Analysis of managing change from clothing apparel delivery to medicine delivery using AirDrop
There is not a single inhabited part of the globe that has been able to be untouched and unscathed from the devastating blow of the COVID-19 pandemic as it has united the world in fear of a seemingly invisible adversary. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has already claimed more than 3.9 million lives around the globe at the time of writing this work. Comparing that number to the number of people who were affected by this highly infectious virus gives an even more horrifying image of the reach and spread of this virus. At the time of writing, the world has already suffered more than 181 million cases in all its corners. The outbreak gained attention as a case of cluster pneumonia in a city named Wuhan in the last few weeks of 2019, and before anyone could even react, it had already become a deadly force. Even the WHO could not initially assess the extent of the threat that the outbreak of the virus known as SARS Cov2 posed as months passed before the World Health Organisation could declare the outbreak to be a pandemic. The global situation reflected terror and desperation as nations closed their doors to each other, and the entire world came to a grinding halt. The best method of protecting humanity was to maintain basic hygiene and, above all, maintain social distance. The necessity of social distance became paramount to mitigate the death toll and the infection rate of the virus. However, this imposition of social distancing norms meant that everyone would be compelled to remain within the confines of their homes and avoid any contact with another human being. Not only had nations closed their doors to each other, but each and every member of the society was expected the same too.
The lives of humans are dependent on many basic supplies such as food, cloth and medicines. This strict necessity for social distancing greatly hampered people’s ability to replenish their supplies without being exposed to the risk of catching the virus. While this affected the consumers greatly, by changing and limiting their purchase habits, it had an even greater effect on the people whose livelihood depended on the sale of these necessary supplies. As shops, malls and other similar establishments were forced shut; they experienced a harsh halt to their businesses (Farboodi et al. 2020).
Our organisation brings in a solution that bridges the gap between businesses and consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a great lethal chasm between the consumers and the businesses; our organisation, Air-Drop, helps the businesses reach out to their consumers more conveniently by just flying their products to them without exposing the business owners, delivery persons or the consumers to the risk of infection. The change we intend to work towards is to adopt a focus on the delivery of medicines to those in need, as medical supplies are one of the most important supplies in the current times.
The stakeholders in any business process are the people who are likely to be affected by the processes or the business or who are likely to hold a considerable influence over the processes carried out by the business. We should analyse the interests of the stakeholders in the change initiative to gather multivariate benefits. It can accomplish the task of bringing more creative input to the table of decisions and, furthermore, will help the decision process be aware of the perspectives of all the multiple segments of people involved. Furthermore, it should also allow us to ensure better participation and support of the stakeholders by ideally integrating them into our processes of implementation according to their interests in the efforts of our organisation. Moreover, it is also necessary to maintain the interests of the stakeholders within the vision of the plan in order to maintain fairness to our stakeholders and hence, it necessitates the analysis and identification. Additionally, it should also allow us to come to terms with any concerns missed by our vision for future efforts while improving the organisation’s credibility while also allowing us to rely on the wealth of social capital (Schmeer, n.d.).
Depending upon their relation and influence upon the change initiative, the stakeholders may be categorised into the following types: a. “Primary Stakeholder”, b. “Secondary Stakeholder”, c. “Key Stakeholders” (Kenny, 2014).
The following table should identify our key stakeholders and should provide their reactions to our proposed change plan. Depending on their proposed change plan and our implementation plan, we shall formulate the strategies to be employed to gain their cooperation and participation in the effort.
Table 1 – Stakeholder analysis
|Pharmacies||Supportive||Create communication channels with the pharmacies and introduce ourselves to discuss the details of the business propositions. The highlights of the discussion would concentrate our emphasis on the benefits that they may enjoy through adding the feature of “same-day deliveries” to the services offered by them to their clients. Additionally, they will also be offered a free trial of our services which will provide them with two free deliveries.|
|Care Homes||Supportive||Create communication channels with care homes, and we will have to introduce ourselves by representing our organisation and the services we offer. Further, we will demonstrate our services by delivering medicines to care homes using our drones.|
|Distribution Centre Operatives||Opposed||We will have to close down the operations of the distribution centres in Sheffield.|
|DC Operatives||Supportive||We will have to hire new operatives to handle distribution centres in Bournemouth.|
|Drone & Robot Operators||Opposed||We will have to shut down operations and lay off operatives working for us in Sheffield.|
|D&R Operators||Supportive||We will have to hire operators to operate the drones and robots for use in the new location of Bournemouth.|
|Executive Team||Supportive||No actions or strategy needed|
|Drones and Product Suppliers||Supportive||The business relations with the drones and product suppliers would remain unchanged as we will continue to engage in the purchase of the same supplies from them that we have already been purchasing.|
|Government||Supportive||The government will have to be notified about the change of the focus of our services from being delivery of clothes to delivery of medicines. Furthermore, we should also ensure if it requires any further legal obligations or permissions from the government.|
|Elderly People||Supportive||Our organisation has to establish communication channels with elderly people in order to highlight our services to them. Furthermore, through communication, we should introduce our organisation and help them understand the benefits we offer to their lives by providing same-day deliveries through Air-Drop.|
|Sick People||Supportive||It will be required by our organisation to establish communication channels that may allow us to reach and introduce ourselves and our services to sick people who will greatly benefit from our services. We shall make them aware of the benefits our service provides by ensuring that they do not need to make trips to pharmacies or come in contact with other people.|
|Doctors||Supportive||We will be required to establish communication channels with doctors that may highlight services to the doctors and introduce our organisation to them. Furthermore, this should also allow us to explain and demonstrate the benefits we offer for their patients.|
|Carers||Supportive||We will be required to establish communication channels with carers in order to introduce ourselves and our services. We shall demonstrate to them the benefits and aid we offer to them by not requiring them to go to pharmacies for their clients.|
|Pretty Little Thing||Opposed||Provided that our organisation’s focus is shifting to medicine deliveries, we will have to end our partnership with PLT to concentrate our efforts on medicine deliveries through Air-Drop.|
The organisation will be undergoing the process of a sizable change as we change the focus of our services towards medicine deliveries from delivery of cheap clothing. Within the process, the organisation is needed to relocate its base of operation to Bournemouth. In order to guide the organisation through this significant change of approach, the company needs to be guided by an appropriate change model.
An American researcher in the field of change management John Kotter has observed that through his studies that often initiatives for change carried out by organisations failed miserably in achieving the main goals for the initiative (Collins and Collins, 2009). Through his research, he found that only 30 % of all organisational change initiatives succeeded, which highlighted the necessity of a methodical approach to the process of change implementation (Kotter, 2012). Kotter presented a solution to this widely prevalent problem in the form of the “Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model”, which provided a methodical approach that can help an organisation to improve its chances of succeeding at the goals it intends to achieve through the implementation of the change model (Rajan and Ganesan, 2017).
For the purpose of the change implementation in our organisation, we shall employ “Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model” to guide our implementation plan. The basis of “Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model” acknowledges the fact that within any organisation, the employees and other participants are not usually receptive to changes and often do not view themselves as positive events. Hence, the initial three steps within “Kotter’s model” concentrate on the creation of an environment within the organisation that is conducive to the change so that the employees and the participants, all of whom are a vital part of the change process, are welcoming to the idea of the change. Their positive attitude further ensures their positive contribution to the change effort. The next two steps establish the relationship between the change effort and the organisation. The final two steps concentrate on the final implementation and strengthening of the implemented changes (Roth and DiBella, 2016).
The following are the eight steps in “Kotter’s 8 Step model”:
- “Creating a sense of urgency”.
- “Creating a guiding coalition”.
- “Creating a vision for change”.
- “Communicating the vision”.
- “Enable action by removing obstacles”.
- “Creating short-term wins”.
- “Consolidating the improvements”.
- “Institutionalising the changes” (Appelbaum et al. 2012).
Discussed below is the application of the “Kotter’s 8 Step model” in the context of the change implementation within our organisation:
- “Creating a sense of urgency”: In order to spur the growth of an environment that is conducive to the desired change, the workforce of the organisation is needed to be involved in the process of change. In order to instigate that involvement, the workforce needs to be aware of the goals that our organisation is trying to accomplish through these changes and the need for those changes within the context of our organisation’s business practices. These will require clear communication with the employees and informative dialogue (Shirley, 2011).
To fulfil this purpose, we will arrange meetings with our employees and stakeholders to hold informative conversations about the specific goals and reasons for our adoption of the new changes. Through these conversations, we will first explain the necessity of medicine deliveries in the context of the current times, given that our focus with AirDrop was to alleviate problems of people forced to stay indoors. We shall explain why there is a higher need for the delivery of medicines using the services of AirDrop as in times of health emergency like the current one, the accessibility to medicines constitutes a far more important need than delivery of clothes.
- “Creating a guiding coalition”: In order to encourage the integration of all participants, employees and stakeholders, it is essential to establish a dedicated team that is concerned with the implementation of the changes that we seek in the organisation. This should not only encourage the cooperation and constructive contribution of the employees but should also improve communication within the organisation (Maximini, 2015).
Applying this theory, we will construct teams that consist of members from diverse sets of key stakeholders such as members from pharmacies, drone operators, employees of the logistics department and marketing department. This will ensure a cohesive working of these different sets of stakeholders towards a common goal which will ensure better communication about the concerns of each group in the context of the implementation of the changes.
- “Creating a vision for change”: The formulation of a vision is required to properly define the plans of change and the different goals that are needed to implement them. The vision should provide a clear idea about the steps we take and the results that we expect out of them within the decided frame of time.
Our vision is to ensure rapid deliveries for essentials like medicines while alleviating the problems of people who are forced to stay indoors as a result of the norms of social distances. Many people who have weak physiologies or are sick may still be at risk of infection; therefore, our goal is to also provide them fast access to medicines without exposing them to the risk of infection by relying upon human delivery persons who may serve as carriers of the dreaded virus (Kotter, 2012).
- “Communicating the vision”: Once the vision has been formulated, it is very necessary to gather support for it among the stakeholders and participants, and the only way to achieve this is by communicating the details of the visions to the stakeholders. A vision so formulated and communicated should be adopted as a common goal for the entire effort (Kotter, 2012).
We can accomplish these by group addresses to the stakeholders, using slogans written on our drones and robots, along with creating communication outlets across the company that display the vision comprehensively.
- “Enable action by removing obstacles”: In order for the implementation of the vision to be effective, it is required that all the stakeholders are empowered to act according to the visions. To ensure that everyone within the organisation is empowered to take actions according to the communicated common vision, dialogue should be held with the stakeholders regarding the obstacles that they might be facing, and we should proactively remove those obstacles to empower them to act (Howard and Irving, 2012).
The “coalition” formed should engage in dialogue among the stakeholder groups and should identify the obstacles faced by them in regards to acting according to the vision, according to which we will work to the best of our abilities to remove those obstacles and allow them to work adeptly according to the vision.
- “Creating short-term wins”: Success serves as a great motivator. Therefore, the creation of short-term goals fulfils two vital functions. The first among these is that it would help the employees and stakeholders have a clear track of the progress of their tasks and the progress they make towards the accomplishment of the common goals of the organisation. The second function is that it keeps the employees motivated to work even better towards the accomplishment of the common goals as the short-goals provide them with consequent short-term successes, which boost their morale and allows them to work with greater confidence and motivation (Gupta, 2011).
To apply this theory in the context of our organisation, we will emphasise upon daily success stories that would emerge from the daily deliveries undertaken. We will hold records for our fastest deliveries accomplished each day, and the average time for one day would be made the benchmark of the delivery time for the next day. In this way, we will be able to scale up our progress in terms of fast deliveries.
- “Consolidating improvements”: “John Kotter” had observed that the reason behind several failures in terms of change implementations was often due to the “loss of steam” in the efforts as it was assumed by the organisation that success was achieved and hence, extensive efforts were no longer required. However, this could not be further from the truth. While the short-wins constitute a part of the success story, it has to be remembered that complete success is not attained until the complete vision is achieved (Kotter, 2012). Hence, we should keep persevering after our initial success to create a long-term chain of successful operations.
In our organisation, after we have assumed stability with our initial operations in the area of Bournemouth, we will move ahead to consolidate the improvements we would have made. We will strengthen our business by undertaking an expansion of our services into the neighbouring areas and increasing our capacity of making deliveries by acquiring more delivery drones.
- “Institutionalising the changes”: In the final step of the change model, after the changes have been implemented, in order for the new vision to have a permanent impact on the conduct of our organisation, we would have to ensure the complete integration of the new vision into our organisational behaviour. It has to be ensured that the conduct of our entire organisation is focused on the new vision (Hayes, 2018).
Institutionalisation of change can be ensured within the organisation by incentivising proactive conduct displaying high regard for the new focus and vision of the organisation, by celebrating such conduct and practice (through an employee of the month awards) (Kotter, 2012).
Implication and Conclusion
The essential focus of our organisation from its very inception has been singular. And that has been the alleviation of the problems suffered by businesses and consumers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has forced everyone to the confines of their homes. It prevents consumers from going to shops while also denying brick and mortar shops any business. This time showed an over-reliance on delivery persons. However, the fact to be acknowledged about delivery people is that considering the complexity and the infectiousness of the novel coronavirus, they can serve as carriers of the deadly virus as well. Delivery people obviously help mitigate the distance between the consumer and the businesses; it still poses some risk with regards to social distancing norms. This is the idea with which AirDrop was born; it essentially eliminated the need for human contact in the process of conducting deliveries. Our initial business direction was towards the supply of cheap clothes through our distribution channels in a partnership with “Pretty Little Thing” in the area of Sheffield. Clothing is one of the essentials that human beings require.
However, in the light of a health emergency such as the current one that the entire world is subjected to, there is an increased need to pay attention to medical necessities. And much like the lack of accessibility to necessities, access to pharmacies have also been greatly hampered for a large population. These include old people who may be living alone or with a carer or sick people. This necessitated a change in the approach of our organisation.
The implementation process of this change will have multivariate effects on our organisation as a whole. The several steps required to successfully implement the changes had many fundamental value building elements in them, especially within the steps of “Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model”. The process helped us learn and develop the essential elements of better communications within the organisation. Communication plays a very vital role in the success of any organisation, and it plays a very important role in the process of the change implementation process as well, which indicates its significance. The process further will allow the different groups of stakeholders, employees and other participants in the process of change implementation to develop a better understanding of the interests and the concerns of each other. This mutual understanding of each other’s interests and concerns should encourage further cooperation and should also allow better alignment of everyone’s goals with the common goals of our organisation. Furthermore, the introduction of a new vision and its communication and its eventual adoption should also make our organisation more resilient to new changes of direction, which will make our organisation more dynamic. The adoption of the new vision will force our organisation to learn to adopt a new focus to our business activities which will enhance our learning capabilities, thereby preparing us for future opportunities.
Therefore, the implementation process will obviously fulfil its purpose of preparing us for the new direction while making us better equipped for any number of diverse sets of future opportunities.