Develop a tree diagram that captures the major organizational features and issues. How could this diagram help Trendy develop a three- to five-year strategic plan for CDG?

Part 1

The Creative Design Group (CDG) designs brochures for companies, trade groups, and associations. Their emphasis on customer service is based on speed, quality, creativity, and value. They want each brochure to “wow” the customer in its design, meet or exceed the preparation deadline, and be of superior quality at a reasonable price. Value is emphasized over price, because the president, Trendy Art, believes that CDG’s experienced staff should emphasize high quality and creativity instead of price. They accomplish their primary objectives 97 percent of the time.

To carry out their objectives, the small company has four designers, a customer service/estimator (CSE), and Trendy, who is the creative director and strategic visionary. The work environment, in a converted garage behind Trendy’s house, features modern (though not always state-of-the-art) computer hardware and software, excellent lighting, and modern communications for sending design documents to clients and printers. Designers generally work independently of each other, consulting with the CSE about requests for status updates or client-initiated changes. They also consult with Trendy, who signs off on the creative design, after consultation with each client. A casual dress code and work policies, and a number of perks for workers, such as health insurance, flextime, generous vacation and sick leave benefits, a 401(k) retirement plan, and competitive wages have, in the past, made it easy to attract and retain talented people. However, with fewer talented people graduating from design schools in the area, and more competitive firms bidding up salaries, turnover has become an issue.

The CSE, Green Ishied, is the contact point for all projects, which may number 10–20 active at any one time. He must ensure that projects are carefully estimated and prepare proposals, track progress of each project, and communicate with clients on status and change requests. He is also responsible for advertising and promotion of the firm.

Trendy’s husband, Hy, is a CPA and part-time accountant for the company. He noticed recently that costs are increasing, the percentage of their bids accepted is decreasing, and the ROI is slipping.

Assignment: Develop an affinity diagram that captures the major organizational features and issues. How could this diagram help Trendy develop a three- to five-year strategic plan for CDG?

Part 2

Given the situation in Part 1, Trendy determined several long-range objectives, among which are outdistancing the competition so as to grow the business by 10 percent per year for each of the next five years (a 61 percent compound growth rate), and adding a new designer every two years. These factors should be the key ingredients for her goal of increasing her profitability by 10 percent per year. To accomplish her objectives, she must deal with the two major issues of the increasing competition and employee recruitment and retention in order to develop effective action plans to support her long-range plan.

Assignment: Develop a tree diagram, starting with “Develop action plans” as the main theme. At the next level, include the two main issues. One, for example is, “Develop a plan to meet competition.” Then break out each of the issues into two or three feasible proposals, such as “Make advertising more effective,” under the previous item of “Develop a plan to meet competition.” Finally, add another level of specificity with two to four items, such as: “Place ads in business newspaper,” “Redesign Web page,” and so on, under the “Make advertising more effective” item.

Part 3

Using the results of Parts 1 and 2 of the case, Trendy Art decided that, along with improving her recruiting processes for new and replacement hiring, it was time to replace the computer system with state-of-the-art hardware and software. Knowing that no one at CDG had the expertise to design the type of system that they needed, Trendy looked around, analyzed three competing firms’ proposals, and finally settled on Creative Computer Group (CCG) to act as consultants and system integrators. Before signing the contract, Trendy decided to ask Hy and Green Ishied (the CSE) to meet with her and the CEO of CCG to clarify the system design requirements and the wording of the contract.

Trendy, Hy, and Green all agreed that the system needed to be completely integrated, with the capability to gather cost and scheduling data directly from the designers, and to produce all necessary business reports, as well as having graphics capability. Both cost and design information would have to be available to everyone in the firm. Therefore, the network should be capable of interfacing both Macintosh and PC desktops via USB connections, with common printers. It should also provide for high bandwidth Internet access and capability to send and receive graphic and text data files. Charlie Nerd, the president of CCG, said that all of those requirements could be met by the system that he would design. Because it was such an important project for his company, he would personally be the project manager for the installation and testing of the new system. After outlining the plans for the system, Charlie asked if they had any questions. Trendy, Hy, and Green had no immediate questions, but promised to get back to Charlie with a few within three days.

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