Detached Group Document- Fall 2006 - Cleveland

Detached Group Document- Fall 2006 - Cleveland - D et ach...

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Unformatted text preview: D et ach ed BY: Group 36 Chris Benners B rianda Chapa Meghan Dereta Vanessa Farrow Israel “Izzy” Macias T hanh Pham Jennifer Sayroo Jacques Schwantz Devin Ruthstrom D et ach ed Table of Contents I. Executive Summary a. By Chris Benners and Vanessa Farrow II. Member Bios II I. Who Moved My Cheese a. Analysis i. By Devin Ruthstrum IV. Management Plan a. Structure i. By Israel “Izzy” Macias b. Communication i. By Thanh Pham c. Approach i. By Brianda Chapa V. Technical Approach a. Networking i. By Jennifer Sayroo b. Knowledge Management i. By Meghan Dereta c. Safety Issues i. By Vanessa Farrow VI. Statistical Approach a. Customer Data i. By Devin Ruthstrom and Jacques Schwantz b. Costs i. By Chris Benners c. Location Issues i. By Devin Ruthstrum VII. Attendance VII I. Receipts EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Women wear high heels just about everywhere. From work meetings to after work parties, women often suffer through their day trudging around in 2-4 inch high heeled shoes. Normal activities such as pacing downtown, going to and from the car or walking down the street for lunch can become painful and time consuming in a world where time is money and so much more. With Detached brand shoes, high heels turn into flats in seconds. If a woman has a long way to walk, she can take the heels off her shoes and get to where she is going faster and more comfortably, all the while still having the ability to be fashionable and professional. The basic principle that surrounds Detached is believing in the ergonomic functionality of any desired product that has historically inconvenienced people. With something as simple as a detachable heel, conveniences that were previously unavailable to women will prevail as the norm. According to Maslow without having a person’s physiological deficiency needs met they are unable to reach their full potential. If an individual cannot concentrate due to aching feet their communication can be hindered and their productivity halted. Detached believes that people, both those who embody the company and those who create the customer base, are the most important facet of its success. The prototype shoe itself is a three tiered high heel. The first level is the “flat” level heel that is designed for maximum comfort and mobility. The second level is the medium or “professional” level heel that is practical for business or casual setting and provides marginally less comfort and mobility. The third level is the “stiletto” level heel that is the most fashionable but also the least comfortable--appropriate for even the classiest formal dinner banquet. The first level heel is permanently attached to the shoe while the two successive heels screw securely into the previous level. The bottom of each heel has an attachable rubber sole that covers up the hole where the next heel screws in and provides traction. Each section of the heel fits seamlessly into the next so that no matter what level the shoe is at it looks as if it was made like any other shoe, keeping its functionality from negatively impacting its style. The company Detached operates as a wholesale manufacturer and online retail shoe store. The main bulk of shoe sales would come from high-end retail stores such as Neiman Marcus. By selling our shoes through authorized retailers our product gets maximum exposure across the country behind a well known and trusted name. This allows us to gain a competitive advantage despite being a new entrant into the shoe market. In order to stay current in an ever changing world, Detached will also have a stand alone website that allows customers to purchase exactly the shoe they desire. This allows customers to obtain this product at their convenience, and allow them to find the right size or color if for some reason one our authorized retailers has run out. Through creative destruction Detached has been able to achieve its goal of providing women with a comfortable alternative to an uncomfortable gender-specific norm. With its principle in hand Detached believes that its focus on the human element is what sets it, and its product, above the rest. Cheese: It’s what’s for dinner. Our response to the handwriting on the wall as derived from our group discussion on “Cheese”: “It was like a group therapy session,” Vanessa commented while Group 36 began to pack their bags signaling the adjournment of the weekly round table meeting. The UT tower would soon sound five chimes reverberating through the particles of air around us; it was just another Wednesday. Or was it? Well, we suppose you get out of the day as much as you put into it. But in a group . . . it may not be so simple. Some will put in more effort than others; some will reap something they seemingly did not sew, for the good or for the bad; and some will perceive they have done something they have not (yeah, includes me and me, and me, and me, and well, there’s nine of us). Say for instance, perceiving that one has communicated a clear message. Ha! We’ve found it’s often difficult to encode the thoughts of one’s mind into a message, and send that message across some medium­­­air, phones, pictures, emails­­­through the external noise­­­cars honking, people chatting, papers being waved in the air, the room being too cold­­­ and through the psychological noise­­­the flow of one’s emotions, the thoughts of our test tomorrow, the joy streaming from an upcoming weekend trip with friends. As if that isn’t enough . . . there’s more: decoding. It’s all about perceptions. Even if we communicate what we feel to be the clearest message in the world, if it is decoded to mean something else than intended, we’ve slammed into a wall again. It is not rare for one of us to screech group discussion to a halt with these words: “Wait! Miscommunication. So you are saying _____, but you over here are taking it to mean _____, while I over here am taking it to mean _____.” Dr. Daly, UT professor of Communications, helps us understand a better view of communication: it is the process by which we encode messages to stimulate meaning in others. Well, shall we return back to that Wednesday? Even though the group’s production may not seemingly reflect the input of one particular individual, everyone will get out exactly what they have put into the class. Just as one group member noted in his bio: the process is “making character within our being.” Input leads to Output. You put bad in, you get bad out. You put good in, you get a little better out. On to the cheese. We noted commonalities between combinations of two and three of us. Chris and Brianda both wanted to have more discipline in life. Maybe a little different than some perspectives given at the end of the book, they went on to explain. Chris is bothered by the thought, “I know I could have done better. “ Within the maze called themselves, Chris and Brianda look for the cheese of being disciplined. Discipline for Chris primarily involves keeping up with his schoolwork. “If I don’t get done what I need to get done, I won’t have as much fun when I’m with friends because I’m worried about the work not being done.” When he has failed to keep the amount of discipline he strove for, like Hem he can begin to analyze and say “I’m going to get to the bottom of this.” For instance, upon receiving a test back graded as an 80 instead of a 97, he begins looking into the past. “I knew all the material, but I missed some either from going to fast, or came across simple information that I should have known, but I chose to watch the Maverick’s game last night.” But Haw’s voice that says “Maybe we should stop analyzing and find some new cheese,” catches his attention and he calms himself down, and focuses on how he can reach his cheese of discipline in the future. Discipline can be displaced by things like joining a new club, making a new set of friends, over­relaxing for a weekend, or finding a new hobby. But Chris has expressed his attention to watch for the moving of this cheese, adapt, and change. Likewise Detatched must be a company that is anticipating change. Our disciplines can easily be displaced by losing our focus on efficiency. Brianda’s focus was on punctuality. Distaste resides in her memory of the bad impressions that she has left because of being late. She described it in terms of the importance of first impressions: once messed up, “it’s hard for me to bring it up.” This particular piece of her cheese is moved by things similar to those that move Chris’s cheese. Thanh, Meghan, and Devin’s cheese was relationships. These three described what they wanted to have in life as close­knit, personal relationships. Thanh’s Cheese is his old girlfriend. He described the relationship like Haw might have. “She still thinks that life is like what it was like in High School where everything is planned for you, relationship­wise as well. But it’s not, you’ve got to be more responsible because it takes more work.” He enjoyed the relationship, but obviously notes that the cheese was aging unhealthily. Yet, all three of us were described accurately by the Dr. Johnson: “We pursue [cheese] because we believe it makes us happy. If we get it, we often become attached to it. And if we loose it, or it is taken away, it can be traumatic” (emphasis added). If Detatched as a corporation is insensitive to the relationship cheese, their workers will be much less productive on the job. So how has Detatched attempted to remain sensitive to this cheese? Let us share with you some direct quotes from some of the over 100 emails that we have exchanged. These quotes are from emails of regular interaction; being sensitive has allowed the individuals in our group that want relationships to grow with time, to grow. Each individual will get what they put in. For privacy reasons names have been removed, and emails are independent of one another. Example Email 1: “Hey man, I hope I haven't been too pushy this past week. I cannot imagine how you feel right now. Besides simply the stress of classes, dealing with sickness and a friend is a lot. I'll pray for you man. If you need anything, let me know,” Response 1: “Hey man, I really appreciate the words of encouragement. I know that God's blessed you with an awesome way to communicate and be able to encourage people to a common goal and that's pretty sweet. I've never seen it as being pushy so you shouldn’t worry. Thanks for everything though man. You rock!” Example Email 2: “aww, (name). i don’t know what our group would do without you. you are such a breqat person and a valuable member to our group. Group 36 saw the correlations between changing cheese and Detached in the following ways: • • We must keep up with the trends. We want to have asuccessful product and worthwhile experience: that’s our cheese. Therefore we must be willing to operate at different paces as a group. Although we might have been meeting hourly once a week at first, this may not work out in the end. Finishing work may require more group meetings and more effort. • Because we value a successful product, we must be sensitive to the needs of others—both our group members and those with whom we make contact with in relation to Detached (potentially: everyone). Physical needs and interpersonal needs to give and receive affection, inclusion, and control are continually altering. We must monitor these needs because they are signposts to the success of our product. For instance, hammering on Brianda when her sister was in a severe accident and she had to miss a meeting would have altogether stopped progress. Instead, we all gave room for flexibility. Sure it’s easy to be upset if someone doesn’t do something within the timeframe we agreed for them to do so, but we’re not the one standing in their shoes when they were sick at home and trying to deal with the emotional weight of faltering friendships. To meet our group “actualization,” the lower­order needs on Maslow’s hierarchy must first be met. • We were also willing to admit that the roles of each person can change throughout our interactions as we realize that certain people may match up to certain tasks in a more effective way than others. Jacq, although he expressed concern about his lack of confidence and desire to write, actually produced very clear and relevant material. We were trying to help Jacq see a different area where he could be a positive contributor. As you turn through the pages of this document you will see different visual themes to each page. These are not simply visual designs: we realize that every page of life brings a new season —sometimes building on the past, and sometimes simply writing a new story altogether. Management Structure: The term management characterizes the process of the personnel leading and directing all or part of an organization. Most often a business utilizes management through the deployment and manipulation of human, financial, material, intellectual, and intangible resources. Management relies on power by position, whereas leadership involves power by influence. In Detached, management has as its primary function in the satisfaction of different stakeholders. This typically involves making a profit, creating valued products at a reasonable cost, and providing rewarding employment opportunities. Our management consists of five functions: planning, organizing, leading, coordinating, and controlling. Detached’s planning is the psychological process of creating and refining a plan, or integrating it with other plans. The term is also used to describe the formal procedures used in such a task, such as the creation of documents, diagrams, or meetings to discuss the important issues to be addressed, the objectives to be met, and the strategy to be followed. Organization, in Detached’s point of view, is the management function that usually follows after planning. It also involves the assignment of tasks, the grouping of tasks into departments and the assignment of authority and allocation of resources across the organization. Organizing involves arranging the necessary resources to carry out the plan. It is the process of creating structure, establishing relationships, and allocating resources to accomplish the goals of Detached. Organizing helps out with division, coordination and control of tasks, as well as the flow of information within the organization. Managers distribute responsibility and authority to job holders in this function of management. One can categorize the exercise of leadership as either actual or potential. Actual is giving guidance or direction, as in the phrase "the emperor has provided satisfactory leadership." Potential is the capacity or ability to lead, as in the phrase "she could have exercised effective leadership"; or in the concept "born to lead". Coordinating is the regulation of diverse elements into an integrated and harmonious operation. Coordination makes possible the integration of different parts of an organization to accomplish a collective set of tasks. This aspect is important to Detached when having to communicate between retailers, producers, advertisers, and the management that regulates each of these areas. Control, the final function, allows Detached to evaluate the progress of the other functions and make sure that every function is being run effectively, the ability to look back and control the functions is important to keeping progress moving forward. Without a management plan like the one Detached has put into place, business could be disorderly and very ineffective. Management allows for easy communication and access to different levels of a company allowing for changes and ideas to flow easily. It allows the stakeholders, employees, customers and share holders, to stay informed and work together to secure the future of Detached. Communication: Although we tried to take all precautions to attempt to prevent any conflicts, it is inevitable that we run into a few obstacles during our journey toward achieving our ultimate goal. For one, because Detached is not a company based on “classical management” where there is a hierarchy of leadership, problems are bound to occur since each individual practically has an equal amount of voice, power, and responsibility. Obviously, there are certain “pros” and “cons” to all types of management. Fortunately, not all conflicts are bad and some are very important, even necessary. Problems that go unsolved are usually the major problems that break a team a part. One benefit of having a “team­based” management is that group members are less likely to feel inferior to one another. This way, everybody will have more confident in expressing their ideas and not feel as much pressure as compared to having a boss who is there to reject or approve of your proposals. Also, each team member will have more confidence that their concerns will have a voice. Although communication apprehension may be increased by operating in groups instead of simply accepting the command of a manager, we would seek to create an open atmosphere for honest communication to flow freely. According to Katherine Miller, author of Organizational Communication, “… team­based communication flow is expected to increase the extent to which the unique contributions of organizational members can be maximized.” However, the obvious downfall of the team­based management is that there may not be as much pressure on any individual to do their task to his or her very best since he or she is understands that teammates can always be counted on. With that mentality, one is easily tempted to merely slack off hoping that one’s teammate will be there to help carry his or her burden. However, there are other circumstances where group work can actually increase responsibility. For instance, if the Business Fair were an individual project and not a group thing, I probably wouldn’t have started as soon as we did because working in this group for me has increased the responsibility that I feel towards the project. Basically, group work can either reduce or increase responsibility of group members and is dependent upon the perceptions of each group member. In this case, my responsibility increased while others may not be affected by the weight of the responsibility and slack off. Another downfall of having a “team­based” management is the increase of communication barriers. We know for sure that Detached has experienced incidents where there are misunderstandings in who is responsible for doing what task. One matter that contributes to our miscommunication is the variety of personalities that we have. Although, for the most part, many individuals generally “step up” and assumed certain roles to prevent any confusion or problems of who needs to do certain tasks, problems still naturally arise at certain times. For example, Mark Knapp and Anita Vangelisti address one assumption that communicators make: “the assumption of simple meaning.” We do not always decode messages the way that people encode them; the meaning we derive is not the same meaning they were trying to convey. Detached recognize this common pattern in life in general, and seek to understand more clearly what someone is trying to say. For instance, if I say “Well I’m just independent.” What does that mean? Am I saying that because I am trying to tell you I recognize that my normal style is to do things independently, but now I’m going to try to work more with the group? Or does it mean “I’m independent, and I would appreciate it if you just gave me my space.” One never knows unless he or she asks. This very statement was given to me by a friend of mine and I’m still unsure what it means. “It matters who makes the statement, when they make it, the related conditions accompanying any given message, and how it was said.” This information is taken from Knapp, Mark L. and Anita L. Vangelisti. Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2005. Complications also occurred within Detached organization when a major decision is required. Since a team means a shared and equal amount of power divided to each team member, it does get complicated when a joint crucial decision is needed. For example, one major problem that we had trouble deciding was the design of our booth. Everybody has their own ideas of how they like the booth to look base on preferences. Because there is no one leader that gets the final word, we end up having several discussions of what the booth should look like with no concluding decision. Fortunately, we learned about the “Decision Making Concepts” which help us with making crucial group decisions. The “Decision Making Concepts” is an 8 step process that systematically helps guide us to solving our decision problems. First, we define the problem which is indecisiveness and unproductively on the design of our overall booth. Second, we gathered information from the problem about our first step. By doing so, we all sat down, gathered everybody ideas, and list them on the board. Then, we went through and identified all possible options that we could take before evaluating the alternatives which is the next step. Next, after spending an overwhelming amount of time on debating and evaluating all our ideas and potential alternatives, we finally decided to combine certain preferred ideas that we all could agree upon. After that, we implemented our decision by actually creating the design of the booth with the combined ideas. Finally, we monitored the results and make sure everybody stays on task of designing the booth the way we all agreed upon. The “Decision Making Concepts” solve our decision making problems, but we still have a problem with our organization communication barrier. Unfortunately, there is no set ways to solve miscommunication, but we do rely on several suggestions from class to help improve our organization communication. One advice that we learned was to use clear, appropriate language. Appropriate language also includes the use of words, gestures, and symbols that are appropriate to the receiver’s level of understanding. In other words, one has to try to make sure you use the right words to get your message across and so people aren’t confused. This advice was definitely useful since we sometime undermine one another intelligence and not give the other person the respect he or she deserves. As a result, small arguments and bickering occur for over proportioned reasons. Instead of using inappropriate languages, we were suggested to practice empathic communication and be considerate toward one another without every saying “I know exactly how you feel” since we do not actually know how they feel and should not pretend to. This helps tremendously since some of our team members are more sensitive than others. Another advice that goes hand in hand with practicing empathic communication is the development of a climate of trust. One way that I have seen a climate of trust develop is when one makes himself or herself open to another person in a one­on­one situation. For example, if I demonstrate to others that I can trust them with personal information, they are much more likely to feel safe around me: unless they are the gossiper. If they are gossipers, we must watch out for them because according to Dr. Cleveland, “He who gossips to you will gossip about you.” Another way I have seen trust developed is by showing one’s faith in the group. For instance, in the stats section, when Devin formed the survey, He did not worry about printing them or passing them out, He had confidence in Chris that he would have this done because he has shown himself loyal to the group. In order to work with one another closely, we have to have some trust in each other and not always doubt one another. Trust is especially useful since we’re constantly counting on one another to contribute in order to have a successful project. Another recommendation that help improve our communication barrier is the encouragement of effective listening. If we listen to one another and think about what each person is saying with an open mind, it would really help cut back any criticisms. Although we do definitely encourage feedback, we do not recommend any harsh criticisms that have the intention of harming or offending another person. When used correctly, we certainly encourage constructive criticisms that could help improve ourselves or ideas. Through all these lessons that we’ve learned, our communication barrier is no longer a barrier but merely an ant pile that we could over come by discussing our problems. Although we have learned a lot doing the business fair project, we have also learned a lot more about communication than we thought we would. One thing that we realized is that we must always be alert to the messages we are sending and the messages we are receiving. “Communication is so dynamic; it never remains the same. Relationships, regardless of consistency that we assume to exist, are constantly changing, and is always moving to a new place.” Knapp, Mark L. and Anita L. Vangelisti. Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2005 Approach: The typical management approach would be to execute the classical decision theory which assumes that decision making is a highly rational process. Detached has decided to move away from the classical approach style of management and move towards the modern Human Resources style. Working as a Product Design Team, a temporary team assembled to design a new product or service, we have had a first hand glance with team performance. We have used facilitative­oriented discussions to draw out potential from group members. As we have progressed through this project, we have depended on one another to generate ideas, be critical and give honest opinions, and help to bring out the best in one another. With this, we will incorporate team based management. Self­directed work teams (SDWT) are a modern exciting advance in participatory decision making. This modern emergence models the way our groups are taking on this project in every aspect from the responsibilities to the managing the tasks at hand. Team members are trained to perform a variety of cross­functional tasks in order to be interchangeable within the unit and provide assistance to others (Vecchio 131). This leads to efficiency and increased productivity. The teams will be randomly selected. This idea was derived from the way our groups in this class were created. By doing this, there will be a diverse range of backgrounds that will help produce unique innovative ideas. When it comes to group decision­making processes, diversity is generally viewed as a good thing, a broader range of perspectives leading to a wider range of information and a more balanced outcome. Group 36 consists of various cultural backgrounds ranging from Asian to Hispanic to European, and this cultural variance entails a variance in the way we think and the ideas we come up with. Our group epitomizes diversity, and exemplifies how this will lead to maximum potential success for Detached. Most team based decision processes tend to produce “groupthink”. There were signs of this beginning to occur within our group as the semester progressed, and exhaustion escalated. At the first meeting, everyone was eager and impatient to suggest multiple product ideas. Now it seems when a decision needs to be made we are going along with the first proposal announced or debating between two as opposed to ten. We are just going along with each others suggestions, because we are more comfortable and trusting in our group members now, and laziness has taken its toll. Also, many times instead of saying exactly what we feel, a group member will pose a question to seek out ideas from another group member that have been lying dormant. When we were discussing what kind of materials to use in our booth, instead of holding to personal views that we should use paper­mache only, one would ask, “Well what do you think about ___.? This also correlates to “groupthink” and needs to be resolved. To remedy this, employees at Detached will be required to anonymously submit suggestions or ideas into a designated suggestion box. After the proposals are compiled, there will then be a mandatory meeting where they will discuss potential leads, reject proposals, and maybe even spark better ideas. Finally, there will be a silent vote between the best options. Walking into class Tuesday I was presented with a suggestion to ponder what leadership really means. When you look at it in full perspective, it is really hard to put the usual verbatim found in a Webster’s dictionary. Instead, you look back to experiences and what has molded your own leadership style. Working together as a team in group 36 has resulted in unleashing many leadership qualities many members never knew they had. Of course, like any group, we each took on various roles and followed what was most comfortable, but we also influenced to step up and take initiative to demonstrate our inner leader. Luckily, our group was blessed to have a natural born leader, Devin. He was the backbone, and played a vital role in getting us to the point we are now. As a company, Detached should example this. So in accordance with the team based management, Detached would also like to designate someone to be the “Devin” of each team, which will include an added bonus in pay as an incentive to put forth the effort. Let this not put the other members of the team in the dark though, because each unique individual attribute is what molded our group. Leadership involves influence, intention, personal responsibility, change, shared purpose, and followers. These characteristics will be crucial elements in escalating success within Detached. Referring back to role­taking, this usually occurs naturally as long as conflict is avoided or remedied. Although Devin stood as a key influence, we were all able to collectively influence one another. Once we reached a comfort zone with each member, it was like a rocket exploding for constructive criticism and energy compelling each other to put forth effort in whatever area they could be most helpful in. Our first few meetings involved getting to know one another and just letting everyone take their turn and propose ideas, and then once we actually started on the project and each individual was putting themselves out there, others weren’t afraid to critique because we are all in this together. The comfort areas were obvious. When Vanessa and I heard designing the actual shoe prototype, we jumped on it because she is a textile major and I just have a shoe fetish. Considering Jacques is outgoing and really charismatic, he immediately took initiative to deal with the external situations as far as getting the patent and talking to the TA’s with questions concerning our product. Meghan utilized her creativity to design a sketch of the booth we are going to create. Chris stepped up when I needed someone to drive around with me seeking potential sponsors and materials for the product and booth. Izzy and Jennifer were always coming up with ideas. Thanh was always willing to offer constructive criticism to ideas or proposals and openly discuss or argue why they wouldn’t work. This was a big help, because you could see the hesitation and refrain when someone pitched an off the wall idea that needed to be rethought and not agreed upon with silence. Even when we divided the document, we split up in the areas that we were most comfortable. So as you can see, everyone took on roles that lead the maximum success of our group. This can also be referred to as Management­By­ Objectives (MBO) where employees participate in the setting of goals or objectives. By dividing the document amongst us in the areas or objectives we were most content with, we were exampling MBO. This same process should naturally unfold with Detached’s use of team based management style. Technical Approach Networking 1 Networking within our group has played one of the most important roles From the beginning stages of contacting each t hroughout our group’s process. other for the first time, to the grounding of our entire business we have utilized various networks. Networking includes for the large part communicating and t ransferring data from one area to another across a medium. This is as small as having a conversation between one another to sending an e-mail. process the most substantial aspect has been But in this through networking telecommunications and the use of the internet. Blackboard was used in the first steps we took to finding what group we were apart of. This meant from the beginning we were accessing a network on the internet. Blackboard, in a way, was an intranet to our group, because within Group 36, we could connect directly and communicate through Blackboard without any other group being able to access our group information. This is a part of telecommunication with the use of internet. The next step our group took to gain communication was with the use of email. Email allowed us to contact each other simultaneously and respond to the entire group with the least amount of difficulty. With the ability to use email we were able to have less i nterruptions from the telephone but there was more room for the “assumption of simple meaning” that people in general assume in communication. In essence, I say one thing, and someone else assumes that it has one meaning. This often is not the case. It depends on who says what , when, t he context of the situation, and how t he message was communicated including the tone of voice. For instance, in one email Devin asked the group to brainstorm ideas for the booth. What he meant was look online for examples to stir up your creativity; look through magazines; ask around; keep your eyes open; and then present to the group in paper format what you found. But each group member no doubt had their own interpretation of what this meant. To some it might have meant “spend some time doing some sketches;” to others it m ight have meant, “Just think about a couple of ideas to talk about at the next meeting.” Email can be a very confusing communication medium also because you do not get to read the nonverbal cues of the communicators. There are two aspects to messages that people deliverer: the content (what is said) and the relationship (how it is said). So I may say, “Thanks for helping out today,” the content expresses appreciation to the individual. But how I said it matters: if I had a sarcastic tone I m ight be in essence calling you a jerk for not helping out. dimension. Email lacks this Though email has played a continual part of our group’s process. It allows one person in our group to take notes of the meeting and ideas or progress we have made and send it to all the other members in a time-saving manner that makes sure everyone receives information about what we discussed, particularly if someone had to miss a meeting. If we all took notes it would cause a less efficient meeting. Also, emails can and have been saved in a documented progression of our group; one member has saved all the group emails in a “Business Fair” file in their email account. By doing this, email has served to keep an accurate record. If any disputes were to arise, we could always look back into what commitments we made. Devin, Thanh, and Vanessa have sent out minutes after different meeting that discusses what exactly we worked on at the meeting, what commitments we made, and what we needed to do to prepare for the next meeting. This is sent to the whole group and helps keep a member who could not possibly attend the meeting up to date. Another part of networking that is an integral part of our group is the World W ide Web. This is a network of links on the internet to various documents. This tool makes multiple parts of the business process run more efficiently. It lets us connect to a much wider scale of information and gain information with less search t ime. We have used the web to look up local places that could be potential sponsors as well as get direct information on these businesses. The web made phone numbers and directions assessable within seconds. Instead of having to find this i nformation through articles or go to the library to search in reference sections we were able to do different tasks from a more convenient area. We also used the web to search for ideas about booths and logo designs. The web gave us a space to get our creativity flowing. Search engines such as Google gave Brianda and Vanessa names of local shoe repair shops that were potential sponsors. The web did improve our process, but works more efficiently for larger corporations such as Wal-Mart. This is because of the large difference in status between a well known corporation and us as students. These businesses have a better chance of getting into contact w ith sponsors because of the networks they may have already built. Our group had used both local area networks such as The University of Texas wireless network and our own personal area networks to connect with one another throughout this whole business process. UT connections connect us directly to the WWW, which is a WAN. A LAN would be more like a network in a small company that is limited access to the members of that company. This would be a great way for Detached to run within an office setting. This would allow use to access the same information and run from the same foundation. If Detached was to have a PAN I think it would help each department within the office such as sales see the same information. Then it would also let other departments be able to see access the sales information without having to having to directly contact someone f rom that department. The next way in which communication was made more assessable was exchanging our instant messaging and cellular text-messaging. Several members have used these Medias to make contacts about last minute concerns such as asking for a reminder of a particular meeting time, or reminding an individual about a last m inute e-mail that someone had not responded to. This is just yet another way for us to contact one another about group questions without scheduling meetings which can be hard due to conflicting schedules. Networks within a business are a way in which a company can run more smoothly and communicate easily. This is seen through our group’s examples of using email and internet. Knowing the meaning of MIS it is apparent that with t he use of the email, the web, and different types of networks is a major part of having a successful business process. Our group has seen this first hand because we have used networks to help organize meeting times and provide information to one another whether it is about not being able to make a meeting or updating on the progress of the group document. All of the ways in which we used networks are examples of how a real business might run. In the real world Detached would gain more from having both access to a PNA and a WAN. This would enable to let the company work on a small and large scale at the same time. The PNA would be helpful in more of a centralized work are and WNA would be efficient in research for target markets and advertisement. Whether it is in a staff meeting or a memo sent out to the entire office, networks are used everyday to make business more efficient. 1Knowledge Management (DDS) Detached’s essence of existence depends upon knowledge management. We believe in incorporating the vast diversity of individuals and available knowledge resources, both written and computer-based, and using them in the company where t hey are most beneficial. The main objective behind knowledge management is to change people’s behavior to make their expertise and experience readily obtainable to others. 1The knowledge management plan for Detached w ill use a replicated data base to reduce telecommunications cost. This database will hold a duplicate set of f requently used data, which will be made sure to be accurate, up to date, and consistent between each database by using the process of data synchronization. This process will consist of sending a copy of important data to each store at the beginning of the day, and at the end of the day the different locations will send their data back to update the main databases. For example, Detached’s database can hold data on what specific styles are selling more rapidly at each different location or store and recommendations from the company’s sales representatives on how to sale t he product more effectively. Moreover, this procedure would increase the safety and punctuality of Detached’s information, since distributed databases rely on telecommunications lines to transport data, which in turn makes them slower. And, as for the increase in safety, with distributed databases it allows more users direct access to different sites; therefore, being able to control who accesses and changes data, is a bit more difficult. These are just some of the reasons why it would be better for our company to use duplicated database rather than distributed ones. The company will also use online analytical processing (OLAP) for high speed analysis of data involving complex relationships dealing with the entire data stream for our company. This speed is essential as Detached grows and receives data in t heir operational systems and data warehouses. Without high-speed data t ransmission, we wouldn’t have a competitive edge against other companies and we would risk not meeting our customer demand on time. OLAP would be used in stores to gather information about the consumers. As soon a customer checks out, t he shoe will be scanned and the product number indicating which type or model of shoe will be recorded in the computer. This will give the company direct access to see which type of shoe is being sold the most and where it is being sold, so as to spot trends in purchases geographically. OLAP’s purpose is to support data analysis and decision making with top-down, query driven data analysis. The only down fall to this type of database is the user must be very knowledgeable of the data and its business context. This is why Detached uses a digital system (DSS) with a dialogue manager to make sure the information is both understandable and accessible to its users. The focus of DSS is on decision-making effectiveness whenever problems rise i n the company. DSS will help Detached determine who exactly to target, how many certain types of products to produce, and will give the company an idea during projects of areas where time could potentially be wasteful. Detached w ill use a data-driven DSS which will perform qualitative analysis based on the company’s OLAP and duplicate database. This will retrieve i nformation on the shoes, how many shoes are selling, who is selling the most shoes, our financial position, our accounting, and other areas. For example, once the shoes are purchased by a consumer, the data-driven DSS will help the company identify who purchased the product from the sales by personnel entering their telephone number in the computer, and whenever there is a sale on Detached shoes the DSS w ill tap into those stores and retrieve information on how to contact the customer and send them a notice on upcoming sales. Also, we could ask if the customers wanted a periodical update on sales of our product via email. If so we could enter t heir email address into our data system and then send them emails, some specifically with direct links to Detached’s website. Therefore, we would be able to t rack customer specific information by watching the hits on our website from their IP addresses. This would give us the ability to then tailor our emails to the customers’ interests. Detached’s data-driven DSS will work something like this: information will be sent back and forth between the OLAP/duplicated database and the data base management system which allows mangers and decision makers to perform qualitative analysis on Detached’s vast stores of data in the OLAP and duplicated databases, data warehouses, and data marts. Then, dialogue managers retrieve and i nterpret this data and put it into terms to where it is understandable and accessible to users and send it back to the DMBS where the information is made assessable on the internet and corporate intranet, networks and other computer systems in which users have entry. Security Issues Running a business could pose a lot of different risks regarding security issues, not only for the business, but for the clients, as well. Customers are always the number one priority in businesses, and companies have to make it a policy to have the customers’ safety in mind at all times. It is i mportant to not allow their information to be put in the wrong hands or lost somewhere in cyberspace. As a corporation, Detached plans on keeping safety i n mind by making sure that the customers stay aware of where their information is and what the establishment is doing with the information they receive about the client. Detached w ill have an “ability to decide/ right to know” policy, in which the consumer can decide on the amount of information that Detached shares with other businesses. For instance, in regards to online shopping, they will have the option to click and choose either to have or not have their information shared with similar businesses that they may be interested in. If there is ever any instance when their privacy and security may be at risk, Detached w ill give notice to the client and give t hem options in what they may do. The buyer will also have the option to receive information about the product and the company in the form of a brochure located at the checkout or as an option t hey could click online. This information packet will include details about the product such as the safety of the shoe, data on the company as a whole, and what areas the money from their purchases goes to. To ensure the safety of customers’ information further, all employees of Detached w ill be subject to honesty tests and background checks. The company will h ire the most reliable candidates in order to not have any database theft of the consumers’ information. Detached w ill make it a point to have very low internal t heft loss and damages that are made due to dishonest employees from these practices, as well. All employees will be trained properly in the areas they will be specializing in, so as to reduce the amount of on-site accidents and waste that may be accumulated from someone not knowing what they are doing when it comes to t he manufacturing of the shoe or otherwise. 1 Statistics In our statistical approach, we once again wanted to keep our central theme on people. Three main branches of concern relating to statistics that emerged during group brainstorming were: (1) finding information about potential customers, (2) seeking out cost-related data, and (3) deciding on issues related to location. Customer data: To be effective, our customer needs to be at the forefront of our minds. A late 1990’s study cited by footwear news revealed that 82% of women prefer comfort over fashion when shopping for a shoe. Recently, the shoe industry has been heavily influenced by rubber sole athletic shoes and other outdoor oriented casual models. As more companies incorporate the “casual Friday” and other dress down days, a greater number of women are wearing a less formal shoe to work. As a result, women’s dress shoes sales have declined by more than 31 %. At the same time, casual shoes have become the second most popular market in the U.S behind athletic shoes. This information lead Detached to formulate a shoe/product that would efficiently capture the demands of modern women. The noticeable data available allowed Detached to be confident that a high heel with the ability to be transformed into a comfortable casual shoe would capture the 82% of women who look for comfort in a shoe. The convenience of the detachable heel should also help recapture some of lost sales. The shoe industry is heavily influenced by market trends. Detached will use its DSS system and OLAP in order to remain in contact with the demand of its customers. The fall 2006 season was heavily influenced towards black, neutrals and greys, with a splash of red, which would compliment this season’s plaid craze. Shoe sales have a negative skew because of market trends. The popular shoe negatively skews the distribution because it will be the most common bought shoe, which would be representative of the mode, will be sold more often at a certain time period but will not always perform as well as the mean/ average product. When a specific type of shoe becomes popular, the majority of consumers will follow the market trend. This will cause a certain type of shoe to be purchased more frequently than the normal. Detached will process the data received from stores to recognize the most common shoe produced (mode) and the shoe that has experienced constant success. These two products should always be tracked to ensure Detached is manufacturing and shipping those big sellers to our retailers across the country. In order to ensure our customer is receiving a durable product we would do a hypothesis test. A hypothesis test would help us ensure our product’s durability is maximized. We wanted to show the public that our detachable heel was just as durable as the standard high heel. We took a sample of 6500 shoes from a sampling frame of our product and the standard high heel. We hypothesized our product would be just as durable if not more durable. Ho = Our product is just as durable as the standard heel. H1= Detachable high heels will be more durable than the standard high heel. After analyzing our data and processing the information we found that the sample of our product had an average life of 267 days, with a standard deviation of 75 days. The standard heel had an average life of 259 days, with a standard deviation of 66 days. We tested our hypothesis at a .001 significance level. We used the equation XD= Average life of our D= product= 267 Od= standard deviation of our product = 75 days, XOF = average life of the standard heel, OOF= standard deviation of the standard heel = 66 days. The test statistic = (XD-XOF) /( OD2/N + OOF2/N)1/2 267-259/((752 / 6500) + (662) / 6500))1/2 = 5.2. The 5.2 is significantly higher than the score of 3.09. We reject the null hypothesis and believe that our product is just as durable and even more durable. Keeping the customer in mind, a simple way to examine consumers for example is to view the average women’s shoe size in America: 8 wide, according to available data from Richey & Co1. Thus it would be simply illogical to produce a plethora of size 9s to size 8s: we would not be customer-oriented and would thus risk upsetting customers with empty shelves. Not to mention we would be completely ineffective in processing our data input (each individual’s shoe size) into knowledge (the average shoe size is 8), and thus be running a demand risk. Knowing that size 8 is the most common shoe size would help us in our production to satisfy customer demand. In other words, we would be placing our fishing rods where the fish are. We decided to test the data provided by Richey & Co. by asking a group of female college students taking a UT business course what their shoe size was. Grant it, this class certainly does not proportionally reflect the population buying high heels. But it was good practice. In real life, we would need to make sure that everyone of the population that bought 1 “How to Choose Comfortable Career and Dress Shoes.” Richey & Co, 2006. Viewed 19 November 2006. <http://www.richeyandco.com/html/career_dressshoes.html>. heels would have an equal opportunity for selection in the study. Our sample has many biases: (1) Some students refused to fill out the survey on the grounds that the survey was “sexist,” to quote directly. We had divided our survey questions into male and female sections (classifying nominal data). (2) The surveys are biased by age group; more than college aged kids buy high heels. (3) The surveys did not reveal to us if a particular age group would be more likely to buy the shoes. For instance, junior high students might love the fad more than adults, and thus our target shoe size in production should be oriented towards junior highs. (4) We incurred a nonresponse bias. Some students simply didn’t come to class the day of the survey. Also, some students that came to class did not fill out the survey. The results of our survey? MIS 311F Fall 2006 Female Student Shoe Size Frequency Distribution Shoe Size N/A 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8 8.5 Frequency Cumulative Frequency 4 6 9 14 25 35 64 74 Relative Frequency .0392 .0196 .0294 .0490 .1078 .0980 .2843 .0980 Cumulative Relative Freq. .0392 .0588 .0882 .1372 .2450 .343 .6273 .7253 Deviations From Mean (X -X ) n/a -2.6 -2.1 -1.6 -1.1 -.6 -.1 .4 Squared Deviations (X - X)² n/a 6.76 4.41 2.56 1.21 .36 .01 .16 4 N/A’s 2 3 5 11 10 29 10 9 9.5 10 10.5 11 Total: 15 8 4 0 1 102 89 97 101 101 102 102 .1471 .0784 .0392 0 .0098 ≅1 .8724 .9508 .9900 .9900 .9998 ≅1 .9 1.4 1.9 2.4 2.9 0 (proportionally) .81 1.96 3.61 5.76 8.41 109 (proportionally) Although the individual’s actual size of foot is continuous data, shoe sizes may be reported as discrete data. In calculating the deviations from the mean and squared N/As were not included. deviations, the four Sum of the differences of means was found by taking the deviations of each size and taking their frequencies into account to be proportionally correct; we did likewise in calculating our test statistic for this problem. Also, data is reported according to American shopping standards. Range: 5.5 to 11. Interquartile range: 9 - 7.5 = 1.5 (the difference between the 75th and 25th quartiles). Mean: 8.1. Variance (s²): 109/102 = 1.0686. Standard deviation (s): square root of 1.0686 = 1.0337. With the above data, we can now seek to process this data into meaningful information. Does our sample indicate that there is a our sample mean X-bar? To significant difference between the shoe sizes of the population and find this out we must perform a two-tailed hypothesis test. With a confidence level of .07 we will do so: The preceding formula give us our Z-score (transformed score). But instead of using the population standard deviation which we do not have, we will use the sample standard deviation(s) which we calculated above. Also, the “X” in the formula will be X-bar. Assuming that the population has a normal distribution we can give the following possible diagram: Population Shoe Size For our sample to represent a mean that is significantly different from the population at the .07 significance level, our test statistic needs to exceed a Z-score of ± 1.81. Our test statistic calculated by the formula above is .0967. Thus we fail to reject the null hypothesis (Ho: sample mean = µ ) and disregard the alternative hypothesis (H1: sample mean ≠ µ). There is certainly not significant evidence demonstrating that the average shoe size of females in a MIS 311F class have a different shoe size than the national norm reported by Richey and Co. But what if this conclusion is incorrect? We will have made a Type 2 error by failing to reject the null hypothesis when it was false. Thinking further, our critical area---the areas of .035 to the far left and far right of the mean at the ends of the graphical distribution---represents the probability of committing a type 1 error (rejecting the null hypothesis when it is true. Thus we had a .07 chance of rejecting the null hypothesis when it was true. Our P-value---found on the Z distribution table by subtracting the area between our test statistic and the middle of the curve from .5–.5 representing the area under the curve to the right of the mean---was .5 - .0359 = .4641. Our P-value encompasses the critical area, thus further demonstrating that we do not have significant evidence to reject the null hypothesis. We thought it would also be helpful to look at a stem and leaf graph which retains the actual data values and will give us a visual of the class distribution (even though our frequency distribution of our sample in this particular case also keeps track of actual values): 5 6 7 8 55555 9 00000000000000055555555 10 0 0 0 0 11`0 Our mean 8.1 ≅ median 8 = mode 8. Based on this order, and the observation of our distribution above, it does not appear that we have a skewed distribution, but a rather normal distribution. Although we do have a strange imbalance between data that records a “.5" and data that do not. On the survey this question was presented as a fill in the blank question. Thus some students may not have felt the need to express the “.5" onto the survey; or the data may simply reflect the class. In addition, we need to take into consideration the reliability of our data. Although this particular projected parameter of size 8 is concurrently produced by Thomson Gale, a reliable textbook source, we would still have many questions to address2. What kind of sample did they use? Was this a truly random sample that everyone had an equal opportunity to be a part of? Not likely. Does the data reflect the current population? How was their data gathered? If they used a survey, how were the questions worded? What about surveying non-English reading buyers such as our 55 00055555 000000000005555555555 0000000000000000000000000000055555 2 “Footcare - Annual Report Part 2 - Category by Category.” Thomson Gale Group, 2004. Accessed 13 November 2006. <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3374/is_n8_v18/ai_18327262>. Filipino population who may have a lower shoe size norm which would lower our mean to a more accurate level? Some of our friends of the Filipino culture have expressed a difficulty in finding shoes their size (anecdotal data): Americans are simply and frankly a larger people. A more productive statistic instead might be finding actual high heel shoe sales at the same store we plan on selling our product through. Indeed, knowing size is simply not enough. What does size matter if size 8 wide is actually not the most frequently bought shoe? Richey & Co. goes on to state that the best selling shoe size is 7 ½ medium, in a discussion that 88% of women wear shoes that are too small for them. Nevertheless, knowing shoe size can be helpful as by anecdotal data, there seems to be a positive correlation between feet sizes and shoe sizes bought (7.5 is not far from 8 relative to shoe size data). Next in our survey of one MIS 311F class, we asked whether or not the female students wore high heels. 84% responded “yes.” We wanted to find out a range of values that could confidently capture the true population mean of women who wore high heels. We used the following formula create a 95% confidence interval: CI = sample proportion ± Z√[(p(1-p)/n]. After our test (again, we must remember the biases of our survey described earlier), we were 95% confident that the true proportion of the population who wore high heels feel between .77 and .91. Other issues we covered on our surveying of the students show that 92% of female students feel uncomfortable wearing high heel shoes after a marginal period of time. This data would help affirm the demand for a heel that could detach for a period of time. We also found out that 82% of guys tend to see women as having a more professional appearance if they are wearing high heels. Costs: The questions are limitless. Certainly in the City of Cleveland we need not worry about details in financial costs. But some cost questions we proposed cross over into other areas which would be helpful to address. 1.) What are costs of materials to make shoe? 2.) Employee costs? 3.) Structure? 4.) Rent? 5.) Maintenance? 6.) Time? 7.) Energy? 8.) What appeals work best in keeping your employees (employee retention)? 9.) What atmosphere do employees enjoy most? 10.) How do we create that atmosphere? 11.) Employee training costs? 12.) Employee benefits? 13.) How can we reduce Communication apprehension in the company? 14.) Which Information System will be the most cost-efficient for our particular company? How do all these relate to . . . people? A concern of one of our group members was the issue of employee retention. Job turnovers can be very costly to companies because of the time and money they cost in placing advertisements to attract new workers, interviewing new people, and paying for training time. On the flip side of this concern is the question, “what would it cost the company if some of its negative team members didn’t leave?” Working in a nursing home and seeing the frequent turnover of Certified Nurse-Aides (CNAs), this group member wondered what costs and causes were involved. After conducting an interview with Heather Guerin, the administrator of Sagebrook Health Center of Cedar Park, this individual caught more of a glimpse of modern society’s job expectations. Guerin said that the pay rates Sagebrook offered were “competitive in their respective market” and other benefits like the 401K retirement plan and a company share system were available to employees. A $10.50 hourly starting wage for the lowest paying nurse related job at Sagebrook ought to be a reasonable amount to retain many folks, especially when looking at the stereotypical wages college students make, right? Well, it appears that salary is only one of many factors leading to turnover. Interpersonal relationships affect perceptions of workers and thus their performance. The article “Can’t buy me love” from Marketing Magazine discusses the importance of relationships: “Money can’t buy love and it certainly can’t buy loyalty.” Although the article doesn’t cite its method of gathering the following data, it is interesting to note that “flexible hours, the ability to work from home and increased vacation time are among the top incentives used by companies to attract talent.”3 In essence, there is a spiral of reciprocal perspectives: What I think you think of me reverberates back to what I think of myself. What I think of myself affects how I act towards you. How I act towards you affects how you feel about me and thus how you act towards me4. So for instance, if I perceive (regardless of how valid or invalid my perception is) that my boss doesn’t care for me (management not flexible with my schedule; they don’t respect my time off; they demonstrate little appreciation for my efforts; they dismiss my emotions; etc.), then I begin to re-evaluate myself. “Am I really not valuable to you? Does my value to the company and my benefits of working here actually outweigh the costs of not being valued by you?” If I feel undervalued, my behavior towards you (and thus my job performance) will not be as diligent as before, thus increasing company costs. In effect, you see my decreased efforts as my boss and 3 Warren, Michelle. “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Marketing Magazine. Vol. 111 Issue 33. 9 Oct. 2006: 25. Knapp, Mark L. and Anita L. Vangelisti. Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2005. 4 because of your superiority in this instance (upward communication versus horizontal), you may not be as likely to evaluate yourself, but you will probably evaluate my behavior and redefine me accordingly if the behavior is persistent. Of course this is just one example, and it can work in a more positive direction for sure. UT student professor, Luke Winslow, gave insight to the importance of relationships when he stated the following line in his opening lecture of a Professional Communications course: “Winning the Super Bowl doesn’t make anybody happy; but relationships do;” take that from an athletic guy who works out on a regular basis. If people are not at least somewhat satisfied in their relationships at work, regardless of how fulfilling their life may be outside the workplace, they won’t be happy on the job. And hey, who likes to stick around when they’re not happy? So shizam, “another one bites the dust.” Why is Sagebrook’s CNA turnover simply considered “normal”? Sagebrook’s rehab success rate for returning patients back to their original health state prior to an injury ranges from 70-75%, a confidence interval up to 15% higher than the other five facilities of the Asísta Corporation to which Sagebrook belongs5. Why not seek to excel in this area as they have in many others? Heather Guerin comments that the problems in retaining employees have often been employee personalities. People who want to change can be helped; but “unfortunately” says Heather; the chance of those with a negative outlook wanting to change is “often is not the case.” Thus they use the typical Texas 90 day evaluation period to decide if they will keep new employees or not. 5 “Asísta.” Asísta Management Corporation. Accessed 13 November 2006. <http://www.asistacorp.com/>. Within our group, “employee retention” most likely depended upon the desire of each member to succeed in the class. But desire to succeed could have certainly been overturned by unwholesome group interactions. No we have not been perfect, but we have been surprised at the easy-going cohesiveness that has guided our group since our early meetings. To demonstrate, say for instance that the class average attendance to lectures was 150 students, 42.9% of the class. We thought it would be interesting to perform a hypothesis test to see if our group meeting attendance was significantly higher. The following discussion is fabricated (actual data is recorded in the attendance section at the end of the document). Izzy, who has taken attendance for our meetings, supplied the group with the following data: overall, 85.2% of our 9 group members showed up to group meetings (an average of 7.6 people per meeting). Here are the individual proportions of attendance from our 15 meetings we’ve held so far: .56 .89 1 1 .89 .78 .78 .89 1 1 .89 .78 .67 1 .67 It is important to note that if we were to incur a ratio of 0, it would mean that we had an absence of a value; no one showed up to the meeting. For instance, if we included our meeting for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (which will be cancelled), the ratio of 0 would be an absence of value, versus data such as 0 degrees temperature, which is a quantitative continuous piece of interval data. Let’s test this at a .01 significance level; this will be a one-tailed test. Z= (p1 – p2) √{[(Pc(1-Pc)/n1] + [Pc(1-Pc)/n2]} Pc = (7.6 + 150)/(9 + 350) = .439. With the first proportion representing Group 36 meetings, and the second representing the classes, we calculated a test statistic of 2.52. We did this utilizing the above formula for a difference of proportions. This demonstrates that the attendance of our group meetings was significantly larger than the MIS 311F lecture sections because 2.52 is greater than the critical value 2.32 associated with a one-tailed test at the .01 significance level. Thus if the data were real, we might conclude that the closer-knit relationships within our group meeting versus class lecture periods may have served to increase “employee retainment.” Although we must note that there are various extraneous variables that could have affected this: desire for a good grade and desire to not to be reported as MIA, the higher accountability that arises from being in a small group setting, etc. Another issue related to costs is seeking a competitive advantage. In order to gain a competitive advantage to other shoe market entrants we would begin selling our shoes at a high end retail department store. In this way we could have an established brand name like Nieman Marcus to support our entry into the new market. The reason we chose high end retail is our hypothesis in a study we would like to perform would be that a greater percentage of high heeled shoes are sold in high end retail stores than in boutiques. For the purpose of this study we defined boutiques selling a greater percentage of high heeled shoes our null hypothesis. Our main target consumer will be women due to the statistical significance between the number of men and women who wear high heeled shoes. We believe this improvement on an old concept will be very sought after due to the current comfort level of high heel shoes. According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States (2006), which is released by the Census Bureau, 83% of those consumers who bought aerobic shoes were women. Another 61% of consumers who bought walking shoes were also women. This shows that the majority of consumers buying comfortable shoes are women. With women as our target audience the creation of a comfortable alternative to an uncomfortable, yet socioeconomic norm, would create a competitive advantage despite being a new entrant into the market. With stores in every major city and in 27 states across the United States our exposure will be maximized as we enter the market. Women’s shoes account for the largest single percentage of shoes imported into the United States at 38.3% with the second largest being athletic shoes at only 17.0%. This gives us a demand side competitive advantage because we are entering the shoe market where there exist the most consumers. However we are also taking a strategic risk entering the market that is ordinally 1st because the competition between companies is the fiercest in the largest market area with the most consumers. The reason import numbers have such a statistical significance is because the majority of shoes that are sold in the United States are no longer made in the United States. Most shoe companies have their shoes made elsewhere because it is more cost efficient and gives them a chance to create a favorable wealth ratio to other companies in their market. As of the year 2004 the United States consumed 2.2 Billion pairs of shoes. Of that number 98.4% of those pairs of shoes were manufactured overseas and imported into the United States. This statistic gives the ratio advantage of women’s shoes from overseas quantitative significance in terms of the overall number of shoes purchased. Also, just as the quantitative ratio advantage of women’s shoes from overseas shows the overwhelming demand, the percentage of aerobic and athletic shoes purchased favors women in a way that would provide qualitative significance to the overall appeal of our shoes6. • • • • • 2004 U.S. Consumption Highlights, Sources, & Notes In 2004, U.S. footwear consumption increased 7.5 percent over 2003, with U.S. consumption surpassing 2.15 billion pairs. Based on the U.S. Census Bureau's 2004 population estimate of 293,655,404 people, 7.4 pairs of shoes were purchased by every man, woman, and child in the United States in 2004. Note: 2004 U.S. production numbers represent AAFA estimates based on historical trends and anecdotal information. Source: U.S. Imports for Consumption, U.S. International Trade Commission's Trade Dataweb (http://dataweb.usitc.gov). Source: U.S. Production, Current Industrial Report, U.S. Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/cir/www/alpha.html). 6 Location issues: What happens when a company asks someone to move to a new city? This person has a family, a background, a life, and of course a “Cheese.” What happens when the friendships you have developed or the time you have invested at work are perceived by your close friends as a threat to your relationships? We are compelled to continually evaluate what our Cheese is and how we will respond when the Cheese starts to mold. “The average American moves 12 times in a lifetime, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. But it is not unheard of for corporate employees to move 10 times in 20 years, or even three times in a single year, according to the transferees themselves . . . Today’s employee must be prepared to deal with a fast-paced, constantly changing work environment.7” “The rapid changes we have seen in technology over the past decade also have affected our relationships by increasing the number of channels we have for communication . . . Of course, the increased number channels for communication comes with costs. One potential cost involves the choices that people make about which channel is most appropriate for the messages they want to send. Making the wrong choice (e.g., using e-mail when a phone call would have been more appropriate) can result in negative impressions, misunderstandings, and even conflict. Another potential difficulty emerges from the anonymity associated with some of these new technologies. The Internet is one channel that allows individuals to easily conceal their identity and their intentions from each other. . . Although the greater access is convenient, it can create a need for more privacy. Having a pager go off several times during the course of a romantic evening may spoil the mood of one or both partners . . . As our privacy needs increase, we will begin to turn off our cell phones, remove our names from web sites, use caller I.D. to screen our calls, and limit the time we devote to answering e-mail messages.”8 If we had more time to discuss location issues we would address questions like the following: (1)What atmosphere do customers look for in a store (Starbucks ambiance 7 8 Ibid, Knapp. Ibid, Knapp. versus Abercrombie’s sensuality versus music at Chipotle versus the sweet customer service of Southwestern University). (2) Where in the store do we put shoes? (3) Would our line of products sell better in a store by itself or as a line of products in a larger company? (4) What city should our store be located in? (5) In what area of the city should our store be? (6) Should we place our production lines in the States our overseas for sake of competitive advantage of labor costs? (7) What structure designs attract people? ...
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2010 for the course MIS 311F taught by Professor Cleveland during the Spring '07 term at University of Texas.

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Detached Group Document- Fall 2006 - Cleveland - D et ach...

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