Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 1st 2015 Contents Q3. What strategies should Petra
pursue in order to grow the
The most pressing task is to solve the quality
issue raised by the customer. It is critical that
this be immediately addressed in order to
secure the client s business.
One approach would be to exceed the client s
expectations and not only allow him to return
the items but provide him with a significant
discount on the next order.
Petra should also arrange a face-to-face
meeting with the client to personally apologise
for the error and demonstrate not only her
acknowledgement of the problem but will-
ingness to correct the error. This should assist
in defusing the tension in the relationship in
the short term and perhaps engender greater
long-term loyalty on the part of the client.
In the medium term, she needs to make
several adjustments to the business s internal
processes. Greater attention needs to be placed
on quality control on the supplier end. Petra
may want to consider hiring an external party
to conduct regular quality audits (more fre-
quently than her annual factory visit) to min-
imise defect rates.
She may also want to consider consolidating
production to a smaller set of suppliers or
even one supplier with the most stringent
quality standards. This would help ensure the
consistent aesthetic for the company s products
that she desires.
Petra needs to increase the number of
employees and delegate some of her respon-
sibilities to them (accounting being a prime
example) so she can free up some time to
focus on strategies for growing the business.
Redefining the scope of job duties for the
warehouse manager to include quality control
and hiring someone to assist him would also
help overcome his resistance to engaging in
this critical activity.
If the manager is unwilling to accept this
expanded role she would have to seriously
consider replacing him. Some degree of training
is also required to ensure that the person
responsible for quality control understands
what constitutes an acceptable standard for
the various types of products.
The owner needs to more effectively com-
municate the brand promise to employees so
they understand what is required of them and
the need to focus on product quality. This
communication exercise should also be extend-
ed to the retailers who carry the company s
products so they can appreciate the attention
that the business is placing on maintaining
Inviting retailers to visit the company and
meet employees on a regular basis would allow
them to become more familiar with the owner
and deepen the business relationship. This
would also allow Petra to gather market intel-
ligence about emerging consumer trends that
she could capitalise on.
Ultimately, as the business continues to
grow Petra may need to provide strategic direc-
tion but hire a professional manager to oversee
daily operations to ensure that she herself
does not limit the company s expansion poten-
Dr Barney Pacheco is a lecturer in the
Department of Management Studies at
The University of the West Indies, St Augus-
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt FEBRUARY 1 • 2015
Growing pains of business
Case preparation guide: Access Styles
The following guide is intended to
aid readers in analysing the case
Access Styles. When analysing a case,
remember that there are many pos-
sible approaches and solutions and
the goal is to develop your analytical
and problem-solving skills rather
than figure out the one right answer.
Petra Jones, the owner of
Access Styles, had been
contacted by a major
client complaining bitterly
about the quality of the
products in his last order.
He indicated that not only
was he sending back the
defective items but he was temporarily putting
a hold on future orders.
Petra realised that her business could be in
serious trouble if she did not ensure that the
quality of the handbags she sold was of con-
sistently high quality. She knew that the busi-
ness could not afford to lose any of its clients
and wondered about the best way to handle
the current situation.
Q1. What factors have contributed
to the current problems at Access
The company has experienced steady growth
and now appears to be exhibiting signs of
"growing pains" associated with this success.
As the volume of products handled by the
company has grown, it is proving more difficult
to provide the level of scrutiny to individual
items as originally occurred.
Additionally, while outsourcing production
to multiple suppliers is prudent in order to
reduce supplier power and ensure a steady
supply, it also increases the likelihood of receiv-
ing defective items. This puts added pressure
on the quality control system currently in
The warehouse manager has been given the
added responsibility for quality assurance but
this is a role that he seems unable or unwilling
to accept. There is also no evidence that he
is adequately trained to carry out this important
function. Greater emphasis is perhaps needed
on internal communication so that all employ-
ees are focused on product quality as a core
aspect of their job duties.
Like most entrepreneurial start-ups, the
company lacks well-defined rules and proce-
dures which are essential to maintaining
smooth operations as it scales up in size. There
is a very small staff complement which puts
pressure on the owner and others to multitask
and may negatively affect her decision making.
This is likely to be an issue that has a greater
impact as the business continues to grow. The
owner may have to consider reducing her
hands-on involvement in the business, hiring
more employees and delegating some of the
tasks she currently engages in.
Q2. Is Petra a successful
entrepreneur? If so, what has
accounted for this?
The owner of the business appears to have
successfully transitioned from being an
employee to becoming a successful entrepre-
neur. Her background in sales and the extensive
supplier network that she has developed are
key factors accounting for her success to date.
She has also paid attention to customer needs
and positioned her business to fill a market
niche that she identified as not being ade-
In doing so she has avoided directly con-
fronting entrenched competitors which has
given the business room to grow.
Recognising her limitations, she has brought
on critical staff in the form of a fashion designer
which has expanded the scope of the handbags
produced by the company. Her hands-on man-
agement style has also provided her with deep
insight into ongoing business processes and
allowed her to recognise and troubleshoot
problems as they arose. Above all however, it
is the owner s drive and passion for success
which underpins the business model and has
contributed the most to the growth of the
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