Well, this week has been an interesting and unexpected one to say the least. Can't believe how one mistake that I've made (as an operations manager) a few rollovers ago can affect the performance of my team in the long run. Even if I thought that it was for the better, turns out it wasn't, but I guess that's how we all learn - by making mistakes, not doing it again and getting back up again. The idea of me letting my team down was a horrible feeling for me. I guess what made it easier was that I am surrounded by amazing and wonderful teammates who never blamed me for the wrong decisions that I've done, but supported and trusted me all the way through. I'm blessed. I just wish that I've done better and wish that I've known things that I know now before. Quite emotional start and I'm sorry about that. I feel like this can be a good way to begin my reflection since the reading this week is about decision making strategies.
(c) How I Met Your Mother
Took a chance and where did it lead me? Well, lead me to a bit of a hassle on our production in the past three rollovers. I'm kind of regretting it, but at the same time, I feel like if I didn't do it, I would not have given importance to the value of learning from mistakes.
I gotta say, I feel and think that I'm quite terrible at coming up with great strategies in the manufacturing side of the simulation. No matter how many times I've read the manual and looked at the graphs, it's still hard to think of ways on how to improve and how to have a better and efficient factory. The problem I'm facing right now is related to our Total Capacity. Honestly, I do think that I'm not an effective operations manager compared to others (I know that I shouldn't compare, but it's hard not to.), which makes me feel incompetent but it doesn't mean that I'm giving up or anything. I have faith that we'll be able to get back up again in the last two rollovers to come, because I believe in my team. I overestimated (and probably underestimated) everything that's why I'm facing the problem that I have right now. Good thing is I don't have to face it alone. I was either comparing too much on how other teams are performing compared to ours, that I have overlooked ours or I am either focusing too much on ours and not overseeing what and why other teams are doing what they're doing.
According to the Competing on Analytics reading by Thomas H. Davenport, in the heading "Some companies have built their very businesses on their ability to collect, analyse and act on data - every company can learn from what these firms do." (Davenport, 2006) The thing is, is looking at other firms' (in this case, MikesBikes simulation) performance really going to be helpful or is it just going to stray you away from focusing on your company's performance? Since in my case, at times I get too bogged down with how well other firms are doing that I get discouraged in some ways and feel as mentioned, quite incompetent, but in contrary to that, I feel quite inspired as well to make decisions and learn a thing or two of what to do and what not to do based on other companies' performance.
What I found interesting though is the section where Davenport (2006) talks about the sources of strength of analytics competitors- and I completely agree with what he said, that "finding the right focus, building the right culture, and hiring the right people to make optimal use of the data they constantly churn (is important). In the end, people and strategy as much as information technology, give such organisations strength." (Davenport, 2006) Of course without the right people and strategy, any analytic figures would be deemed useless if not looked and studied properly.
- The right focus "although analytics competitors encourage universal fact-based decisions, they must choose where to direct resource-intensive efforts... the most proficient analytics practitioners don't just measure their own navels - they also help customers and vendors measure theirs."
- Procter and Gamble was used as an example by Davenport, and it says that "[they] offer data and analysis to its retail customers, as part of a program called Joint Value Creation, and to its suppliers to help improve responsiveness and reduce costs." (Davenport, 2006) I feel like this example can be relevant and useful if the simulation that we're working on is in the real world. I mean, firms spend on supplier relations to improve delivery and quality of the products brought to the organisation and also to educate suppliers with Just-In-Time and Total Quality Management techniques.
- The right people "good analysts must also have the ability to express complex ideas in simple terms and have the relationship skills to interact well with decision makers." (Davenport, 2006) I think that this is important, some people are very smart and know extensive amount of information, but can't express and explain themselves well to other people who don't know the things that they do know. For example, in my case, I'm not that familiar with accounting and finance, knowing that it's a crucial aspect in decision making, the ability of our CFO to explain our financial situation to me (as an operations manager) makes it easier to come up with strategies to better improve on manufacturing and production.
- The right technology "competing on analytics means competing on technology." (Davenport, 2006) Again, if MikesBikes was real, then this basically talks about our investment in Quality Systems Technology perhaps and also Preventative Maintenance of our factory and inspection. I feel like if some strategies of the firm in the simulation is focused on quality over quantity so they can charger higher prices, then this would be the case. On the other hand, some firms just want to produce a lot of bikes, with medium quality, charge less and invest less on these. Totally depends on the strategy, but I guess having the right technology is very important to any organization to better understand how much money you have to invest on technology and maintenance also can contribute to a prediction of the company's sale and performance in a way.
So with these things in mind, I feel that in the next two rollovers to come, I need to completely change my strategy since the previous one I had didn't really work out in the manner that I want it to. I guess learning comes from making mistakes and because of those failures and mistakes, we learn to strategise better and come up with better solutions to our problems. Also because of Davenport's reading, I realized that I have to take advantage of the blogposts Peter (relate it to analytics in a way) has so I can look at the performance of other firms and to use that as a way to learn and come up with strategies.
Davenport, T. H. (2006). Competing on analytics. Harvard Business Review, 84(1), 98--107.