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Introduction to Manage Continuous Organizational Improvement
Manage continuous improvement in organization is to improve the services, products and processes by making small improvement within the business. Incremental change will result in major improvement over time. All the employees of organization must work together for improvement in working practices. This report has been prepared to analyze continuous improvement at Unilever through its culture. It is an Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company and its mission is to add vitality to life. Organization meets everyday needs for personal care, nutrition and hygiene with products that help people feel good.
Features of organization
Effective two way communication: Unilever has been using the full circle communication system that helps in reduction of staff. This aspect of system includes content, process and feedback, it includes many methods for exchange of information such as news board, magazines, flashboards and pictures stories. The system focuses on reduction of anxiety, mistakes, and misunderstanding and ensure employee understanding (Elnaby, Hwang and Vonderembse, 2012). The effective two way communication system encourages continuous improvement in organization as employees are highly satisfied with the firm so they easily accept the change in company.
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Culture of Unilever: Organization has high ethical standards for both people and the environment. Individuals and colleagues in the company are friendly with each other and build the network throughout the company. Employees of organization have passion for achievement and are dedicated to get the things done.
Role of research and development: Unilever has separate research and development department that help to identify the needs and desires of customers assisting organization to improve its product and services.
These features of Unilever promote continuous improvement in order to increase customer satisfaction and growth of the firm.
Leadership and management styles
For the continuous improvement within the organization, it requires change for leaders and their teams as well. Unilever has changed its leader and appointed Paul Pulman as its next chief executive for constant improvement in organization. It has adopted democratic style of management in which employees are involved in decision making and problem solving process. Organization involves government, institution and other stakeholders in identification of solutions when issues arise (Reitsma, 2001). It helps them to take effective solution for problems and develops friendly relationship with its employees considering the views, ideas and suggestions of human resource that help them to take effective judgment. This helps to motivate employees and provide job satisfaction and encourage them towards innovation. Organization has effective two way communications in which feedback of employees are considered which help them to introduce change in the firm successfully. Organization accepts the risk and introduces change according to the need and wants of customers. Unilever has consultative management style in which it takes opinion of stakeholders on major issues as they provide effective solutions on problems. It conducts meetings of team in which issues are discussed and effective decisions have been taken regarding problem and introduction of change in the firm.
An organization that can change the behavior of its employees is termed as learning organization. Learning is the never ending process and to achieve this organization should have strong relationship with its employees. Unilever developing an agile, flexible and diverse business plan with people in which employees are motivated by doing good while doing well. Organization builds the capabilities and leadership among their people and attracting them towards the success of the firm. It delivers training to its employees through its learning management system which offer more than 20 languages to above 130,000 employees in over 100 countries (Jones, 2005). All employees of business have a learning passport that enables them to manage their own skills development and at the same time employees allow organization to conduct special training programs. Organization formed Unilever Learning Academy which brings together all the major functional academies such as R&D, marketing, finance, HR, IT etc. with their general and leadership skills, which allow them to adopt common practices and share best practices. The learning academy of Unilever provides career skills maps for all functional departments and also provides clear understandings to employees about their development journey. Organization invests in the development of staff and conduct training and development programs in order to improve skills of employees and engage them in decision making process so that staff can give their innovative ideas for continues improvement in organization. It shared the goals, values, beliefs with its employees so that they can effectively perform their duties.
Approaches to change
In an organization people are contributing to a common goal. Change in the direction or goal within the organization means change in the job description for employees in the company. Transformation in the goal without consulting the employees will always result in the demoralization and opposition of workforce (Savolainen and Haikonen, 2007). Kotter and Schlesinger have defined 6 approaches that can help an organization to overcome resistance of change and pull everyone into the same direction, they are:
Education and communication: Unilever uses education and circle communication to avoid resistance. Organization open learning academy for its employees so that they can learn about new things and improve their skills. It also uses effective two way communication in which views and ideas of employees are consider and importance of change has been communicated to the employees so that staff accept the change without any resistance and work towards the growth of organization.
Participation and involvement: Unilever involve its employees while adopting any change and consult with them so that they feel motivated and work hard towards the success of company.
Facilitation and support: The management of organization helps their employees with their hurdles and gives them time to adjust according to change (Gotcheva, Watts and Oedewald, 2013).
Negotiation and support: All the employees of organization will not agree with the change so it needs to negotiate the change with its staff and try to compromise.
Manipulation and Co-option: The people who highly resistant to change, organization need to involve them first and put them in a leading role and make it as their change so that they can easily accept the transformation.
Explicit and implicit coercion: The professionals, who are adamant and very resistant to change, company requires to first involve them. Assign responsibilities to them for the modify process.
Approaches to quality improvement
Quality improvement is the systematic efforts which improve the performance of organization. In Unilever improvement in the quality of products is the major requirement of organization. Top management plays an important role in improving the quality of Product and services of Unilever. Kaizen is a technique in which small incremental change made by organization for minimization of waste and improvement of productivity. It is the system of improving process, quality, culture and company (Witell, Antoni and Dahlgaard, 2005). In Quality circle professionals make a voluntary group who will discuss about the improvement which can take place in the products and present their views and ideas for the management of work. It helps company in improvement of products and provides better output. Six sigma helps organization in elimination of defects and issues in the product. Quality approaches adopted by Unilever are as follows:
Total quality management: This approach improve the quality of product of Unilever through refining it from feedback which they receive from product user. It tastes their products first on animal and after that they introduce in market. Organization successfully implements the TQM by focusing on some key ethics such as trust, teamwork, ethics, communication and integrity.
Benchmarking: In this approach of quality improvement Unilever compare its business process and performance with its competitors (Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, 2002). The dimensions of measurement are quality, time and cost. It helps company to set the standard and improve their performance according to that.
Sources of information
Information plays an important role in identifying the opportunities for improvement. There are number of sources available for Unilever from where it can identify the opportunities for improvement, they are:
Environmental audits: It provides various external information to the organization and for environmental audit PESTLE analysis can be used, it is as follows:
- Political factor: Unilever enjoys stability in UK as compared to other countries. It provides information about the changes in laws, rules and regulations that affect the business of organization.
- Economic Factors: Inflation in country greatly affects the business of Unilever as it increases the expenditure of company. It also affects the interest of shareholder. These factors also include competitors in the market and for this company have laid down its own advertisement which result customer loyalty.
- Social Factors: These factors are connected with the change in behavior of customers. Change in customer behavior is out of control of organization (Hutchins, 2012). It helps organization in identification of need, preference and perception of customers.
- Technological Factors: It provides standardized products and online shopping that save the time of customers in order increase the number of customers.
- Legal Factors: These are the rules and regulations set by government of particular country and these are changed time to time. It helps Unilever to abide all rules and regulation of country and provide quality product.
- Environmental factors: Change in the climate, weather and environmental offsets highly affect the business of organization so it needs to consider these factors.
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Organizational analysis: For analysis of organization SWOT analysis can be done for identification of important information, it s enumerated:
- Strength: Unilever operates in nearly 190 countries in the world and have diversified product rang with strong portfolio of brands. It provide quality products according to need of customers. Company has large international business operations that provide important information about the market of many countries which help it in identification of opportunities.
- Weakness: Unilever considers the strategies and policies of its competitors as it uses benchmarking approach of quality improvement and develops its standards according to that (Jones, 2008).
- Opportunities: Organization considers the feedback of its stakeholders as they provide important information about the perception and requirements of customers and help company in development of innovative product.
- Threats: Many environmental, global competition and economic downturn affects the business of organization. Firm considers this information while developing the new product.
Analysis of information helps in identification of areas in which organization need to propose changes. The information can be analyzed with the help of following methods:
External consultants: Unilever can use external consultants on their business problems and for improvement in organization as they provide innovative ideas to the firm. It’s difficult for the company to see where the problem is because they are close to the situation. Consultants can provide important information for introduction of change and help in continues improvement of organization.
Systematic errors versus one-off errors: Random error is statistical error fluctuations in the measurement of data due to precision limitations of measurement device and systematic error is introduced by an inaccuracy in the system and they are predictable and expected (Reitsma, 2001). It helps organization in identification of problems in introduction of hand held devices to increase the productivity.
These methods help organization to develop sustainability of source of raw material and also improve the nutrition in their products. It develops the strategy for improvement in nutrition and quality of their products.
Impact of change
For improvement in quality and nutrition of products Unilever has develop the separate strategy for introduction of change in their products. Organization requires more resources for development of new goods and also requires more time as it needs to take the help of local experts (Barraza1 and Lingham, 2008). Company require to change the procedure and system of firms for introduction of change and need to allocate right people at the right job according to the requirement of change so that it can successfully implement innovation.
Evaluation of proposed changes
Change in the nutritious and quality of products highly affects the stakeholders of Unilever. Cost and benefit analysis of proposed changes are as follows:
- Improvement in quality and nutrition’s of product result in high customer satisfaction.
- It increases the profitability of organization.
- It helps in development of trust with the government of country as organization is providing quality products (Besterfield, 2011).
- Improve the standard and quality of life of people.
- It results in development of healthy relationship with stakeholders.
- Changes result in increase in the overall cost of products as it includes nutritious and health experts in development of new product.
- Lack of sustainability of sources of raw material for development of product.
Changes required introducing improvement
Organizations require to introduce some changes in the activities of firm for continues improvement. Unilever has been introducing many changes for introduction of improvement, they are:
Resources: Unilever has unsustainable source of raw material and for this it has taken the long term view to ensure security of supply, reduce the cost and secure the scare resources. It helps organization in successfully introduction of upgrading in the quality and nutrition of their products.
Leadership and management abilities: Organization develops Unilever Learning Academy in which all the major functional departments are bring together with their general and leadership skills. It also develops learning management system which enables employees to manage their own skills (Nebl and Schroeder, 2011). It helps Unilever to improve the management and leadership abilities of manager and successfully introduce the change for improvement.
Organization culture: It develops friendly relationship with employees and its nutritious community maintains the relationship with local experts and shares the values, beliefs and goals with their employees.
Job roles and responsibilities: Organization select the right people for right job at right time which help in continues improvement in company.
Agree proposed changes with stakeholders
Before implementing any changes in the organization for its improvement, it is necessary to take the consent of organization’s stakeholders. Without the consent of organization’s stakeholders it can become difficult to implement the proposed changes. Unilever need to involve employees, shareholders, customers, government, local community and suppliers while introducing change (Immordino, 2009). Organization develops the products for consumer so involvement of them is very important as they are highly affected from change in the quality of product. It takes feedback from its customers and identifies their views and ideas and perception about new product. The company communicates the important information regarding the change with employees so that they easily accept the change and avoid resistance. Unilever take the help of health and nutrition experts while introducing change in the quality of product which help them in improvement in organization. It also follows the rules and regulations framed by government for protection of health of customers and take the permission of government for introduction of change in quality of product (Leyssensjan, 2013).
Plan for proposed change
Preparing a suitable plan of proposed changes is very important. A right plan with right communication strategy is important for its acceptance by stakeholders. The plan for proposed changes is as follows:
- Project planning: Unilever introducing change for improvement and for this effective planning is required. It can use PRINCE2 technique of management which define the organization structure for management of project and focused on justification of change (Talbot, 2010). It provides flexibility in the project planning that can be applied at appropriate level of project.
- Documentation: Organization need to do documentation of all the work related with the introduction of change.
- Communication: After proper documentation organization need to communicate all the important information to its stakeholders so that they easily accept the change and avoid resistance.
- Setting criteria for monitor: Organization need to develop the standards as it can use benchmarking in which it can set standards according to its competitors (Bertsimas, Mersereau and Mittal, 2003). It helps company to measure the performance of organization after introduction of change.
- Timescales: It needs to develop the proper timescale for successfully implementation of change.
Systems design management
- Resource: To achieve the desired outcome, resources play an important role. For introduction of change Unilever require to have effective human resources, adequate financial resources and raw material.
- Communication: It is the exchange of ideas, thoughts and information between two or more person. Organization uses circle communication which plays an important role in successfully introduction of improvement (A Brief History of Quality: Approaches to Quality, 2012).
- Policies and Procedures: Designing and implementation of new and improved policies and procedures will support the changes at Unilever.
Review the change process
Reviewing the changes which are implemented in the organization is very important as it will help organization in identification of its loopholes and where they can improve more with changes. Unilever can adopt following methods:
- Monitoring: It is the supervision of activity which is can be used by the management to know about the output of process (Singh, 2013).
- Use of feedback: It can use feedback to review the change process and they can take feedback and suggestions from its stakeholders.
- Performance measurement: Organization can measure the actual performance with the standards which help to remove the gap between actual and desired performance.
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From the above report it can be articulated that management of continues improvement is very important for the growth of every organization. Unilever introduce change in quality and nutritious of products to satisfy the needs and wants of customers. The company needs to communicate with its stakeholders for introduction of change and can use Kotter and Schlesinger 6 approaches for change. Organization uses circle communication so that its employees can also give their views and ideas for improvement. It can use Total quality management, Kaizen, Quality circle and Benchmarking approaches for management of quality.
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