Page 3: Weaknesses
Any business needs to know where its weaknesses are so that it can improve and manage them. Weaknesses are negative factors that detract from the achievement of objectives. Hewden’s SWOT analysis identified potential weaknesses that needed addressing. Firstly, its operating system needed updating. The previous system did not offer the transparency and operating data required by each depot to run efficiently. Secondly, it needed a change in culture to accept the new system and processes.
As depots had been acquired over time through acquisitions, this created logistical challenges. To enable Hewden to deliver its core fleet guarantee the locations of its depots was improved to ensure effective geographic coverage. There was also a culture issue as depots had a localised way of working, meaning little consistency between practices at different sites. The challenge facing Hewden was to find a way to make its operations more efficient to:
- increase competitiveness
- offer customers value for money
- offer customers consistent levels of quality service.
The old core operating system was not proving to be efficient, despite a strong work ethic from employees. It did not foresee problems but instead reacted to those that occurred. Hewden invested in a brand new, Microsoft based, user-friendly system that integrates different functions of the business. This automated the whole process and led to a new way of working.
The new system allows depots to know exactly what assets they have, what is due for collection and what is waiting for minor repairs or service. This information greatly helps Hewden to fulfil its customers’ needs. It also provides useful information about the customer and allows exact delivery slots to be selected. The new system means assets are tracked at every stage and any damage can be recorded, improving the process of invoicing for damage.
The decision to introduce the new system depended on employees accepting the changes. Effective change management was used to ensure this happened. The entire workforce was educated in the benefits of the new system. This prepared them for the training they received. The organisation was restructured and job roles redefined in keeping with the new system. This also meant a change in culture to accept different ways of working. The process succeeded in building understanding as when the training took place employees already understood why it was necessary. This approach created a high level of receptiveness.
For Hewden, another potential weakness identified is the company’s ageing workforce as many employees are approaching retirement age. Efficient workforce planning is essential to ensure sufficient skilled employees are ready to replace those leaving.