Sports is both a social and economic activity as it contributes to the economy and is responsible for integrating diverse societies. With developments in economy and standards of living sports has developed to a professional level. Sports retail has developed in response to growth of the sports market and is currently responsible for some of the most profitable corporations like Nike and Puma. Choice of operational management approach determines the effectiveness of strategies developed in harnessing opportunities and meeting the needs and expectations of the market.
Dynamism of the market and effects of globalisation puts industry players in a situation where they have to adopt dynamic approaches that are less risky. Thus, stage gating as an approach should be considered by all investors and organisations contemplating operations in the sports retail sector and those that are already functional. Introduction Man has always been a social being. Being social there are a number of events developed by the society to ensure that the social aspect of man is maintained by ensuring cohesion and interaction between people of different attributes.
Cultures, values, norms and beliefs have been transmitted through interaction between people. Sports is one of the oldest form of interaction between people of the same society and among different societies. Sports have developed over the year and the emergence of commercialisation that affected nearly all aspect of human life did not spare sports. The levels of development that has been attained by sports have increased with betterment of standards of living.
The effects of commercialisation and emergence of professional sports may have started before the 1950’s but the effects of professionalism in sports became more visible in the 1990’s. By the turn of the century, sports had developed so much that some stakeholders put across their concern on loss of social interaction objective in sports. In fact, professional sports are one of the most well playing occupations one can land in. In the top 10 richest people under the age of 25 years of age, the top five spots are dominated by athletes.
This gives a clear picture of the kind of money involved in sports. With the development of sports and professionalism there was an increase in need for better services and equipment hence the development of sports retail industry. At first, the sports retail industry was aimed at providing tools and equipment used in professional sports, however, sports developed from a social activity to a full fledged commercial sector. Currently sports are more of a fashion and the market of sports retailing industries include the fashion industry, sports club and fans.
Some of the factors that have been influential in the growth of the sports retail sectors include the development of information technology which has made ordering and delivery easy, development of sports, an increase in awareness on health issues that has led to increase in the number of people involved in physical activities. Operational Management Operational management is a key area of business and focuses more on the management of processes that are critical to the production and distribution of products and services.
Operations management may not be widely used with reference to small organisation, however, the principles applied by small business in their daily operations bear close resemblance to what is referred to as operational management in management schools. Product creation, production, distribution and development are just but a few of the processes that have to be addressed in operational management. Management is a key processes in any organisation, and organisation of processes just like organisation of human resources should be ensured to gain robustness and efficiency in operations.
The approaches implemented in operational management may differ greatly and mainly depend on the nature of services or products offered. Retailing is such a complex process and involves a thorough analysis of the market to determine the expectations of the market. The market is a key variable that determines the nature of operations in any retail store. Having a large market is associated with increase in sales and may even lead to the development of a brand name.
Retailers engage with end customers and depending on the nature of the supply chain they may either deal directly with manufacturers or middle men. Puma as a retail store has developed so much over the years and has one of the most developed brand names. Be it in soccer, swimming, hockey or baseball the brand name is known to both fans and players. Project management is both an art and science that must be learned and adopted by all organisations that are seriously considering operation in any industry.
Project management is especially relevant to operational management which involves the entire process of development and distribution of a product. The entire process of operational management can be considered as a project and can be handled by the application of project management principles and theories. Considering operations management as a project makes it easy to coordinate the various processes involved in operational management and also creates a well layered process.
There are two main mechanism used by sports retail stores to develop and market their merchandise: Networking and stage gating. Networking is a classical marketing and product development strategy that employs the use of teams. Teams are then networked and assigned some specific task that they have to be done with in a define period of time. Networking implements a modular approach to the development of a product and is therefore highly dependent on efficiency in management and the levels of success that each team achieves.
The stage gate process on the other hand divides product development into a number of processes or stages each of which is separated by a number of management decisions. The main factors that have to be considered is that the management decisions made are done with regards to the development thus stage gating is associated with increase in levels of revaluation. Teams developed under stage gating are cross functional and must complete a set of prescribed tasks before they can be approved to go to the next phase.
Effects of Globalisation Globalisation is a factor that affects business processes by determining the scope of the processes and nature of processes that they interact with. Globalisation in its basic definition is used in reference to the process by which business processes move from a local dimension to a multinational level. It should be noted that the level under this consideration is defined by political boundaries thus globalisation effectively minimises the effects of boundaries and differential cultures.
Globalisation is prompted by development in technology and such aspects as liberalisation of trade and improvements in level of integration between different entities (Lock 2007). Better immigration laws and development of trade blocks are some of the key drivers to the high levels of interaction between people of different societies thus globalisation. A key characteristic of globalisation of business processes is the high level of volatility that comes with the globalisation of processes.
Variables that affect the operational environment are quite dynamic and may change without warning (Lock 2007). Operations in a globalised economy that is affected by variables that are of global stature is complex and should therefore be managed well. A look at classical networking under the effects of globalisation shows that this approach is gullible and may be a source of failure. Variables that affect operations are quite diverse thus the mode of operation should ensure that people tasked with the processes are of diverse capabilities.
Classical networking implements teams that are homogeneous thus their operations in an environment that is characterised by diverse variable is questionable. Moreover, classical networking involves evaluation after some set period of time. The level of volatility that characterise present day operational environment may have an effect on operational variables and if milestones are being waited upon the entire project may be turned into shambles. On the other hand, stage gating implements cross functional teams which are well suited to operate in an environment affected by diverse variables.
Review: Networking Networking as an approach to business determines the levels of efficiency that can be attained in implementation of business strategies. Networking implements a simple project life cycles approach and is a well understood principle in the management of business processes (Liptak 2005). Network analysis is a key approach to the management of projects and has been implemented by organisations with varied levels of success. Networking is an approach used in planning, scheduling and monitoring processes involved in project management.
The main mechanism used is structured and involves the flow of processes from one level to the other as features and characteristics are moved towards set desired product. Project networks are temporary endeavours aimed at development of predefined unique products or services which display some required characteristics. Take for instance the football that was used in the 2006 FIFA World cup. The ball is stated as the lightest and smallest ever used in the history of professional football. Its swerving capabilities and speed that it could attain were cited as an addition to the thrill of football.
Project management therefore requires a thorough analysis of market needs therefore development of strategies and strategic approaches that are relevant to the needs of the market (Kerzner 2006). The network life cycle provides a framework on which management can make decisions regarding strategies and resource allocation towards achieving set goals. Achievement of goals is set within some time frame therefore pressure on workers to achieve the objectives is high. Evaluation is done after each phase and the levels of development determined and corrective measures developed to ensure objectives are met.