Ah, Gareth,

Trident Appliances




doing: just


engineers: what's

Parts Services Department


Chief Executive


them; the layout —— ~~~~(>_<)~~~~ 我没听到the的说




Ah, Gareth, do sit down. Thank you. Now, presumably you've considered this case study about Trident Appliances? Yes. Good. Well, let's start with the present situation. Trident manufactures photocopiers, which they sell in bulk to retailers and large organisations. Now, why do you think they're having trouble selling them? It's strange, because there's a big demand for photocopiers, and Trident's are competitively priced. But the specifications just don't compare with what's expected these days. It's a shame, because they've got plenty of technical expertise in their engineering support team. OK. Now, the company is owned by a large multinational. How do they see Trident? Well, the group is largely in the mining sector, and Trident doesn't fit in with that, so you'd expect the parent company to want to sell it. Or alternatively to be active, say by helping it to expand its markets. But really it seems quite content to take a hands-off approach, as long as Trident is generating some income. Hmm... There's clearly poor morale among the employees. Why do you think that is? Well, weak line managers are often a reason, but I can't find any evidence for that here. And even the recent changes, like the cut in bonuses, have been accepted fairly calmly. I think it reflects people's uncertainty about their long-term prospects with the company. What would you say about the sales staff? There's a lot about them in the case study. They're doing the best they can in the circumstances. There's a system for helping them to develop their selling skills, and that's working. The way customers are allocated to each salesperson could be improved maybe, to reduce unnecessary travel. But they're getting contradictory signals about what they're supposed to be doing: just responding to enquiries, or going out looking for new business. Uh-huh. And what about the service engineers: what's the main weakness in that department? They seem to miss a lot of opportunities. When they visit a customer to install or repair a photocopier, it's their chance to look at all the equipment there and suggest how Trident could supply the company's needs better. Then there's their problem with spares, the Parts Services Department keeps stocks low, for financial reasons, but that means the engineers often can't get the parts they need for call-outs, and the customer has to wait. Now, what about communications within the company? I'm sure you'll agree they're not as good as they could be. Why do you think that is? Well, I was a bit surprised, because, in fact, middle managers hold regular meetings with their departments. But that's because they're given information by the top management about policy issues and plans, for instance, which they have to pass on. But I have to say that some of them don't seem to think their staff can have anything to say that's worth hearing. And, of course, this creates ill feeling. OK. Now, if you think about the Chief Executive's problems for a moment, what do you think he needs to tackle first? There are so many problems! Something needs to be done about the workforce, because some departments employ staff without the necessary training. In the long term, of course, they need to develop the photocopiers themselves. But the priority must be to reverse the fall in revenue, even if it means cutting prices, in order to increase the sales volume. Unless they do that, they'll go out of business very soon. And what about their advertising? Well, they're using modern media, like the Internet, and targeting their advertising more than they used to, for instance by moving from magazine ads to direct mailshots to companies. But these have an old-fashioned feel to them; the layout and graphics don't seem to have changed for 20 years. Right. Now, let's go on
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