Golden Arcs is a foods service company that serves the Britain market, with headquarters in Manchester and branches in 13 other towns around the country. Formed 15 years ago, the company specializes in outside catering for events and special occasions, as well as operating a bakery and restaurant at their physical locations. The company has managed to establish itself as a huge player in the as a dominant player in the small to medium level events hosting of between 20 to 500 people.
The company has a total of 153 full time employees, with 278 part-time workers and a total of 85 private contractors. Matt Kenton, a life-long hospitality professional and a graduate of the London School of Hospitality, is the founder and the current CEO of the company. The management consists of a team of Managers for each of the 13 branches, as well as overall executive officers for operations, finance, procurement and human resource management of the overall company. The branches operate semi-independently of the headquarters, with some operations such as accounting and some recipes being done there then distributed to branches in an as-needed basis.
The purpose of Golden Arcs, as stated in the company charter, is to ensure that customers receive the highest quality of catering and food services. Health considerations and reliability are the pillars of the outside catering services for the firm, with the restaurant and cake shops being designed to deliver the best dining experiences possible.
Since its establishment, the companys strategy has been providing quality food services and products at the lowest price possible, healthy and nutritional meals as opposed to calorie-filled junk food and quickness of services. The company leadership has created a friendly working community where workers are free to interact with each other at a personal level. The insistence on strong interpersonal relationships creates a homely work environment that seeks to ensure that workers work at their highest potential.
Fifteen years ago, as he was starting the business, Matt Kenton did not have a much of an idea on what Knowledge Management in a business is. What he wanted to create was a business in which new employees would be trained by more established workers in the company on how to perform various tasks and responsibilities at the workplace. Handling of complicated event demands that sometimes require unique menus for each guest, packaging and logistics of prepared dishes as they are transported to the venues and unique recipes is part of the knowledge that must be imparted to new employees upon joining the workplace.
The knowledge management system that works at the company is focused more on the sharing of information with new employees, and making new information on policies available for all. Information homogeneity is a principle that is actively pursued at the company and all of its branches, and it applies for policy communication, business decisions as well as grapevine with all employees being expected to help pass the word along to their colleagues. Long-time employees are considered a hive of information by the newly-employed workers, and mentorship is enthusiastically encouraged.
For easier monitoring of operations in the different outlets, the company recently had a company portal designed. This portal helps the management monitor operations from a central position, with an all-knowing database at hand. All full-time employees are expected to log into their portals at the start of the work day and keep them logged on all day. Communication is made through the portals through-out the day on ongoing event hosting exercises as well as official announcements. The company utilizes Information Technology tools within the company, because interestingly enough, no social media tools were established to boost the efforts of the portal that is used for internal communication.
To make decisions on product designs, new menus and recipes, as well as business policies, the company relies on business partners, suppliers and customers. This information is the evaluated internally and proposals formed on how to act on it, with the top-level management being responsible for the final policies formulated from the information. The use of information from existing customers and business partners is a good idea, but more comprehensive market information is necessary for more effective policy and decision making.
The knowledge management of Golden Arcs Catering is limited by the focus on internal knowledge at the cost of external knowledge of the customer base and market trends, which have left them stagnated with the same products for too long. According to Choi, Poon & Davis, (2008), the information to be inculcated into the Knowledge Management strategy should include both the tacit-internal that pertain to the business information-sharing among the company employees, and explicit-external which is focused on getting a good understanding of factors outside the business that impact business activities.
Another limitation of the strategy is the lack of social media strategy in the current age of internet-centric knowledge management strategies. According to Gaal, Szabo, Csepregi, et al, (2015), the disruptions that are being brought about by tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube should be utilized by businesses to establish a closer relationship with the market for better information gathering. Operating in the foods industry, where the customers wellbeing is directly affected by the quality of services, it is especially critical for Golden Arcs to create a social media presence that will allow them gather information directly from customers, more so for the sake of new customers. The type of information to be gathered online should be changes in diet trends, market needs and health concerns.
Knowledge Management is paramount for a business to survive in fast-changing environments, as well as effectiveness in economic activities for profitability, (Yates & Paquette, 2010, Pp6). The model of Knowledge Management proposed for Golden Arcs is based on tacit knowledge at four levels. The four levels of information are the individual, the small group, the organization and the inter-organization domain, (Hedlund, 1994, Pp 73). The four-levels comprise of the internal strategy of KM, which is just one half of Choi, Poon & Davis (2008) proposition for more comprehensiveness in both internal and external sources for knowledge on which to base the strategy on.
Other aspects of effective knowledge management such as Montano, Liebowitz, Buchwalter, et al, (2001) system of creating a much bigger context of thought for better understanding and Choi & Lee, (2002) format of greater focus on creation of knowledge will also be inculcated into the strategy.
Every company is comprised of the individual at the lowest level of organization, from which departments, divisions and whole workforces are made up of. The individual as a part of the knowledge management strategy entails making know-how available to all employees such that they are able to work at their most productive level possible. With all individuals engaged in business activities of the company as knowledgeable as possible on their tasks and responsibilities, the organization becomes saturated with actionable knowledge, (Hedlund, 1994).
For Golden Arcs, the KM strategy should stratify information and prioritize the type of knowledge that every employee receives to make it suited to their roles in the company. The portal should be fragmented according to the type of work for which an employee uses it. The kitchen staff should access a database that gives them information on planned recipes for a particular day, the clientele specifications on meals and menus, and trends identified in the foods industry. This will make it easier for them to upgrade their cuisines as necessary, as well as identifying trends and market behavior at certain times, holidays and events. Giving them information on the financial trends of the food industry or tips on hosting events for less than 200 people, for example, does little to improve their quality of work.
The same applies to all other staff, knowledge relevant to the tasks done at the workplace is more important than generic information to all members of staff, from which concerned individuals are expected to glean off the knowledge required to enable them perform better. This also fulfills the role of a KM strategy to boost effectiveness and profitability for the business.
The small group fits right in with the individual, being the pool of knowledge from individuals engaged in similar activities. These groups are the divisions and departments from which employees engage in business activities that directly impact the business operations of a company. The group is the placement of knowledge in a larger context for better understanding and recognition, Liebowitz, Buchwalter, et al, (2001) in a manner that enables the institution to function better.
Golden Arcs should organize staff in departments and establish them as hotspots of information for their particular departments, such as catering staff, kitchen staff, logistics, accounts and such groupings. The portal can be segmented in such a way that every department is allocated space to create a database of information for their staff, which will in turn be converted into knowledge that can inform decisions, allow the business to function more efficiently and thus increase the profitability. Exchange of knowledge is also a vital aspect of knowledge management. (Gaal, Szabo, Csepregi, et al, 2015, Pp187).
The company should put in place strong training programs to train new employees on the nitty-gritty of business operations that have been ingrained in business activities over time. Such hacks are such things as special packaging of food to avoid smashing, special recipes that are a specialty of the company and other such information. The training can be done from the orientation all through their work until such a time as when they can be considered to be up-to par.
Organizational domains are the highest level of information that is pertinent to the whole institution, which encompasses all departments and individuals within it. Knowledge that falls under this category includes company strategy, policy decisions, market analysis, and financial information, among others. The organization as a domain for knowledge management encompasses the tacit-internal factors, with the top management staff being the senior-most authority. Access to some of the more sensitive information should be limited to the policy makers in order to establish a status quo.
Golden Arcs current knowledge management system is developed around the organization, making information homogenous to every employee. This lack of information stratification gives too much information to employees, some of which does not improve their ability to perform their jobs in any way. The new KM strategy should focus more on information in an as-needed basis. A hierarchy of information should be established, such that employees access personal information, departmental and then company information as determined by the Information office. Depending on the level of clearance of the employee, policy information can be made accessible up the chain of command.
For inter-organizational domain, information on the industry is exchanged between businesses that comprise of the industry. At this level, the economies of depth should be applied, whereby players in the industry should target to have the most detailed possible information on trends in the industry. Top-management is supposed to ensure that the m...
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