In this contemporary world, every company is trying to deploy new and modern technologies to enhance their organizational performance. This situation means it is becoming essential to alignhuman resources with modern technological assistance. Current management theories and practice do not just suddenly appear from nowhere. They are the outcome of an evolutionary process. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that technological assistance in contemporary management has some remarkable features that emerged during the 19th and mid-20th century. Known as the modernist period, it was also the time of the industrial revolution, a period of significant economic, social and technological change. These changes challenged the existing pre-industrial order of how business was conducted. Previously, businesses were small craft or cottage industries producing products made by skilled and semi-skilled artisans who had inherited their skills from previous generations. Consequently, labor productivity was generally low and quality of goods produced varied significantly.
More recently, with the explosion of voice and e-mail, the work day never ends and enters everyone's home, every day. What has became quickly apparent, is that the technological explosion has created a ricochet affect with a demand for meeting new challenges at a much faster pace if an organization is to survive, let alone prosper. This has meant a need to change and adapt, especially in heavily service-oriented industries, such as insurance and financial operations.
There is no doubt that "the good old days" are gone forever, replaced by an increasingly competitive industry, whose members must be quick to adapt to change in order to not only to keep up with, but remain ahead of the competition. In this way, the winds of change continue to affect the environment of so many companies, agencies and brokerages. Unfortunately, these winds have often left many dismayed and disoriented corporate employees and affiliated agencies in their wake (John & Willig 2002).
This research will try to explore different possibilities for enhanced communication and coordination, along with problem solving approaches that can help modern corporations to enhance their human resource performance by utilizing technology efficiently. These possible solutions can also help them to streamline their human resource management processes and to respond to the current needs of the contemporary human resource world effectively and appropriately. The main target audience for this research consists of industries such as the airline and automobile sectors where technologies such as online air reservation systems, automated payroll records, attendance records and periodic customer services records are used to meet the modern requirements of workflow technologies, vendor management systems and applicant tracking systems. This essay will attempt to not only discover its impact but also identify some new areas where efforts can be made to enhance the efficiency and productivity of the business process.
Corporate executives often claim that technological assistance is one of the main factors that companies can use to compete internationally and enhance their output. Technological assistance refers to modern methods of doing business which involve using more and more technology to help make business processes such as human resources more suitable and accurate by implementing software for career planning, personal development, and people management. However, in spite of increased efforts over recent years, researchers have yet to create enough proof of how precisely this technological assistance procedure takes place. In order to gauge technological assistance innovations they are forced to rely on proxies of time-series and/or cross-sectional variations in the phenomenon they hope to evaluate the effectiveness of the technological assistance in the modern scenario it really helps to understand the versatility of corporate world by utilizing proper technological assistance. Technological pointers are the tip of the innovation iceberg; in so far as there is an obvious association between the visible and concealed parts of the iceberg, they may be helpful measures of the human resource efficiency of the corporation.
Technological Assistance as a System for the company
Technological assistance means to take help from the usage of the technology and makes our daily life business operation very easy and convenient. Intact technological assistance is the system that should be carefully designed to enhance the affectivity of the organization. Technological assistance is the system that can be implemented from the top of the organization and should follow the proper hierarchy to get the maximum benefit out of that. Technological assistance system can help the organizations to reduce the cost of its operation and to implement cost effective means in several functions like Human resource management, supply chain, and marketing processes.
Technological Assistance Importance for different Firms
For most firms, a technological assistance does not actually exist in a formal sense. Instead, so called "strategic" information systems plans, application/data/technology architectures and IS management processes, such as development standards and reporting relationships, are all derived from the plans, processes and requirements of the business as it exists today. There is no overall direction or philosophy for the firm's use of technology and no sense that IT played a significant role in determining which strategy might be most effective and feasible (Caudle, et al. 1990. P: 9-30).
During 1990s however, this perspective of technological assistance as solely a supporting factor in competitive strategy was increasingly outdated. Leading firms were now seeking ways to exploit technological assistance to transform their basic businesses, enhance their relationships with suppliers and customers, and create new market opportunities. While the "IT for competitive advantage" excitement of several years ago has subsided, many companies recognize the important role that IT can play in making the enterprise more competitive (Bozeman, and Stuart 1986, P: 475-487).In fact, the lack of enthusiasm for the notion of competitive systems in academic circles may result from the very interrelated nature of IT and business strategy that we propose here. Unlike some of the oft-cited examples of firms developing so-called strategic systems, other workers research suggests that the most effective and sustainable examples of IT use occur when IT is woven into the very fiber of the firm. In many ways IT is most strategic when it is most mundane, having thousands of small impacts throughout the firm rather than one colossal and, often, easily duplicated success (Billet, 1999. P: 25-27).
What is meant by Technological Assistance?
Like many of the terms in everyday use, Technological Assistance can mean different things to different people. Therefore, before presenting Technological Assistance strategy alignment in detail, it may be helpful to define the technologies that are under consideration. (Bennett, et al. 1985). Because Technological Assistance strategy ought to consider the broadest possible scope, a thorough definition of IT includes:
- Transaction processing applications
- Information processing and reporting applications
- Decision support systems
- Executive support systems
- Professional productivity and groupware tools
- Knowledge-based systems and artificial intelligence
- Process automation and robotics
- Voice and data communications
- Design and manufacturing automation
- Embedded computer technology such as microprocessors in autos or security tags (Agranoff, 1991, P: 533-542).
This definition comprises a range of technologies somewhat broader than the transaction processing and management information systems that are the traditional focus of information systems planning. This wider definition reflects the accelerating integration of information systems with telecommunications and the bold new applications of IT in areas such as manufacturing, design and control (Beam, et al. 1998).
Technological Assistance Alignment Process
As the Technological Assistance strategy alignment approach is developed, it is useful to draw a distinction between the content of a Technological Assistance strategy and the process by which that strategy is developed. While there are a number of content dimensions of Technological Assistance strategy, three are believed to be particularly important:
- Positioning and scope of Technological Assistance activities
- Resource requirements and constraints
- IT management and partnership
The fundamental difference between Technological Assistance strategy alignment and traditional strategic IT planning is the elevation of IT as part of the firm's strategy, rather than just a response to it. To some extent, IT strategy alignment can be thought of as the firm's linkage between a hostile competitive environment and the available technologies that position the firm for success. The technology architecture represents the infrastructure of that technology as applied to the specific opportunities of the business (Andersen, et al. 1991).
Effective Implementation Essential
If one thing is clear, however, it is that effective implementation matters more than a clever strategy. A consistent and focused program of innovation can make almost any strategy a huge success, while even the most novel strategy will fail if processes, plans and organizational behavior are not consistent. "Therefore, the objective of the IT strategy alignment approach is to develop a Technological Assistance strategy that is consistent with the competitive strategy, focused on a few important missions, and feasible, given resources and constraints" (Applegate, et al. 2000, P: 128-136).
The Technological Assistance strategy alignment approach is not designed to uncover the single best IT strategy; rather, it is meant to facilitate discussions about management beliefs and industry practices by:
- Considering a range of answers to the questions posed, based on company experience and the experience of other firms
- Developing consensus around the principles that seem best in addressing the demands of the competitive environment
- Developing an ongoing (perhaps annual) review program to ensure implementation is tracking the strategy developed, and modifying the principles as conditions change
The Technological Assistance strategy alignment process must provide a non-threatening vehicle to isolate and then evaluate commonly-held views of IT use within the organization. If, for example, a non-standard vendor proposes to replace all of the client's old systems with new, integrated ones, should the proposal be considered or dismissed out-of-hand? "The process must encourage flexible and creative thinking, and unfreeze (at least for a time) views of what is impossible, wrong or inconsequential" (Bozeman, & Stuart1986, P: 475-487).
Definition of Technological Assistance
Modern Technology Assistance supplies organizations and management with an efficient means of managing human resources and offers sensible help by using new technologies, such as computers and the Internet (Meyer, 2000, P: 3-7). Now it has become very easy to get learning environment, employees and clients can take delivery of technology education that specially addresses their personal needs and interests.
Meaning of Technological Assistance
Technological assistance can be defined as a means of incorporating modern technology into daily business processes in order to enhance the performance of the company. In this current trend technological assistance is very prominent in Human Resource management area and it also enables the organization to meet the current challenges of the market competition.
Benefits of Modern Technological Assistance
As technological usage grows in the corporate world it replaces the traditional means of working and operations, slowly and gradually. Modern technological assistance has brought remarkable changes in the business world. Along with increased speed and a ceaseless pace, it has changed the style of working. In the past, it was not very easy to maintain employee efficiency and productivity. Similarly, employee recruitment and development planning were also very crucial tasks which can now be easily taken care of by implementing proper software. It has several applications in the corporate world and it has also affected different areas of human resources. On the one hand, it has caused the unfair dismissal of certain employees and discriminated against employees because lots of tasks that were previously done by humans have now been successfully replaced by software. However, the positive aspects of modern technological assistance have caused the whole corporate world to undergo a revolution, and business growth and productiveness have both been enhanced. (Arnone, et al. 2000, P: 22-26).
From the mid to late 20th century, the so-called post modernist management period emerged. These theories were set against a background of rapid social, economic and technological change. For example, the development and application of microelectronic technology revolutionized how goods and services could be sourced, produced and marketed. From an economic point of view, the process of globalization presented businesses with extensive management problems that required a response. "Because these changes have been so strong and their effects so far reaching, it brought into question whether the existing traditional management thoughts, structures and practices were relevant in the light of such external change. The reality was that change was needed and it did take place" (Palmer, & Hardy, 2000)
Technological assistance emergence has several phases after the First and Second World Wars and the Great Depression of 1929 where national governments were trying to isolate themselves from any fluctuations and effects of international trade. Interestingly enough, managers of business then took a similar attitude by trying to isolate their business from outside forces. They treated their business as a closed system of operation. This meant external forces operating outside the business such as competitive forces or government changes did not influence the owners' decision making with regard to the business. In order to attain this isolation, state business started moving towards the technological advancement and assistance (Arnone, et al. 2000, P: 22-26).
Coexisting with technology and human resources
Alongside the technology and human resource management theories of the early 20th century another school of management thought existed. It was known as the 'Human Relations or Behaviour School' and had a different approach to the writings of the scientific and classical schools. The background to these theories came from the disciplines of psychology and anthropology (Robbins, & Mukerji, 2004).
Role and Advantages of Modern Technology Assistance
Utilizing Modern Technology Assistance is becoming a more and more popular option to hiring employees as a method for commerce owners and entrepreneurs to save their time, capital and the need for business premises and work space. It helps the managers to utilize minimum resources while getting maximum benefit out of them. "Modern Technology Assistants provide managerial, original and technological services as self-governing outworkers from their own place of work room" (Andersen, et al. 1991)
Working with a Modern Technology Assistance in place of usual in-house workers gives business owners and entrepreneurs the chance to add new value to their career. This really builds new energy and stamina in workers. Modern Technology Assistants tend to use one, very often smaller, place of work to support a number of businesses, rather than one physical office structure for much commerce, and significantly reduce their number of paper operations by replacing them with electronic means.
Technological assistance improvement in human resource
Technological assistance has brought remarkable improvements in the human resource. It has given a new dimension to work and it has replaced numerous human tasks with machinery. After incorporating technology into human resource management, both accuracy and effectiveness have also increased and it has also created a very positive impact on the performance of employees.
Technological Assistance Impact on Human Resource
Human resources is one of the key areas which play a vital role in the success of the organisation. By implementing technology in the area of human resources most of the organisational areas can be improved and the productivity of the company can possibly be enhanced. Througheffective technological assistance the communication patterns of the organisation can be improved along with training and development techniques, by the deployment of new and modern technologies like multimedia, projectors, technological activities and so on (Nilles, 2000). Technological assistance has very deep relations with the human resources; it helps the human resource department to allocate the right job to the right person and deploy proper leadership techniques to double the productivity rate of the organisation in cost effective manners (Beam, & McFadden 1998).
Direct Impacts of Technological Assistance on Benefits
Accuracy of Information
One of the most important part beyond doubt strengths of a processor is to give its information to as a lot of users as are known right of entry. So, once information is go into a computer system and established the company has considerably abridged the risks linked with as long as that information to pretentious employees in the prospect. No person will interfere to hop down a line, swap a figure, or make any other of the countless mistakes that can happen if the worker phones in for information. In twist, this removal of human participation in some announcement procedure reduces the probability of workers being mislead, a state of affairs that can in some example be of critical monetary attention and consequence in their flattering reasonably upset. In the harshest case, such propaganda can potentially rise to a point where a worker institutes a lawsuit since of actions taken on the foundation of the incorrect information.
On the other hand, however, it is significant to keep in mind that the computer is now as well-organized at distribute information when it is not precise. The confirmation and corroboration of data, so, take on even better significance when the "sensibleness" filter give by the person go-between is disconnected.
Facilitation of Flexible Benefit Plans
Current trends, such as growing rise in employee care costs and a taut labour market, are on one occasion once more creating surroundings positive to supple advantage plans. Plan sponsors who have chosen in the history not to proffer such plans may find that skill has considerably changed the viewpoint on managerial requirements and costs, the greater than before common sense of supple benefit plans will be a issue that additional contributes to the required to give education to employees about the choices they are obtainable and the penalty of the decisions for which they are now accountable.
Skills Required of Benefits Administrators
As with many other aspect of modern business, the computer and connected technologies are live an increasingly important position in benefits management. People wishing to set up careers in that district will add to their odds of achievement and their haste of progression if they appreciate and can add to expanding the attendance and the output of skill. The number of jobs for those with the ability to post advantage information to the web or uphold the database that supports online right of entry will add to. And there will be in order fewer jobs for persons whose main skill is the aptitude to demote to plan materials and reply questions posed in being or by telephone. Today's HR expert must be familiar not only with a company's rules and advantage plans but also with the knowledge used to broadcast that information to the worker inhabitants (Meyer, 2000, P: 3-7).
Indirect Impacts of Technological Change on Benefits
Technology is altering the corporation, and changes in the financial system are having minor road effects on the plan and management of benefits. In global aspect these trends include: (1) more and more benefits for the employees in their work performance, (2) more people have chances to start their personal business so that they can be self employed by their own means (3) more contribution of possession with workers, in particular among knowledge start-ups.
Consolidation among Intermediaries
Technology-based benefit systems will be a unique trait in several other types of business like insurance brokerage firms and other advantage mediators, such as third-party administrators (TPAs), as they vie for the benefits management services being outsourced by plan sponsors. The first investment and the preservation necessary for such systems means that economies of scale may be establish in mergers among firms as long as these services. That consolidation will change - almost certainly decrease - the figure of vendors rival to overhaul an employer's account. Surely the new acquisitions by Marsh & McLennan (the parent company of Mercer) of together Johnson & Higgins and Sedgwick James give proof of that consolidation. The high-quality news, of route, is that if the likely economies appear, the managerial cost linked with advantage plans have to be abridged so.
Technological Assistance in Researchers Views
Technological Assistance usage has permeated virtually every sector of modem economies, and for decades the world IT sector experienced high annual growth. Automobile companies have also been seen as models of management excellence and pacesetters in developing novel human resource management (HRM) practices. Companies such as Toyota, Hewlett-Packard and Tandem have, in the past, received accolades for their innovative and supportive cultures, while Motorola and Texas Instruments have received acclaim for their achievements in quality management. However, the industry is currently facing the challenge of recovering from some of the most difficult economic conditions in its history. Growth in the IT industry slowed substantially during the recent recession. In Australia, from 1979 to 1989 the growth rate of the IT sector (excluding telecommunications) was over 17% per annum, but in 1990 when Australia and other English-speaking countries went into recession, growth dropped to about 6%. After the recent trough, sales are now beginning to rise again--by as much as 16%--but the industry is experiencing a major reorientation away from hardware and mainframes and towards systems integration and services. Competition has always been aggressive in the IT sector, especially in relation to new product development. This form of competition remains strong, but competition in marketing, production efficiency and quality has become more complex and vital. Companies that fail to perform well face the prospect of take-over, the requirement of major restructuring or threats to their survival (Kanter, 1989).
An influential study by Dertouzos et al. (1989), at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, examines those best management practices that can assist organizations to attain higher performance, enhanced international competitiveness and improved quality. Among the most important best practices that Dertouzos et al. (1989) identify are close customer-supplier relations, continuous improvement, just-in-time (JIT) production scheduling, long-term orientation, less compartmentalized organization structures, simultaneous quality and cost improvement, team-based work organization, extensive training, employment security and other innovative HRM practices. Other researchers contend that there are additional HRM practices that can contribute to improved organizational performance; these include the provision of employee welfare schemes, performance appraisal and performance-related pay (Oliver & Wilkinson, 1992). The broad aim of this paper is to examine how these factors relate to the quality and productivity of IT companies in UK. Accordingly, we examined the factors that characterize high and low performing companies in terms of productivity and quality (Keen, 1991).
A considerable body of evidence suggests that the benefits of introducing quality systems can include higher quality products and, through more efficient production, improved business performance. On the other hand, although there is common agreement that quality management needs to be enhanced, some studies, such as that of Fisher (1992), have found that the introduction of quality systems did not lead to improved business performance. More attention needs to be given to the middle link, the enhanced efficiency of the employees within the organization, rather than focusing on the end result of changes in business performance. The distance between the quality improvements and return on investment, compared to quality improvements and improved productivity, has been recognized within the quality field and is best illustrated in the "Deming chain'. The Deming chain may be paraphrased as follows: as quality improves, costs decrease, productivity improves, you capture the market with better quality and lower price--you stay in business and you provide jobs.
In a study of several companies, Fisher compared measures of quality and performance before and after the introduction of quality management programs (Fisher, 1992). Managers of two companies were insistent that without the programs the businesses would probably have not survived the difficult economic conditions (Fisher, 1992, p. 50). Although the study found some improvements in quality and financial performance, there were also some variable results and Fisher concludes that the gains were neither 'significant' nor 'direct' (p. 51). While total quality management (TQM) program can influence financial performance, as Fisher notes, other factors can also have a decisive effect, and many of these factors are broad economic conditions beyond the control of managers (Shadur, 1995). Accordingly, we would argue that a direct relationship between quality management implementation and financial performance should not be expected. Rather, quality management programs should be seen as part of the armoury that organizations need in order to survive and prosper. They are no guarantee of financial success but they might contribute to organizational effectiveness. In this study, therefore, we examine high and low productivity companies and explore which quality and human resource management techniques differentiate these two groups. In this way, we can identify the quality factors that are most likely to influence performance, without expecting that performance will be solely determined by quality management programs (Nelson, 1999).
Two factors need to be taken into account, however, before we can specify more clearly the relationship between productivity and quality. These factors are degree of 'use' and degree of 'success' with quality programs. The degree to which quality systems are used throughout an organization, that is whether quality systems are company-wide or only being piloted in one section, would influence the extent to which the organization received the benefits of those systems. If the systems were widespread, then it could be proposed that the company would have more opportunity to benefit from those quality systems. However, the second factor, the degree to which the quality programs have been successful, would also influence the benefits that may be accrued by the company from its quality programs. A company with widespread quality programs that were highly successful would presumably be 'better', at least in terms of the 'quality' of the company processes, than a second company which had widespread quality programs that were unsuccessful (Perry, et al. 1991).
Quality management approaches have been seen as a significant factor in Japan's economic success, and many Japanese companies are highly competitive in other countries. Accordingly, many argue that it is worth trying to transfer some aspects of Japanese management to Western countries (Ouchi, 1981; Alston, 1989). The prominent quality techniques used in Japanese companies include continuous improvement, JIT, quality circles, statistical process control (SPC) and team-based work (Evans, 1991). There is general acceptance that these components should not be used in isolation; instead, they should be integrated under the umbrella of a TQM program in order to optimize the benefits.
Continuous improvement has been proposed as a means for harnessing the under-utilized mental skills of employees, and fit systems are used in an effort to reduce inventory, lead times and waste (Young, 1992). By focusing on measurement, controlling variation and emphasizing the role of customers and all employees, advocates argue that TQM programs can contribute to meaningful improvements within organizations (adapted from Fisher, 1990, p. 109, citing the Total Quality Management Institute definition).
Policies such as company welfare programs, high levels of training and norms of long working hours have also been posited as characteristics of Japanese management (Lincoln, 1990; Hippo, 1993). Critics of company welfare programs point out that these schemes make the employees dependent on, and bind them to, the company (Briggs, 1988). Similarly, long working hours might suggest high organizational commitment among employees; however, there might be organizational pressures on employees to work long hours. Furthermore, this phenomenon has been linked to karoshi (death from overwork) (Oliver & Wilkinson, 1992, p. 51). Although seniority-based pay and promotion systems are still strong in Japan, a large number of firms use personal assessment systems (satei) in considering an individual's pay and promotion (Oliver & Wilkinson, 1992, p. 48). Authorities on quality such as Deming (1986, p. 102) are highly critical of performance appraisal and performance-related pay and argue that it encourages a narrow and short-term focus. Several studies, however, suggest that performance-related pay can contribute to improved performance (e.g. Schuler et al., 1992) and that performance appraisal and performance-related pay may be compatible with quality systems (Wright & Brading, 1992). Furthermore, the successful implementation of the 'soft' side of TQM requires that human resources are effectively utilized and included in the quality equation (Wilkinson, 1992). Consequently, we take these HRM practices into account to see how they relate to quality and performance (Quinn, 1976, P: 166-174).
Several commentators have argued that subcontracting of particular functions can enhance organizational efficiency (Huber, 1993). By focusing on the core activities of the business and outsourcing ancillary activities, proponents suggest that organizations can concentrate on the value-adding components of their operations. Accordingly, some companies have decided that they are not in the accounting, catering, cleaning, public relations, secretarial or training business, for example, and have drawn on specialist services from outside the company to undertake many of the tasks associated with these functions. On the other hand, subcontracting can involve substantial difficulties for organizations since farming out these activities means that companies have less control over them. Close control over the timing and manner in which tasks are performed can be a critical success factor for many companies. Yet, as Sakai (1990) shows, high levels of control can be achieved with a high degree of outsourcing as evidenced by the Japanese keiretsu system. In order to investigate how subcontracting influences quality and productivity, we included this feature in the study (Regan, 1986, P: 629 634).
Research and development (R&D) is often seen as a strategic factor that allows companies to obtain positions in market niches. Technology has been proposed as a major factor in the success of some Japanese firms (Rosenbloom & Cusumano, 1987). Given the dynamic nature of the IT industry it may also be appropriate to explore R&D as an index of the company's commitment to the future, although such an R&D commitment may, in the short term, evidence itself as a source of 'inefficiency' on paper. The reason for this is that there might be a lag between R&D expenditure and the eventual gains that flow to the company from this investment. Studies have found that R&D expenditure is positively associated with export sales, an index of international competitiveness, and this highlights the importance of R&D as part of an organization's strategy (Ito & Pucik, 1993).
Teamwork has been presented as a form of institutional control involving a high level of subordination of the needs of the individual to those of the company (Garrahan & Stewart, 1992). According to this perspective, teamwork may be used as a mechanism to incorporate employees into the working methods and practices of the organization. Other commentators place more emphasis on the benefits of teamwork and perceive them as the basic unit for organizing work, allowing multi-skilled workers to be rotated among different tasks as required to balance fluctuations in demand. Teams have therefore become more widely used and are now seen to be one of the most powerful units from which organizational designers can choose (Katzenbach & Smith, 1993, P: 123-126).
Structural liaison devices (SLDs) are mechanisms that are used to enhance organizational integration through, for example, taskforces, committees and linking personnel (Miller & Droge, 1986). As Dertouzos et al. (1989, p. 123) point out; these linking mechanisms can help to reduce compartmentalize within organizations and promote cross-functional integration to facilitate problem-solving and teamwork. To some extent, these SLDs may be the Western analogue of the Japanese arrangement, ring, where all managers affected by a major proposal are involved in the decision-making process and approve the final proposal. SLDs represent an avenue for management to attempt to enhance the levels of commitment to a decision, and may also improve the quality of the decision and implementation success rates for the project. Problem-oriented taskforces function in a similar way to quality systems such as quality circles in the sense that group processes are used to improve the efficacy of decisions by bringing together the skills and experience of several individuals (Relyea, 1986, P: 635-639).
The practices, structures and techniques mentioned above are often presented as elements that are important to enhancing organizational competitiveness. Popular texts in the area of management, quality and productivity often propose a list of attributes of successful, or 'best practice', firms (e.g. Peters and Waterman's (1982) eight characteristics of excellence). However, by focusing entirely on the successful companies, the attributes identified are not necessarily sufficient for success. Vedder (1992) clarifies this by noting that the principal reason why many studies cannot identify characteristics sufficient for success lies in the nature of 'sufficiency.' That is, in order for a characteristic or group of characteristics to be associated with success there cannot be any examples of where the characteristic(s) are associated with a Finn that is unsuccessful. The thrust of Vedder's article is that research on the characteristics associated with success must include unsuccessful, perhaps more accurately termed 'less successful', organizations in their samples (Synott, 1987).
Applications of Technology in Employee Benefits at Toyota
At Toyota most of the technologies are deployed to facilitate the HR of the company. Its' basic purpose is to make the business process faster than traditional means and it also helps the company to motivate the workers by completing a heavy task in less time by keeping proper records and other means of data maintenance. Technology presents opportunities in all areas of employee benefits - for example, design, administration, and communication at Toyota. Indeed, it holds out the potential to deliver benefits, like almost every other product or service, in a way that is "better, faster, and cheaper." "But achieving that goal will involve substantial financial investment and many hours of staff time" (Agranoff, 1991, P: 533-542).
Almost all of the opportunities have their challenges. It is a pre-requisite of technology assistance to gather more and more personal information from employees. This contributes to what some have called "client familiarity" and thereby permits more individual service. The changes that occur when implementing each new stage of technology in order to provide benefits to the workers come with their own set of headaches. Employers wanting to shift basic information online must learn how to use the knowledge and must set up a communication plan that results in employees becoming aware of and comfortable with the new source of information. "Employers moving from a web site that has brochure information to one that offers right of entry to modified data and calculators intended to help the worker in using the data, have a very hard time projecting the quantity of staff time that will be necessary, both short term and long term, to see the changeover through" (Applegate, et al. 2000, P: 128-136). Employers who have productively deployed the brochure and modified data find themselves trying to find a device for web-based services from four or more vendors to function jointly without requiring employees to have four or more login IDs and passwords. Technological assistance is not only related with the computer task or internet support; in fact it also gives an interface to the employees to communicate their problems and their creative thinking to get their desired results and benefits (Billet, 1999, P: 25-27).
Employee Surveys at Toyota of What Benefits Are Wanted
Each policy of Toyota HR department recommends that worker benefit plans should be deliberately designed and must be familiar with the needs of employees. One well-liked way to achieve this to conduct employees' survey by rotating questionnaires, it can be willingly modified for management via system computers by the adequate use of technology. Such a survey tool can provide desired results by software means put into a table and analyzed with a smallest quantity of staff time. The effortlessness of putting into practice a questionnaire by software means is causal to plan sponsors' rising sympathetic that their view of worker needs may be different considerably from what employees themselves sense they need. It really helps the evaluator to evaluate the employees' performance by using proper indicators such as daily attendance, work completion time requirement and employees interest of performing specific task.
On the other hand, even though today's computer skill may make interior management possible, plan sponsors often choose by ballot to subcontract the management of such a survey at Toyota. The insight of having divorced the individual's reply from the employer's inspection may get better survey reply adequately to permit the use of outsiders responses and their ways of thinking. This additional reply probable arises from the piece of information that workers feel their reply will not be independently recognized (or individual) by the boss.
One of the first examples of technology providing right of entry to real-time information was list-serve knowledge that allowed professionals to swap relevant information in Toyota (Perussina, 2000, P: 40-42). As the name implies, Benefits-L provides immediately such a chance for between 500 and 600 benefits professionals it is a new tool that enables the organization to measure the human resources productivity in short span of time.
As skill evolves to create transmission of more than text-based information possible, it gives right of entry to other significant real-time information in Toyota. One clear example is the recompense data so significant to all participants in work negotiations (McCormick, 1999, P: 7-10).
In addition to the Internet's requests that support the Toyota recompense services and information, the Internet also is spawning an attractive set of "illegal" web sites. Internet technology provides a facility of data and information gathering while using this one can easily make past trend analysis and one can also predict some future trend as well on the basis of past data and records. Future prediction and planning is become very feasible and accessible by the invention of some modern technologies like employees performance tracking software and personnel management software.
The position of technology at Toyota acquires and accessing the human resource information will certainly grow. For benefits professionals, managing salary surveys online can with no trouble authorize survey participants to give their responses in electronic arrangement which, in turn, can give continuous informing of data. Technologically it is likely to do much more. No longer will it be essential to give only one set of survey results for all clients; tradition dispensation of the data can be useful for the clients because technology has created very user friendly interface that really facilitate the dealings that take place between clients and service provider.
Enrolment and Administrative Transactions at Toyota
McCormick (1999, p. 9) states, "Perhaps the most fundamental change in employee service over the past few years has been the dramatic shift toward self-service. Web technologies, in particular, are being used at an ever-increasing rate to give employees direct access to their own HR and payroll information at Toyota, thereby allowing them to perform transactions electronically that used to be performed by administrative staff on paper forms" A enormous amount of these transactions deal with worker benefits.
Reimbursement management involves many needs to provide information to linked companies of the Toyota and to enclosed workers. An imperative obstruction in the haste of growth of electronic applications for reimbursements has been the required to carry on meeting lawful filing and action requirements. The fines for breakdown to bring substance, from time to time even to a solitary worker among thousands, can exist fairly large. Today we let go of information can make observance both easier and complete for Toyota. Whether the greater than before ease of submit information electronically will lead to requests for additional or fuller information, by narrow bodies and others, remains unsure (Meuse, 1999, P: 18-23).
Improved Benefits Communication
The best rising demand of technology has been in the message of benefits. In a review demeanour by Watson Wyatt, respondents cite "ornamental worker communication" as the top reason for implementing web-based technology (McCormick, 1999). And, certainly, advantage message may be one of the mainly significant applications of technology as a yearly survey of workers points to that the 66 percent of employees who are content with their employers' benefits infrastructure are considerably more dedicated to their employer's achievement (Lineberry and Trumble, 2000).
Web-based systems can be calculated for use merely on-site (i.e., at the back a firewall) or for open right of entry from side to side any Internet browser. Surely allowing employees to right of entry benefits information on their own occasion can add to place of work output. Overall, though, that will not be the making a choice factor. The admission to be decided depends a lot on the data safety required which in twist depends on the kind of information and the height of feature provided. Examples of information that can be completed candidly obtainable are the full provisions of a health plan and information about how to right of entry an Employee Assistance Program. At the previous end of the safety spectrum is the sum recompense statement. Few, if any, workers would want this to be easy to get too openly.
When safety issues are agreeably speak to, the same border can be used to right of entry databases that give the total recompense statements, asset share elections, and explanation balances. This height of safety often occurs when require to give employees with other secret data, e.g., in sequence on products and clients, justifies the cost to expand password-access to safe information.
Improved Employee Education
More and more, controlling the price of competitive programs depends on worker education at Toyota, request of skill to teaching and guidance are increasing fast and being accessible by a huge number of providers. Many usual universities are contribution courses online, as are expert associations and new start technology-based educators. All could be feasible providers of instructive fabric for workers with varying degrees of customization offered (Nilles, 2000).
However, the foreword of more stylish technology should not be usual to create instant cost savings. One public sector expert interviewed for this work anticipates that bringing in online calculators for retirement fund benefits would add to the insist for in-person interviews as employees look for corroboration that they have used the electronic tools right or require help understanding the results. This greater than before insists for one-on-one service is probable to be a "fault" that will dispel with time as the self-assurance of all parties in the electronic tools rises. Still, it points to a real need - and a genuine cost - that should be included into the functioning plan for online tools.
On the departure savings side, the move from defined-benefit retirement fund plans to defined-contribution plans by meaning increases an employee's blame for asset choices - and the resultant sufficiency of his or her departure income. Many web-based advantage sites slot in departure planning tools, or "calculators," that help employees in prognostic what their departure income will be. The best ones slot in the aptitude to analyze "what if" scenarios (Perussina, 2000, P: 40-42).
Whether permission by agreement or put into practice as a common-sense move towards, the service setting increasingly is the location where teaching occurs. That tendency will only go faster as the rate of technical alter reasons an employee's on-the-job skills to be obsolete even more quickly in the prospect and as blame for financial preparation shifts all the time more to person employees (Phaneuf, 2000, P: 47-49).
Remarkable changes due to the Technology in Automobile Industry
What is the biggest change in the Automobile workplace over the last twenty years? The pervasive introduction of, and reliance upon, information technology, virtually every job--from the factory floor through the customer service centre to the executive suite--involves the use of computers, databases and telecommunications networks. "Knowledge worker" is not an academic label; it's a description, to varying degrees, of everyone in the contemporary corporation, including directors. Information, not physical material, is the "stuff" of most work today. As salary scales indicate, all of the interesting work, the most value-adding work, is knowledge work.
"Information age," "digital economy," call it what you like. The nature of automobile industry is being transformed, as are the demands upon the worker, the shape of the workplace, and the keys to productivity. Workers must have not just technical, but information management skills. Their workplace has no walls and no time clock. The key to their productivity lies less in their formal processes than in their individual and collective motivation to succeed. Moreover, knowledge work and knowledge workers are inherently mobile, and their mobility is increased both by healthy economic conditions and by the virtual extinction of the implicit "job for life" contract. The only thing growing faster than business' reliance on knowledge workers is the complexity of recruiting, developing and retaining the best people (Caudle, et al. 1990, P: 9-30).
This transformation of work entails transformation of corporate human resources, the function responsible for ensuring the supply of talented employees. The board's attention HR issues typically stops at senior management evaluation and succession planning, including the selection of the top HR executive. However, today the board should be looking deeper, especially in industries where competition for talent is fierce and key HR processes assume strategic importance. Boards can legitimize and encourage the necessary transformation of HR, and can influence the selection of HR executives who are up to the challenge.
Change the role
HR must be a line function, not a staff department. As Peter Drucker maintains, HR should be the agency for actively deploying employees--for continuously matching people and jobs to the benefit of both the individual and the corporation. Why? Because core business processes work better when staffed with the right mix of people and skills, and because high value-adding knowledge workers won't wait around for the more interesting assignment somewhere down the road; they'll be gone. Knowledge workers know their market value and demand commensurate salary, but they place relatively little value on the traditional blandishments of titles and perks and "a bright future with the company." What motivates them is having interesting and important work to do. They stay happy by staying genuinely productive (Drucker, 1988, P: 196-198).
The "line" role of HR is to deploy all employees with the degree of attention traditionally given only to fast-track and senior managers: What skills does the work require and the employee bring? What developmental opportunities do the work offer and the employee need? Today, the "placement" function of HR too often ends with a new employee's first job assignment; after that, the rookie is left to the random forces of "who you know." HR as line function is embedded in every core business process, ensuring adequate supply of the most essential input to production-human capital.
Change the HR skills
HR people must be experts in human nature, not personnel administrators. Increasingly, administrative tasks (payroll, benefits and so on) are being outsourced to specialist firms that can better keep up with the regulatory and other complexities of the work. This leaves the essence of HR--understanding human responses and representing the human elements of work. As HR organizations increase their talent in this area, they will add extraordinary new value to the business by:
Working with business process and information systems designers to develop new work patterns that are truly productive, that maximizes the value of human talent. Technology projects, in particular, most often fail for non-technological reasons. It is an observation that working with managers both to deploy people effectively and to adopt practices that increase people motivation and performance. Most line managers can use assistance in the human factors of work (Forrester, 1989, P: 156-159).
Helping to manage the outside relationships with customers, suppliers and other business partners--that are an increasingly vital part of every company's fabric. Such relationships fail less often for operational or financial reasons than for human ones, starting with poor communication.
Change the focus
In Judy Bardwick's terms, everyone must focus on "the business of the business." Even a traditional staff function like HR must focus its efforts and align its resources to meet the objectives of the corporation. In Dave Ulrich's words, HR must concentrate on "deliverables, not doables"--on the business results of their work, not simply the activities they perform. And what the corporation really needs is "HR with an attitude"--not a passive support function, but an organization with a point of view on the critical issues of people and organizations, and a willingness to educate people, to push that point of view, and to make things happen.
Leadership and courage
Personal credibility that entitles the HR executive to be taken seriously as a collaborator and peer on the executive team, in addition, as Marvin Bressler points out, the HR executive must exercise balanced judgment. Many HR activities must be performed with reasonable consistency to avoid risks of legal exposure. But at the same time increasing flexibility is needed to serve diverse people and organizational units. The HR executive must strike a continual balance between consistency and flexibility (Fulk, et al. 1990, P: 169-172).
Back to the issue of the technological workplace: We believe in the necessary and inevitable convergence of people and technology management. The greatest challenges of human resources management involve developing and deploying technology-able knowledge workers, and accommodating their technology-enabled patterns of work. The greatest challenges of information technology implementation are the human issues--of creating productive person-machine combinations and helping people to work and work together in the new ways enabled by new technological tools. The strategic business importance of both HR and IT is at an all-time high, and with this strategic role comes the ongoing challenge to keep pace with business opportunity and to focus every activity on delivering business results.
We also believe in the extraordinary business value of close collaboration between HR and IT organizations. In many corporations, they are still strange bedfellows. But only together can they provision a business with the human capability that today's marketplace demands. And only together can they act as real agents of business change-developing more productive work processes, more robust inter-organizational working relationships, and ultimately more nimble corporations.
Ten years from now, the HR and IT organizations may well be merged. Instead of one function to provide people and training and another to provide technology and information, there will be one function responsible for providing business capabilities--the human-technology combinations that can achieve high performance and fast change. Mundane activities such as technology operations and benefits administration may well be outsourced. The value-adding, business-oriented, results-oriented core of the new organization is focused on delivering capabilities. HR/IT is, indeed, a line function, providing the most essential inputs to business operations (Gathker, 1990, P: 183-185).
HR Imperative panel of experts
Peter Drucker has been for more than 50 years not only the harbinger of major business trends, but also the most influential shaper of management as practiced today. Dave Ulrich is a professor of business administration at the University of Michigan and co-director of Michigan's Human Resources Executive Programs. Marvin Bressler is professor of sociology, emeritus, at Princeton University and a recognized scholar of social issues and trends.
Judy Bardwick is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego and an expert in improving organizational efficiency and management structure.
HR and IT organizations working together, an industrial goods manufacturer includes HR expertise on every business process design and technology implementation team, not to handle the team's HR administration, but to steer the project through the difficult waters of human-factors design and organizational preparation for change.
A financial services firm's HR function is using the IT function's current technology staff/skills shortage as a "living lab" for developing new recruiting strategies and HR management systems that will serve the entire company as its proportion of knowledge workers grows.
An automobile company's HR and IT executives together led an evaluation of operational and marketplace capabilities--and then teamed with the CEO and line executives to reshape the company's channel strategy (Gurwitt, 1988, P: 34 42).
Cross Functional System
In an effort to produce quality products more quickly and at less cost, Toyota has instituted a cross-functional system of platform teams within the organization. Many facets of the organization, including R&D, now benefit from being more directly involved in the production process. Whereas in the past, departments worked as separate entities, specialists from each now come together to work more efficiently within one of the four major platform teams. And, with the success of their new products, Chrysler realizes that limited resources--if focused and organized--do not necessarily have to be a liability. By bridging the gap between those who invent and those who implement, Chrysler is emphasizing the spirit of teamwork along all stages of product development and technological change.
Toyota's first turnaround, the company's storied come-back of the early- to mid-1980s, is a familiar story by now. But our more recent turnaround (which is still going on) is, I believe, an equally impressive story. What makes it impressive, in my view, is the degree to which we have been successful in implementing "teamwork" concepts into virtually everything that we do--including our research and development. Traditionally, Toyota, like virtually all other Western automakers, was organized around vertically oriented, "chimney-like" functional departments. Each department--Design, Engineering, Procurement & Supply, and so forth--was pretty much a world unto itself--a silo, if you will (Halachmi, 1991).
The Design department, working more or less in a vacuum, would design a car and then "shove it out the door" to the Engineering department. But, because Engineering hadn't been fully involved in the process, changes for feasibility would invariably be required--resulting in what I call "re-do loops" (the broken lines). Then, Engineering, in a vacuum itself, would engineer the car and shove it out the door to Procurement & Supply to buy parts and components from suppliers. But again, there would be more re-do loops, because our suppliers had been in a vacuum of their own.
The same thing would happen all the way down the line until, finally, all of the redo loops started to look like a massive fur-ball! The results, sadly, were mammoth costs, uncompetitive product development times, and, last but by no means least, "lowest-common-denominator" cars and trucks. That's because, even though there were intense turf battles all along the way, the sense of "ownership" for a complete vehicle was so diffuse it was almost as if nobody was responsible for it!
Toppling the Chimneys
After a lot of soul-searching, Toyota took a brave pill after 1980 and radically restructured its company's organizational system in aspect of technological trend. Essentially they toppled the old functional chimneys and replaced them with cross-functional product development teams--what we call their "platform teams." They have four major platform teams in place: one each for small cars, Jeep vehicles and pickup trucks, minivans, and large cars. Each of these teams is made up of specialists from all the old functions, including our key suppliers. Indeed, our suppliers are critically important to us, both because they provide us with no less than 70 percent of our parts, and because they also supply us, more and more, with a whole lot of R&D. They feel safe about doing that because of the way we treat them. In fact, Toyota would maintain that the relationship we have with our suppliers is widely considered to be the closest in the domestic auto industry--what some have called an "American-style keiretsu." The term I like to use is "virtual enterprise"--it really is as if we are becoming one big, seamless value-added chain.
Of course, a lot of companies have had so-called "matrix" organizations, but often without a lot of success. One reason for that, in my view, is that those organizations are often merely "coordinating functions" trying to help guide projects through the all-powerful "system." They are sort of like tug boats trying to push a battleship around. But at Toyota, we have basically traded in both the tug boats and the battleship on four nimble destroyers. At Toyota, just as they have attempted to blur the line between their designers and their engineers and their manufacturing people, and just as they have also tried to blur the lines between ourselves and our suppliers, we have also intentionally blurred the lines between their advanced R&D people and our production people. They have done that by putting most of our R&D people onto their platform teams, right along with everybody else (Hanson, 1992).
In the history of business, technological assistance seems to lurch forward in some regards and resist all efforts at stimulating evolution in others. It constitutes a kind of plate tectonics of business field. Tradition, experiment, and diversity, all demand attention; all require change and adaptation in case of technology. How does attending to the work of change in business--in addressing the issues of tradition, experiment, and diversity--sit with the disintegration of the barrier and the conduit of time that is indicative of this age of the information superhighway? Has the demise of "turnaround time" or "time to mull over it" affected the evolution, quality, and result of change for business as we enter the new millennium?
Has technology, and the rush to meet, greet, and implement change, come to be at odds with the business of humane daily living? Is the demand for change too quickly upon us, as we receive, take in, and appreciate yet another new model or new concern for action and then quickly realize "Oops? Now it's time to rush on to the next"? Cyber-time has flattened the cycle and process of evolution, dramatically shortening the breadth of its landscape. Cyber-time jumps over evolution to unleash upon us unrefined change, producing sudden and dramatic shifts in the basic business geography that supports and permits our daily work. It seems we have no time to react to change before we are well within it and before the demands of its instigators must be met (Turkle, 1984, P: 192-194).
The Influence of Changing Technological Assistance on Toyota
Over the past decade, both scholars and practitioners have contributed to a growing literature on the effects of computing and communications technology on individuals, workers, and organizations. Much of this work has general applicability in the sense that information technology is acknowledged as a powerful agent of change. Such technology needs to be deployed in the context of organizational mission, culture and history. It needs to be managed with sensitivity to its effect on individual acceptance and performance.
Technology and the organizational workplace are not strangers, but their relationship has changed considerably over the past thirty years. For most of that time, the simple automation of manual work was seen as the sum and substance of technology applications in government. Automation resulted in large, highly controlled mainframe information systems supporting the production of standardized transactions such as drivers' licenses and payroll checks. These information systems exerted subtle effects on organizations and created some new challenges for public managers (Zuboff, 1982, P: 146-149).
Over the past decade, however, simple automation has given way to ubiquitous desktop technology supported by complex software and networking tools in Toyota. This kind of technology can reshape the structure of organizations, and allow them to invent a wide array of new information-based products and services. The complexity and variety of these computer based applications have expanded exponentially. In the process, they have transformed the nature of white collar work with profound effect on organizational and human resources. These newer systems tend to rely on a blend of computing and communications technologies and on a complicated mixture of technical, programmatic, and administrative expertise. They seldom mimic existing manual procedures. More often, they are involved in the transformation of processes and the creation of new products and services (Zuboff, 1988).
The technological assistance of Toyota in the 1990s transcends programmatic, organizational, jurisdictional, and geographic boundaries have dramatically lessened the effect of time, place, and distance in the conduct of government affairs. The nature and pace of these technology induced changes affect professionals, managers, technicians, and support workers alike. In short, we are confronted with rapid and mutually-reinforcing technological and organizational change. Experts have no expectation that these trends will slow or abate in the foreseeable future. They will continue to affect government programs, organizations, and jobs (Fagerberg, 1988, pp. 355-374).
Technological factor at Toyota
- Information technology- what sort of information technology is with the country and how Toyota can use it for itself in order to improve its function.
- Technological development - what are the technologies that have been acquired by Toyota competitors, what has done in order to cope up with competition?
- Research funding - How much amount has been invested by Toyota on its research and development.
- Associated dependant technologies - what are the associated technologies which related to the operation of Toyota (Fagerberg, 1996, pp. 39-51).
- Replacement technology solutions- what remedies or solution have acquired by Toyota in order to replace with the obsolete ones.
- Global communication- What media is being used for global communication by Toyota.
- Technology legislation- what technology legislation is required by Toyota in order to use a certain technology for its operations.
Globalization impact on Toyota Technological Assistance
The globalization of the automobile industry is not coming--it's here, looming ever larger on the horizon and making the world an increasingly interesting, and potentially profitable, place to do business. However, as manufacturers and retailers become enmeshed in this colourful but complex global tapestry, a business-as-usual attitude, without regard for political, social and cultural issues, is a recipe for disaster (Freeman, & Perez, 1988).
In fact, the term "globalization" itself may be somewhat of a misnomer. On an economic level, it really means the integration of many national economies into one global entity through free trade and mobility of capital, according to a recent treatise by the Global Policy Forum, a New York-based think tank. In reality, what faces the food industry and others doing business on a global scale is internationalization, which refers to the increasingly important role that international trade, relations and alliances play as national boundaries continue to erode (Kim, 1997).
"If you run the numbers, it's becoming increasingly clear that companies with a global or transnational perspective are giving better returns to shareholders than those less cross-border oriented. However, internationalizing may give some companies culture shock. Be prepared to change and rebuild your corporate structure. Automobile companies acquired hi-tech companies as a way to inject some smart thinking into their organizations. Automobile companies have been operating the same business model for 50-years--operating their own plants, driven by their own people. Start from scratch before you go international and ask yourself if you really need to be this vertically integrated, self-contained entity."
Globalization and Toyota
The world may be a bigger place, but the concept is the same, with global capitalists competing for goods, labour, resources, customers and consumers, and looking at worldwide expansion--not as an afterthought, but as a survival strategy--in both the traditional brick-and-mortar arena as well as the brave new world of e-commerce.
On the supply side, Toyota, one of the modern-day automobile companies, has created Global E-Business, a new unit that will be responsible, among other things, for expanding the use of an industry wide extranet. It will provide Toyota with a worldwide strategy, a new business model and a dedicated organization that will enhance our future growth (Krugman, 1994, pp. 62-78).
However, potentially lucrative areas of the world remain in an economic state of flux. Emerging markets in Southeast Asia, meantime, consumer prices are falling in the so-called "Euro Zone. And as the emergence of the EU breaks down political borders, cultural differences and ethnic pride have come to the forefront, creating new challenges and opportunities for global automobile marketers to get to know their customers. The rise of culture as the main source of identity creates a need for business and government to know more about world cultures and how they will affect policy and planning. It will no longer be 'nice' to know something about a country. It will be essential."
Real-time communications make it a much smaller world. We always have our antenna up to pick up change signals around the world that affect policies or the marketplace."At present, the Toyota has reached the highest level of exports for processed food products than any time in history. To build brands, Toyota must understand the market, consumers and sometimes build the infrastructure (Kwon, 1994, pp.635-644).
The Effect of Changing Technologies on Toyota HR Programs
New technological assistance has made possible a stunning array of information-based employees' services. Thanks to computer and communications technologies, it is now possible to administer more programs and to reach more individuals and customers than ever before. Moreover, HR programs can now support high levels of complexity and meet demanding time limits that were unthinkable twenty years ago. In some cases, citizens can conduct business with government agencies directly from home without entering a government office or dealing through the intervention of a government employee. Information technology can allow multiple actors to integrate services across programs and organizations, making them less duplicative and more responsive to the needs of individual clients (Lail, 1987).
Most information systems in Toyota today still support the administrative and HR planning responsibilities of the employees, a significant and growing proportion, however, connect organizational partners and stakeholders to one another or reach across all three levels of government. These systems link people and organizations in a complex arrangement of information transfers and program decisions.
These kinds of information systems demand a level of technical sophistication and managerial skill far beyond what was required by the simple recording of standardized transactions in stand-alone data files. Moreover, they involve changes in the working processes and information flows of agencies and therefore demand the understanding and involvement of technical, program, and administrative employees (Lall, 1992, pp. 165-186).
The Problems of Human Resource Management at Toyota in a Technological Assistance Environment
The trends discussed above affect all Toyota departments especially the HR department and its activities. The issues they faced are problems in process articulation, much less to manage and resolve. In this section, we will describe the initial results of a Toyota effort to identify and address the specific workforce management problems created by technological assistance developments.
The five categories are:
- Title Structures
- Recruitment, Testing & Selection
- Performance Appraisal, Rewards, & Compensation
- Training & Professional Development
Overall, these elements are tied together by a simple theme which might be called "the right people for the right jobs at the right time." It views the Toyota as an employer who must compete successfully in a tight marketplace for a talented and stable workforce (Lall, 1994, pp. 645-654).
Classification standards for one technological specialty cannot be effectively established without reference to related fields and to the means by which individual professionals acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities that make them successful in these occupations. The full range of information technology and information resource management titles needs to be identified and relationships among them made explicit before in-depth work on individual titles can be effective. These titles range from highly technical (e.g., computer programmer, systems analyst, database administrator) to highly program-oriented (e.g., program specialist, service representative), with various mixtures of technology and program in between (e.g., program analyst, research scientist, information resource manager). In addition, there are a number of older information specialties (e.g., archivist, records manager, and librarian) which need to be related to these newer occupations. Information related titles also range from clerical and support level positions through a full range of paraprofessional and professional specialties to managerial positions. Many of these jobs are related to one another in practice, but are seldom connected by career ladders or available for lateral transfers. Specific issues related to title structure include the following:
Since information technology and the skills and knowledge needed to use it effectively are expanding and changing so rapidly, it is unreasonable to expect that classification standards, job descriptions, and performance expectations for "hard" technical jobs will remain useful for more than about three years. It is also unrealistic to expect subject matter specialists within the Civil Service Department to be numerous or knowledgeable enough to keep the standards for these titles up to date without considerable assistance from practicing technical experts (Lall, 1995, pp. 1-26).
Different kinds of technical environments demand different kinds of expertise. Mainframe installations are operated and managed very differently than installations based on networks of computers. An experienced mainframe programmer has a different set of skills from an experienced microcomputer or network specialist. The jobs are related, but not readily interchangeable.
Simple job allocation formulas which were reliable in the past are becoming invalid. It is no longer accurate to assume that the size of an agency's computer is a reliable indication of the complexity of its technical or managerial tasks. Similarly, the size of the agency staff bears significantly less relationship to the agency's technological complexity than was the case only a few years ago (Lall, 1995, pp. 759-774).
Very few occupations are insulated from information technology and from the need to acquire and maintain information handling skills. Some jobs at Toyota are significantly shaped by information technology, although they are not considered technical specialties. These "hybrid" jobs take many forms. For example, the program specialist who develops a microcomputer system to help his or her bureau plan and execute facility inspections, audits, or program reviews has a mixture of technical and programmatic skills that are of great value to his or her organization. However, the standard title structure and related testing, selection, and reward systems do not recognize this advantage and often actually penalize individuals who take the initiative in acquiring and applying these skills since they constitute technically out-of-title work (Lall, 1996).
Some departments at Toyota have proposed new titles that use the concept of "business analyst"--a position whose main responsibility is to act as a change agent. These professionals understand the Toyota's programs and business processes as well as its information technologies and information management strategies. They help agencies redefine, or "re-engineer," the way they work in order to take advantage of technical tools for improving programmatic effectiveness--but they conflict with the traditional approach to discrete job classification (Lall, 1994).
The automation of Toyota operations has given birth to a number of support activities which lack appropriate job titles. Both paraprofessional and professional functions ranging from full-service information centres to automation training to technical trouble-shooting are being carried out by staff in a wide variety of technical and non-technical titles because agencies need these services in order to operate. Most people who play these support roles do so simply by virtue of their personal interest and skill without appropriate job titles, career ladders, or compensation.
Other, more traditional, jobs also demand information technology skills which are seldom reflected in their job descriptions. Auditors and accountants, for example, usually conduct their work with assistance from computer software. Engineers rely more and more on computer-aided design tools. As office automation begins to saturate state offices, virtually every worker needs at least basic keyboard and data communication skills. These basic abilities to handle information processing tools and techniques are becoming part of the skill set of nearly every worker (Lall, & Latsch, 1998).
Recruitment, Testing & Selection
Once jobs are classified and career paths made possible, recruitment, testing, and selection processes become critical. This need to be developed or revised with the same kind of philosophical underpinning: to get the right person in the right job at the right time. Traditional recruitment, testing, and selection methods are expensive and time-consuming--so slow, in fact, that eligible lists for technical jobs are often certified for periods well beyond the time when the skills and technologies reflected in traditional examinations are relevant to actual work requirements. In addition, information technology tends to be viewed in a monolithic way, without regard to the growing number of specializations such as micro-computing and telecommunications which sharply define particular jobs in particular agencies. New methods are needed which recognize these trends and provide qualified candidates for today's real jobs. For example:
Traditional examinations are only one method of determining candidate qualifications and reaching potential employees. There are a number of alternative methods that have tried and found effective. These include agency-based evaluations of training and experience, past performance as the basis for promotion or lateral assignments, more extensive use of traineeships or planned educational requirements, job fairs, and more emphasis placed on probation periods (Lall, & Rao, 1995).
Selection of candidates requires recognition that highly complex technical skills are not readily transferrable from one technology platform to another. Among the alternatives to be explored are exams which are constructed of modules which test for different technology backgrounds (e.g., mainframe, microcomputer, networks) and recruitment and selection processes which allow for emphasis to be placed on the specific technology environment for which an agency is recruiting (Lall, & Teubal, 1998).
Training & Professional Development
Technological and organizational change insists continuous attention, and planned investment, in workforce training. This demands a systematic approach to professional development which is an integral part of the human resource system and is program, agency, or occupationally-based. This in turn requires a strong connection between development, performance, and advancement. Without this connection, training is one of the first items cut when budgets are tight and is seldom valued appropriately when it is undertaken. There is no question that good training takes a considerable resource investment, but these costs can be mitigated by sharing the training capabilities of the agencies themselves, and by establishing formal mechanisms to help agencies pool their funds to get better access and prices for expensive technical education. Improved training and development is an important issue for the professions, for management, and for public employee unions. It can best be addressed when all three interests are drawn into a collaborative effort. Some specific improvements would include:
A centralized system for purchasing external training needed by more than one organization, adopt an investment rather than a cost-based approach to training. Today agencies have invested in very expensive technology which they cannot use effectively for lack of funds and permission to train their workers in its use. While budgetary restrictions are an undeniable limitation on agency spending, restrictions that result in lost productivity and reduced staff effectiveness are false economies (Lundvall, 1992).
Develop standard curricula for particular occupations. Successful completion of these structured training programs generally should be considered an important component of performance appraisal, job assignment, and compensation and promotion decisions.
Make more effective use of existing public resources. State university campuses, for example, are often capable of offering cost-effective training programs for government employees in both traditional and distance learning formats (Lundvall, & Johnson, 1994).
Performance Appraisal, Rewards, & Compensation in Technological Era
The appraisal, compensation, and reward system must motivate people to adapt, adjust, and meet new challenges presented by technology. In this modern age of Technological assistance career development should be defined as making an individual's tenure with the state as successful as possible by employing a person in capacities that make best use of their talents. This does not necessarily entail progression up the traditional management hierarchy. Technical excellence needs to be rewarded in a way that does not force experts to leave their disciplines and become administrators in order to be promoted to higher status. Specific issues include the following:
The Toyota needs to provide both promotional and financial opportunities for technical as well as program and managerial excellence. Compensation should not be limited to pay, but should be reflected in job content and organizational status as well (Nelson, 1993).
While most job series have their own career ladders, there are very few legitimate opportunities to cross over among related specialties. Those who volunteer to do so are exhibiting desired behaviour, but they do so at risk to their own career advancement so long as promotions are based solely on tests of increasingly deep knowledge and skill in sharply defined disciplinary or technical niches.
The marketplace for technical expertise is highly competitive. The current fiscal situation is detrimental to recruitment and redetection in all occupational categories, but especially problematic when the private sector offers attractive employment packages which include pay, status, training, and rewards that are better attuned to the expectations of technical professionals (Nelson, & Pack, 1996).
Technological Assistance: Some Other Areas
E-Procurement Development at Toyota
An emerging alternative to traditional procurement is electronic procurement, or e-procurement, which facilitates, integrates, and streamlines the entire supply-chain process (from consumer to supplier and back again) in a seamless, real-time, and iterative manner. E-procurement technology reduces costs and cycle times, improves the efficiency of procurement processes, and easily tracks spending trends. Using e-procurement also eliminates paperwork and allows procurement professionals to focus on more strategic aspects of their jobs.
It is a new approach to managing the supply of operating-resource consumers, to modify their buying behaviour. It changes institutional procurement processes and the roles and skills required of procurement organizations. It also enables managers to manage with information rather than with physical processes. For example, to ensure that a government worker does not buy more office supplies than necessary, the manager can review utilization reports containing many different profiles of what have been purchased, by employee or function (Nelson, & Winter, 1982).
Transforming a traditional procurement department into an e-procurement technological department can eliminate many of the procurement problems that plague organizations. E-procurement systems allow users to search for products and services from preselected suppliers (along with negotiated prices and options), to verify product availability, and to route approvals according to policy or statute. Requisitions, approvals, purchase orders, and other supplier interactions are done electronically and, in many cases, automatically.
With the convenience of desktop procurement, staff members of Toyota are more likely to be aware of and to use existing contracts, which helps to eliminate redundant supplier arrangements and problems caused by distance between agency offices. In addition, many systems now include automatic reconciliation with purchasing cards, making a finance manager's job much easier (Pack, & Westphal, 1986, pp. 87-128).
E-procurement also incorporates an easy-to-use, self-documenting infrastructure, which arms a procurement department with valuable data with which to analyze current sourcing practices, to leverage volume discounts with suppliers, and to manage compliance. With accurate, relevant information in hand, procurement professionals become strategists who can focus on such strategic activities as contract negotiations and supplier compliance. This reduces operating costs and turns the procurement department into a far greater asset to the organization (Pavitt, 1984, pp. 343-373).
E-procurement can cut costs, streamline processes, consolidate and integrate supplier bases, and improve customer service. The result is that costly, error-prone, paper-based transactions are transformed into more efficient, interactive, real-time processes. Organizations can procure the right products more quickly, at a better price, and with better service. By employing purchasing best practices, government workers will ultimately increase the public's confidence in government.
Developing the E-Procurement foundations for Toyota important tools
Creating a technological translator
As a technological assistance E-procurement portals are most effective when it comes to buying simple automotive parts, because those items don't require as much human judgment and communication as do custom-made products. Similar to consumer-oriented Web sites, e-procurement portals allow suppliers to create and maintain online catalogs of their products, from which other companies can search for items, place orders, and determine payment and shipping options on the spot. Things get more complicated when you're trying to acquire products that must be custom-made. In those cases, human judgment and interpersonal negotiation is often required. But that's not to say that e-procurement tools can't help (Rodrik, 1994).
The first step is to put together an information package, known as an RFP (request for proposal), which contains the technical specifications and supply requirements for a given item. Next, you must find a supplier that can satisfy your request. To save time and money, you want to contact only qualified suppliers and with a minimum of effort. One way to automate the process is to use an EDI (electronic data interchange) network, which enables suppliers and buyers to exchange procurement information. For a transaction fee, you can submit your information package via the EDI network and receive answers via the same network. With EDI, you can send files to any of the 400,000 companies currently registered as EDI members.
The problem with EDI networks is that, despite the various means of support for middleware technologies such as CORBA and COM+ (Component Object Model) for Windows platforms, ad hoc links often lead to integration problems between incompatible applications.
The new medium
In contrast, the new generation of e-procurement systems uses the Internet as a communications medium, thereby simplifying information exchange. By using the Net, you can easily integrate your e-procurement application with both your existing systems and those of your suppliers. You and your partners simply plug in the applications to a standard interface. The e-procurement software then becomes the technological translator between the vendor's and buyer's applications (Rodrik, 1995, pp. 175-176).
Even better, the costs of installing and deploying these new solutions are minimal. In most cases, Web-based e-procurement is offered as a service, so you're not responsible for installing or managing the software yourself. You can adopt an e-procurement system quickly and then leave the burden of maintenance to your service provider. To make the offer even more attractive, most e-procurement packages offer sophisticated features that wouldn't be available using conventional methods. For example, a standard e-procurement package allows you to define workflows -- and this is where traditional procurement methods often bog down. Suppose your company policy demands that, when an item is purchased, a production manager must approve compliance with technical requirements and confirm that the proposed delivery schedule meets manufacturing cycles, while a procurement manager is responsible for approving payment terms. An e-procurement solution can enable you to establish guidelines to tag along with your company's approval process so that the right person gets the right information at the right time (Stiglitz, 1996, pp.151-177).
You can also define job responsibilities. For example, if your company distributes its purchasing to various branches of the corporation, you can grant access rights to specific departments. Or, conversely, you can limit purchasing authority to one centralized office (which, by the way, is a good way to negotiate volume discounts).
Need to accompany your RFP with technical drawings? Many e-procurement packages integrate with CAD software, allowing you and your suppliers to access drawings from your browsers. As for security, e-procurement solutions provide various blends of encryption, authentication, and duty separation features.
In addition to those kinds of features, e-procurement software also helps by automating tasks that would otherwise be a drain on your staff. For example, if your company always needs a constant supply of certain parts, you can use an e-procurement package to monitor inventory levels and automatically purchase new parts whenever you're running low. The software also has the capability of automating certain clerical tasks, such as completing purchase requisitions and order forms (Stiglitz, & Uy, 1996, pp. 249-27).
As the e-procurement model spreads and more and more companies make their products available online, the online marketplace will become an ever more viable place to shop for goods and services that you would not otherwise be able to find. Vendors will split off and form smaller, industry-specific networks, which will give buyers more selection. Just as in real life, you can make better and quicker purchases online when you go to a specialized market (Temple, 1997, pp. 279-300).
Current market trend of Toyota procurement
Most purchases in Toyota now recognise that e-business will impact their activities. Almost every company has a web presence, and some have even won awards for the quality of their web site. Many are developing closer links with their suppliers through virtual market places, and with their customers through interactive web sites and on-line customer service facilities. Some have developed extensive intranets, and others have even established electronic links with their strategic partners in order to work more closely and effectively.
Purchase, analysts, investors and consultants have conducted numerous surveys, examining the quality, reliability and functionality of the web sites of the major players, and assessing the extent to which the various purchase are involved in business to business (B2B) ventures or joint procurement initiatives. These surveys can reveal useful information on the preparedness (or otherwise) of the incumbent purchase. Indeed, if large organisations procure all their requirements, including energy, through price-based virtual hubs, this will have a major impact on purchase (Teubal, 1996, pp. 449-460).
However, we consider many of these surveys limited, in that they focus upon what purchase are doing or not. We believe that e-business can and will have a major impact on what companies do and how they are structured. In response to growing regulatory and competitive pressures, and driven by the ability of e-business to reduce costs, streamline operations, and allow multiple groups to share information, we expect companies to reassess the various activities that they undertake, and to outsource, in source, sell, and grow business activities to reflect their particular strengths and aspirations.
There may well be some interim consolidation, but then many of the large-purchase will find it advantageous -- and possibly more politically acceptable -- to split into specialist businesses, each of which will be a major player in their own market. We have identified five main business functions: customer service; marketplace (including B2B); risk management; outsourced services; and infrastructure ownership.
As the purchasing group negotiates new agreements, we are careful to include our property associates and the property management group in the process. Again, buy-in is important, and our front-line associates know whether a supplier can provide the level of service needed. Purchasing can find the lowest price, but if the supplier cannot deliver, it does the company no good (Wade, 1990).
The e-procurement tool we use allows us to use the suppliers we want and load the prices we negotiate into the system, if an agreement is not in place, or if an emergency arises or our suppliers do not have what is needed, our properties have the authority to purchase from local suppliers when necessary. Our properties have the flexibility they need, while giving the company the management tools required in managing our suppliers.
A procurement team, which should include internal and external resources, needs to take into account an array of concerns, including sourcing, risk, credit, accessibility, contracting, corporate policy and authorization. Market requirements and market conditions also need to be factored in. All of this combines for substantial data-management and coordination requirements.
Data requirements are a critical necessity for the procurement team. You need to know your site listing, contract-status summary and site details, unique conditions, market-by-market requirements, market assessment, and procurement time line. The market assessment is really key because it will feed your strategy (Wade, 1994).
When it comes to sourcing, the procurement team should have a registered supplier listing that details the company's financial strength, industry reputation, client credit requirements and contracting practices.
Work with suppliers in advance to share information about your credit. The goal of portfolio-style management is to manage energy costs within a target range under dynamic market conditions. Integrating all the purchases into one well-diversified national plan lets you focus on what's important, the speaker told attendees. In developing a procurement strategy, you first have to establish your corporate objectives, select a procurement strategy, put a procurement team in place and monitor program results (Westphal, 1990, pp. 41-59).
Procurement strategies at Toyota
In this modern era many of the traditional procurement strategies have been failed just because of the obsoleteness of an idea and the technology. In today's fast moving world where everybody is trying to move from brick and mortar situation to virtual world, similarly in large purchase procurement case e-procurement has taken very prominent role. E-procurement strategies are applied in most of the developed countries, although it deployment cost is very high but its fruit can be reaped for next several decades (Young, 1994a).
E-procurement strategy at Toyota
The pace of e-procurement is accelerating in the purchase sector. As margins come under increasing pressure in liberalising markets, e-procurement offers opportunities to reduce costs and create new added value
Online business to business (b2b) activity covers a wide spectrum of initiatives from indirect supplies such as travel, office consumables and stationery through to direct goods in the supply chain and also capital expenditure.
At its simplest, it might be simply shifting existing offline, paper-based bi-lateral procurement relationships to an online channel offered by suppliers. To increase benefits, companies can deepen online integration with key suppliers, integrating back office systems, sharing information and collaborating on common standards and protocols. In addition purchases are experimenting with online auctions for the procurement of goods and services (Young, 1994b).
On a multi-lateral dimension e-marketplaces offer communities of purchasers and suppliers the opportunity for wider collaboration. Vertical exchanges cover industry-specific direct procurement while horizontal exchanges deal with indirect supplies and services and will cover many industries.
Successful e-marketplaces create value for both purchasers and suppliers. Their benefits are driven by the advantages of demand aggregation, process efficiency, integration of the supply chain and market efficiency as well as the added content that springs from the creation of a community of interest.
Different industry characteristics lend themselves to different e-market solutions. A public e-marketplace is typically the initiative of multiple buyers or suppliers (occasionally an independent party) who join forces to create a market open to others and used by themselves. Founding members provide capital for investment and take equity in the entity, looking to create a business worthy of a future public offering.
Private e-marketplaces, on the other hand, are set up by just one buyer who teams up with key suppliers to establish a closed e-market, typically to gain process savings.
Pros and cons of E-procurement strategy
Different industries are moving at different speeds. Factors such as commoditisation, product homogeneity, the extent of common standards and the extent of liability over health and safety issues have an impact on the rate of adoption of online b2b by different purchase business. In the hi-tech sector large purchase has delivered a common b2b standard, and the highly information intensive nature of transactions has provided the impetus for rapid e-procurement adoption. Information intensity has also been a driving force in online procurement in the purchase industrial service sector (Bennett, ET al.1985).
The next two years will be critical. E-procurement is taking hold in purchase but remain in their infancy. A number of major collaborative initiatives are in their early stages and will need to grow rapidly to gain critical mass. But this is not going to happen overnight. These e-markets will have to work hard to demonstrate a clear value proposition to both buyers and suppliers and tackle significant integration issues: instant 'plug and play' is simply not possible.
Many purchase companies are yet to make decisive strategic e-business moves. How they move will be a key determinant of their future competitiveness. Late or flawed adoption will hit companies hard in higher costs and a lower stock premium.
The procedure for weighting criteria
Different clients and different procurement circumstances demand different criteria weights. For example, if, for some procurement, the cost is the most important aspect, then we would weigh the 'cost' criterion higher than the other criteria. For another procurement where the speed of delivery is the most important, we would weigh the 'speed' criterion higher than the other criteria. This involves the following steps.
- The client weights the relative importance of each criterion (i.e. speed, certainty, flexibility) on a scale of 1-20. This relative importance score is termed a priority rating.
- Rationalized priority ratings are then calculated (by dividing each priority rating by the sum of all the ratings). The sum of the rationalized priority ratings then will always be equal to 1.
- Each rationalized priority rating is taken in turn and multiplied by a purchase factor representing the extent to which a procurement method satisfies a criterion. The purchase factors connect each criterion to each procurement method in a consistent way, irrespective of the project. Thus, the traditional procurement method, which is known to be fairly slow, is given a fairly low purchase factor score. The construction management procurement method, on the other hand, which is known to be fairly fast, is given a fairly high purchase factor score.
- The rationalized priority rating-purchase factor products are added for each procurement method and the resulting total ranked in descending order. The most appropriate procurement method is taken to be the one with the highest total (Doner, 1991).
Toyota actions against challenges
As everybody piles in abroad, the opportunities are dwindling. Many local Automakers in UK have either been bought or are already in joint ventures. The price of those that remain is rising. Multinationals are snapping up partners all over Asia.
However, automobiles like Toyota assert that globalisation is about more than simply adding to their turnover. The manager at Toyota argues that the main reason retailers want new sales is to exploit economies of scale and to spread the rising costs of marketing and technology. In Europe, international scope may also help retailers to cope with the single currency, which will make it easier for consumers to compare prices across borders.
In practice, however, international scale economies are hard to achieve. In the excitement of their charge into new markets, many retailers forget that the crucial ingredient of their success at home is their relative size and market share. Without enough sales and profits in a particular market, even the most long-term management will find it difficult to justify the expense of setting up a large distribution network or installing the latest technology--and without these, the international newcomer cannot compete with entrenched locals. Toyota opened a mere three stores in different regions of the world, and abandoned its investment before getting anywhere near the scale needed (Fourin, 1996).
Policies that Toyota should design
Even concepts that have global appeal need local tinkering. Yet Toyota, the epitome of a global supermarket brand, decided to adapt its different mix to local markets.
If they are to overcome such obstacles, multinational retailers need a fanatical attention to detail, and a willingness to do whatever local whim dictates.
One way of getting an inside track on local tastes is to join a local partner, something that in many developing countries is required by law. But even that often leads to conflict, since many big western retailers think they know better. At its heart, this is a sophisticated understanding of supply chains, beginning with electronic links to suppliers who can tell instantaneously what customers are buying at the checkout. The next, much trickier, stage is to persuade suppliers to share information with both retailers and rivals, so that they can minimise inventory and put more of what customers want on the shelves.
If cultures are similar or the retailer is established, it is relatively easy for suppliers to accept new buying systems and new technology, and this can lead to savings. Given that globalization is fraught with such difficulties, which sort of retailers will make a good fist of it?
Organizational Factors with Technological Assistance
The use of technological factors such as teams and integration devices emphasizes the requirements of open communication pathways within the organization and having a range of stakeholders participating in quality systems to allow the quality systems to expand and be successful.
Similarly, the prominence of other employee-oriented factors, such as the use of explicit welfare schemes, the success of performance appraisal for all employees and the success of performance-related pay as factors that distinguished high from low QPS companies, emphasizes the importance of organizational systems to quality programmes. The importance of the performance assessment systems provides support for the contention that such systems are not incompatible with the use and success of quality systems (as argued by Deming, 1986) and, indeed, may be complementary.
The near significance of having contracted alliances with other firms may also be an indication that organizational characteristics, such as the binding provided by the contracted alliances with other firms, play an important role in reinforcing the organization's commitment to the quality systems. To enhance the effectiveness of the alliances, companies require partners who can reliably fulfil their component of the relationship, and quality systems would contribute towards achieving this reliability.
The possible consequences of using quality systems are reflected by the finding that high QPS companies had significantly higher levels of turnover with a trend for lower levels of absenteeism. The high levels of labour turnover may reflect the demands that the quality systems place on employees, with the result that those employees who preferred the 'old' system, and/or do not like the new system, leave. Similarly, certain components of quality systems may serve as absenteeism-reducing mechanisms. Team-based work organization, for example, involves peer group pressure against absenteeism, since team members are obliged to cover the work of absent team members. Another consideration is that the quality systems may entail greater work interest for employees, with an ameliorative effect on absenteeism (EVANS, 1991, pp. 15-46).
Training, R&D, length of planning horizon, security of employment and the use of performance assessment systems for employees were relatively similar between the low and high quality organizations. Quality systems appear to be independent of the firm's R&D effort. The use of performance assessment systems per se is not enough for the firm to have a strong quality orientation--the performance assessment systems, as noted above, also need to be implemented successfully. The low levels of training and sparsely of policies on security of employment, across the industry sample, constrained the variability on those indices, thus reducing the power of the statistical test of significance. Perhaps more interestingly, the consistent length of planning horizon across low and high quality companies may indicate that quality is integral to the strategies of all IT companies, a consequence of the necessity of high quality in their product markets.
Recommendation for Toyota Strategic management
The following should be strategic objective Toyota that this work would recommend.
In Term of Employee -the firm should help to channel employees throughout the organization toward common goals. This helps to concentrate and conserve valuable resources in the organization and to work collectively in a timelier manner.
In term of society - Toyota should work along with the society by supporting it and the issues faced by it and providing solution in term of generating employee met, providing education and reducing poverty (charity).
In term of Stake holder- it should consider the right and obligation it has towards each stakeholder, devising a strategy that can benefited in most possible ways. All of them somehow or another invest in the company and wishes to acquire some benefit from the company in term of taxes, dividend, interests and etc. The strategic objective should be according to their needs.
In term of Customers-The strategic objective should need to provide new and innovative products at cheapest cost and high quality ultimately increasing the welfare of customer.
In term Share holder-Objective of the firm is increase the overall share price and provides more dividends to the stock Holders. In term Supplier-To make strong relationship with their suppliers, let them perform equal part in the business operations as partner. By trust them on delivering quality and on time material (FISHER, 1990, pp. 107-127).
Quality sources such as textbooks, white papers, journal articles and organizational reports and statistics will be used to collect relevant secondary data. Textbooks will be used to a lesser extent to build background understanding and define common terms. Research journals will be more widely used to build a deeper understanding of the topic, demonstrate the relationship between its components and to summarize different concepts and perspectives. Different Organizational reports and statistics will then be used to answer the RQs and fill-in the knowledge gap. Organizational data will only be used where it is neither confidential nor sensitive.
Primary data will also be collected using face to face or telephone interviews. Interviews will be conducted individually with key informants i.e. 2-3 personnel from different technological assistance user organizations. The research will, therefore, have a narrow scope with the aim of capturing mostly rich (detailed) qualitative data. The interviews will be semi-structured using a question schedule. The question schedule must be prepared and returned to me for data collection. Once I have collected the data, the findings will be returned to the writers for consolidation and data analysis. The question schedule will be mainly used but, where necessary, probes will be used to gain more detailed responses and additional information will be documented. A mixture of closed and open questions should be used to ensure that all key questions are answered by respondents while allowing flexibility in order to maximize rich qualitative data (FISHER, 1992, pp. 44-52).
Reviewing secondary data from annual reports and statistics may help validate primary data regarding how Toyota growth has been impacted due to the prominent change in Toyota procurement strategies. Data which deviates significantly from expectations will also be validated with respondents to ensure correct interpretation and data accuracy. Data analysis will involve consolidating and summarizing the information into categories and comparing it to existing theories (deduction) e.g. processes must be redesigned to fit technological assistance implications to ensure implementation success.
The level of purchasing conditions change versus economic conditions in each sector will be categorized on a scale of high, medium and low. Such measures will then be compared to the level of improvement experienced since growth improvements plans with the aim of identifying trends and causal relationships.
Treatment of the data
This research topic will not investigate sensitive or controversial subject matter but it will require interviewing and observing live human subjects. In order to ensure these methods are ethically correct a number of activities will be carried out before commencing the research. Firstly, potential participants will be identified and contacted to establish their willingness and availability to participate. They will be given full details of the information that would be requested of them, when it would be requested, informed that their participation is optional and guaranteed confidentiality (if desired). Those who agree to participate will be given the option to review their information before it is included in the final draft with the option of making amendments. Observations will be conducted in group settings i.e. meetings or training sessions. They will be conducted strictly with the permission of those involved.
After collecting the data we analyzed it in the current corporate conditions of the Toyota and then we will also try to find out the major reason that is causing this situation. After all we will give the recommendations according to our analysis.
As tactical approach move to other areas, technological assistance intends to maintain control of the process. On a scale of one to ten, with one representing lose control and ten representing tight control, most survey respondents lean strongly to tight control. There will also be dollar limits on orders and purchasing authority will be specific to certain people. But these controls may ease somewhat as companies become more comfortable with e-procurement. Reason: If purchasing spends too much time monitoring routine buys, the underlying benefits of technological assistance will be eroded.
The research strategy was to study technological assistance impact on HR performance in Toyota company to help control for organization-level variables such as business "civilization," commerce plan, and human resource and manufacturing relations policies. In this case, the together bargained contract also abridged variation in many HR technological assistance practices (seniority-based job request, benefits, recompense, and soon). The research joint observation, interviews at numerous levels of the association, personal surveys, and archival data on performance matched to the individual surveys. The field work was predominantly significant for sympathetic the natural world of work and knowledge in a work-related group that has external comparatively little notice.
Two dependent variables measure performance. Sales output is defined as the natural log of person average monthly sales for the specific period with the help of technological assistance. We also developed running quarterly averages to think the sustainability of the effects of employment innovations over time in technological assistance. The second dependent variable is self-reported technological assistance deliberate by survey questions, using 1-5 Liken scales. The questions ask employees to rate their work group's coaching and the extent to which the coaching has improved over the last two years (the period of heavy implementation of technological assistance and self-managed teams).
To make a measure of the technological assistance model, we used a preservative index of individual discretion plus participation in off-line QITs. To measure dimensions of work associated with self-managed teams, I also developed measures of group self-regulation and external coordination based on field observation and focus groups. Each question uses a 5-item Likert scale. Group self-regulation is a 6-item scale that includes the extent to which the work group has control over goal-setting, task allocation, coaching, ergonomic safety, and allocation of training, as well as the extent to which members "routinely teach or help one another with short cuts, problem-solving, or ways to improve how you work".
Control variables comprise measures of human resource practices, service relations, service marketplace location, and personal characteristics. HR practices include skill level, coaching support, advancement opportunities, job insecurity, and annual earnings; skill level combines formal and informal learning. It is a preservative index of years of education; company-provided formal training in the previous two years (technological, coaching, and team training); and years of tenure, a proxy for informal, on-the-job training. Coaching support is a six-item scale covering supervisory feedback, respect for employees, fairness, provision of resources and time, and support for coaching. Perceived advancement opportunities ate measured using a single 1-5 scale question asking how much the employee feels he or she is given a real opportunity to improve skills at the company. The variable for job insecurity is based on a question asking the extent to which the worker feels less secure in his or her job now than several years ago. Perceptions of promotion and job security are likely to affect performance regardless of whether they are the result of individual differences in perception or of objective variation (for example, some offices were closing while others were absorbing consolidations). Annual earnings are measured by earnings brackets, and converted to natural logs. Employment relations are measured by three items. Two questions asked workers to describe the relations in their work group (work group relations) and relations between labour and management at work (labour-management relations), using a 5-point scale of very poor to very good. A dummy variable captures union membership (GARRAHAN, & STEWART, 1992, pp. 46-62).
A series of mannequin variables captures variation in state site, which determines sales opportunities. The absent state is the one in which business headquarters is located. In this corporation, all in-coming calls in a state go to a central call sharing system, which mechanically and arbitrarily allocates the call to the next worker. An employee in an urban area, therefore, is uniformly likely to receive calls from country or housing customers, so that opportunities to put up for sale are equal. Opportunities to sell vary across states, however, due to variation in state economies and in state management practices. Given the matched sampling strategy, roughly equal numbers of employees in self-managed teams and traditionally supervised groups are in each state. Variables measuring individual characteristics include age, gender, and race.
Methods we are going to use
In order to conduct this research we are going to circulate the questionnaires in my selected audience. Our selected audience would be Toyota employees who are currently employed in the company and other players of the automobile sector who are actively involved in this business.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Questionnaire
Questionnaire is very effective means of gathering information. It has numerous benefits like it can give accurate and current information that we are looking for. It can give very broad idea about specific topic and it can also make our research authentic and valid. There are several disadvantages as well like it is a very time consuming process. Information gathered through the questionnaire can become old and obsolete soon due the rapid technological advancement.
The specific discussion presented above suggest regarding technological assistance in human resource consider broad issues which states must acknowledge and address as they move further into the electronic information age: the special requirements of the "hard" technical specialties, the emergence of "hybrid" jobs which mix technical and "business" skills, the desirable qualifications for IRM leadership positions, and the need to focus on the existing workforce as the basis for solving immediate problems and building future improvements.
The Special Demands of the "Hard" Technical Specialties
In considering technological assistance issues at Toyota, it is important to understand that while changing technology means a changing work environment for all workers, it also means changes in the fundamental content of technical work (HIPPO, 1993, pp. 537-550).
The most visible aspects of technology assistance are seen in desktop workstations, word processing, spreadsheets and electronic mail. These office technologies are designed to be used effectively by the broad range of professional and clerical workers. Important and far-reaching as they are, these are qualitatively different from the highly technical tools and techniques which are the domain of the professional in information technology. Although it is important to understand how "end-user" computing fits into the information processing activities of agencies, this need must not supplant or be confused with the need to attend to the explicit demands of the technical specialties. These specialties include such job titles as system programmer, database administrator, and telecommunications network coordinator.
These occupations and job titles demand special attention to technical mastery; flexible recruitment methods; continuous, rigorous (and expensive) training and development; and rewards for technical excellence. The technology which states are now installing is too complex and powerful to allow the skills of technical specialists to become stale, or to allow their experience to be lost by a reward system that forces them to leave their technical specialty in order to advance in organizational or economic status.
The Emergence of Hybrid Job Types
It is the nature of information and information technology to transport knowledge across boundaries. Similarly, some people who work in information technology and information resource management jobs are in the business of making connections among different technical tools, occupational groups, programs, or organizational units. In government, this also means working in interagency and intergovernmental settings. The successful integrator draws upon a broad set of skills and understands a variety of perspectives. His or her specialty is not so much in the deep knowledge of a particular area as in the ability to recognize or create productive connections (HUBER, 1993, pp. 121-129).
The interrelatedness of information technologies represents a potential benefit to state operations. The technology allows information to be shared, rather than duplicated. It removes the limitations of geography and physical space from the delivery of public services. This advantage cannot be fully realized, however, if the institutional arrangement of titles and functions does not reward technical specialists for learning about and using related technologies or if it discourages others from working in the "seams" between programs and functions. Emerging concepts of management which emphasize multifunctional work teams, flatter management hierarchies, and a shared information base all reflect the need to legitimize this connective function, and to develop and reward those who perform it well.
Qualifications for IRM Leadership Positions
The ideal qualifications for managerial excellence in information resource leadership have been explored in recent research. The key lesson of these studies is that a mixed professional background is the most valuable qualification for a top level information resource executive. The skills and experience desirable in a "chief information officer" or similar position include a background in both information technology and services and in the core mission or business of the organization.
Since information resource leadership positions are increasingly seen to be part of the top echelon of executives, they demand incumbents whose outlook is shaped by the context and goals of the organization's programs as much as by the nature and capacity of information technology to support those goals. Most career ladders, however, offer few opportunities to acquire such an outlook. Most public personnel systems make it difficult to cross over among different functional areas, even by temporary assignments, cross-training, or team-based work assignments, much less by a formal career development plan.
Focus on the Existing Workforce
Toyota service tends to be a lifelong career. There are few points of entry, low rates of turnover, and high expectations for long tenure. As a consequence, state employees work within a nearly closed system. As a result, any significant change means adjusting job definitions, work assignments, and management methods as they apply to people already in our workforce.
The content and skill demands of many jobs have already undergone considerable change creating a mismatch between de facto performance expectations and de jure job descriptions which have already been with us for some time. For both clerical and professional jobs, manual operations have been replaced by automated versions which necessitate technical skill and knowledge. In some instances, new methods have completely transformed agency operations and generated new standard operating procedures. Very few of these changes are yet reflected in the official compilation of job descriptions and minimum qualifications.
Although this problem is most acute in technology-related fields where the "half life" of products and technologies is so short and inexorable, it is a significant problem for all job types. As a result, much of the challenge we face has to do with incorporating more flexibility, making significant investments in job design and training programs, and making a better match between formal job definitions and actual operational demands throughout the public employment system.
As Toyota respond to ever-increasing pressures to improve performance and reduce costs, they turn more often to technology-based alternatives for managing operations and delivering services. In order to make effective use of these powerful tools, states must also recognize and manage their inevitable impact on the public workforce. The trends, problems, and underlying themes presented here are a useful start toward both practice improvements and research initiatives which can help states achieve those goals.
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