able to build up a great repetition with its noticeable services and growth for many years, until the unfortunate instance of bankruptcy a few years ago. Although MCI (WorldCom) might have suffered, now MCI (WorldCom) has proven the strength of its network, by owning, and operating some of the world's most complex and sophisticated custom networks, delivering value for a wide variety of customers, and more than 75 U.S. federal government agencies. In 2003 MCI (WorldCom) was recognized as the number one most connected Internet backbone provider.
In the MCI (WorldCom) code of conduct, some standards were identified for all employees that will be held accountable. These standards are SHARE which stands for Service, Honesty, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence. MCI (WorldCom) has 98,000-mile fiber optic network is designed to support the largest array of data communications and voice products in the world. I went and looked at MCI's (WorldCom) Stock at Saturday, April 10, 2004 at 10:30 Pm out of curiosity, and it did show that it was at $23.36 which tells me that it dropped $0.20 since the last closing.
Through out the Empire's history of planning for the future, they have strategically planned to have optimum coverage for selling new types of tractors. About 5 years ago Caterpillar decided to come out with a new smaller backhoe on rubber tires; this decision gave Empire about two months to gear up for these tractors. One of the first things which took place was to put a manager in place to keep on top of this new line. The second thing was to put a person in charge of the information to be given to all the service shops in order to support the first sales of the new line. The third thing to plan was to get the training department up to speed on training all techs to service these new machines, so as the customers use them the shops would be able to repair problems as they arise. These few months also required the parts department to acquire the new parts in stock for the repairs being made. This is an example of strategic planning and how little time was given to put people and training in place for the support of the sales of a new line of tractors. When this was first talked about the company was sticking its neck out, and it was not known if this new line would take off in the construction industry.
The down side to this situation is the construction industry has primarily been saturated by other lines of namely John Deer and Case, both have been a reliable tractor to go to. Most of these customers had been long time fans of these two dealers. The fact is, almost all of these people would not even talk about switching to a new tractor. This gave each salesman an opportunity to have a wide variety of customers to contact. They had no idea this new line would even sell well with all this competition.
Trends had shown that every two years the construction industry is ready for something new that will help the industries customers do their job faster and more efficient. This opened up a new era for Empire sales staff to move forward in a completely different way.
In recent years the mining industry too has changed, each one of the huge mining trucks are being changed over to a new more efficient engine that would have an eleven percent fuel savings. We still do not know how this new product is going to sell, however, through strategic planning we will be active making this commodity an attractive upgrade for the customer, not only to be more efficient, but also to be in compliance with the more restrictive EPA laws for mining.
Although only three of the four levels of planning have been discussed here, all four are a necessary component for a business to be successful. The three companies described above have all been able to successfully implement these four levels, and have internally used SWOTT to find and correct deficiencies within the companies. It is important for companies to learn from the actions and decisions of their and other companies. By using SWOTT and the four levels of planning, companies can assess both the past and present to plan for the future and the further growth and development of their companies.
Bateman & Snell. (2003). Management: the new competitive landscape. Sixth ed.
The McGraw−Hill Company.
Author Unknown, (n.d.). Ge Energy. retrieved Apr 11, 2004, from Our
Commitment Web site. Retrieved April 12, 2004, from the World Wide
Empire Southwest, Inc. (1992) Perspectives. Arizona: Empire Marketing
Author Unknown, (2003). 100 best companies to work for. Sunday Times online
Retrieved April, 11 2004, from the World Wide Web: http://www. timesonline.co.uk/section/0%2C%2C2096%2C00.html