Strategi Blue Ocean

Mei 2, 2008

the_book        

“Our challenge is to build a sustainable economy based on innovation and quality in a world where high volume, low quality goods and services will always undercut us on price.”

”The
‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ was an appropriate and timely system that can be adopted by local companies as it directly addressed the issue of expanding market share via innovation and value creation and without having to incur competition like in the existing markets or ‘Red Ocean’.”

”I would like to see more Malaysian companies taking their business into uncharted waters without having to deviate too much from their existing business and expertise.”

 

—— [Petikan ucapan Datuk Sri Najib Tun Razak, Timbalan Perdana Menteri Malaysia semasa perasmian Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) International Lectures di K. Lumpur, sebagaimana laporan BERNAMA, pada 22 April 2008. Antara speaker diketengahkan ialah Prof W.Chan Kim – salah seorang penulis buku Blue Ocean Strategy].

 

PETIKAN ucapan tersebut memperlihatkan saranan Datuk Sri Najib agar usahawan di Malaysia mengambil pendekatan strategi blue ocean dalam mengejar kejayaan dan mencapai objektif perniagaan mereka.

 

Saya mula mendengar tentang Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS)  ini pada tahun 2006, namun telah lupa tentangnya. Membaca berita oleh BERNAMA tersebut menggerakkan saya mencari semula maklumat tentang strategi yang dikatakan telah banyak memberi kejayaan kepada syarikat yang mempraktik strateginya. Sebagai perkongsian maklumat, dikemukakan di sini secara ringkas mengenai strategi berkenaan.

 

Latarbelakang Blue Ocean Strategy

          BOS telah dikemukakan di dalam buku bertajuk Blue Ocean Strategy yang diterbitkan pada tahun 2005. Buku ini adalah hasil tulisan bersama W.Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, dua orang profesor strategi & pengurusan di INSTEAD, France. Pada tahun pertama cetakannya buku ini telah mencatat jualan lebih sejuta naskhah, dan kini diterjemah dalam 41 bahasa.

          Kandungan buku BOS memaparkan hasil penyelidikan penulisnya yang memakan masa lebih 15 tahun disamping artikel-artikel dari Harvard Business Review dan akademik lainnya dalam berbagai dimensi yang berkaitan.

          Rumusan kepada BOS diperolehi melalui kajian terhadap 150 tindakan strategik oleh lebih 30 industri dalam tempoh 120 tahun (sekitar 1880 – 2000). Analisa terhadap strategi syarikat yang berjaya berbanding pesaing mereka yang kurang / tidak berjaya telah dilakukan bagi mendapatkan convergence & divergence yang memberikan faktor penentu kejayaan serta pembezaan di kalangan mereka.

          Sebelum diterbitkan dalam bentuk buku, hasil penyelidikan Kim dan Mauborgne tersebut telah disiarkan dari masa kemasa dalam  Harvard Business Review mulai tahun 1997. Malah nama Blue Ocean Strategy telah dikemukakan melalui artikel mereka pada tahun 2004.

 

Konsep Blue Ocean Strategy

 

Strategi ini mempromosi pendekatan yang sistematik kearah membina perniagaan dalam persekitaran pasaran yang belum dikenalpasti oleh para pesaing. Dengan demikian, ianya dapat mengelakkan persaingan yang ketara dikalangan syarikat di sesebuah industri sebagaimana yang lazimnya berlaku pada hari ini. Dengan kata lain, BOS memberikan strategi alternatif di mana persaingan adalah tidak releven.

 

Untuk memperjelaskan BOS, metafora red oceans dan blue oceans yang mewakili dua situasi pasaran yang berbeza telah dikemukakan oleh penulisnya seperti berikut:

–  Red oceans menggambarkan realiti kesemua industri masakini yang mana strukturnya adalah nyata dan diketahui. Di sini, syarikat saling bersaing di antara mereka bagi memiliki kelebihan kompetitif. Oleh kerana demand pasaran berada dalam ruang dan sempadan industri yang tetap dan terhad, maka kejayaan satu syarikat meningkatkan bahagian pasarannya, bererti ia telah mengurangkan bahagian syarikat lain. Dengan kata lain, kondisi persaingan adalah zero-sum-game, iaitu keuntungan yang dicipta oleh sesebuah syarikat adalah melalui kerugian syarikat yang lain. Akhirnya, apabila industri terlalu crowded dan persaingan terlalu ketara / sengit, maka red oceans akan bertukar menjadi bloody.

–  Blue oceans pula merupakan analogi kepada ruang pasaran yang lebih luas dan berpotensi. Ianya menggambarkan semua industri yang belum wujud pada masakini, di mana struktur dan sempadan pasaran belum diketahui dan belum diterokai oleh pesaing. Bagi memasuki blue ocean, syarikat perlu mencipta demand yang belum wujud, bukannya bersaing merebut demand yang sediaada. Oleh itu, di blue ocean persaingan dikatakan tidak releven kerana struktur dan strategi perniagaan bakal ditentukan oleh syarikat.

Kemuncak kepada idea yang dikemukakan oleh BOS ialah: Untuk mencapai dan mengekalkan prestasi yang tinggi, syarikat perlu menjana momentum khususnya dalam aspek value innovation. Inovasi ini mestilah berterusan samaada pada syarikat sendiri mahupun pada produk yang disampaikan kepada pengguna. Sehubungannya, BOS mengemukakan kelengkapan, metodologi dan rangka-kerja bagi membentuk dan melaksanakan strategi dengan lebih sistematik dan berkesan.

 

Kritikan

 

Di sebalik kenyataan penulisnya tentang kejayaan syarikat-syarikat yang menggunapakai BOS (seperti Cirque du Soleil, Netjets, Southwest dll.), terdapat juga kritikan yang mempertikaikan strategi ini. Di antara kritikan tersebut ialah: Idea yang dikemukakan oleh BOS bukanlah sesuatu yang baru; Samaada idea tersebut hanyalah descriptive bukannya prescriptive, dan; Sesetengah hipotesis yang membawa kepada rumusan idea dalam BOS diperolehi melalui skop kajian yang tidak cukup meluas.

 

WALAU apa pun senarionya, idea yang dikemukakan oleh BOS tetap menjadi alternatif kepada setiap perniagaan yang berinovatif.  Usahawan, samaada di Malaysia mahupun di mana sahaja, boleh menilai dan membuat keputusan untuk mengambil faedah daripada BOS. Kata-kata Professor D. Quinn Mills dari Harvard Business School ini mungkin boleh dijadikan dorongan: “BOS was a concept that embodied entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s about creative ideas and the desire to do things faster and cheaper, possibly through technological advances or other means to expand existing business and/or capture demand in un-met or un-served markets.”

 

 

 

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Ethical Standards: Issue of Behaviors for Success and Profitability

April 5, 2007

ETHICS is defined as ‘the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation’ – Webster’s 9th New Collegiate Dictionary. In the organizations, ethical standards are set mainly as the guide for good ethical behaviors. It is aspired that by upholding the ethical standards, organizations will prosper for the benefits of the people.

Anyhow, as the issue of power and politics are common in the organizations, there are people of interest that frequently putting aside the ethical standards. In their attempts to climb the desired ladder of success, or maintain their positions, or bring up their organizations to a higher level, they may skip normal procedures of accomplishing tasks and not adhering to the ethical responsibilities.

Success and profitability, either individually or organizationally aimed, are among the causes that lead people to neglecting the ethical standards.

In the governmental organizations, for example, lower and middle managers are often not presenting to the knowledge of the upper managements about the real problems within their responsible units. Presenting the truth might encapsulated their deficient in the managerial capabilities, thus would affect their opportunities for promotion and other future prosperities. While at times, the upper managements themselves are often making critical and self-beneficial decisions, which they likely claimed are for the benefits of the organization, without considering the welfare of the employees.

Whether these managers are conscious or not about their ethical behaviors, but those attitudes are having some relation with the issues of seeking or maintaining certain power, or complying with the organizational politics, meant for individual success.

As for the business organizations, particularly in competing to lead the market, some would skip the ethical standards. Dumping the less quality or fake products in the market is considered unethical, but in doing so, besides the selling power they could achieve, they also gain great profitability. In other circumstance, some companies would rather give bride to the government officials in return of securing the project awards. The many reported cases of improper disposing of hazardous waste products (such as the toxic waste) by factories in attempts to avoid the normal disposal cost, is another example where ethical standards are being neglected for the reason of profitability.

Thus, among the many that are safe-guarding their integrity, there are common that some organizations, governmental or business, do frequently skip the ethical standards for certain benefits. And behind it, the reality is the people in the organizations – how their ethical behaviors are associated with the desired success and profitability.


Five Potential Benefits of Strategic Alliance

Mac 6, 2007

NOWADAYS, strategic alliance has become a common strategy to businesses. Two or more enterprises choose to form a partnership and work cooperatively to achieve their mutually beneficial objectives.

In a plain view, strategic alliance just reflects the desire of enterprises to achieve their independent business objectives cooperatively. But, in the true fact of today’s globalizes and complex market place, there is the need to make such a business arrangement in order to gain competitive advantages among the fierce competitors in the market place. 

Enterprises that enter into strategic alliance usually expect to benefit in one or more ways. Some of the potential benefits that enterprises could achieve are such as:

i.          Gaining capabilities

An enterprise may want to produce something or to enquire certain resources that it lacks in the knowledge, technology and expertise. It may need to share those capabilities that the other firms have. Thus, strategic alliance is the opportunity for the enterprise to achieve its objectives in this aspect. Further to that, in later time the enterprise also could then use the newly acquired capabilities by itself and for its own purposes.

ii.         Easier access to target markets

Introducing the product into a new market can be complicated and costly. It may expose the enterprise to several obstacles such as entrench competition, hostile government regulations and additional operating complexity. There are also the risks of opportunity costs and direct financial losses due to improper assessment of the market situations. 

Choosing a strategic alliance as the entry mode will overcome some of those problems and help reduce the entry cost. For example, an enterprise can license a product to its alliance to widen the market of that particular product.

iii.        Sharing the financial risk

Enterprises can make use of the strategic arrangement to reduce their individual enterprise’s financial risk. For example, when two firms jointly invested with equal share on a project, the greatest potential that each of them stand to loose is only half of the total project cost in case the venture failed.

iv.        Winning the political obstacle

Bringing a product into another country might confront the enterprise with political factors and strict regulations imposed by the national government. Some countries are politically restrictive while some are highly concerned about the influence of foreign firms on their economics that they require foreign enterprises to engage in the joint venture with local firms. In this circumstance, strategic alliance will enable enterprises to penetrate the local markets of the targeted country.

v.         Achieving synergy and competitive advantage

Synergy and competitive advantage are elements that lead businesses to greater success. An enterprise may not be strong enough to attain these elements by itself, but it might possible by joint efforts with another enterprise. The combination of individual strengths will enable it to compete more effectively and achieve better than if it attempts on its own.

For example, to create a favorable brand image in the consumer’s mind is costly and time-consuming. For this reason, an enterprise deciding to introduce its new product may need a strategic arrangement with another enterprise that has a ready image in the market.

AS a conclusion, strategic alliance is beneficial and it can exists in many forms. As mentioned above, cooperation in the sharing of production facilities, combining of knowledge, skills and technology, marketing of each other’s products using existing distribution networks and co-funding of projects are the collective forms of strategic alliances.


Inefficient communication flow

Februari 16, 2007

INEFFICIENCY in the communication flow can cause serious problems, but whether we realize or not, it is a common phenomenon exists in the organizations. In our daily work-life, we often stumbled upon the situation whereby important messages sent has taken unreasonable long time to reach the receiver. At times, the message becomes worthless when it is already obsolete by the time we received it, or even worst when the message just disappeared and untraceable.

There are many of such inefficiencies that you might have experienced, and they lead to poor performance and other unwanted consequences to the organization. A few common cases are such as: 

  • Receiving the invitation for attending meetings in the last minute. The meetings would had been more effective should you were acknowledged earlier that you would be more prepared. Imagine the situation when the meeting requires you to make decision on certain important matter, but you have not properly study or not having enough information about the subject. Bad decision endangers the future.  
  • Receiving the request for supplying certain products with abnormal time left. For example, the normal time needed to provide the product is 7 work-days, but now it is only 2 work-days to go. Since that is a directive, you still have to ‘by hook or by crook’ make the supply ready. But the consequence is the quality might not arrive to the specified standard.   
  • Not receiving the notification on new policy or rules or procedures concerning the management or technical matters in the department. By that, you are not aware of the changes and tend to commit mistakes in managing the relevant activities.  

Then you found out the poor part of the mentioned cases. The formal letters of invitation, request and notification were actually had been sent out for you with ample time should the flow was efficient. But, most of the delays were due to the high hierarchical steps and the poor attitudes and habits of the concerned managers in responding to process the letters to the next authority in the line. What a depriving practice if a product request letter with a date line took much longer time in traveling through the hierarchies and left with very little time for the production staff.

Those are only few common cases that might have happened repetitively. In fact, there are many more and similarly experienced by other staff in our organizations.  

Efficient communication flow is important to facilitate a smooth process of activities. Whether the message is verbal or non-verbal, downward or upward, they must arrive at the target receiver within a practical time. For this purpose, each organization should strive on developing its own compatible method of efficient communication flow.  

Nevertheless, no matter how good the technique and technology we used, but more importantly is to improve the attitude and habits of the people in dealing with the communication flow.


What motivate me at the work place?

Februari 4, 2007

As a manager or supervisor in your office, perhaps the most difficult job you encounter is how to effectively motivate your staff and keep them motivated. This is due to the facts that not every person needs the same kind and level of motivation, and the same person may need different motivation at different time.  

So, at all time you have to identify your staff’s requirements individually and tailor the most appropriate motivation to each of them. You have to offer something that they value as fulfilling their needs and goals at a particular time to make them continuously contribute the best of their effort.  

When considering motivation to the staff, most managers will likely suggest the solution in terms of monetary. Of course, the incentives such as pay increments, extra allowances, bonuses and vacation schemes are good motivators. After all people work basically on the monetary reasons. But, money is not the magic motivator that solve for all. To certain people at certain time, they need other effective tools to motivate them in the work place. 

If I’m asked what I need as motivation beside the monetary, I‘ll give preference in terms of other recognitions and quality work life. They are as follow: 

         i.            I come to work to accomplish tasks. So, in the first place I need a suitable working environment. The working space, the people around and the surroundings should comply with the type of job I’m doing. It is not necessarily too comfortable, but it should be harmoniously fit so that I can produce the best.

 

       ii.            I have the feeling and ambitions. So, I want my good efforts and successes to be appreciated and recognized. When come to appraisal for certain opportunity, I want to be evaluated fairly and comparably to other staffs. Wrongly appraised will demolish my respect to my superiors. 

     

      iii.            At time, I may make mistake. Do not simply punish, but guide and encourage me to do better. Guidance and encouragement will motivate me more. That will make me work with my true heart and mind.

 

      iv.            As a person, beside my job I also have other responsibilities concerning my family, my community and myself. Unfortunately, there are times that I may have problem out there. In this circumstance, I need the opportunity to solve the problem first. In return I would not mind to work extra hours or even weekends.

 

        v.            In taking directives from my superior I want to know what I am doing the jobs for and why I am required. When I know the purpose and understand the value for my existence, I will not hesitate to contribute to achieve the objectives.

 

      vi.            When I am assigned for a particular task, I appreciate the trust that is put on me. By that, I am happy to accomplish it by myself. Thus will reflect my responsibility and commitment, and the achievement I’ve made. But, on top of that, it would always be nicer if my superior come down to me as a ‘team member’. I will be more motivated when my superior understand ‘how’ I perform the tasks been directed.

 

     vii.            In accepting the challenge to perform a specialized job, I regard myself as the one with knowledge and skills, and having the commitment to accomplish it. With this attitude, I would appreciate if I’m allowed to make certain approaches my own way, rather than following exactly to the stated procedures and guidelines. A little freedom in applying the skills will inspire me to proceed with difficult jobs.

 

   viii.            Besides all, what also important is that I am provided with the right tools and adequate resources. Without those, though I may proceed with the work, the result would not display the perfection. And that would tarnish my credibility too. I’m best encouraged to employ my knowledge, skill and commitment when proper tools and resources are in my hands.

 

Those are eight ‘wishes’ that I expect to be provided as motivators. For other people there may be other expectations.  Anyhow, the basic principle of motivation at the work place – If staff are effectively motivated, they will give of their best volunteerly – should be applicable.


Delegation of authority

Januari 22, 2007

When your name occupied the top position in the hierarchy-structure chart of your organization, or one of the departments or sections or even the smaller sub-units within your organization, you are a leader. No matter whether you lead the whole organization or just the small part of it, you possess certain powers. That includes the power of authority; the legitimate power related to your position as determined by your organization. It gives you the rights to make decisions that involve other people in your down-streams.

As a person with authorities, would you rather keep those authorities to yourself or would you prefer to delegate some of them to your subordinates?

This is about the delegation of authority. General Douglas MacArthur, been described as a great commander and administrator, might had asked himself the same question during his time. That’s why he had emphasized a great deal on the delegation of authority in the list of questions he developed as the principles of his leadership. I just pick a few of them here:

· Do I heckle my subordinates or strengthen and encourage them?
· Do I delegate tasks that should be mine?
· Do I arrogate everything to myself and delegate nothing?
· Do I develop my subordinates by placing on each one as much responsibility as he can   stand?

(You may see the full list here: http://www.leadershipnow.com/macarthurprinciples.html)

Delegation of authority is one of the elements that contribute towards the effectiveness in operating the organization’s activities. It simply means leaders empower the subordinates by deciding how much authority they should delegate to them.

The clarity on the ‘authorized power’ for making decisions among the subordinates will enable them to help smoothening the flow of work processes. Besides, the delegation of authority is benefited in several other aspects, such as:

i. It develops a more competitive climate within the organization, as subordinates are challenged and motivated to contribute their best performance in comparison to their peers.

ii. It encourages the development of professional administrators among the subordinates through abilities to gain skills in making more significant decisions.

iii. With the delegated authorities, subordinates are able to exercise the broader and higher autonomy that leads to better leadership and managerial creativities.

iv. By delegating part of authorities to the subordinates, leaders may release themselves from ‘overloaded’ responsibilities and may converge his attention on tasks that are more important or with urgent priorities.

Anyhow, the delegation of authority should be implemented within certain limits. If you delegate all the authorities to your subordinates, you will no longer remain as a leader because it left you with no power to control or make decisions. But, if you delegate nothing to your subordinates for fear of loosing your power, it also dismisses you from your status. A leader should motivate and receive the support from the subordinates.

Therefore, the delegation of authority should be made in light of various factors, such as:

i.     the routine of the decisions to be made.
ii.   the degree of importance of the decision.
iii.  the amount and level of tasks to be accomplished.
iv.  the capability (such as skills and competencies) of the subordinates to take the responsibility.


Employee Performance Management: About Motivation

Januari 13, 2007

Human factor is crucial in the performance management of the organization. As managers are responsible of acting towards the effectiveness of the employees, they have to institute efficient frameworks for dealing with people. On the other hand, employees need reasonable encouragements and motivators in order for them to produce the best for the organization.

In managing for the employees’ performance, motivation is one of the elements that managers should capture into their attention. In fact, to get the best from the employees, managers have to spend much of the managerial time on addressing motivation to them.

Why motivation? It is because motivation being the force that acts upon individuals to initiate and direct their behaviors. In the organizational context, motivation influences the way employees behave and respond towards their tasks and how persistent they would maintain a particular attitude with them.

To motivate, managers require sustainable approaches and skills to maintain people’s enthusiasm and commitment. An important point to take note is that different people possesses different behavior because their needs and goals vary. So, different people may require different kind and level of motivation. Therefore, when considering motivation, it is important for the managers to look forward positively and to take a long-term view for the success.

In order to understand the nature of motivation that a person requires, managers have to understand his/her needs individually. Basically, it should focus on the aspect of satisfying the human needs and wants to develop good behaviors in them. Motivation theories such as those developed by Maslow, Hertzberg and McClelland can be useful to facilitate as guides for managers in determining the best motivation they should choose for their individual employees.

Normally, achievement and recognition are positive motivators to the employees. As people have needs and goals, they want to achieve them. Similarly, as people have feelings, they like to feel appreciated and fairly recognized on good deeds they made. Thus, managers have to punctually develop reasonable progresses in the employee’s achievements, and to arrange for proper appreciations to their efforts and contributions. Remember that good working behaviors of the employees emerge from good managerial behaviors of the managers.

Motivation, in many ways, is the key to the success of human development. Managers should aim to increase employees’ performance through self-motivation, rather than enforcing external motivation (such as the imposition of strict rules and conditions of service) to bring about higher standards of performance. When employees are shown clear expectations, encouraged, valued and trusted, they will be motivated and will most likely give all their best for the benefit of the organization.