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Modern Kitchens Company through their product development manager Myra Kanungo has decided to introduce new features in their new dishwasher. A focus group has been put in place to establish the features that would be necessary to improve their dishwasher. If all the proposed features are incorporated into the dishwasher, it will be more expensive, thus reducing the margins of profit and sales in general. Myra will apply The Poor Man’s Hierarchy to establish which features are necessary for the product and which ones should be left out.
When using the Poor Man’s Hierarchy, it is vital to initially establish the process that will be used in making decisions. A group of people in the marketing department mostly decides the process after brainstorming. However, in Modern Kitchens Company, the decision is already made that the product should be cost effective. The first part of The Poor Man’s Hierarchy has thus been settled and Myra only needs to prioritize the selected features in relation to the goal. Since their aim is to develop an affordable product, Myra has to choose the features that use cheap labor and bring improvements to the product. The overall cost should be considered in choosing the features to be included in the dishwasher, including tax and cost of transport to suppliers. Myra has to make a decision to include the following features that the focus group came up with: Standard dishwashing in a 40 minute cycle, ‘Sparkl Kleen” (superhot) dishwashing in a 55 minute cycle, quiet dishwashing capabilities, Remote control of dishwasher by using a remote pointing device, and Voice synthesizer that tells the user the status of the dishwashing cycle. The more sophisticated these features are the more expensive dishwashers will be. Therefore, the final decision should take into consideration the overall cost of production and the resultant cost of the finished product and relate these to the effective demand of the target market.
Using the Poor Man’s Hierarchy, the standard dishwashing in the forty-minute cycle feature should be included so as to meet the general needs of customers. This is because this feature performs the basic function of a dishwasher and should, therefore, be the primary thing included in order to ensure the functionality of the dishwasher. The fact that this feature works in 40-minute cycles makes it more convenient than the other features that work in longer cycles, since it saves on the time used for dishwashing. However, the ‘Spark Kleen’ feature is a 55-minute cleaning process that will cause a rise in the price of the dishwasher for no apparently good reasons. A standard dishwasher has the capacity to clean dishes to the satisfaction of the users, without necessarily using the hot water. The use of hot water by the ‘Spark Kleen’ feature, therefore, unnecessarily increases the cost of the dishwasher. The feature is also expensive to the user, as more electricity power will be consumed for longer washing hours, and for boiling the water, which it uses in superhot dishwashing. The noise reduction feature would be a welcome improvement in the dishwasher. Every consumer will be comfortable to buy a dishwasher that he/she knows will perform its duties effectively without making noise. This is because the convenience of doing your dishwashing in the kitchen without the guest in the sitting room noticing is a thrill to many users of the machines. In fact, this could be the selling point of the new dishwashers with te potential of greatly boosting the company’s sales. The voice synthesizer is important because it saves power as it lets the user know when the cleaning is completed. However, it unnecessary increases the cost of production since most dishwashers often come with a timer. The features are compared against each other on a grid according to The Poor Man’s Hierarchy.
Crashing and Fast Tracking
Fast tracking and crashing are ways commonly used to reduce the amount and resources needed to complete a given project schedule. Crashing has been a word used to describe the reduction of project schedules. In case a project is crashed, the resources used are aimed at reducing the time to be used in completion of a project schedule in the shortest terms possible. In the initial stages of a crash schedule, some resources and a small amount of money is needed to reduce the schedule in a considerable way. As the reduction of the schedule increases during the duration of the project, the relative cost also rises steadily. However, experts have noted that crashing may cause more harm than good in a project. This is mostly because it may need additional resources that may translate to higher production costs. The crashing should hence be calculated accordingly, and the schedule should be reduced to the most efficient time.
Fast tracking is also aimed at reducing schedule, but in a different way from crashing. Items that were planned to be done sequentially in the schedule are rescheduled and done in parallel, depending on their nature. Fast tracking, like crashing, also consumes more resources to implement and creates a risk for the overall project success. If tasks in a single project are taking place at once, there is a possibility of an unpredictable event. In case fast tracking is being applied, the other tasks will have to be stopped until the problem in a single task is identified and solved. A good example is installing a new floor in a house. The old floor is first removed, then the house’s foundation is leveled. The new floor is installed with subsequent sanding and varnishing. However, the leveling can be done as the old floor is being removed. This may cause a risk because some parts of the old floor are still where the leveling is being done.
The primary objectives and aims of the project as a whole are achieved within a shorter period than earlier anticipated. However, the risks are enormous. As opposed to the uniform distribution of resources over a wider period, that is the case with planned programs/projects, crashed projects or fast-tracked projects bring a large amount of resources together within a short period of time to help achieve the research objectives, within a short period. This massive mobilization of resources could lead to great losses in case the project is not successful. The rush involved in these forms of conducting projects may also cause the project to run into a lot of errors. This is because where a personnel responsible could have taken his/her time to find out the facts about a certain task or event, there is a higher chance that he/she will make an assumption about the facts of the events or task.
To fast track or crash a project, however, means that the organization has enough resources and is willing to take risks. As such, the organization can quicken the production and launch of its new products, and hence grab the lion’s share of the market for that product before competing ffirms or organizations could get the product or its substitutes in to the market. Therefore, the advantages of crashing or fast tracking of a project clearly supersede its limitations, provided that the organizations involved are fully prepared and organized for the fast tracking or crashing procedures.
My enterprise is involved in providing accounting solutions for other companies and corporations at a reasonable price. Companies provide us with their financial information and we give them solutions from our staff of qualified accountants. However, most companies employ their own accountants in the department who handle all accounting solutions. It costs more to employ a whole department than to outsource the accounting process. Because of the stereotype by many managers, it is challenging to convince a company to outsource its accounting needs to reduce costs and increase efficiency. The competition in the industry can be termed as imperfect, as the reduction in charges to companies in need of accounting aid does not necessarily translate into more clients. Previous achievements by the accounting firm plus a qualified staff are often needed to get more clients. Most successful accounting companies are considered such because of their vast connections in the corporate world.
Each task given by a company is treated as a project and is given a time limit for its completion. This enhances a client’s faith in the company and builds the image for other prospective clients. Accounting managers and supervisors in the enterprise ensure the books of accounts are made in the right way and by the appropriate team. Different employees do different accounts sequentially with the analytical information available to provide the final figures. While carrying out the project, emphasis is put on the need for precision, for an error can cause bad decision making for the company. In such an industry, the image that an enterprise has is a major determinant of the clients it will have. Project management techniques are essential in ensuring the proper calculation and deduction of accounting information.
The project management techniques are essential here because there is a need to develop a uniform pattern of operation to be able to detect any error and its source, when it does occur. This is because the involvement of different personalities in the analysis of a single accounting book makes the risks of making an erratic entry more probable. This is because the ways of thinking and levels of competence inevitably vary among different individuals. As such, what one individual insists on may not be consistent with what another individual recommends. The inconsistency herein established could cost a client’s company huge losses in terms of poor decision-making or inaccurate calculations. The result of this would be the loss of faith in the auditing or accounting firm and the loss of clients.
However, the overall effect of outsourcing of accounting services is beneficial to the client firms since they are able to get these services at lower costs than it will cost them to establish an entire accounting department. In addition to this, the client companies will be able to hold someone liable for any errors in their accounting reports and seek legal redress in case of losses, as opposed to when the errors are made by their own staff.