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Worldwide Chocolate Limited started out as a small chocolate bar manufacturer but knew a rapid expansion in a relatively small period of time. My subsequent report will highlight the fact that only through the implementation of a Knowledge Information System will WCL be able to preserve its core values: maintaining a high quality of product, continuous innovation and good customer service. WCL needs to improve the communication between its various departments, it has to perfect its knowledge on the different sources of supply it uses and it also has to preserve its quick response to customer needs.

The linchpin of all these changes is knowledge: WCL will have to leverage knowledge in order to gain a competitive advantage. The firm currently has eight central departments, namely: Accounting, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Research and Design, Sales, Warehousing, Manufacturing and Logistics and DespatchThe rich picture that has been drawn, labelled in the Appendix as Figure 1, emphasises the inter-connectivity that exists between the Marketing, R&D, Manufacturing, Warehouse, Logistics and Sales departments.

All these departments share different functions and responsibilities within the organization. Only six of the eight departments have been selected as relevant for illustrating the workings of the organization, the different types of knowledge held by different workers and how they share it. In the rich picture, every single one of the six departments is contained within a cloud, meant to suggest that the department as a whole is a compact entity. The functions of the selected departments are as follows: Sales: orders raw materials and communicates with customers while trying to establish a positive relationship with them. * Marketing: advertises products, conducts market research and establishes the target customers. * R&D: designs new bars, tests new recipes and develops the manufacturing process. * Logistics and Despatch: transports and schedules deliveries and ensures the customers’ requirements are met on time. * Manufacturing: concerned with the actual manufacturing process. * Warehouse: concerned with the storage of products.

Although the terms “information” and “knowledge” have often been used interchangeably there is a clear distinction between them (Nonaka, 1994). Information is a flow of messages, sets of data that have been processed, while knowledge is created and organized by the very flow of information, anchored on the commitment and beliefs of its holder (Nonaka, 1994). The pink and green arrows identifiable in the rich picture represent the different types of knowledge that is transmitted between the different departments, namely the explicit and the tacit knowledge.

Explicit or codified knowledge refers to the knowledge that is transmittable in formal, systematic language. On the other hand, tacit knowledge has a personal quality which makes it hard to formalize and communicate (Nonaka, 1994). Tacit knowledge is deeply rooted in action, commitment and involvement in a specific context (Nonaka, 1994). Usually, cognitive tacit knowledge incorporates implicit mental models and perceptions that are so ingrained they are taken for granted (Smith, 2001). Cognitive models affect the way in which one makes sense of the events in one’s world.

People use metaphors, analogies and stories to convey their tacit knowledge to others (Smith, 2001). For instance, it is more likely in the case of WCL (a chocolate manufacturer) that the transfer of tacit knowledge would take place predominantly within each department and less between the separate departments. The rich picture is overtly showing that mostly explicit knowledge is transmitted from one department to the next through the pink arrows. The green arrows drew between the Marketing department and the globe nd between the Logistics department and the food retailers emphasize the tacit knowledge transmitted between these two departments and their two types of customers: the wholesalers that purchase batches of chocolate bars and the individual that buys the bar from a shop. Tacit knowledge is bound to be transmitted between these entities over their course of interaction. Also, as the rich picture shows, tacit knowledge is developed within each department as a result of the employees’ working experience.

The pink and green men as well as the ladder in between them imply that explicit knowledge is formed within each department and as it travels up the corporate ladder, from one hierarchy level to the next, it is conversed into tacit knowledge. The lightning bulb shows that knowledge, unlike raw information, leads to ideas and innovation. The diagram labelled in the Appendix as Figure 2 shows four different models of knowledge creation as identified by Nonaka (1994): socialization, externalization, internalization and combination.

The rich picture emphasizes the internalization model. This model captures the idea that tacit and explicit knowledge are complementary and can expand through a process of mutual interaction (Nonaka, 1994). Worldwide Chocolate limited has realized that harnessing knowledge will provide enhanced efficiency and effectiveness when competing both locally and internationally. Thus, the implementation of a CRM system is a priority for continuing a successful business.

CRM processes have been widely regarded as a company activity related to developing and retaining customers through increased satisfaction and loyalty (Xu and Walton, 2005). CRM systems have been applied to many industries and research on advancing these systems is continuing. By linking CRM systems and knowledge management companies will maximise not only operational but strategic efficiency as well, through gaining and sharing knowledge about customers (Xu and Walton, 2005).

For instance, by tracking and managing customer transactions and interactions to identify the right offer to a customer at the right time firms can capture a greater understanding of their customers’ spending capacity (Gessner and Volonino, 2005). The key component of a CRM system is a data management infrastructure that enables companies to recognize in real-time the changes in a customer’s behaviour that signal when there is a high probability that the customer will respond positively to an offer (Gessner and Volonino, 2005).

CRM has been defined as a process designed to collect data related to customers, to grasp features of customers and to apply those qualities in specific marketing activities (Xu and Walton, 2005). Xu and Walton (2005) suggest that CRM is an information industry term for methodologies, software and usually internet capabilities that help an enterprise manage customer relationships in an organized way. It focuses on leveraging and exploiting interactions with the customer to maximize customer satisfaction, ensure return business and ultimately enhance customer profitability.

According to the Customer Lifetime Value model-found in the Appendix under Figure 3- if a seller can increase customer response rates to higher-priced offers or get customers to purchase additional products or services then customer profitability will increase (Gessner and Volonino, 2005). There is a shared interest by both customers and the suppliers in increasing the value of the relationship between them (Gessner and Volonino, 2005). The CRM systems are mainly aimed at collecting customer related knowledge and use it for better marketing and increasing sales.

The system also helps in improving customer satisfaction- through a better understanding of customer needs-, retaining existing customers, improving customer lifetime value and providing better strategic information to sales and marketing (Xu and Walton, 2005). Nevertheless, a CRM system can only hold explicit knowledge. For example, operational CRM systems comprise solutions for sales force automation, marketing automation and customer interaction centre management.

Analytical CRM systems manage and evaluate data about customers for a better understanding of customer behaviour (data warehousing and data mining solutions are typical systems in this area). Collaborative CRM systems manage and synchronize customer interaction points and communication channels. According to Xu and Walton (2005), knowledge is the only meaningful economic resource and gaining it can lead to an increased competitive advantage. Unfortunately, CRM systems do not have the capacity to generate the most meaningful type of knowledge, the tacit knowledge.

The human factor is essential in order to understand and make practical use of customer information. At WCL Marketing and Sales are the primary business units characterized by a high degree of customer interaction and knowledge intensity, which makes them main targets for CRM. Usually, they involve direct customer contact and the exchange of information between the enterprise and the customer. This contact can be triggered either by a customer (aiming to receive information or to complain about certain chocolate products) or by the firm (with the aim of delivering information about its chocolate).

operations management simulation report

Based on your experience with the Simulation Game write a report following the structure below:
1. Operations in Practice (approx. 500-600 words)
a. Describe the transformation process (input-process-output) in the game.
b. Which process type, and layout describe better the operations in Kibby and Strand?
c. Analyse the operations of Kibby and Strand using the 4Vs framework. Justify.
2. Operations Analysis (approx. 700-800 words)
a. Which factors affected the choice of supplier in the game? How is this different from real life operations?
b. How operations are linked to HR and Sales/Marketing functions in the game? How is this different from real life operations?
c. In the first module (level) of the game, do you use a just-in-time approach or a produce-to stock approach? How could you implement a produce to stock approach in module (level) 3?
Use proper report structure (title page, table of contents, headings etc.)
Include screenshots from the game, link to theory taught and external sources, and use diagrams if needed to support your arguments.