The Application Of Production Skills In The Management Of Business Organization To Gain Competitive Advantage
Production skills is a basic element in maintaining the production capacity of an organization is an important function in any production organization. The reprocess of any organization is made up of both it’s human and material assets, which are the source of generating revenue and growth. A great deal of production skills, is required to harness both the human, machine, materials, money, and assets of a production firm, and stay on top of the business, been a competitive market. Where there are various competitors in the market, the production manager should posses production skills to enable him outsmart other competitors in the market where materials, plants, and machineries are ignored, neglected, they are bound to loose values, and in some cases it lead to high staff turnover and eventually lost of product quality. Lost of sales, lack of workers safety, and at times can even lead to the winding up of such firms, without production skills. Emphasis will be on how these skills can sustain and develop more features to remain on top, or gain competitive advantage. It is also be noted that lack of skills, can make an industry run into a great downfall to an extent of winding up. This research work will be important to coach and train workers for them to become skilled and enable them to be the best in other to be at advantage over their competitors.
1.1 Background of the Study
Production skills (defined)
Industries and business organization be it private or public, have one thing in common, the human workforce, this could confidently be said, that organization, will not exist without its human resources, since a business organization cannot even start without a workforce, and effective and efficient skills, will gear the ability of the organization to stand out among its competitors.
Production control is defined by Burbidge (1992). In his book the principles of production control, “Is the function of management which plans, directs and controls the material supply and processing activities of an enterprise, so that the specified products are produced. By specific methods to meet an approved sales programme. These activities being carried out in such a manner that the labour, plant and capital available are used to the best advantage.
Poter (2006). In his book, effective entrepreneurship, he is of the view that companies can choose between three general strategy to build competitive advantage a differentiation strategy, a low-cost strategy and third approach, frequency used by entrepreneurs in focus, or ninche strategy. A firm that uses a differentiation strategy competes on the basis of its ability to do things differently than its major competitors do.
Beal, Reginald (2000). In his journal competing environmental scanning competitive strategy and organizational performance in small manufacturing firms is of the view that pursuit of an effective entrepreneurial strategy is mainly through advantages, has been mapped through the collection and analysis of information from existing and potential customers.
Boxalla (1996) Boxall 1996 defines strategy as a firm’s frame work of critical ends and means. This definition helps to make the point clear, that means do not flow unproblematically from ends. Rather the historically developed means to shape what ends are conceivable and possible.
Mitchell Porter (1984), Competitive advantage is a very basic word, a position a firm occupies against its competitors. The three methods of creating a sustainable competitive advantage are through: cost leadership, differentiation and focus.
Iornum (2005). In his book introduction to material management defines material management as practical in business today, as “ A confederacy of traditional materials, activities bound by a common idea; the idea of an integrated management approach to planning, conversion flow and distribution of production materials from the raw materials state to the finished product state. Managers or individual should understand that core competencies include the particular set of skills and resources firm posses as well as the way those resources are used to produce outcome.
Usage of these resources depends on the skills and ability of the human work force in the organization. Therefore the need for effective and skilled labour is required to stage ahead in competing with other competitors. The creation of knowledge is a dynamic and continues process.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In the past years, various issues to the effective management of industries and business organizations to gain competitive advantage over others have been noticed and highlighted as follows:
Unskilled labour has been the major problem facing industries and business organization, this is as a result of personnel managers, not recruiting and selecting employees, base on merit, skill, and expertise, but rather on selection based on man know man, a connection of whom you know to get to were you want. Hence, the effect is having the wrong people at the right place and thereby affecting the quality of service or product to be delivered to the market.
In Nigeria today, you will be surprise, seeing somebody who read a different course entirely been employed in a different field. i.e. a mechanical engineer working in a banking sector, such the expected performance will be upturned and unsatisfactorily.
Inability of industries and business organization. To use the modern ways to get things done, effectively and efficiently. Is another major problem, A supplier may be expected to produce technical, particularly during the early stages of design and manufacturing.
Late Delivery speed
Inability to make the product or deliver the service quickly “in some markets a firm’s ability to deliver more quickly than its competitors may be critical. A company can offer an on-site repair service in only/or 2 hours, has a significant advantage over a competing firm that guarantee service only within 24 hours.
In-ability to cope with changes in demand
Changes its volume, in many market, a company’s ability to respond to increase and decrease in demand is important to its ability to compete. Its is well known that a company with increasing demand can do little wrong.
Poor product quality and reliability
Customers wants product without defects, thus the goal of process quality is to produce defect-free products and services, product and service specification, give in dimensional tolerance and/or service error rate. Define how the product or services is to be made.
Adherence to the specification is critical to ensure the reliability of the product or service as defined by its intended use.
Cost or price
Is another problem when the price of any product is too high it affects its competitive strength in the market.
Scarcity of fuel/petroleum products
I find out that sometimes when the refineries are working in full capacity, the dealers and distributors of the petroleum products hoard these products and truck drivers are said to be diverting these product elsewhere.
The pipeline and products marketing company, should be also monitoring the activities of the tanker drivers, to ensure effective and efficient distribution of the petroleum products. However, all efforts have been to no avail, because usually during festival periods or towards the end of the year, fuel scarcity is experienced in most towns and cities in the country.
Most of these times there are no official explanation for the scarcity. There are unpleasant long queues of people waiting to buy petrol hours wasted by house wives looking for kerosene to cook for the family, since cooking gas is out of reach to an ordinary Nigerian.
With the suffering of the people in general and increase of transportation fare’s it does not speak well of an oil producing country like Nigeria for this reason, the situation needs to be properly addressed which is what prompted the researcher to undertake this research and also to give a situation analysis and meaningful recommendation.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The objective of the study is to analyse the impact of production skills in the management of industries/business organization to portray how far the application of production skills in the management has helped the discipline level.
In this case therefore, it is important to note that management is a very complex situation, because human beings as individuals interact with one another in groups and in large organization. It is also very important to note that every human behaviour has a cause, there is a reason for a person behaving as he does.
It aims to explain that a favourable working environment couple with employees loyalty and commitment and skill to work increase productivity.
Finally, management could also gain from this study in that, it will help management to provide necessary refresher courses all categories of personnel to sharpen their already acquired skills.
It also helps the management in facilitating their objectives and aims which are as follows:
- To profitably export petroleum products to existing and potential market at a minimum cost
- To provide an un-interrupted supply of crude oil to the refineries
- To stimulate the sale of special products and promote import subscription of petroleum products and special products, i.e. (9waxes, base oil, bitumen, etc).
1.4 Statement of Hypothesis
In order to be able to achieve the objective of our research, the following hypothesis have been developed and presented for testing:
HO: That application of production skills in the management of industries and business organization has no significance impact profitability of an organization
HI: That application of production skills in the management of industries and business organization has a significance impact profitability of an organization
1.5 Significance of the Study
The research project will be of immense benefit to all management staff and captains of industries on the important of skills. Production skills in organization and industries will help in achieving the desired objectives of providing good quality services profit making, alertness and discipline in every aspect.
The project will highlight the importance of skills in the management of industries/business organization and its importance cannot be over-emphasized, to also state that production skills in organization will contribute a lot to the survival of the organization/industry and it hedge out other competitors.
1.6 Scope of the Study
Due to the nature of the topic and the organization under this research, the research work shall be limited to pipe-line product Marketing Company Kaduna and in particular the production department of the organization. However, note could be made where necessary of other petrochemical industries or department within the sector to arrive a conclusion with regards to production skills.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
- The fact that the researcher has to some extent enjoyed the cooperation of some interviewers, does not mean that I was not at least neglected and restricted in some departments
- The major limitation of the study was the time constraint
- In carrying out this study, the researcher traced some constraint such as non availability of adequate equipment and modern infrastructure in P.P.M.C
- Other limitation was the penalty for employing untrained and unskillful personnel
1.8 Historical Background of Case Study
Brief Historical Background of the Company (PPMC)
The pipelines and products marketing company limited (PPMC) was incorporated in November 1988 as a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The emergence of the company was by no means accidental, but as a result of a painstaking effort at revolutinalizing, mordernizing and commercializing the activities of NNPC and its integral parts. Its evolution commenced some twenty years ago as a result of the economic boom of the early 70s which led to the unprecedented and phenomenal rise in domestic petroleum consumption. The private sectors capacity and capability then proved rather inadequate to service effectively the demand growth. The ensuring production and distribution, constraints precipitated incessant supply demand crisis.
Long queues at the limited retail outlets (filling station) were a common sight. The government responded decisively by planning and executing the construction of two or more refineries one each at Warri and Kaduna respectively and also a country wide 3,000 kilometers petroleum products pipeline network linked to storage depots. By February 1979, following the completion of the Port-Harcourt –Aba-Enugu-Markurdi pipelines systems, the need to have an organization to operate and manage the system became necessary. A pipeline unit was consequently established. An American company, Williams International group Incorporated (WIGI) provided “ technical back up” to the unit. Department of the then commercial Division had for long been responsible for the distribution and marketing of petroleum products both departments to form the Pipeline and Products Marketing Division (PPMD), in 1982 was natural.
In 1985, NNPC was re-organized into sectors for the first time “well defined strategic business units with well defined corporate objectives emerged”. The pipeline and products marketing sector (PPMS) was formed through the merger of the pipelines operation (POD) and the products marketing and marine transportation division (PMMTD) PPMS) later metamorphosed into PPMC limited during the 1988-re-organisation. The business mission of PPMC is to ensure adequate and reliable supply of petroleum products to the domestic market, safely and at low operating cost; market petrochemical and special products competitively in the domestic and international markets provide excellent customer service by effectively and efficiently transporting crude oil to the refineries and moving petroleum products to the market.
The company has its head office located a long Kachia Road behind the Kaduna refinery and Petrochemical company, with five depots and five pump stations namely; Kaduna depot, Kano depot, Jos depot, Gusau depot, Suleja depot and Minna depot. The pump stations include Sarkin Pawa pump station, Izom pump station, Zaria Pump station, Kaduna pump station and Abuja pump station.
1.9 Definition of Terms
According to Rosser (1073) management is the utilization of physical and human resources, through co-operative efforts, resulting in the performance of functions of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling.
This is the learned ability to bring about pre-determined results with maximum outlay of time or energy or both. Skills also can be defined as the capacity to bring about and end results with maximum certainty, minimum energy or minimum time.
Collection of firms, producing similar product to produce a particular product as an end product.
This is the action of putting something necessary into operation
The process of planning something or putting a plan, into operation in a skillful way. A plan that is intended to achieve a particular purpose.
A thing that helps you to be better or more successful than other people. A quality of a product that makes it better or successful or to put somebody in a better position than others people or than they were in before.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The findings revealed that production skills have significant positive effect on the performance of PPMCs. Therefore, this study concluded that in order to achieve business performance, entrepreneurs need to acquire the planning, organizing, leading and controlling skills.
Production model also have significant positive effect on the performance of PPMCs in Kaduna state. This implies that the more an entrepreneur possesses production model in the areas of locus of control, self-efficacy and risk taking; the higher the performance of PPMCs. Therefore, this study concluded that production model generally lead to higher performance of PPMCs in Kaduna state.
The finding suggests that production orientation characterized by the need for achievement, need for power and need for independence are insignificant but positive contributors performance of PPMCs in Kaduna state. Therefore, this study concluded that the possession of production orientation by an entrepreneur may not necessarily lead to an improvement in performance of PPMCs in Kaduna state.
In line with the findings and conclusion of the study, the following recommendations were made:
- Based on the finding which reported that production skills in areas of planning, organizing, leading and controlling have significant positive effect on the performance of PPMCs, entrepreneurs should therefore be encouraged to acquire as well as engage in planning, organizing, leading and controlling activities so as to improve the performance of their businesses.
- Also the finding that established that production model have significant positive effect on the performance of PPMCs in the state, then there is a need for combined efforts between governments at all levels and NGOs towards not only funding but also initiating management training and development programmes for the entrepreneurs in order to enable them enhance and appreciate their inborn
personalities and abilities.
- Although, the last finding indicated that production orientation have insignificant effect on PPMCs performance, but the effect is positive. Thus, this study recommended that the government at all levels and other NGOs should intensify efforts towards educating and enlightening of entrepreneurs on drivers to entrepreneurship. This will go a long way in changing their motive of going into business i.e. making them go into business for the right reasons.
- Finally, given the significant and positive effect of production skills, production model and the insignificant positive effect of production orientation on the performance of PPMCs, it is recommended that government and nongovernmental supports be channeled towards competent entrepreneurs who possess and acquired the skills, characteristic and orientation. This will enable the effective and efficient utilization of the funds given to them.
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