Critical success factor is an approach that has been described as a way of substantiating the corporate needs as opposed to the individual ones. It is also a business terminology that defines an item that is essential for mission achievement in an organization (Fred 2000). These are the items that when not implemented fully an organization would definitely collapse, hence they are the bench marks that govern an organization. They are of paramount importance in an organization in that they help to identify the information that aids in strategic policy layout to attain a competitive edge. All organizations have a mission; this explains a reason for their existence and the direction they are headed to. A mission depicts an organization’s core values and its vision. For the mission to be accomplished, skills and participation of the whole organization is needed. Every staff’s objectives and goals needs to be directed to attaining the mission. Nevertheless, attaining the objectives and goals in it is not enough. An organization is expected to be consistent in performing well in its core areas so as to achieve its mission. These are unique areas to an organization and an industry, in general it is what an organization boasts of that is described as its critical success factors. In a nutshell, the means of identifying key values of successes is critical success factor method. Initially it was used to plan information technology so as to align it with the strategic plan of an organization.
Critical success factors are constantly confused with key performance indicators (KPI). However the two are very different. Key performance indicators are used as measures of quantifying management objectives. They are also defined as either financial or non financial measures that are used to quantify or evaluate an organization’s goals realization. They are mostly used to evaluate attributes that cannot be quantified numerically, these includes consumer satisfaction, service delivery standards and the benefits that have been derived from leadership development within an organization. As opposed to critical success factor that is embedded in an organization’s mission and vision, key performance indicators are generally attached to an organization’s strategy. Key performance indicators are also not the same across the board of all organizations but they differ with an organization’s nature and strategies.
The key critical success factors included the following; client’s perception towards a product and their satisfaction, monetary issues, organization’s sustainability, Product or service development, strategic relationships, ability to attract, hire and retain the human resource, the intellectual capital and the future of an organization.
Product or service development was found to be a key critical success factor in Maritime logistics sector. Mainly it looked into what aspects helped improve business with the already existing and loyal clients and the ability to attract new ones. Being proactive in an organization while addressing the issue of product development proofed to be very critical. This in itself ensured the consumers stuck to a product or service being offered. Consequently this made the clients feel part and parcel of a company as their needs were constantly being addressed.
The study was conducted when the client wanted to test a new product, brand, packaging or a business logo before one committed a significant investment. The study could also be conducted when it deemed necessary to test a service or a product before it was introduced to the market or repositioned. As a result of increased cost of new products introduction into the market, it was deemed very necessary to spot possible winners and losers earliest possible so as to limit the loose of corporate resources. The study could also be conducted concerning an already existing product in the market. The existing product could either have performed poorly or the company wanted to make some major changes on the product, this is referred to as repositioning a product. Repositioning a product helped in increasing profit returns by selling more of a product by attracting many buyers. This could only be achieved by making a product better than its competitors. It is through a products image as compared to its competitors that companies and their managements are evaluated. The more and stronger the competitors are the greater is the necessity of repositioning a product so as to set it apart from it the competitors. A tool used to boost the morale of clients so that they like and purchase a product is referred as a product concept. The need to positioning a product is usually determined by the strength and the number of competitors. A product can be positioned in either; category, selling or commercial positioning. Selling positioning utilizes the various ideas that are used to come up with a product.
In product testing the key issues included are; product reformulation, line elongation, cost reductions and line optimization. The study in this phase emphasized on evaluating the level at which a product or a service met the clients needs. Secondly the new product was cross examined versus the substitute products to determine which of the two had more appeal to the clients. The product and service development within Trans-National Company was revealed to be at a considerable higher level as compared to its competitors and this explains why others trailed behind them.
Quality was another critical success factor that had propelled Trans-National Company into its current status in the sector. Basically this attempted to find out how good was the company’s product or service as rated by the consumer. In a layman’s language the term was used to portray a high level of excellence or absentia of it (Bruce 2002). Quality is what determines why consumers would prefer goods and services of company A as opposed to those of company B despite the two products serving the same purpose and retailing at the same price. Many companies experienced shrinkage in their market potentials as a result of availing goods and services of lesser quality to their consumers. This further added to the expenses of production as the products rate of purchase decreases. It was shown that quality didn’t cost money but low quality goods and services did so by adding unnecessary costs into an organization through correction or redoing. The quality of a final product was highly determined by the supplier quality. Productivity is believed to be wholly driven by quality as is put forward by Morris et al 2000. Trans- National Company had provided quality goods and services to its client for a considerably long time and this had resulted to improved productivity. This in return had translated to increased return, jobs opportunities and technological innovations. Productivity is a business term that defines the output derived from a production process in a given unit input. It is constantly used as a measure of technological efficiency. In the set ups where emphasize is laid on quantity, the number of units expended as opposed to those that are produced is used. Conventionally quality was viewed as the final finished product while in the real sense it translated into the entire production process. Inspection was usually meant to enhance and safe guard quality. Con temporarily, the trends within the company had showed that with the technological advancement it was possible to produce more quality product, at a decreased cost and time frame. This had only been achieved with application of current quality techniques as anciently it was next to impossible. A client’s experience was the whole some of the different entities of a company products and services, this entailed the selling and delivery process and how the product performed. Quality proofed to be very essential when it involved the issue of customer satisfaction and organizations of different sizes and types. Many organizations had come to embrace their main focus as being satisfying their clients, however Trans-National Company had not been exceptional. When it involved satisfying a customer it meant provision of what the clients wanted and at the right time. An organization could only deliver this by use of surveys and they should not assume to know all the needs of their clients. However, at times it was the customers who provided them with their expectations.
Employee attraction and retention is a huge global challenge that faced many companies. The greatest test of resilience that numerous organizations were face was in the attraction and retention of results oriented employees. Trans-National Company, aspiring to be a world class organization had realized this and had already incorporated it into its human resource strategies. The movement of employees from one organization to the other had showed to be very prevalent in some industries but in the finance industry the firm taking one in wanted to know from where one was coming from. Trans-National Company had not taken this trend for granted, during its early stages it had experienced the migratory phenomenon. Cream employees wanted to work for world class organizations. Therefore a company that showed commitment to quality service or product delivery had a renowned brand and was recognized for excellent managerial practice for sure had an endless queue of hopefuls waiting to join the winning team. This would give a company an edge over its competitors. Many companies had positioned themselves prestigiously to utilize this window of opportunity. However, Trans-National Company was a notch higher ass compared with its potential competitors in the Maritime logistics sector. However a company that fully utilizes this potential will have an added advantage in that it will drain the brains from other companies. This will arise from employees migrating from the lesser attracting companies. As these employees move into a company, they will come in with great new ideas and as a result of them having a conducive working environment they will deliver more quality services than before.
If a company was restructuring itself, it was the duty of the management to know that also its potential competitors were doing so. There fore to attract the top cream it was really necessary to show where the company was headed and its new face that would act as a bait to the top seed employees. Peak performers are known to be dynamic and therefore triggered by the prevailing challenges and changes. Recognizing and awarding excellent performers was a great motivational tool in maintaining the human resource at the Trans-National Company. However, research showed that money was not the core extrinsic motivating factor. Nevertheless, creation of a conducive work environment, challenging tasks and performance recognition were. Flexible working schedules and company days off were found to be of great significance too.
It is human that the euphoric feeling on a newly found job opportunity faded away with time. As a result of this it, was the duty of the employer to continually elevate this morale so as to maintain its staff. Top seed employers are people with a culture of continual learning throughout their life. Therefore chances for their further studies were provided and encouraged, at the same time the challenging projects that were stimulating propelled them.
Outsmarting the practices that your competitors use to woo and retain its human resource was mandatory. A manager is expected to be well versed with their competitor’s practices long before the employees realize this and run for cooler waters. It was this culture of being satisfied with the welfare of employees at work that made cream employees to stick to a company for long while delivering quality service.
Nevertheless, having embraced the above described critical success factors above in its attempt to achieve an upper hand over its competitors, Trans-National Company had to some degree ignored the issue of strategic relationships. Strategic relationship was described as a formalized partnership between two or more enterprises through a commercial contract though the two shy off from entering into a legal coalition or affiliation (Keith 20001). It tried to address new business opportunities, outsourced returns, products and services. Basically strategic relationship is formed by two businesses that both are involved in either one or more business resources that would be of much benefit to the other and its not wishing to pursue intrinsically. A good example of this would be a company in the Maritime logistics sector teaming up with a medium or a smaller commercial firm to create a customized new product. In such a partnership the larger company is basically involved with the provision of monetary assistance, services of product development and marketing strategies while the smaller firm avails the professional expertise. A conventional strategic partnership encompasses a manufacturer teaming up with a wholesale consumer. Instead of just creating the partnership as just a simple link, the two may bond further so as to execute business functions like product and service development mutually. Strategic relationship however is a sophisticated procedure that involves sharing of returns and expenditure, hiring and dismissal of employees and the time frame which the relationship is expected to last. As a result an extensive negotiations should be gotten into before commitments are made.
Trans-National Company had however embraced a number of critical success factor in its attempt to position itself as a giant in the Maritime logistic sector. It had relentlessly looked into the issue of quality that was very paramount in enhancing customer satisfaction and thereof their loyalty to a brand. It is this consumer satisfaction that makes them come back for more of the same product from the same company time and again. Secondly the issue of product and service development had been critically analyzed so as to constantly meet the client’s needs. Consumers needs kept on changing with time and thereof it was only wise to stay in sync with the market trends. Attraction and retention of highly motivated and quality delivering staff was a core virtue in this sector that was addressed by Trans national company. The human resource of an organization was a great investment that really needed to be nurtured, developed and maintained. However strategic relationship as a critical success factor in the Maritime Logistics Sector was not fully utilize as it ought to have been so as to articulate the leverage at the Trans-National Company. Nevertheless, the strategic relationship had been developed to rudimentary levels of simple links and supply chain in the transaction s of products and services consecutively. This for sure was responsible for some of the shortcomings that were being experienced in some departments within the company.
On the issue of Product or service development, Trans-National Company had really set itself far above its fellow competitors in the industry. Despite this, complacency needed to be discouraged as the fellow competitors were out to outsmart the other. The issue should be dealt through a joint effort of the company and the client, since its the product that is appealing to them that needs to be developed.
However, the Company had made tremendous and remarkable steps towards positioning itself as a icon of excellence in the Maritime Logistics sector. The company had for the last few years gone a transformation to address the quality of its products by laying a lot of emphasize on the quality control and quality assurance tips. This had in return resulted to customer satisfaction loyalty and increased profits margin. Nevertheless quality needs of the clients are not static and their trend s keeps on changing. Clients have a craving that the greatest company’s challenge is to satisfy it. Henceforth the room for quality improvement is still far from being full and the success in the near future will be determined by this.
On the issue of attracting and retaining it’s working force, Trans-National Company had really been able to attract quality service delivering staff. This had been through the incorporation of attractive terms of work and their constant employee’s motivation. However the labor force needs needed to be taken a notch higher so as to have a better bargaining power in the staff recruitment.
All in all, the strategic relationship as a key critical success factor has just been articulated minimally in the maritime Logistics Sector. Despite its minimal utility it can offer a significant growth and leverage in the industry if embraced. Therefore trans-National Company being an aspiring role model in this sector was encouraged to explore the opportunity. Incorporating a peculiar strategy that has not been adopted by fellow competitors provides excellent leverage to a company. This would greatly set it apart from its competitors this would be achieved through teaming up with other stake holders in related and supporting industries of this sector.
It is only a company that will embrace the key critical success values that have been discussed above and shown to be very crucial in the Maritime logistics sector that will prosper. Soaring to greater heights and outdoing its competitors is a dream of each and every organization. Therefore there will be no end to embracing these values as the horizon will never be attained in this world where competition is the in thing .
Bruce, E. (2002). Principles of critical success factors. Oxford, Oxford University press.
Fred, B. (2000). Redefining critical success components. Chicago, Chicago University press. Keith, M. (2001). Evaluating Strategic Relationships. McGraw. Texas.
Morris, Y. Nelly, F. & Patricia M. (2000). Winning more consumers. Macmillan. London.