Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Project

Installment Three: Stephanie Tucker and Nicole Bailey

By incorporating a plan of using weblogs, aggregators, wikis, and other forms of mobile technology (cell phone text messaging) we will be able to eliminate a lot of the middle man troubles. Staff members, as well as others, will have the capability of logging onto a blog and having all there needed information present. Whether they are checking to see what new recipes are being added or where the next store may be open, they are only a click away. In our plan this where all this information would be located. Ms. Appel will be able to give all notices in one place at any given time. Employees then would have the option of replying with their thoughts and comments. A wikki forum would also be set up as link from this blog where these conversations could take place. Text messaging may also be an interesting new way to get messages through. By setting up a network within staff numbers, everyone would be able to get urgent messages within seconds as Lyneve.

There will be no word of mouth, note writing, or even the troublesome email to deal with. The presence of noise will be almost eliminated as there will be no interference in the trasferring of information. This elimination will also go on to further include that of redundancy. Ms. Appel will no longer find herself having to transmit the same messages over and over again, to her managers or other staff members. The problem of having information changed through each person will certainly help the efficiency of the organization as whole.

Of course some of these changes could create difficulties. The company would have to work out ways that both the public and people who are working for the org that needn't know certain information didn't read everything. If something is placed on the internet there is always the threat that it will be read by those that shouldn't be reading it.

Since this company does not have an inner computer network, they would have to ally with a web service that would arrange different levels of security for their information and posts. There would have to theoretically be a password for Jennifer, so that she could have complete control and a separate manager password so that they can see the majority of the information - but perhaps not everything that Ms. Appel and her advisors can see. And finally, the isolates or lower staff would need a domain that they can work in and read without worry that they will read information they are not supposed to be privy to. Finally, this information - whether on blog, wiki, or forum, etc - should not be viewable to anyone without a password. Especially a company like this one, which exists in a highly competitive exterior network a company does not want the whole world to know its next move any other problems may be attributed to things like all employees not faithfully checking the blog - even if they are alerted to change by an aggregator - and being behind on any decisions. It also limits personal contact and emotional conversation. Therefore some suggestions and changes may not come across the same way. perhaps in a company such as this, it would make most sense for only those involved in major decisions or in the corporate aspect - ie, Ms. Appel, her advisors, her lawyers, any franchisees, administrative assistants and perhaps managers to be involved in this new blog or wiki setup.This type of network may exist better at a large corporation where all employees share a similar internal computer network, like IBM or headquarters of a large chain like Wal-Mart. There are even entire conventions dedicated to the subject.


Installment Two: Stephanie Tucker and Nicole Bailey

To understand our proposal, we must first understand the informal networks present in the bakery. There are many different informal positions at work in every company, from Barnes and Noble to McDonalds. This one is no exception.

First we should start at the edge of the company. The gatekeeper is one of the most important communication roles. At the bakery this role would be filled by Ms. Appel. Ms. Appel hears all of the suggestions and offers that are brought to her organization either by customers, employees, press, salesperson's....or nearly every person that would like to deal business with the company itself. She is one who solely decides on what will be told to her staff. Jennifer can decide whether or not her staff is privy to information such as potential press, charity options, recipes, potential franchises, etc.

The next important role would be that of the bridge. It operates much like that of a bridge between to places. Ms. Appel will relay any information that she feels essential to tell her employees to her two managers, Carol Behe and Mark Libertini, who will then connect these messages to the staff when necessary. Ms. Appel rarely informs the staff herself. She relies heavily on her bridges. Weekly a meeting is held between Ms. Appel and Behe and Libertini, in which they discuss tidbits to speak with the other employees about.

The liaison in this org. would be Ms. Appel's husband and project manager, Hernan Ordonez. He is not affiliated in the business with either the gatekeeper, the managers, the counter staff or the kitchen staff. He is completely a free agent in this game. However, he is able to relay information and messages between both managers and gatekeeper, counter and kitchen, etc. Mr. Ordonez spends his time split throughout the store, not having one concrete position. He acts simply as a connector.

In this company the opinion leader would be Ms. Appel's franchise advisor, Mr. Larry Fierstein. It is Fierstein who has the word of advice on everything from potential franchisees, environment and location, to decor within the store and its franchises to charities to support, magazines and newspapers and shows it would be beneficial to participate in etc. Before Ms. Appel makes most corporate decisions, she typically consults Larry.

The cosmopolites in the bakery would be Stephanie Tucker and Priscila Salcedo - the assistant managers. These are the people that are generally out on the floor dealing with both counter staff and customers and are also considered management and close to both the bridge and the gatekeeper. They are able to relay things like customer ideas, staff grievances, work or equipment problems to the bridges who will then bring it to the owner, if not directly to her.

In the position of isolate, this business can probably use the lower counter staff. With the exception of certain senior staff members, the counter staff has little or no influence on the workings of the company. While they are encouraged to give suggestions, they do not have enough influence to make the higher ups do them etc. Like Bianca says, new employees still have a lot learn. While they are important to the everyday workings of the business, they are not as important in the inner dealings of the actual company. They are more or less there to do their job and that's all. One could even say they are easily replaceable.

The roles of old boy and girl have a big influence because they know things that no one else does. They have more experience plus have more to bargain with - ie skeletons in closets like the book said. These people, in our case Priscila Salcedo, can get their way solely because they know enough to weigh heavily.Now that this network is understood it can be seen how our proposal will aid in the transfer of information. However before these new innovations can be implemented, we must take into account the six conditions necessary for a successful change. No organization handles changes without problems.

If our innovations are to work they must be supported by all parties. This is to say that Ms. Appel and her staff should have a safe grounding in what is to occur in the future. They should be introduced gradually as to not upset or surprise employees. By doing this people should be involved so that they do not immediately resent the decision, but rather get an opportunity to feel comfortable within environment. Ryan gives the suggestion of holding classes to educate staff on the new ideas.

Weick points out that "stamping out utility" is holding onto practices that are inefficient in the short term. They perhaps aren't quite up to par, but may come in handy at some point. The bakery currently uses a wet erase board as a way to keep track of orders. This might be kept even after the changes in the event that somebody just needs a quick peek at what's going on.


Installment One: Stephanie Tucker and Nicole Bailey's Project

Buttercup Bake Shop started out as a relatively small bakery on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Originally an offshoot of the famous Bleeker Street establishment, Magnolia, owner Jennifer Appel made the decision to split from her partner and open up her own successful business uptown. Since it's opening five years ago, the bakery has managed to make a name for itself, earning millions of dollars per year. The bakery has been featured in multiple national and international publications (like Cosmopolitan and Entertainment Weekly) as well as popular television shows (ie The Today Show) and newspapers (The New York Times, etc) and is well known across New York and the country. It has been reviewed heavily as a top place to see in New York City and has its own top selling cookbook.

The bake shop, which began as one small store, is currently in the midst of franchising, and becoming a full blown corporation. Appel has hired a franchise director, lawyers, advisors and extra staff in order to help her make this a reality. Success with franchises depends on large amount of cooperation within her flagship store, and with her ever growing group of employees. Her current employees will be depended on to train and evaluate new franchisees.

The first franchise, on Staten Island, is set to open later in the year, and the Food Network will be following its progress in a documentary series. Another has been sold and is scouting locations in Manhattan, with a focus on the Upper West Side.

With an ever growing number of employees and advisors it is becoming more and more important to find easier ways of communication within the company.

This is where, something like a Weblog or a wiki forum would come in handy.

For instance, Ms. Appel now splits her time between two offices: the store and another office at the United Nations, and needs a more efficient way to organize her communication.

A weblog is a great way to organize information that can be viewed by all interested parties. Michelle looks at is like as if it were a diary. Blogger provides an easy way to set up any kind of weblog, for the pros to the novices. They generate a continuous list of posts that are easily accessible and viewable instantly. With paper methods of memos and mission statements, the danger exists of the messages getting lost, not reaching the appropriate people, or simply getting thrown away. Currently with paper and email system the company uses, the chances of having one of the notices in a month are slim, but if the post were kept on a blog they would always be present and easily retrieved with the click of a button.

News aggregators, such as Bloglines, go hand in hand with making a weblog even more of a benefit. Like Elizabeth says, they give a continuous refreshed list of all linked sites that have had a new post added to them. This is to say that every time a person signs on they are able to see right away which sites have new information. This takes away the hassle of having to go look through each site with the chance of them not containing any new data.

A wiki forum would go a step further to allow employees to offer feedback, comments, and questions to the employer on various posts. Wikis are similar to forums in that they are an open form of communication between its members. They allow for members to vocalize any feelings they have towards specific matters at hand and give others the ability to see these feelings. An easy way to think about this is to imagine a suggestion box online. People can discuss without being face to face and even anonymously. It is also a useful way to chat with potential franchisees from other states or countries. Wiki's may one day replace things like the conference call in the boardroom.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Fav Website

I don't think I have one website that I would consider my favorite. When I'm bored though I like to go to Weather.com and look up the forecast for random cities.