A business is likely to flourish when it makes best use of its core competencies, organization capabilities, and increases its capacity. This paper describes a firm, Bangles Pvt. Ltd, which is headquartered in UK and is looking to expand into the Asian market via its online store. The paper discusses the core competencies the firm has along with its organizational capabilities which will help the firm in making this expansion successful.
Bangles Pvt. Ltd is an online business based in the United Kingdom and run through social media sites, the company’s own personal website, and through other buying/selling websites such as eBay and other portals. The business originated in 2006 after the owner finished her Arts degree from a local college and decided to use her expertise in her own small enterprise. Initially she took the responsibility of production herself and began to produce highly colourful, intricately designed, handmade bangles on order. However, as business began to boom she hired two other designers to help her with the production in 2007 and currently employs 10 people to produce bangles in the ranges of collections titled casual/everyday bangles, semi-formal bangles, bridal bangles, and exclusive designs. The company basically operates upon an order service in which customers either send their orders in the inbox on sites such as Facebook or fill out order forms on the company’s own personal website. The sites are full of colourful albums full of designs of various bangle creations which are updated regularly and articles targeted towards different target audiences regarding how to use the bangles and other fashion tips (Bangles Pvt Ltd, 2014).
While the company instantly began to gain steady business and maintained a commendable reputation, the company is currently facing a number of issues as it plans to expand further into other markets and has also recently begun to supply bangles in Asia via the owner’s relatives and friends who live there. The Asian market shows high potential for the company as the use of bangles is highly widespread in many Asian countries and the designs of the bangles support Asian cultural traditions while adding a contemporary touch to what is traditionally worn by Asian women. However, this will add an additional burden upon the employees at Bangles who are already over-absorbed in producing bangles for current customers. The owner is slightly worried that if the brand is not managed properly by the distributors she appoints (friends and relatives), which may cause a detrimental impact upon the company’s name and future prospects (Bangles Pvt. Ltd, 2014). Thus, it is essential for her to ensure that the operations and delivery processes in Asia are properly conducted and reliable. There is also danger that her products will end up in the retail market in Asia if no controls are implemented and may be sold to customers in bulk. The owner of Bangles also needs to ensure that her employees in Asia conform to company policy and are highly cooperative with her and her UK-based employees. She needs to maintain decorum with her employees and coordination with respect to meeting customer demand and responding to customer preferences.
This paper will outline the company’s main core competencies, organizational capabilities, and capacity-building tools which can help Bangles solve its current expansion problems in the Asian market. The paper will then conclude by providing recommendations as to what the organization needs to further develop and commenting upon its managerial practices while summarizing the main points made in the paper.
Core Competencies, Organizational Capabilities, and Capacity-Building:
Core competencies are the unique qualities or strengths that a firm has which differentiate them from their competitors and are difficult to replicate. They are a source of competitive advantage for a firm and enable the firm to perform efficiently and effectively in a particular area relative to their competitors (Gupta, 2013). Bangles Pvt. Ltd has several core competencies which strengthen the firm and result in increased business. One of the core competencies of Bangles Pvt. Ltd is the diversified workforce, which consists of close friends and students of the owner who originate from different countries and are able to provide Bangles with unique and original ideas for bangle designs. Thus, the aesthetic appeal of Bangles’ products suits the modern tastes of consumers in the UK, India, Pakistan, Turkey, China, and Nigeria as the designers of Bangles originate from the countries mentioned. Another core competency of the firm is the owner’s personal involvement in the business and the fact that the owner provides customers with a personalized service and is highly interactive with the customers. Additionally, the owner also provides a customized service to customers who wish to get their own bangles designed at an affordable price. Also, the owner’s large social circle and connections with people in Asia who can help in expanding and managing the business is also a core competence as the owner will not have to associate with unknown parties in order to achieve expansion into Asia.
The organizational capabilities of the firm are the manner in which people are managed in a firm in order to gain a competitive advantage (Grafton, Lillis, & Widener, 2010). The organizational capabilities of Bangles include the owner’s excellence in human resource management as she has been successful in motivating employees since the business’s inception. The owner’s charismatic leadership style and the informal organizational culture of the firm help the employees remain comfortable and united with one another. The owner also attempts to organize the employees in the organization through the use of various communication tools including a personal group on WhatsApp, an intranet which enables the employees to interact with one another, and through the use of video conferencing when applicable (Bangles Pvt Ltd, 2014).The business’s strong internal associations and the fact that all of the designers in the firm are educated, trained, and experienced in the field of arts and crafts enables the firm to perform faster and more efficiently in order to quickly meet customer demand. The lack of misunderstandings between employees and the close connection between employees and the owner also serves as a source of competitive advantage and enables the work to be done quicker.
The organization is currently working on capacity-building as it has previously increased its capacity by purchasing three small machines, which help cut the thread and sew on the beads for intricately and delicately designed bangles. Using these machines has sufficiently increased the capacity of the firm and Bangles has been able to complete more orders than it previously had. The company has recently tried division of labour and instead of asking one designer to complete a full pair of bangles, they have tried to break down the tasks and let one worker complete a portion of an order while the others complete other portions. This has shown commendable results recently as capacity has slightly increased.
In order to solve the problems arising from an expansion into the Asian market, Bangles must use its core competencies, organizational capabilities, and capacity-building tools to its advantage. The owner can use the core competency of having a diversified workforce to be able to accurately meet the aesthetic demands of customers in Asian countries. Moreover, the owner needs to use her social connections in order to appoint a reliable manager in Asia who will help in the distribution of Bangles’ products and also manage the brand image of the firm. The owner can make use of the firm’s strong communication network to set up a system in which she communicates with customers in Asia herself or responds to their messages as soon as possible if there is a difference in timings in order to provide them with a personalized and customized service where applicable.
Thus, to efficiently manage business in Asia, the owner must make use of her charismatic leadership style to constantly remain in touch with employees and the manger in Asia and ensure she is updated upon changing trends. The owner must also have a rigid plan towards crisis management in order to ensure that she is able to solve such problems without increasing hassle and confusion and risk in damaging the brand’s reputation. The owner can also extend the intranet to include employees in Asia and to ensure that she communicates with them personally in order to ensure that they are familiar with the organizational culture and are absorbed into the enthusiasm of being a part of the organization.
These are the strategies that the firm can use by making use of its existing core competencies and capabilities. However, the firm may also need to enhance other departments in order to efficiently compete in the Asian market.
Conclusion and Recommendations:
It is evident that the firm has numerous core competencies and organizational capabilities which enable the firm to efficiently compete in the market and which can be used to its advantage in expanding into the Asian market. However, the firm may consider increasing its efficiency and capacity by hiring additional designers in Asia who can produce the bangles there and ship them to customers easily and without additional cost. Moreover, the firm may also hire additional staff in the UK to ensure that there is always someone available online to cater to customer queries and demands. In order to appropriately achieve this, Bangles may also consider giving its staff training in customer service and managing across cultures.
Hence, the firm’s core competencies of a diversified workforce, strong social connections, and the owner’s personal involvement in the business serve to be highly beneficial while organizational capabilities of a strong communication network and informal organizational culture are redeem high benefits.
Bangles Pvt. Ltd. (2014) Facebook Page [online] Accessed on: February 20, 2014 Available at: https://www.facebook.com/bangles
Grafton, J., Lillis, A. M., & Widener, S. K. (2010). “The role of performance measurement and evaluation in building organizational capabilities and performance.” Accounting, Organizations and Society. Vol. 35(7) pp. 689-706.
Gupta, R. K. (2013). “Core Competencies for Business Excellence.” Advances in Management. Vol. 6 (10). pp. 712-723
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