Case Study – WORLDUCATION Worlducation is a social startup that manufactures tablet computers for primary school students. They not only focus on the hardware, but they also have a competitive team creating software, content and activities to better engage and educate the students. Worlducation aims to change the way children learn at school by implementing artificial intelligence technology that can follow up on each child’s progress and adjust to their needs as they learn, creating the optimal path learning experience. So far, Worlducation only sells their tablet computers business to business (B2B) as they realised that their content and hardware proved most effective when a whole classroom was using it, and a teacher was coordinating the activities. Also, this helped the sales team focus on larger sales, and minimised the potential number of problems that could arise from individual customers. However, the long-term plan is to also tackle a business to consumer strategy (B2C). What makes Worlducation completely different from their competition is that they envision a world in which every child learns how to read and write – a world without illiteracy. Given this vision, for every classroom that buys their products, they donate and train a classroom somewhere around the world that can’t afford the same technology. Furthermore, they connect the two classrooms (those who bought the products and services and those who received the donation) so that they can grow together and collaborate throughout their learning cycle. Worlducation was founded in 2016, and by the end of 2019 they had sold over 35,000 tablets to over 550 schools in 23 countries, generating revenue in hardware sales and software subscriptions. Worlducation headquarters are in Sydney’s CBD but they have a development team in Bulgaria, a manufacturing team in Hong Kong, and operation and marketing staff in Colombia, Egypt, Iceland, Russia and the Philippines. Worlducation started 2020 with a huge sale to a school in Portugal. Although it was a great start, the context for the rest of the quarter was highly uncertain due to COVID-19. Surprisingly the pandemic brought hundreds of new leads and that led to an unprecedented growth that brought alongside dozens of operation and production problems. The factory in Hong Kong closed down for 1 month due to government restrictions limiting supply, the sales team was overwhelmed with sale meetings over ZOOM, the tech-support team had to re-adapt the software to remote learning for many of the schools, and the founders had to start thinking on how education was going to change after this worldwide event. Strategic and Operational Plan 2021 – 2023 Welcome Welcome to the Strategic and Operational Plan for Worlducation. This document sets out our vision for the next two years and how we hope to achieve it. We hope you enjoy reading this document. Lucas Lopez CEO Worlducation Executive Summary Founded in 2016, Worlducation is a social startup that manufactures tablet computers for primary school students. Our focus is not only on the hardware, but also creating software, content and activities to better engage and educate primary school students. Worlducation aims to change the way children learn at school by implementing artificial intelligence technology that can follow up on each child’s progress and adjust to their needs as they learn, creating the optimal path learning experience. Worlducation envisions a world in which every child learns how to read and write – a world without illiteracy. This is why, for each classroom that buys our product, we donate and train a classroom somewhere around the world that can’t afford the same technology. We then connect the classrooms together so that they can grow and collaborate throughout their learning cycle. Vision Statement To see a world without illiteracy. Mission Statement To be the change and facilitate a world without illiteracy by changing the way children learn at school and the number of schools that have access to technology. Our values are: Core values underpinning our activities are: Strategic Priorities Increase our reach Continue building deeper customer relationships Attract, engage and develop the best staff Our organisation structure Senior Management consisting of the CEO and General Manager heads up the overall organisation. The company consists of key teams as follows: Each team develops its own performance plan each year for the upcoming 12 months. Each team is expected to: The Market The technology market is a growing and ever-changing industry due to the rapid rate that technology is being updated. Emerging technologies include artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IOT). There is an increasing focus on cyber security. Due to the global pandemic, the issues with the manufacturing industry have impacted on the supply of hardware components. The trend for consumer spending during the pandemic has taken a downturn but this has not affected the ICT industry as due to more people working from home, consumer appetite for tablets has increased. Situation Analysis StrengthsWeaknessesValue and qualityStrong management Customer loyaltyFriendly organisational cultureLevel of available finance for investmentBrand name not developed as well it could beGrowing organisationOpportunitiesThreatsSchools needing to upgrade technologyOpportunities to offer a range of services Opportunities for synergies across all services and productsHigh level of competition Economic downturn meaning less spent generally Failing to satisfy clients demands Marketing Strategies Our marketing strategies aim to: . We plan to develop our market share by: Collaboration As a company we focus on collaboration both within and outside of the company. Currently our external partners are: Key projects The following key projects will commence in 2022: Due to global economic conditions, a wait and watch attitude is being adopted while we brainstorm and provide cost estimates for future business models. Options include establishing a second manufacturing facility (estimated cost $5 million), outsourcing manufacturing to a third party (lost margin of $200 per unit sold or $2 million per year assuming 10 000 units are sold), developing a cloud based solution where customers can access the software remotely on their own devices (estimated cost of $2 million), purchasing off the shelf tablets (lost margin of $300 per unit sold or $3 million per year) or repurposing used tablets ($100 per unit sold or $1 million). Operational Plan (focus on 2022) As an introduction to the Operational Plan, it is important to understand the following information. Worlducation has a complex supply chain that begins when a sale is made usually via a sales representative or through an online enquiry that is handled by the sales team. Sales are recorded in an internal Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP System) which notifies the operations team that an order needs to be delivered. The operations team verify the sales order and authorise the delivery of a manufacturing request to the factory in Hong Kong. Manufacturing team in Hong Kong notes the order specifications and delivery details and incorporates this within its production schedule. The order is manufactured and the operations team arrange freight and shipping directly to the customer. Since COVID-19 and the closure of the factory due to government restrictions, of the 2000 tablets due to be shipped by April 21, only 500 were completed on schedule. In the past, senior executives have met to brainstorm and provide cost estimates for future business models. Options included establishing a second manufacturing facility (estimated cost $5 million), outsourcing manufacturing to a third party (lost margin of $200 per unit sold or $2 million per year assuming 10 000 units are sold), developing a cloud based solution where customers can access the software remotely on their own devices (estimated cost of $2 million), purchasing off the shelf tablets (lost margin of $300 per unit sold or $3 million per year) or repurposing used tablets ($100 per unit sold or $1 million). Recently a decision has been made to start working on a cloud based solution but continuing with the existing model. Operational activities for 2022 are indicated. Responsibility for each area is to be determined based on staff member skill sets or potential. Operational ActivitiesWhenWhoNew activitiesFinalisation of proposal for cloud-based solutionMid 2022To be allocatedResearch into cloud-based solutionMid to end 2022To be allocatedFinalisation of cloud-based solutionJanuary 2023To be allocatedEducationPrepare paper for Global Education ConferenceJanuary 2022To be allocatedSubmit paper for Global Education ConferenceFebruary 2022To be allocatedPresent paper at Global Education ConferenceJanuary 2022To be allocatedImplement new Professional Development system – all staff to identify two PD events of their choice2022To be allocatedEventsIdentify suitable events for 2021, including sustainable opportunities e.g. virtual eventsJanuary 2022To be allocatedOrganise attendance at events, including setting up a standJanuary 2022To be allocatedOngoing activities – focus on 2021Increase the number of customers by 10%2022To be allocatedIdentify and then implement a suitable CRM that can be linked to the ERP and to the Accounts system2022To be allocatedFocus on increasing service satisfaction through help desk support2022To be allocatedIdentify and implement a continuous improvement system2022To be allocatedReview all policies and procedures and update as required – particularly need to focus on formal continuous improvement and innovation systems and processes as this is lacking and so needed in our organisation.2022To be allocated Our people Our people skills are as follows: CEO: Lucas LopezEstablished the company. Social entrepreneur with experience in establishing a number of companies. Spent 10 years working a volunteer in Africa.General Manager: Irene GreenFormer high school principal with a strong social conscience. Member of 2 NGO Board.Sales Manager: Jade SomersStrong sales history having worked in sales roles for the last 15 years. Loves to inspire the sales team to do their best. Always interested in learning and improving skills. Goal for this year is to increase the sales team.Sales Representative: Jay SantosHas been with the company for six months. Jay speaks several languages which assists with communicating with customers in a range of companies.Sales Representative: Jane StoneNew to sales but loves learning. Wants to do more sales training to make sure she can used tried and tested sales methods. Sales Representative: Jala SinghHas been in sales for 10 years, also within the ICT industry. Loves talking to people and has shown himself to be an engaging public speaker at various staff events. Could move more into this promotional/public relations role.IT Manager: Hal HylandJoined the company recently. Has been in the IT industry for 10 years. Interested in cloud technology. Currently studying a Masters of IT part-time.IT Support Officer: Helen HuntStrong experience in IT support for the last 5 years. Good with customers and solving problems. Currently studying a Bachelor of IT part-time. Interested in cloud technology and the power of technology to host virtual events.Help Desk Officer: Hayley HillRecently joined the company. Has an IT background, as well as customer service background. Always puts the customer first. Somewhat frustrated by the rather inefficient systems in place for help desk support.Operations Manager: Albert BidenHighly efficient in organising and scheduling. His background in as a high level public servant.Accounts Officer: Alicia De SouzaAlicia is a trainee also studying accounts administration. She is an excellent team player and already bringing insights to the role.Administration Officer: Alan IbrahimHighly efficient in organising and scheduling. Has a good eye for systems and procedures. A great team player. Studying for a Diploma of Business Administration in his spare time. Financial reporting Policy and Procedures Purpose of the Policy Worlducation will operate in a financially sustainable manner balancing revenue and expenditure. Our financial planning process are as follows: Financial objectives set for each year.Budgets set for each year. Procedures Budgets are set for each applicable department. Budgets are based on expected sales and expenses. Budgets will be set by the finance team. Each manager must review their budget and may contact the finance team for any revisions. They must present a clear argument for any changes. A contingency amount is usually included in each budget to account for unexpected costs. Managers are expected to inform their team of the budget and to provide them with the required resources and systems so as to fulfill their roles. Generally this will include regular meetings to monitor the budget. Team members are expected to report all expenses to managers by providing receipts and so on. Budgets should be monitored by each Manager every month using our accounting system, Xero, to make sure expenses are on track. Where changes are required, the finance team may be contacted to discuss this. This should also include where contingency amounts need to be varied. Each manager must review their budget amount versus actual amount at the end of the reporting period. Variances of up to 5% over budget are acceptable. Differences between actual and budgeted amounts must be described, as well as justifications for such. Information required to complete Section 2 of your Portfolio Innovation report In 20XX Worlducation decided to develop a bespoke software that could be downloaded onto the tablets. This came about through a brainstorming session as part of a staff meeting. Senior management were very enthusiastic about the idea and a contract was immediately awarded to an acquaintance of the CEO to develop the software. The acquaintance happened to be available at that time and so it worked well. The total cost of the project was $50,000 and the development time was 3 months. Projections were that at least 60 organisations would buy it within the first year. The product was launched to market immediately after development. Unfortunately 12 months after launch the software has been purchased by 10 organisations ($1,500 outright purchase price). Of all the customers that bought it, only 1 has not complained about IT issues. Staff survey comments A survey of staff regarding the processes associated with the continuous improvement and innovation process implementation. The comments are outlined below. Experience of the continuous improvement process Sometimes it makes you feel unsettled, so I experience a bit of anxiety. While there is an attempt to communicate by management and to be as open as possible, I still have a fear of the unknown. If I had to pick on one emotion, it’s probably “disillusionment” because at the end of the day, I don’t believe the organisation is being honest with us when it comes to change. I’m scared this continuous improvement system is just an attempt to scrutinise use more closely. I actually love and look forward to the challenges of continuous improvement and innovation. That’s what keeps me vibrant and keeps me interested. So I embrace this with excitement. Change is good. I don’t think I have any reservations so the way I feel about these changes is that I accept it. I am motivated by it. Personally, I get to experience the opportunity to have an impact on an improved way of operating in the organisation. I experienced a lot of different things. I am not sure whether it is disappointment or excitement. I guess it’s more a wait and see approach will lead to a bit of unease and nervousness. Not sure about some of the ideas, could create divisions within the organisation. I think that some people go through varying emotions when they experience change. For me, I am not sure. I don’t know if it has affected me or not at this stage. Resistance to change and new processes I guess I personally haven’t resisted change. There’s no point in resisting change because it is inevitable. The best thing is to try and understand what it is all about and put yourself in the best position to achieve whatever needs to be done. No. I don’t resist change practices because I often do not see the point, particularly in restructures. Management will do whatever they want to do and you just go along with whatever it is they want you to do. I often don’t think there’s necessarily any point in resisting change. I think they employees resist if they don’t understand why we are doing it, that is, change and change management. I think if they understand what we want to achieve, then ‘yes’, they will not resist change and change management. If they don’t understand, then there’s going to be resistance. Why will they want to change if they don’t understand what we are trying to achieve? No, I do not resist change if the change is meaningful and if I understand the purpose for the change. I have had a lot of change in my life and I always like to see the positive in things and see things as a challenge. Likewise, I see change in this organisation as a challenge. Well, no. No, I don’t resist change. I said earlier that change is part of the workforce. It has to be. Different strategies are needed so change is with us. I don’t resist it. Communication I have to say that communication is pretty good. I mean they don’t hide things from you. There needs to be more ways of communicating with staff than meetings and newsletters. I feel that there is good communication within the group There needs to be an open line of communication from top to bottom. We get more information from rumours than we do from bosses and that is something that is sad and not healthy. You need to give employees a general overview of what is happening. I don’t think that all information is presented in an open manner. Quite often one gets the feeling that some decisions already made are being sold to you. So I don’t think this organisation fosters open expression or opinions if your viewpoints happen to differ from those being presented to you. I cannot stress how important communication is and my experience has been that when you are not communicated to truthfully then you do not trust. If your communication channels are open and honest, change is an easy thing. I believe the company does try to be seen to be providing as much communication as it can. There are regular staff meetings. I suppose there is a good flow of communication but whether we can expect what is being told is correct, is true, I am not sure. Communication needs to be timely. Often people with my experience are very aware of changes that are going on a long time before it is formally articulated which leads to a lot of rumours, suppositions and misinformation. So timely communication is a fundamental sort of thing. I think communication can be improved. I have said earlier that there are board, executive and leadership meetings but I am not sure to how well the outcomes of these meetings are communicated throughout the organisation. So perhaps the only weakness that I see in this organisation in terms of change management would be overall communication and consultation. There are pockets of people who do change management very well but I’m not sure that it cascades right down to the bottom levels. People usually hear about the change after the event. They give us information so that they are hoping we’ll make the opinions they want us to make based on the information they provide. They don’t actively seek any feedback from us. I don’t believe they want feedback.
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