All entries for March 2011
March 31, 2011
So far what we have done is about how to treat the asset in WaveRiders, for example how to maintain it, how to improve it to meet health, safety and environment policies. These are difficult and complex tasks, obviously. To start asset management, firstly we should know what is asset, which means it is important to identify the asset. But it is so difficult to know exactly what assets a company has, especially when the company is large. For example, it¡¯s the purchase department¡¯s responsibility to buy a new product, after that, the product will be sent to a particular department or person. Now the company has already got the product. At the same, the related accountants must record the purchase correctly. When the product is broken and has to discard it. The related accountants should be informed either in order to modify the record. If the accountants fail to receive the message or they make a wrong record, than there will be a gap between the record and the real product. This situation can happen frequently. For instance, the purchaser forgets to inform the accountants or the accountants overlook the message, especially when the value of product is low. The differences will certainly generate problems and chaos when inspecting the assets. Companies always use the record to manage its assets, to identify their assets and the value of them, and then give some instructions to deal with some assets. If a non-existent product is given some instructions, it¡¯s easy to imagine the problems.
Different situations suit different types of leaders, or we can say different situation will generate different leaders. I can't deny the relationship between a leader's personal characteristic with his leadership style, but obviously, the environment around the leader will influence him to a great degree. It's hard to say which impaction is greater, personality or environment? We did a lot of exercises about leadership in class, but I'm sure, if we were put into real situation, things will become totally different. The significant different between the practice and real life is we didn't have any pressure when practicing so we could do anything we wanted. Even though the leaders made a wrong decision, he won't be punished, his people won't complain about it. If the practice came true, most of us would surely appear more carefully. A leader without any pressure and a leader who is under a lot of pressure will certainly behave distinctly. Pressure can be either an angel or an evil. People who feel pressure tend to be prudent and conscientious, this can reduce the probability to make wrong or improper decisions. In contrast, too much caution constraints a leader's thinking and action. Thus the leader may be lack of creativity and may lose some wonderful opportunities because more risky can generate more profit, if succeed. But his pressure make him to give up the chance.
March 30, 2011
Our group had a discussion about the project yesterday and set a simple and rough structure of our presentation. According to the requirement of the presentation, we linked AM, KM and EFQM together. However, potentially it helps to link the mission or the goal of WaveRiders with those aspects. The vision of a company should always be the center in AM and KM, or else the value of A/KM will significantly reduce. In fact, not only A/KM but also all the strategies and approaches which deploy in a company, the purpose of them is to contribute to the vision.
Besides, we tried to find all the possible assets that WaveRiders has but we just focused at the fixed asset in WaveRiders. Maybe it's ok because we don't have the situation to manage liquid asset such as the inventory. Yes, we can manage it within the company however, in real life, it should be managed with the consideration of the environment of the market. If the market condition becomes uncertain and unpredictable, inventory management may appear more difficult.
March 29, 2011
It¡¯s the time for a new module, and of course, for a new project. There are many materials about KBAM, which implies KBAM is definitely a difficult process. Take asset management as the example. Firstly, the scope of asset is quite broad, which includes both tangible and intangible assets. Secondly, so many factors need to be taken into consideration in AM. In my opinion, it is more difficult to manage intangible asset than the tangible one. Tangible asset is easy to identify while sometimes intangible asset may be overlooked. Also, the outcomes of tangible asset are easier to calculate but it is hard to identify the results of intangible asset. Therefore, perhaps people would prefer to manage tangible asset because the contribution of it can always be seen directly and thus motivate people. In addition, I can see there are a lot of interactions among different kinds of AM, so maybe it is easier to apply AM in small companies than in large companies. For example, it is likely that there is a conflict between environment management and maintenance management. When the number of assets increases, the conflict may grow, so more effort should be paid in order to balance it. What¡¯s more, in a large company, most of the time each department is only responsible for itself assets, therefore, many sub-optimizations will appear. More concerns should be paid either so as to reduce these shortages.
We did a lot of practices during leadership module, even though I realized a leader should do something to change himself/herself, however, my focus at that time was how can a leader influence others. For example, when we were working on the leadership definition presentation, ¡¡ãinfluence¡¡À was the word that we all identified it at the beginning. Also, during the class, I always concentrated to whether the leader motivated others, did he/her develop the teamwork effectively, etc. But after some reading for the pma, I found that most of the authors stress much on the quality of the leader him/herself. For instance, Dubrin uses about 4 or 5 chapters to discuss the necessary quality of a leader, such as traits, motives, attitudes, behaviors. I paid much attention to identify the influence of a leader but overlook that a leader should change him/herself first, and then it is possible for he/her to become more effective. Just as the words in Westminster Abbey, change yourself, and then change the world.
March 19, 2011
We used the same material, and some of the tools we selected were the same, and we were in the same class and listened to the same lectures and seminars. Almost all the things turned out to be the same, however, the decision we made for Waverider were different from each other. This definitely was an interesting topic. Even though a slight different in our thinking can lead to a big different in the final outcome. Even in one group, we had the arguments about choosing tools. Also, after the analysis, we had a lot of discussion about our decision while we got the same results in our analysis. Thus, I can imagine the different opinions in a company or even outside a company. Also, even one person, it is impossible for him to make the same decision in different situation or different time though he faces the same problem. Therefore, we make a decision today, but perhaps we want to change our opinion tomorrow. So I can see the importance of the word ¡°robust¡± and of course, it is fairly difficult to achieve robust.
The recommendations of each group are different, either slightly or significantly because of different focuses. Some pay more attention on to the tangible costs and profits in the material while some groups stress more on potential costs and benefits. Even all the groups used decision tree as one of their decision tools, the results turn out to be different. One of the possible reasons could be the uncertainty information, for example, the probability of available chance in Llymingtom. Different solutions and ideas generate different approaches in analyzing this issue. Therefore, bias can¡¯t never be avoid no matter which tool is chosen. Everyone can use the same too in different ways and even in the same way, possibly the focuses are distinct, thus the results can¡¯t be same. Also, there was an interesting question raised yesterday, since we used more than one tools in analyze one decision, sometimes the results were totally incompatible. So can we say in this sense, bias can be reduced to a certain degree. However, as far as I see, if the results are confronted, bias may be reduced, for example, one kind of bias exists in one tool and a different kind of bias exists in the other tool. When the distinct results appear, people may start to think the reason or sometimes, they try to balance each other. In this case, bias could be reduced. But if different tools indicate the same results, that may not mean the outcomes are correct, perhaps in that situation, bias is strengthened. Every tool has the same bias and shows the same results. Thus, the above bias is easy to be ignored.
March 18, 2011
Today, during the presentation, Jeff asked a group why they wanted to choose some simple tools instead of the complex ones. The answer is they wished to use simple tools which they could understood clearly. I definitely agree their opinion. Yes, we can read articles or books to gain more knowledge about tools to make decision. But it is impossible for us to learn enough ideas about complex tools. We used AHP, decision tree in our presentation but no one can say he/her already completed understood these tools. We chose them as we believed generally we learned something about them and we knew how to use it maybe just in one or two aspects. The simple tools, we can learn them and understand them easily and clearly. Thus, it is impossible that we use them with mistakes, perhaps there are a few, but just only a few. However, even if complex tools may result in a much robust decision usually if we use them correctly. But since the complex and difficult in adopting then tools, it is easy to misuse them and thus come out a terrible decision without noticing it by ourselves. So in my opinion, only if I am quite sure about the utilization of a tool, I won¡¯t pick any one unless I have enough time and resources to learn it.
Both quantitative and qualitative data are important to a company in decision making. However, only quantitative data can use more technical tools such as simulation, AHP, decision tree. Unless the qualitative data has been ranked or valued, the above technical tools cannot be adopted. May be these tools do not turn out to be more scientific than the others, but at least they appear so. What I want to doubt is that do these technical methods tend to be more effective and correct in decision making. Of course, using mathematical analysis tools to analyze some data will make a decision sounds more convinced because the result is more accurate compares to only using some simple tools that contain many biases. But can we say more accurate result leads to a better decision or is it mathematical analysis more accurate? Because of the limited energy, time and cost, we can¡¯t conclude all possible factors or criterias. Therefore, the outcome of the mathematical analysis is only based on the limited elements. It isn¡¯t completed at all. In contrast, when analyzing qualitative, it is usually not easy to do maths processing so that this kind of analysis may contain more biases than quantitative analysis. Even though we only list some limited aspects again, but when we valuing them subjectively, sometimes we tend to combine these issues with other elements or situation unconsciously. In this case, perhaps the scope of our thinking is wider and we consider more aspects in our decision making.
March 16, 2011
So far we have almost finished our ppt, however, there are still so many arguments about the finial decision. For example, we use different tools to analyze one issue, but sometimes, the results are different according to the tools. Different tool have different focus, or it can say we use them with different focus. Decision tree is an effective to calculate the profit while grid analysis is useful in identifying the strengths of the factories without considering the cost. Therefore, we must make balance of them or we may say which aspect is more important. Then bias occurs as we should choose one of the decisions in our own opinions.
Also, it is unlikely that we can avoid bias. Ahp seems more scientific, but there are many biases exist when we are deciding the criterias and then comparing them. And smart, may be I can say biases exist in it from the beginning to the end when it is being used. Every tool has a lot of biases, however, bias doesn¡¯t destroy these tools so much as they are always considered as effective tools if used appropriate. Obviously, bias can cause problems and arguments all the time. In contrast, there¡¯s another voice that claims bias can serve as the shortcut in some circumstance, for example, reasoning by analogy and confirmation bias. Besides, sometimes, perhaps bias is more accurate and effective than calculation. Who knows.