Trading Companies of Sri Lanka best practices
The present study is an attempt to understand the best management practices of high performing companies in terms of their possible contribution to customer satisfaction, internal process efficiency, performance improvement and future development. In identifying what the company does best and the likely impact on the areas mentioned above the research team relied highly on qualitative data gathered through interviews with CEO’s and other members of the senior management of the sampled companies. Data have also been collected from company annual reports and other relevant records.
In the course of the study the team was able to identify several good management practices in the areas of marketing, human resources management, industrial relations, product and technology development, organizational controls and environment management. While it was not possible to assess in precise empirical terms the contribution of these practices towards customer satisfaction, improvement of internal process efficiency, current performance and future development of the organizations it was possible to arrive at broad tentative conclusions regarding what appears to be the most effective therefore best management practices.
Best management practices have been shown below:
|I. External customer||Personalized long term relationship with the customer|
|II. Internal processes|
|a. People||Taking care and being fair|
|b. Human resource development||Develop care skills and recognize achievers|
|c. Products/Technology||Outsource business operations and add value to partner’s work.|
|d. Process Controls||Integrate diagnostic and interactive controls through a blend of technical and human systems.|
The Customer Perspective
Customer satisfaction through value value addition was a major concern of the five
companies surveyed. The practices relating to organizations interface with customers suggested that customers as well as the organization benefited by the practice of promoting personalized long term relationships with the customer. Hence it was identified as the best practice in the area of customer relations.
Organization and People Interface
In managing the interface between the people and the organization each company has adopted more or less similar practices which could be summed up as “we take care of our people and are fair to them”. Thus the best practice related to management of people could be stated as “taking care and being fair”.
Human Resources Development
The CEOs of the companies surveyed shared the view that corporate responsibility of the of the companies is to help people to grow by developing their competencies through training. They also believed that high performers should be be recognized and rewarded through career advancement opportunities. Thus the best practice in the area of human resources development could be summed up as develop the core skills and recognize the achievers.
Products and Technology Management
Among the practices adopted for managing production and technology related processes, four of the sample companies engaged in manufacturing operations have adopted the practice of outsourcing production operations to partners outside the company. Under this practice some companies have contracted out ancillary operations such as packaging while others have contracted out part of the core production process. In both of the cases the company has taken measures to add value to partners operations by providing technical assistance, quality control supervision, initial capital or working capital in some instances and guaranteeing purchase of output that meet the quality standard. In view of the advantages afforded the best practice in production and technology related was identified as outsourcing business operations and value addition to partners work.
Internal Process Controls
Budgeting, target setting, control and monitoring with computer aided information systems constituted part of the technical system of the organization studied. The fact that the surveyed companies had good control systems in place indicated the use of good diagnostic controls. However, it was observed that the companies surveyed did not leave control to the technical systems alone. They also adopted interactive controls through formal and informal meetings; often the CEOs and divisional heads visited the work place and interacted with the people to satisfy themselves that things were moving well. Thus in regard to internal process control the best practice identified was integrating diagnostic and interactive controls through a blend of technical and human systems.
Best Practices in Sri Lanka Trading Sector,
Dr. Sudatta Ranasinghe,
Postgraduate Institute of Management,
Sri Jayewardenepura University.