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20Jan

Applied Consultancy Project Assignment

Introduction

The aim of the present report is to provide reflection regarding the consultancy project which has been undertaken. Any consultancy project can be defined as the activities which are taken by an independent person or group of people in order to improve performance of organisation. The project under study was related to setup the digital marketing sales process for a client that includes devising the unique product selling process, packaging and developing online sales portal for the company.

This project was undertaken in group where each member of the group was assigned several roles and responsibility to reach the overall objective of the project. The major objective of the project was to develop the online marketing strategy to boost selling for the company products, to devise packaging strategy which is cost effective and can provide better marketing opportunities and finally to develop the online sales portal which can make selling process easy.

In the present reflection journal has been made on the consultancy project which has given opportunity to learn several aspects of the management consultancy process. This report would enlist all the major learning which has been made during the project initiating from the consultancy process, team learning, leadership skills and project management process as well. Also success factors which have lead to the achievement of objectives in the project would be cited and unsuccessful factors would be analyzed in order to make improvements in future for such projects. Finally conclusion would be drawn from the overall reflection process and recommendations would be forwarded in order to enhance the future learning process.

Key learning through project

This consultancy project has immense importance for our academic as well as practical learning purpose. This project provides us valuable opportunity to sense the working process followed in the real world and provide us firsthand experience of the corporate world during our study time. At one side this project provides us opportunity to learn practical application of several academic concepts such as the project management, marketing strategies and we portal development. Also at other side there are many key learning through the project which relates to the soft skills which are also an important part of the overall personality development for a manager (Barnett, 1998). Hence the key learning from the project can be divided into two main parts; one would be related to the practical application learning for the marketing, project management and IT concept learned during the course. While second part, would relate to personality development process which is of immense importance for any manager.

Academic learning

The ultimate aim of the project was to develop the unique strategic marketing for the product which includes sensing the market and devising suitable marketing strategy. Also developing packaging strategy as it is an important part in the overall marketing strategy of the organization. This project has helped me to learn real application of the several academic concepts and field which can be given as below:

  • Project management: This consultancy project help us to undertake the project as a whole where specific objectives were assigned for the project. We were assigned a time frame within which these objectives were to be met and also the overall project was to be managed for several resource constraints (Bines & Watson, 1992). Similar to the project we have divided the whole group into small teams and every individual were assigned specific roles and responsibility which were to be fulfilled. From the first group meeting itself we have assigned roles and responsibility for each member for which they would be responsible. As a project manager, I have co-ordinated the overall project by understanding the project requirement in terms the project objectives, to understand resource constraints in terms of money, time and human resource. Also this project has involved not only project management by application of several other functional aspects such as the marketing management, information system management and financial management which need to be managed in a way that each functional objective does not contradict with one another and all functions work in synchronisation to achieve project objectives.
  • Marketing management: The project relates to devising marketing methodology for selling the product through different channels so as to build an integrated marketing programme. In group meeting held on 30th may we have decided for four major marketing strategies that would be used to sell product. This activity has helped me to apply the marketing concepts learned during course and now as per the market requirement and product portfolio I have learned to devise the marketing strategies (Barlow et al, 2000). With the help of marketing concept learned four major marketing strategies that would be used in present project would be GP, retailers, internet selling and society. Development of such marketing strategies would help me in working on such marketing strategies on future assignments. Packaging strategy is an important part of the overall marketing mix of the organization hence in order to make the product look attractive specific packaging strategy was devised with keeping two factors in mind i.e. the economic cost of the packaging and usability of the packaging. Hence the present project helped me to understand the importance of packaging in overall marketing strategy of the organisation and also efficient packaging strategy devising was also learnt with the help of present project.
  • Research methodology: Another major part of the overall consultancy project was to develop research methods which can help in order to devise the marketing strategy and online portal for enabling online sales for the company. Hence an exploratory research method was utilised which helped in collected primary data with the help of questions designed and conducted the interview. With the help of primary data and conclusions which were drawn through primary data, resulting marketing strategies were devised for the organization keeping in mind the market in which company is dealing and product portfolio of the company (Boyd & Fales, 1983). Hence this project helped me to learn complete research methodology process starting from taking decision about kind of research to be performed, designing data collection method, collecting primary data through questionnaire and making interpretation with the help of primary data so as to devise marketing strategy.
  • Information technology portal development: This consultancy project has also involved development of an online sales portal which would be used for selling the products. A company portal was developed from beginning which contains all the details about company and its products. In order to attract the customer towards the products of the company all the product details were available and instructions were given about the products. During initial design of the company website we have faced several issues as the customers were not able to buy products online but later on we have added the functionality where in customers can get all required information and they can buy the products through online portal itself (Brockbank & McGill, 1998). Though developing online sales portal was not related with the course domain but this activity has helped me to learn very essential component of the today’s marketing strategy. As most of the organisations are selling through their online sales portal. Hence by developing online sales portal I have learned various issues which can be faced during the design of sales portal and features which can be added so as to enhance the overall value of the sales portal. This learning would help me in my future assignments as it is one of the vital parts of any consultancy project.
  • Operation management: The consultancy project has also involved concepts related with the operation management. This project has implemented some of the most useful operation management concepts such as the just in time strategy for implementing the lowest inventory system. Through this project we have implemented a practical JIT system where in we have managed least possible inventory so as to reduce overall cost of the organisation. Such operation management skills would help in enhancing the overall efficiency of the system hence developing some of the efficient systems such as JIT and Kanban systems (Beech, 2002). Though we have learned these operation management concepts during our course but in order to deeply understand these concepts it is important to sense the real application of the operation management concepts with the help of implementing these concepts in a project. This project has given us the opportunity where in we have implemented JIT by reducing inventory and  decision making about the procurement process so that minimum possible inventory can be stored at the warehouse and at the same time overall cost for moving inventory from one place to another should also be minimum so that overall cost for the company can be reduced.
  • Literature development: For carrying out the whole consultancy project we have to understand and practically implement so many different business functions and their key concepts which helped me to develop better literature. During working on the current consultancy project we have dealt in depth several literature concepts such as marketing management, operation management, information technology management and research methodology as well (Harvey and Knight, 1996). As per the meeting held on 30th may some of the major literature which was dealt for project was related with the BCG matrix which has helped to develop the marketing strategy to be used. We have analysed BCG matrix in terms of market share and market growth. There are several strategies which were analysed such as the cash cow, dogs, question mark and stars. Hence based on the market share and market growth obtained in a particular market we have developed the marketing strategy for the organisation. Other than BCG matrix we have dealt with other marketing concept such as internet marketing which is an important part of the overall project, marketing of new product and marginal costing etc. All these concepts have helped to make our understanding better about the literature by practically using all these concepts.

Soft skills

Apart from academic developments consultancy project undertaken by us has helped in order to develop the soft skills which are necessary for any business manager. There are several key soft skills which have been learnt during the project such as the team work and co-ordination, leadership skills, critical problem solving and brainstorming and presentation skills.

  • Leadership: This project has provided me the opportunity to prove myself as a key business leader who can lead the business team in order to meet the business objectives of the organisation (Kleiner and Roth, 1997). During the project I have worked as the leader and used the human resource as per their capability. In order to achieve business objectives various group members were assigned their roles and responsibilities as per their capability. As a leader it was a great experience as I also learn to make decisions which needs to be made in business organisation which are related with the business strategy to be adopted for the organisation.
  • Team working and co-ordination: For completion of any group task it is important to have group understanding and synchronisation. A team which work in harmony with each other so as to achieve their objective can only be successful. In similar way during the project we have faced so many difficulties which have been dealt with group co-ordination and synchronisation which has our task easy (Mezirow, 1981). In order to work in harmony in a group it is essential to resolve various intergroup disputes and it is the responsibility of the leader to clearly assign roles and responsibility of each member. In case roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined it becomes really difficult to work in a group as group members can’t be held responsible for any work and for them also it becomes difficult to understand their job role in whole project.
  • Problem solving skill: For any project there are several difficulties which needs to be dealt wisely as problem solving would always be involved in any task. For this project also from time to time many problems have evolved which required systematic problem solving (Moon, 1999). Hence we have learnt systematic problem solving skills through the project. In case of any problem encountered during the project we have analysed the problem, after analysis of the problem various available options were found out and each available options was explored for suitability in given condition. Finally among all the available options one option was adopted which was capable to resolve the issue in best possible way.
  • Presentation skills & public speaking: Consultancy project involved research work in the area of marketing and information technology and putting these findings into a framework to resolve the issue faced. After resolving the issues key findings of the project need to be presented so as to prove validity of the project. Hence presentation has been prepared with the help of findings of the research and this presentation has been presented to tutor and other classmates which has helped me to develop skills of public speaking and good presentation (Rickards, 1997). These presentation process and public speaking is a key part of the business manager everyday schedule hence development of this skill would help me to excel in my corporate life.

Future personal need identification

Though the present work undertaken has helped me to take firsthand experience of the corporate world and understand various business concepts with the help of their practical application but still there are several personal needs has been identified with the help of this project. This project has realised me to develop various personal business skills which would be of immense importance for my future growth and career. Though this project has been completed by using academic and soft skill which leads to develop business skills in me but still I require better soft skills so as to deal with such projects in future. Also working on similar projects in future would help in developing better professional skills regarding such business projects.

Key factors which lead to success

Success of any business project would involve working in synchronisation for several business aspects. For success of this project many aspects have worked successfully such as the development of the online sales portfolio which has been developed with joining both information technology and marketing strategies. Other than development of the information technology portal devising of marketing strategy has also proved a key success factor in the project (Schon, 1991). In order to assign the marketing strategy for the project various key marketing strategies have been explored and out of the available marketing strategies based on the required strategy has been developed. This project has been supported by the academic learning which have proved key success factor as the various concepts learnt in the coursework has helped me to implement them into the project to resolve the issues faced in the project. Also in addition to the academic learning process it was the group co-ordination and group learning process which helped us to excel in the overall project. Group working process helped us to learn several new things and achieve overall project objectives which were key part of the project.

Unsuccessful areas

During the project there were several areas which were unsuccessful during execution of the project and have created difficulties in order to complete the project. This project has involved devising marketing strategy and development of the online sales portal. But due to technical skills unavailability and resource constraints we were not able to develop the sales portal which can be used in order to sell the products directly through the online portal (Buelens, 2002). Hence in order to implement the marketing strategy which has been developed but these marketing strategies are not implemented due to unsuccessful online sales portal.

Summary and Conclusion

The present reflection report has emphasised on the key learning which has been done through the consultancy project undertaken during the coursework. This consultancy project was done as a part of the course and helped us to provide an excellent opportunity to work in group and develop a real time project where in we have to devise marketing strategy for the company, to develop information portal for online sales and to develop the inventory management system for the company so that minimum inventory can be managed to reduce the cost. This project helped us to utilise learning of academic subjects such as the marketing management, information technology and operation management etc. Other than the academic learning present assignment helped me to gain the soft skills such as team working, leadership and presentation skills which would help me in my corporate life. Hence this project was of ample importance for me looking at the academic learning and soft skill learning which would help me in future.

Recommendation or alternative course of action to improve project delivery

The present project was taken by me and my group successfully but there are several recommendations which can be forwarded based on the present project completion which would help in coming projects. These recommendations would help in providing alternative course of action which would have improved the project delivery:

  • Project should have been done in the real exposure of the organisation so that better implementation and application can be judged
  • A professional guide should have been allotted to the project so that project delivery can be improved
  • Time to time project review should have been done so that project progress can be judged and in case there are any limitations these can be improved
  • In order to develop the marketing strategy for the product test marketing plan should have been developed first and tested for success
  • Implementation of JIT system could have been improved with better demand forecasting tools.  

References

  • Barnett, R. (1998) Higher Education: A Critical Business, Milton Keynes: SRHE and Open University Press.
  • Bines H., & Watson D., 1992, Developing Professional Education, The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press, Buckingham
  • Bourner, T., O’Hara, S., & Barlow, J., 2000, ‘Only Connect: Facilitating Reflective Learning with Statements of Relevance’, Innovations in Education and Training International, 31,1, pp 68-75.
  • Boyd, E.M., & Fales, A.W., 1983, Reflective learning: key to learning from experience, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 23 (2), pp 99-117
  • Brockbank A., McGill, I., 1998, Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education, Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press
  • Brockbank A., McGill, I., and Beech, N., 2002, Reflective Learning in Practice, Gower, Aldershot.
  • Harvey, L., and Knight, P., 1996, Transforming Higher Education, SRHE/OUP, Buckingham.
  • Kleiner A., and Roth G., 1997, ‘How to make experience your company’s best teacher’, Harvard Business Review, September-October 1997, pp. 172-177
  • Mezirow J. 1981, A critical theory of adult learning and education, Adult Education 32 (1), pp. 3-24
  • Moon, J.A., 1999, Reflection in learning and professional development, Theory& Practice, Kogan Page, London