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Problem Solution: Harrison-Keyes, Inc.

Essay by   •  December 13, 2010  •  3,100 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,586 Views

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Introduction

Harrison-Keyes, Inc. is still desperately trying to establish a foothold in the struggling publishing industry. The global company with a focus on print media has been an established leading publisher in the business, scientific and technical information markets. The company has hired a new CEO, William Guardo, to replace the recently fired Meg McGill. Mr. Guardo is supportive of the e-publishing initiative only if it can be proven to be achievable and profitable. Harrison has lost its digital design provider because of flooding in Asia and now must find a way to meet critical deadlines. Slow e-book sales indicate an ineffective marketing campaign or a lack of customer demand for e-publishing. Anticipated sales of e-books for Harrison-Keyes were projected at $16 million for the first six months. The company has failed to meet expected goals as defined by projections. In fact, Harrison has realized less than 19% of the established target with actual sales at $3 million. Low morale throughout the organization is impacting employee productivity and retention. This paper explores the continuing challenges and opportunities that are faced by Harrison-Keyes and identifies end state goals used to measure success. It will show the importance of communication in the strategic implementation process in an effort to drive business results and experience growth and profitability.

Challenges and Opportunities

Challenges for Harrison-Keyes in the extended scenario include overcoming the lacking presence of a contingency plan to replace Asia Digital, addressing employee concerns regarding e-publishing and potential layoffs, and improving the marketing campaign to increase publicity and enthusiasm for e-books. The vendor relationship with Asia Digital Publishing has been a struggle from the beginning. Missed deadlines and communication problems have stretched an already demanding global relationship. The fact that flooding in Asia has ended this tumultuous partnership leaves Harrison-Keyes with a need and an opportunity to restructure the existing digital design process. The outsourcing possibilities for Harrison have created fear and anxiety for the employee population. The potential for the organization to outsource additional publishing processes and procedures has impacted employee morale which in turn has influenced productivity and retention efforts. Changes to organizational strategy can create confusion, low morale, turnover and decreased productivity (St-Amour, 2000). There are also noted concerns throughout the organization with the e-publishing initiative. Jan Peters, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Head of the Implementation Team, believes that these concerns are based on a lack of understanding of the organizational goals and objectives or miscommunication on behalf of the senior leadership team. Ms. Peters also feels that the marketing campaign failed to create awareness and excitement for the launch of e-books. The challenge exists for Harrison-Keyes to dig deeper into market research to find out if consumer demand and acceptance for e-books is below acceptable levels or if the marketing efforts need to be revamped.

Opportunities for Harrison-Keyes, Inc. involve communicating the organizational goals and strategy more effectively, integrating all departments into the e-publishing process cycle, and organizing a proactive business contingency plan targeted at keeping the business running at all times. Accomplishing these goals will allow Harrison to drive growth and profitability and reestablish the company as a leader in the publishing industry. The company has an opportunity to drive employee satisfaction by keeping people informed, motivated, and in line with the organization's business objectives. Part of this opportunity to communicate the organizational strategy involves a need to establish clear expectations, a sufficient level of shared commitment, and coordinated work efforts throughout the organization. This clearly articulated strategy is needed to successfully integrate the resources of the company. The senior leaders of the organization must commit to the organizational strategy and stick with it. This strategy must become the integration point for the rest of the organization. It is important for Harrison-Keyes to fully integrate all departments to support the e-publishing process. This may involve simply better communicating the process itself and ensuring an understanding of its importance in the organizational strategy.

Another opportunity for Harrison-Keyes in the scenario is to be prepared for contingencies in case of disaster. As an example, last year Hurricane Wilma hit the American Express call center in Ft Lauderdale and the center was closed for more than a week. All of the servers that American Express uses for computer based training is housed at this location. The company quickly discovered that they had a short-term contingency plan in place but not something that would accommodate long-term disasters. Needless to say, the organization learned a very valuable lesson from this situation and now houses servers at many locations around the world. To relate this example back to the scenario, the only effective way that Harrison-Keyes could have diffused the impact of the flooding in Asia was to have prepared for it through planning. However, they did not do this and now they are in a position to suffer severe monetary losses. A large part of the blame has to fall on the shoulders of Pete Ross the production manager. His 25 years of experience in the publishing industry should have helped him see the importance of having a Business Contingency Plan in place. The opportunity here for Harrison is to have alternate vendors in place, other suppliers they can use in case the current vendors cannot provide needed products or services. The floods in Asia are an opportunity for Harrison-Keyes to find a supplier who is better able to meet deadlines, be available for status

updates, conference calls, and meetings.

Problem Statement

A problem statement for Harrison-Keyes, Inc. is overcoming the new CEO's resistance to e-publishing and his one month deadline to move this business initiative in a positive direction. The problem is worth solving because otherwise the company must turn back to traditional publishing and loses any hope of gaining a competitive edge in the publishing industry for the foreseeable future. The primary stakeholders in the scenario are the employees and customers of Harrison-Keyes. These stakeholders must be aligned in order for the company to achieve its strategic objectives and implementation goals.

Desired End-State and Goals

The description of an ideal end-state

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