A pencil is one of the most important tools needed by students and professionals alike. A student requires a steady supply of pencils to help them in their studies. Professionals from artists to engineers needed pencils for their designs and blueprints. A pencil may seem to be an ordinary object. But for those who are engaged in the manufacture and marketing of pencils, there are so many aspects of business that has to be understood in order to achieve success in this particular endeavor. There are at least five areas that business leaders engaged in the manufacture and marketing of pencils must focus on and these are: 1) leadership; 2) human resource management; 3) motivating employees; 4) marketing; and 5) management of financial resources.

Leadership

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A good leader is someone who is able to put into efficient use the available resources at his or her disposal. This includes the most important component, which is human resource management. The leader is able to develop a cost-efficient way to accomplish a specific goal. Part of good leadership is the ability to motivate and empower subordinates. It has to be made clear also that the effectiveness of a leader can be enhanced by the use of an appropriate leadership style.

One of the best models to use is the coaching style of leadership. This type of leadership is effective because it helps the employees at the pencil factory to know areas that require improvement. A coaching style of leadership also helps the leader inspire workers to achieve a greater sense of accountability and to bring them to the next level in terms of skills development. A coaching style of leadership requires great sacrifices from the leader because it can be very personal and it may even require one-on-one interaction with the leader and the employee. This particular leadership style is effective but it is not perfect. It can be problematic if the leader is not assertive when it comes to meeting quality standards and production quotas.

A coaching style of leadership can be balanced with a military type of leadership wherein the leader is more assertive and requires discipline from the employees. This type of leadership is needed when it comes to the accomplishment of critical goals. At the same time, the military type of leadership is helpful when it comes to pushing the employees to achieve greater levels of success. The employees in the pencil factory may be complacent with the achievements made in the past, but a military type of leadership can bring them to the next level of efficiency. However, a military type of leadership can be difficult for many employees because there is no relationship established between the leader and the subordinates. This type of leadership can be ineffective when it comes to motivating people especially if the leader uses criticism to compel workers to act.

There is also the transactional and transformational type of leaders. The transactional type of leaders is the one who focuses on the task at hand. In the case of the pencil factory, the manager must establish a system of training. The workers must be educated with regards to their task, the expectations of the company, their contribution to the overall success of the business, and their monetary rewards if they do an excellent job. In this type of interaction, the business leader set clear goals and provide the workers the tools and the encouragement to accomplish a challenging goal. At the same time the leader monitors their progress and provides support and pointers along the way.

In a transformational type of leadership, the business leader does not only communicate the ideas and principle important for the success of the company. The leader also models the desirable behavior. The leader must demonstrate what it means to provide excellent work. The incompetent manager who failed to attend a very important meeting modeled a bad example to the employees. This type of leader will create conditions in which the workers at the factory will have an opportunity to advance in rank if they choose to be loyal to the company. The transformational leader will inspire the workers at the factory to go beyond what is expected of them. In the process they can be inspired to improve the quality of their work.

Human Resource Management

Another critical component of the business is human resource management. The CEO of the pencil factory must determine if there are incompetent and not motivated to improve their performance workers. At the same time, the CEO will instruct the Human Resource Manager to monitor chronic absenteeism, high labor turnover rate and sub-par performance. It is the responsibility of the CEO to develop a management development program that is designed to enhance the capabilities of the current group of managers. The purpose of the management development program is to inculcate managerial skills so that the managers can improve their performance.

The CEO and top managers must work hard to hire the best personnel. They have to do everything to lure top talent to the company. When they succeeded in hiring the best available talent, their secondary objective is to make sure that their best workers will not leave. There are many things that have to be done to retain the service of the best employees. One way to accomplish it is to improve the current system and enhance organizational culture.

Meaningful change can be achieved if the top leaders of the company will allow a systemic analysis of the company. In the process, they will be able to understand problems that plague key structures, systems, and processes in the manufacturing facility. If there are problems detected, the leaders must work to create a culture that focuses on excellence. The organizational culture must also focus on rewarding employees for their excellent work.

Motivating Employees

In an ideal situation, the factory workers and the marketing team are intrinsically highly motivated workers. But in reality it is rare to find people who will work because they are motivated without any input and encouragement from the business leaders. The employees will work because they know they will be rewarded for their efforts. One way to do this is to improve the compensation scheme. But there are other reasons why employees are motivated to work harder.

It is also important to focus on non-monetary rewards. The workers in the said company can be motivated to work harder if they can see fair and consistent job performance evaluations that will improve the way the workers see themselves and how they are perceived in the eyes of their leaders. Another way to motivate them is to provide privileges for the workers. For example, there are companies that provide a gym so their workers can exercise during downtime.

Another way to motivate the workers is to establish specific goals and then, make them feel that they are part of the team that will achieve those goals. Every time a milestone has been reached and every time a goal has been accomplished the leader will make them realize that their efforts were appreciated.

Marketing

A pencil may be a simple product. But the marketplace has become competitive in recent years due to the availability of cheap products from abroad. At the same time there are many competitors that desire to have a share of this lucrative market. One way to handle the marketing requirements of this company is to use the principle of market segmentation. It is a process wherein the leader breaks down the target market into groups of people that share similar needs, characteristics and aspirations. Market segmentation also requires knowledge of the market in order to provide consumers the product that they need.

It is important to understand the difference between mass marketing wherein leaders would like to push a significant number of low-quality products into the market. The price margins may be small but the profit comes from the volume of sales. On the other hand there is the segmentation method that focuses on a specific group of consumers.

The marketing team can look into the traditional source of revenue as well as the type of customers that were loyal to the brand. As a result the marketing team will be able to identify what their customers wanted and what aspect of the product they liked. In the process the marketing team will be able to determine if there is a need to upgrade their products or to change the image of the company.

The marketing team must also be aware of the four important elements of marketing and these are: product, price, distribution and promotion. If the company is able to combine all four together to develop an effective market mix, then, it will result in a particular marketing matrix that will enable the company to reach a particular target market.The marketing team must also realize that consumers will not buy a particular product simply because of its quality but because it suits the customer’s needs and budget. Without a doubt the quality of a product is an important criteria in the decision-making process of the customer, however, that is not the only consideration or the only factor that will make a consumer decide to buy a particular product.

Management of Financial Resources

It is important that the business leaders are able to determine if they will expand aggressively or to develop the company in such a manner so that it will not result in financial problems. The business leaders must be aware if they can sustain the current operation based on internal and external factors. If the company will expand aggressively by developing factories that cannot be supported in the long run, it is possible to create pencils that cannot be sold in the market.

It is also imperative that the business leaders of the said company are mindful of the cost-efficient process employed by the organization. It is important to continually develop systems and processes that can help the organization lower its operating costs. There must be a way to improve the manufacturing process to lower manufacturing cost.

The company must also focus on the stability of the core business of the organization. It is possible that in the near future the company will expand and attempt to dabble in other products related to pencils or totally unrelated to pencil production. But before expanding the business it is important to ensure that the main source of income is stable. If the business leaders of the said company are forced to deal with different types of business problems at the same time, then, there is danger that they will lose focus and push the company to the brink of bankruptcy.

Conclusion

There are at least five areas that the company must focus on and these are: 1) leadership; 2) human resource management; 3) motivating employees; 4) marketing; and 5) management of financial resources. Leadership provides organizational culture and the motivation of employees. A good leader can bring the organization to a higher level of excellence. Human resource management ensures the hiring of the best available personnel and taking steps to retain their service as long as possible. It is difficult to train people that are not willing to learn and serve. Motivating employees must be a primary concern to produce quality products. It is important to consider that non-monetary forms of motivation are as effective as wage increases. Marketing is important to increase revenue and to sell the right product based on the demands of the consumers. People will buy not only because of the quality of the product but also because it satisfies a particular need. Financial management on the other hand ensures the stability of the company. The company must guard against aggressive expansion. The company must not acquire other forms of businesses that forces the leaders to lose focus on the core business of the company.