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As described in the Kuder Fine Foods Simulation, Kudler Fine Foods is a local upscale specialty food store located in the San Diego metropolitan area. The company has three locations (La Jolla, Del Mar and Encinitas). Each store has approximately 16,000 square feet of retail space located in a fashionable shopping center (University of Phoenix, 2004). The stores are stocked with the very best domestic and imported foodstuffs and divided into five departments consisting of a fresh bakery and pastries, fresh produce, fresh meat and seafood, condiments and packaged foods and lastly cheese's and specialty dairy products. Kudler Fine Food's mission is to provide their customers with the finest in selected foodstuffs, wines, and related needs in an unparalleled consumer environment (University of Phoenix, 2004). In order to develop this mission, Kudler Fine Foods needed to first develop an effective management team, focus on new technologies and realize the reality of competition. Kudler Fine Foods has experienced significant growth and is now focusing on expanding Kudler's services, improving the efficiency of the company's operations and increasing the consumer purchase cycle as a means to increasing the loyalty and profitability of its consumers.
Primary Functions of Management
Kudler Fine Foods is organized to operate using a frequently used ordinary management arrangement. Kathy Kudler, the founder and President of Kudler Fine Foods, is situated at the top of the organizational chart with all three of her store managers reporting directly to her. Placed just beneath Kathy in the organization's structure are Kudler's three key directors: Harvey Stephens, Director of Finance and Accounting, Yvonne Reynolds, Director of Store Operations, and finally Brenda Wagner, Director of Administration and Human Resources (University of Phoenix, 2004). The organizational chart's last tier consists of various sub-departmental managers and assistants assigned to support the directors in their respective departments.
Primary Functions of Management
Whether at the managerial, individual, or team level, the management process involves four functions that Gomez-Mejia and Balkin (2002) explained as planning and strategizing, organizing, leading and controlling, and decision making. Planning is a function that helps different parts of the organization set future objectives and map out activities necessary to achieve those objectives. To be effective, the objectives of individuals, teams, and management should be coordinated to support the firm's mission (Gomez-Mejia & Balkin, 2002). After
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Organizing is the next management function mentioned by Gomez-Mejia and Balkin. Organizing involves specifying how the firm's human, financial, physical, informational, and technical resources are arranged and coordinated to perform tasks to achieve desired goals. Organizing activities include defining roles for all players, delegating tasks, marshalling and allocating resources, clarifying procedures, and determining priorities (Gomez-Mejia & Balkin, 2002). Kudler Fine Food's directors and Kathy should be profoundly involved with this management function. Although Kathy's role is acting as more of an overseer, her leadership will not only define roles and responsibilities but will ensure that tasks are being assigned correctly. Brenda Wagner is the Director of Administration and Human Resources. Brenda is responsible for developing policies while directing and coordinating administrative and human resources activities, such as employment, compensation, labor relations, benefits, training, and employee services (University of Phoenix, 2004). Brenda must analyze wage and salary reports to determine competitive compensation rates while working in concert with Harvey Stephens, the Director of Finance and Accounting. Harvey develops and implements goals, policies, priorities and procedures relating to Kudler Fine Food's financial management, budget, accounting and payroll. Harvey and Brenda must work together with Yvonne to design proper budget and staffing levels to make ensure that Kudler is organized properly to realize the company's goals.
Leading is a function that is described by Gomez-Mejia and Balkin, 2002 as a method of energizing people to contribute their best individually and in cooperation with other people. Leading involves clearly communicating organizational goals and their importance, inspiring and motivating employees, providing an example for others to follow, guiding people, and creating conditions that encourage people from diverse backgrounds to work well together to achieve Kudler Fine Food's mission. As the President and founder of Kudler Fine Foods, Kathy Kudler is charged with the responsibility of leading this organization. It is her responsibility to communicate Kudler Fine Food's mission downward to each tier of the organization so each member of Kudler unmistakably understands how his/her role impacts the success of the company's mission statement. All the directors and store managers must represent Kathy in her absence to maintain a cohesive bond between the management and employees.
The only remaining management function is controlling. Controlling consists of measuring performance, comparing it to objectives, implementing necessary changes, and monitoring progress. Many of these issues involve feedback or identifying potential problems and taking corrective action. Organizations may use specific approaches to detect and correct significant variations or discrepancies in the results of planned activities (Gomez-Mejia & Balkin, 2002). Controlling is a form of feedback that is usually associated to a more formal type of performance review. This type of activity occurs at all levels within an organization and should be bi-directional. Kudler Fine Food's managers are responsible to ensure that all their employees are meeting/exceeding their objectives.
Technology and the Internet
As mentioned earlier, Kudler Fine Foods has experienced significant growth and is now focusing on expanding Kudler's services, improving the efficiency of the company's operations and increasing the consumer purchase cycle as a means to increasing the loyalty and profitability of its consumers. To do this, Kudler has researched new technology to aid this initiative. Kudler started a frequent shopper program that is designed to track customer purchase behavior while providing valued incentives through a partnership with a loyalty points program. This new incentive program will require new technology to keep track of individual customer purchases. New applications are being adopted that will track financial information such as dollar value and profit margin per transaction, dollar sales and profit levels by day, and dollar sales and profit margins by item. This technology will allow Harvey and his team to easily prepare daily financial statements and maintain accurate records of expenditures and sales. One of the greatest assets to Kudler Fine Foods will be the use of the internet and intranet servers that link computers in the stores together. This intra-corporate network will provide the organization with to ability to increase Kudler's performance and productivity. By creating an access database to store customer information online, faster checkout processing and local store inventory changes will become a key efficiency tool. This is a direct strategic advantage for Kudler Fine Foods.
Five Porter's Model Forces
Turner, Rainer and Potter (2004) describe in chapter 13 of Introduction to Information Technology, "Competition is at the core of a firm's success or failure. One of the most well-known frameworks for analyzing competitiveness is Porter's competitive forces model. This model has been used to develop strategies for companies to increase their competitive edge. The model recognizes five major forces that could endanger a company's position in a given industry. The five major forces can be generalized as follows: the threat of entry of new competitors, the bargaining power of suppliers, the bargaining power of customers (buyers), the threat of substitute products or services and lastly the rivalry among existing firms in the industry.
Kudler Fine Foods should understand these forces and how they can impact the success of the organization. Kudler is a unique grocery chain. The company provides nothing other than fine selections of different products from around the world. Although the threat of entry remains, the threat is improbable because the products offered are so specialized. This specialized inventory may prevent outside entry but it also allows suppliers inside to drive supply and demand. Kudler may experience increased prices or a reduction in quality and availability. Kudler should ensure they have identified a plan for dealing with such a situation. Consumers expect competitive prices as well as a heightened level of quality products. Kudler has secured the company in a grocery market differentiating themselves from other food stores. Kudler Fine Foods has an exclusive selection of products. This marketing advantage may help to counteract the buying power of the customer. Promoting customer service while establishing additional stores in wealthier areas of San Diego may also help Kudler with the bargaining power of the customer.
The fourth force is the threat of substitute products or services. Kudler's advantage once again is their identity as an elite supplier of fine foods. It will be difficult for an outside competitor to enter into the southern California area and provide the same products that the customers have come to trust at Kudler. Pricing will have to remain reasonable or some of the patrons may decide to sacrifice the quality of Kudler's products for a price savings. Kudler should conduct research to begin offering their products online or through other means. The fifth force in Porter's model is the rivalry among existing firms in the industry. Kudler Fine Foods is a specialty store offering unique products that are not available at generic grocery stores within the San Diego region. Kudler's only competition maybe a local chain store that may try to enter the industry.
Gomez-Mejia, L. & Balkin, D. (2002). Management. New York: The McGraw-Hill
Turban, E., Rainer, K., & Potter, R. (2003). Introduction to Information Technology.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
University of Phoenix. (2004). Kudler Fine Foods. Retrieved August 28, 2007, from University
of Phoenix, rEsource Simulation, MBA502-Managing the Business Enterprise Web site.