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This week I feel that applying Kolb’s Experiential Learning model is more relevant than Daudelin due to the focus more on ‘experience’ rather than reflection (although a bit of reflection is always necessary).

I understand my main problem this week to be our closing inventory of unsold stock. As this represents bikes that have not been sold during the year and then also result in costs of storing, this is essentially doubly costly.

As the finished goods warehousing line item has cost us at times close to $2 million a year I feel that this is a particularly relevant issue. Given that we are coming toward the business end of the year (excuse the pun) it is apparent that all the bike markets are no longer growing in size and so market share is now a key factor in improving sales. On the other side though, profit margins can be improved by cutting unnecessary costs, such as finished goods warehousing. Part of the problem lay in my not having a firm understanding of the accounting side i.e. the cost drivers which means I didn’t fully grasp the costs each year of production. I should have realised that I didn’t 100% understand and should have taught myself or asked for help. I find this relates in a small part to this weeks reading by Greiner (1972) wherein we didn’t so much have a crisis of autonomy but more a crisis of knowledge autonomy. Each team member shared in decision making which was great but none of us took the time learn too much about each others departments, even a small amount of overlapping knowledge. I felt that this was more a fear of overstepping duty than laziness but for me it meant a limit to my learning of the game was reached. Once I felt I was on top of the operations decisions as I saw it I stopped trying to learn. I should instead have looked at the reports that showed operations and accounting for example, in this way I wouldn’t have neglected costs like finished goods warehousing which realistically could have saved us millions.

As we all are/ are becoming very knowledgeable about MikesBikes variables, we find problems lie in adapting this same knowledge in slightly new situations. For example, we might tinker with SCU to get idle time as low as possible whilst producing enough bikes. However, personally speaking it becomes noticeably more difficult to set when this also tied in with advertising cuts, firing employees, changing prices. Essentially I felt my role as being in charge of operations was about making sure we produced enough bikes at a low enough cost with enough quality. Now I realise that whilst that is one of the necessary functions of any MikesBikes team, this shouldn’t have been my number one priority. The organisations goals of growth and profitability are the number one priority and production is just a part of that. As for a large number of years we had fairly dramatic idle time and finished goods warehousing, I didn’t take this as a failure from my own part and thus didn’t try to learn from it. It’s not about knowing everything there is to know but knowing when you need to learn more (Kolb, 1976).

My next step? The action I am going to take is to literally delve into all the financial reports and compare each figure to last year and on its own just to try and understand why each figure is where it is. It might not help in decision making at all. But then again, it just might..


REFERENCES


Greiner, L. E. (1972). Evolution and revolution as organizations grow. Harvard Business Review, 50(4), 37--46


Kolb, D. A. (1976). Management and the learning process. California Management Review, 8(3), 21--31


3 Comments

  1. Hi Matthew(smile)

    Your journal showed that your understand of your team's situation and potential problems. It was great that you linked with a bit of this week's reading. You also came up with the problem you found and the possible solution you could have done. As we learnt from week 7, we learn from failure.

    For some rooms of improvement, I think your learning journal would be more effective if you could think of some actionable improvement or something you could do next time when you have to face the some situation again. i.e. the stage of "formulating and testing of a tentative theory". For example, I could see that you tend to be thinking of single-loop learning. The best theory I could think of is double-loop learning. We learn from failure but more importantly, how? For my team,  I thought that we could have made a clearer conceptual frameworks and a clearer value to help us making a most suitable decision and avoid the same mistake we made. Maybe you could come up with something valuable from your team as well.

    Good work and good luck!

  2. This week I feel that applying Kolb’s Experiential Learning model is more relevant than Daudelin

    That's interesting. With each iteration of the course I wonder if I should push Daudelin or Kolb as a framework for reflection. I'd be interested to know which—in general—you think is better (more useful? easier to apply? more understandable?)?

    I should have realised that I didn’t 100% understand and should have taught myself or asked for help

    Yes, fewer folk than normal asked for help. I can't put my finger on what I did differently to cause that. Maybe next time, I'll try pushing my office hours more as a symbolic representation of my desire to help.

    Okay, I can see you going around Kolb's cycle.  That's good. I find that the challenge is often around deciding to go around the cycle or to step back a think about things in a double-loop learning sense. From what you're saying right now, I think going around the loop is pretty reasonable. 

    What is going to be interesting is to see how you take this somewhat MikeBikes specific learning and translate it into something you can apply elsewhere (when you do you Summative Learning Journal).

     

  3. Hi Matthew,

    I think you used Kolb's cycle effectively, although interestingly I think you could have just as easily used Daudelin's. Overall I think this is a good solid journal. If I had to pick something that you could improve on, it would be how you linked your problem and your conclusion. I thought you came up with a reasonably general action or solution to a very specific problem. From a form point of view, a better 'problem' might have been to evaluate how you can improve your own performance as ops manager, and then using the excess closing inventory as an example of what you need to improve. Other than that, I thought your use of theory was superficial, you could have incorporated this more into your work. This would have demonstrated a higher stage of Bloom's taxonomy, at the moment I thought you demonstrated the 'comprehension stage'.