Sunday, December 12, 2004

Final Installment: Change written by Ryan Schulke & Ana Rodriguez


As stated in chapter 12, in Organizational Communication for Survival: Making Work, Work change is one of the most difficult things to achieve in organizations. In order to establish a better system of communication for Schick-Wilkinson, there must be a set plan to inform and demonstrate to employees the benefit that will be gained by implementing new communication technologies. This can be done in by providing on hand workshops educating and training employees how to use wikis, weblogs and aggregators. This is essential for employees. If employees are not used to these types of communication systems, they must be learned and fully understood. By doing so, we improve the chances for successful change immensely. We must also inform all personnel of how these changes will affect their status, workload, and salary in the company. If no changes are to occur, we must still notify all employees of how they will be affected. Contributors of Projekt Love talk about Karl Weick comments of information systems. He states " Simply pushing harder within the old boundaries will not do." In order to make changes happen we must motivate and almost campaign these new ideas so that they are accepted and hopefully successful with the organization. The authors of our textbook, Virginia P. Richmond and James C. McCroskey, state the five stages for implementing change are as follows:

1. Knowledge
2. Persuasion
3. Decision
4. Implementation
5. Confirmation

Richmond and McCroskey state that adoption or rejection occur during the decision stage. They also emphasize that there must be there are six conditions necessary for successful change. These six conditions are crucial to make changes possible with the organization and make then permanent as well. The six conditions are as follows:

1. The system must have, or create, slack sources. Slack sources are resources that are made available by the company but not allocated. These resources can be finances, personnel time, space, etc.
2. The new idea must be supported by both the formal and the informal leaders in the organization. The CEOs, presidents, vice presidents, and various head of departments must support the idea of change and help motivate workers to accept new ideals.
3. Persons implementing the change should be involved in the change process. For example, those supporting the change should be the ones to educate, inform, and train other employees.
4. The change must be adapted to each specific organization. Every company works differently and so does each department. Therefore, the new plan must be adapted differently for each department and their needs.
5. The change must show obvious and positive results quickly. Soon after the change or new plan has been implementing, the results must be visible to employees and the benefits should be clearly understood and appreciated.
6. The change must be implemented in a carefully organized and gradual manner. Steps must be taken to ensure a smooth and easy transition from the old system to the new system.

Schick-Wilkinson, works on a very simple hierarchy of employees. For example, at the top of the list for North America Sales and leadership is:

• President and CEO
• Chief Marketing officer and vice president of North America
• Vice president of Sales for North America

Following the chain are a series of executives and directors, who share the same authority and power for each individual department. However, report directly to the top three.

• Executive director
• customer team director for new business, and customer team director for national grocery
• customer team director for drug channel, and director of customer development
• customer team director of mass & club channel, director demand management
• customer team director regional grocery channel, director of customer planning & promotion

The directors and executives of Schick-Wilkinson, manage and coordinate the work of several other employees. However, no one single department is isolated from the other in its effect. They must all share information and knowledge to make work possible for each department. One way of helping communicate the daily activities of each department is to have the executive or director of each department post daily or weekly notices in a weblog created for this particular department of the company. Each weblog will allow users to link to other weblog, one for each branch of the company, and to access the main general website of the company. This set up with an aggregator system will help both executives, directors, and employees are aware of the daily or weekly progress of each individual department of the company. This type of information can be very helpful when developing strategies for improvement and advancement. This will also help employees move away from the use of voice mail and email systems that can lead to redundancy and noise in the network.


There are approximately nine major departments of the company.

• North America Sales and Leadership
• North America Customer Development
• North America Customer Planning & Promotion
• North America sales Demand Management
• North America Sales Mass/Club Channel
• North America Sales Drug Channel
• North America Sales National Grocery Channel
• North America Sales Regional Grocery Channel
• North America Sales Emerging Channels

As of now, all these departments communicate only through email and voice mail. This type of communication system for such an elaborate company only limits the possibilities for growth and the understanding of all employees of how the company functions. Each department has a hierarchy of employees similar to the one described above. The main purpose of creating a network of weblogs for each department is to create a link, department to department, employee to employee. This expands the network and reduces the workload for employees by allowing them to communicate with specific individual employees rather then going through the hierarchy. It can help motivate movement and make access to essential information quicker and easier to access. Another suggestion is to set up an online catalog of the products and services that Schick-Wilkinson carries. This online catalog should be part of the website and weblogs. It can be a great sales tool for employees and help clients manage their accounts more effectively.


There are many ways to accelerate growth through advanced communication methods. Differsifying Schick's techniques help to expand our reach in the market. As Bianca states in her project, there is a problem of information being distributed to individuals, which could be better off serving the organization as a whole. With one common board to post information that is useful for everyone, we simplify the communication process and quicken progress.

The use of text messaging will help groups working more intimately (smart mobs) to correlate their plans in an instant. Again, we are simplifying and in doing so, becoming more efficient. As the Hudak Project suggested "for smart mobs, using text messaging or instant messages can be for rescheduling or verifying a meeting."

We hope the changes initiated by this new system of communications will help to spark energy and new thought in the workplace. Being a stagnant and silent number 2 competitor to Gillette has finally changed thanks to our new innovations (see Intuition & Quattro), now we must capitalize on this opportunity by continuing to emphasize progress. New efficient forms of communicating in the workplace can lead to exciting new prospects for our organization. We hope to spark this momentum quickly as possible.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Installment 2: Redundancy and noise

Implementing these new communication techniques will not necessarilly be a simple task. We must rely on employees to remember to use our new devices as effectively as possible. These new ploys will be of no use to the company if they are not used to full capacity. Redundancy is the idea that the more our new communication devices are promoted the more they will be employed.

Noise is characterized by the external distractions that can be problematic for a new system. This can stem from other employees expressing their discontents with the new devices, confusion in the system, or problems with system itself. Learning to operate under these types of conditions can be helpful in making the system stronger, and we must strive towards this goal. In any working environment there will be problems with distractions, it is learning to overcome these distractions that seperates a successful organization from an unsuccessful one.

Change is an important and difficult process for any organization to undergo. We will have to anticipate some resistance and comprehension problems with certain employees. Projekt Love points out that change can bring out feelings of anxiety and frustration with workers and this can stand to lower productivity. Schick will have to set up an education program for workers that are having difficulty operating the new technology.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Schick-Wilkinson Sword - Installment 2

Requisite Variety - Diversifying our tactics in order to broaden our sales scope we must diversify from within as well as externally. Schick’s internal communication system is largely limited to e-mail. In order to have employees thinking outside of the box and experimenting with new sales and marketing techniques wikis should be implemented as a means of connecting the entire company, as earlier stated.

However, perhaps this is not enough. Many companies, including Schick use task groups in order to work on special assignments. I would like to make up a task group of employees with similar positions at every Schick location worldwide. They would be able to post ideas and messages on separate "private wikis" that could be viewed by people in their own field worldwide. This might inspire new thinking and fresh ideas. It will also give employees a sense of companionship with others in their field, while at the same time sparking a certain amount of competition that will encourage productivity. Seeing more individuals whom are devoted to the same tasks as themselves, employees might be given a heightened sense of responsibility and respect for their position.

Also, as earlier stated, along with e-mail the company relies heavily on voice mail to receive messages. I find voice mails to be a hindrance, there is a lack of interface, and after you’ve said something there is no way to change it, other than calling that person back and leaving them another voice message. To listen to voice mails is a process in and of itself. Dialing the phone number, typing the code, deleting and saving messages; plus there is the occurrence of static and outside noise, which sometimes make them difficult to understand. In all of these ways, e-mail is much more efficient than using voice mail. The only major advantage to using voice mail over e-mail are the mobile capabilities.

With this being said, I would like to include a text messaging system on all company cellular phones. Text messaging is fast, cheap and effective. Those proficient at text messaging (as all our employees will become) can rely messages back and forth with others more than twice the speed of voice mail. There is much less room for error or message disruption as compared to voice mail. Storage capacity and retrieval are also more efficient with text messaging devices.

The law of requisite variety tells us that if we wish to diversify in the outside world, we must diversify from within. Retailers are looking for fresh thinking and new methods of getting to customers. In order to think outside the box we must change from within. In order to expand out into the market and reach more customers we must first be able to expand our communication capabilities within the company.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Schick-Wilkinson Sword: Installment 1

Schick-Wilkinson Sword is an international organization recently acquired by the Energizer Company from Pfizer in 2002. They are a twenty share in the United States razor market, which is far shot second to the market leader, Gillette (owned by Duracell). They have picked up about 5 points over the last three years in the multi-billion dollar industry thanks to their new innovations, Intuition and Quattro, the world's first ever 4-bladed razor. The media has dubbed Schick's first attempt to beat Gillette to the market with new technology as the "Razor War". Schick was actually the premiere razor big shot since the industrial revolution, as they mass produced the world's first ever two-bladed razor before the arrival of Gillette. However, since the era of the Mach 3, Gillette has taken on a sizable growth over Schick, which has been a passive number two competitor for over the last decade.

Time is money for a growing company trying to make a run at their industry competition, so by communicating more efficiently I feel Schick can shave a few dollars off of their expenditures, increasing profits. As Michelle, who is reviewing Hall, Kistler & Co. LLP, stated "a company must be open to change if they want to keep ahead in their industry."

The first objective is to get to the retailers. This is a task for the sales department, and indeed is the most important process to undergo. Marketing is important, but unless the product is on the shelves, no one is making money. Over 40% of Schick's total U.S. income is derived from Wal-Mart. This gives Wal-Mart an unprecedented foothold in our success. The simple fact that Schick can really only do as good as Wal-Mart is something that we mush focus on, and change. Wal-Mart is an important client and will always be the most important, with over 100 million customers walking through its doors every year, however we must diversify our product flow in order to reach different demographics and new money.

Here are our largest customers in order of revenue spent...

If we are able to have an increased, more efficient flow of communication between these primary customers we will be able to do damage. Wal-Mart has recently developed a strategy called predictive sales; I've posted a portion of the NY Times article, which details the strategy on my study guide blog for those of you that would like to see. During the hurricane season this year in Florida the method worked to a "T" thanks to flawless counts of data and good timing. Wal-Mart found out that before a hurricane the sales of strawberry pop-tarts increased 7 times its normal capacity. And while many people might believe that water would be the top seller among pre-hurricane goods, it was actually beer. So as the hurricane began to head towards the coast of Florida with about one week until landfall, trucks packed full of toaster treats and twelve packs headed out to every Wal-Mart in Florida and along the coastline. The profits for this period were unprecedented, and I suggest that Schick do the same.

While we may not have the capacity to record the same amount of data as Wal-Mart, (which by expert analysis contains twice the amount of data as the internet itself) Schick must step up its market research approach in order to know what the customer is going to do, before they do it. By linking up with our major clients and giving them access to this information we will be able to increase their profits as well as our own. As earlier stated, the prime objective is to get to the retailers. We will have to change our org. flow chart so that we have the market research department working more closely with both our sales department as well as our prime clients like Wal-Mart and CVS.

Schick relies heavily on e-mail and voice mail forwarding to send messages. I intend to diversify our communication methods so that the entire company can be more quickly informed on a larger scale. Since the vast majority of our product is produced in China any type of delayed information (especially pertaining to product in stock and product on shelves) hurts us in a large way. When the Quattro first hit the shelves there was an error in inventory count which cost the company millions due to the fact we were forced to ship needed product by air instead of waterways. This type of communication breakdown is unacceptable and we must better our techniques in order to prevent this from happening in the future.

Wiki's are the big up and comer in intercorporate communication. Disney and Kodak are a couple of the pioneers that switched over to these "message boards", which allow everyone the opportunity to post messages and information on one organized page. Instead of sending the message out to everyone, we send everyone to the message.

As we know from chapter 12, communication and change, problems might present themselves with this new method of communicating. Some employess may not take the time to understand how to use the wikis and others may opt not to try at all. It will be necessary to illustrate the importance that everyone use the new system as we are a quickly growing organization with new needs. Without all nodes connecting to our main node (the wiki board) there will be a communication break, resulting in lost productivity.

The yearly National Sales Convention at Milford, Connecticutt is the most important communication period for the company. Employees from every region of the U.S. come together to outline the next year's plan and agenda. This is where we must introduce the new communication system, so that its importance in emphasized.

Chapter 14 deals with conflict in communication. A lot of the conflict that presents itself on the corporate level deals with people undermining each other's ideas. As Imbie stated, "to agree or not to agree, that is the question." While it is okay to disagree, problems do arise if people feel they are undermined by co-workers. With a wiki board everyone is able to post their own ideas and take credit for them. There is no classic example of Roger has a great idea for the company, but then Bill takes credit for it in front of the big boss. Employess can openly express their ideas for the company without worried about being undermined making the workplace a more productive environment.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


This is the project section. I don't know if I really have a favorite site but check this one out anyways.