INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Academic Assignment Writing
INVESTIGATING THE CHALLENGES OF HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION
October 2, 2020

Executive summary – This report focuses on the operation management of Talk Talk, which is headquartered in London in the UK. This study further sheds light on the service process types of the company. This study also applies relevant theories to understand the operation management of the company. This report has discussed operation management in Talk Talk Telecom Company. Additionally, issues in operation management also been identified and TQM framework has been utilised for assessing the quality management process. This report also proposes a project plan for extending the operation of this company in Cairo, Egypt.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction …………………………..3
2. Operation Management of TalkTalk…………………… 3
2.1 Service Process types of TalkTalk ……………………..3
2.2 Service design and process design…………………….. 4
2.3 Strategies to address customer demands ……………………..4
2.4 Consumer behaviour theory ……………………..5
3. Evaluation of the existing quality control process and improvement strategies…………………….. 5
3.1 TQM framework ……………………..6
3.2 Project management ……………………..7
4. Measuring processes and suggesting prospective improvements for TalkTalk…………………….. 7
4.1 Measuring process of TalkTalk: Management 2G and 3G network services ……………………..7
4.2 Evaluating process of improving customer services: ……………………..7
4.3 Measuring the performances for starting 4G networks in the UK: ……………………..8
4.4 Measuring the capacity of services provided by TalkTalk: ……………………..8
5. Project Proposal ……………………..8
5.1 Environment analysis of the expanding location, Cairo ……………………..8
5.2 Objective and scope of the proposal ……………………..10
5.3 Project strategies ……………………..10
5.4 Budget plan ……………………..10
5.5 Schedule and Gantt chart ……………………..11
5.6 Risk management ……………………..11
Conclusion ……………………..12
References ……………………..14
Appendix: Budget plan ……………………..16

1. Introduction

Operation management refers to the administration of organisational practices, which are applied to enhance the overall performance of an organisation. Effective project management ensures successful completion of a project within a specific time and an estimated budget. The operation management of TalkTalk, which operates its services from the UK can be highlighted in this context. The company provides service users with TV, home phone, mobile phone, and broadband services. Before expanding in Africa, the company, which possesses 2288 employees, requires 4Vs or volumes to improve quality of products.

2. Operation Management of TalkTalk

Figure 1: Flowchart of operation of TalkTalk
(Source: Inspired by Spangenberg and Lorek, 2019)

2.1 Service Process types of TalkTalk

TalkTalk uses both the Professional Services, as well as the Mass services depending on the requirements in a specific situation. As opined by Spangenberg and Lorek (2019), it is vital for organisations to consider “volume-variety”, which further considers “professional services”, “service shops” and “mass services”. For instance, the mass services of TalkTalk depend on CSG solutions, an integrated solution to understand the changing requirements of their valuable consumers. On the other hand, considering professional services helps TalkTalk to enter a strategic partnership with more than 800 organisations (Talktalkbusiness.co.uk, 2020).

2.2 Service design and process design

Service design describes the process planning of any organisation that operates all functions and activities to improve the quality of the service. Dalcher (2019) stated that service design provides a framework for companies to offer their products and mitigate issues in the service delivery system. TalkTalk offers a range of services that are completely based upon IT services. Additionally, production of service design packages is being identified in TalkTalk. The mobile network service is designed to offer 4G and 2G network services to customers (Talktalkbusiness.co.uk, 2020).
The company has targeted indoor and outdoor customers and provides prepaid and post-paid connections. Furthermore, contract-based services provides support for individual businesses such as small, medium, and large businesses. According to the Ideas of Slack and Brandon-Jones (2018), apart from individual services to customers, this company has also engaged in providing services to business organisations. Analysing based on process types the complex type of processes have been identified in the company (Kerzner, 2017).
Additionally, service process types are mainly two types. One is professional services and another is Mass services, which are existing currently in the company. Professional Service process types have been designed for business organisations and business partners of TalkTalk. On the other hand, the Mass service process types are designed for common people and services, such as “Internet Access, data networking and voice call” are being offered to people. The company offered 180,000 business and public sector customers with a reliable service (Talktalkbusiness.co.uk, 2020). This is mostly easy-to-use, innovative and provides a great value of connectivity.

2.3 Strategies to address customer demands

Setting a clearly defined strategy and objectives for targeting prospective customers are very significant for telecom companies. TalkTalk has its very keen observational customers’ demands. Two types of customers are being offered two different types of services, namely normal and industrial customers (Talktalkbusiness.co.uk, 2020). As influenced by Kerzner (2017), the strategy used by TalkTalk to ensure low-cost price for connections and the internet. Using 4G and 2G technologies for domestic customers are also being used for this purpose. To provide a strong business relationship with business partners, “Network Brilliance” programme envisioned to support digital growth of UK based businesses. Business partnerships have taken a new dimension under the new program paradigm by TalkTalk (Slack et al., 2016).

Additionally, this company partnered with the BMC to provide CMDB, a new configuration management database to the business organisations (Talktalkbusiness.co.uk, 2020). Additionally, TalkTalk uses advanced technology. This includes providing better visibility in the business decision-making process. The company also invested in technological advancements and established an information-sharing platform using CMDB that reduced the cost of ownership for this company (Benjaafar and Hu, 2020).

2.4 Consumer behaviour theory
CBT focuses on the way consumers make their decisions while purchasing specific products. As per the views of Kreye (2018), the marketers require predicting how the customers will react when they introduce a specific product in a market. For instance, the leaders of TalkTalk take into consideration the physiological, personal, and social characteristics of the target consumers to analyse what determines their purchasing habits (Talktalkbusiness.co.uk, 2020). For instance, they communicate with the service users through online platforms and the company’s website to understand when and how they will purchase their products.

3. Evaluation of the existing quality control process and improvement strategies
Customer expectations are one of the significant considerations for service providers. TalkTalk has several strategies and control measures to follow its service standards and quality of the service networks as well. As per the ideas of Mohammed (2020), under the TQM framework, all the quality control processes can be investigated for TalkTalk. Telecom Company TalkTalk has inducted a new cloud-based system and shifted from the old HR system to improve its service delivery and its quality.
Conformance to accurate information provided to the managers had helped this company in reducing costs in several areas such as salary costs, headcount costs and many more (Hofmann et al., 2020). Higher engagement of skilled labour has been achieved after the successful integration of cloud-based systems. On the other hand, meeting customer expectations are also being achieved by the effective management of the workforce, as stated by the services manager Jackie Wilson (Business Connectivity, 2020). Meeting customer expectations from diverse ranges of services and types of network options such as 4G and 2G connections, fibre internet connections have generated positive results for this company. TalkTalk grew its business and has a customer base of more than 4mn in the UK (Talktalkbusiness.co.uk, 2020).

However, improvement strategies, such as acquisition have not been profitable for this company. The difficulty between collaboration with its partners created increasing costs in the business operation process (Dilawo and Salimi, 2019). Other challenges include prototyping and implementing new technologies in their running business framework. Authorisation and managing the recruitment process became a significant point of consideration. TalkTalk scored lower than average meeting customer expectations satisfaction level. Increasing the number of complaints is sufficient to have perspective on the customer satisfaction levels in TalkTalk. Hence, this can be stated that the improvement cycle (PDCA) enabled the evaluation of the difficulty in the quality improvements and quality maintenance processes that are slowing down the improvement for TalkTalk (Talktalkbusiness.co.uk, 2020).

3.1 TQM framework

Customer satisfaction level and achieving targets in business are being dependent upon the quality of the service and products. According to Akkermans et al. (2020), the Total Quality management framework provides an outline that any organization can use for long-term success. As per the statement of Dilawo and Salimi (2019), the implementation principle of TQM required quality development, Quality maintenance and Quality improvement processes. Quality development in TalkTalk includes its initiatives to use the 4G network of O2, to improve customer experience of faster internet. Quality development can be seen in providing better user experience and partnering with O2, another telecom service provider.
However, as a responsible MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), TalkTalk quality maintenance is also being achieved by partnering with TCS. About 97% of the population are being covered under the 2G and 3G network of TalkTalk. To maintain high-speed internet and data transmission, the 3G connection has maintained a standard of quality that offered sufficient networking speed to customers. On the other hand, 4G connectivity is an underperformer for this company. Variety of 3G data plans such as “sim only plans and data only” plans are still able to manage its customer base. Additionally, no cost roaming in EU and EEA countries also provides benefits such as customer satisfaction level for this company.
However, situations have changed due to quality improvement plans. Quality improvements of TalkTalk and its partnering with TCS enabled this company in static testing of its networks. Regularity in a great volume of releases and reduction release time has been achieved by partnering with TCS (Business Connectivity, 2020). Accordingly, the development of systems and procedures have been established by partnering with TCS, and TalkTalk tests its service platform prior to delivering services to customers (Talktalkbusiness.co.uk, 2020). Hence, great control over technologies has been achieved by the company. Other benefits are including a continuous process of improvement in the company. As per the comments of Mohammed (2020), TalkTalk became able to design, build, test and operate its consumer division with the help of TCS. Great competitive advantages have been identified in this process with an increasing number of customer satisfaction levels.

3.2 Project management

Management of projects depicts the activities that are necessary to shape a complete project and measure its success as per the defined organisational objectives. TalkTalk and its partnership with TCS allowed in designing its relevant technologies which are essential for maintaining the continuous standard of the network. Hence, the quality, time of delivering technology have been achieved through the partnership. On the other hand, the company’s partnership with O2 in the UK has provided delivering the 4G network to its customers. According to Mohammed (2020), the service standard was relatively poor in comparison with its competitors.
Improving 4G services become an utter necessity for the company. Hence, managing life cycle and performance objectives have partially been met and required to improve its 4G services in the UK. Additionally, being up-to-date is essential for a business, whereas, improving 4G services can generate greater profits for this company for long-term (Mohammed, 2020). However, as per the 4Vs analysis, for improving its performance related to customer satisfaction level, the Company has offered ranges of different plans to ranges of customers. Such plans include homeworking packages for fibre-based internet connection like WAN with higher speed up to 1GB/Sec (Business Connectivity, 2020).

4. Measuring processes and suggesting prospective improvements for TalkTalk
4.1 Measuring process of TalkTalk: Management 2G and 3G network services

This can be stated that the high customer base for 2G and 3G networks of the company depicted its ability to deliver high-quality service to its customers. However, as per the comments of researchers, the lower customer satisfaction level is also identified. This is because of the slow responsiveness to the latest technologies. Additionally, the company became able to understand the key requirement for the modern networking system for its competitive advantages.

4.2 Evaluating process of improving customer services:
Improvement of customer services initiated by this company with its partnership with TCS for controlling process and improving the software for better customer experience is highly needed. The development of test facilities provides great control over the quality of the services. TalkTalk became one of the leaders in delivering WAN services to normal consumers and commercial consumers as well. According to Fisher et al. (2020), building strong business plans for industries and other business organisations have generated great profits to their company. Low cost broadband is often prioritised by customers with its sufficient speed up to 11mbps. This company also offered high-speed broadband internet with 63mbps speed and action support such as high-speed router and security preferred by customers in the genre. Installing cloud-based systems to improve customer services have a positive impact on TalkTalk. However, according to the research, several complaints have been registered for poor coordination with customer services this is mainly because of poor employee skills and management.
4.3 Measuring the performances for starting 4G networks in the UK:
TalkTalk started its 4G services for UK based customers while using the networks of O2. Therefore, issues concerning improving customer service level and standards are limited and have poor connectivity and speed (Fisher et al., 2020). Limited speed and poor network coverage remained a challenge for this company. 4G network required to be maintained properly to improve customer satisfaction level and start a strong 4G network connectivity in the UK. Considering the quality, cost and time of delivery of updated 4G technology, the company is required to have improvements in several levels.
4.4 Measuring the capacity of services provided by TalkTalk:
The Company uses several partnerships for enhancing its capacity in providing expected services to customers. Such improvements include partnering with TCS, establishing an automated cloud-based system, and partnering with O2 for delivering 4G network services to customers. According to Kerzner (2017), this has improved the customer’s satisfaction level by managing customer demands more efficiently. Such as, the company became able to deliver high-speed WAN connections to domestic and industrial customers as well for long-term benefits.

Suggestions:
● TalkTalk needs to install its network for 4G services.
● Development of technologies by partnering with tech companies is a must for improving customer services.
● TalkTalk must deliver improved customer services strategy such as responding fast to customer’s query and improving network service as well as 4G and broadband connection.

5. Project Proposal
This is to introduce a prospective plan for expanding operations and services in the African region. This project will demonstrate a plan for expanding its business in Cairo, Egypt. This region is selected because it is tourism spot and an IT hub. This will provide lots of customers to the company. Moreover, due to high unemployment, the cheap labour can be derived.
5.1 Environment analysis of the expanding location, Cairo
Internal environment:
TalkTalk Plc. has a customer base about 4.8mn that offers a great prospect for TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc. to expand its business in other locations. The company currently produces cheap broadband services and has its strategic partnership with several companies that continuously improve the service framework. TalkTalk Plc. has its new cloud-based system that offers an efficient recruitment process of skilled employees and competitive advantage are mainly from its diverse levels of products and services (Fisher et al., 2020). Key strengths are diverse service plans, high-speed broadband, new technology testing facility and many more. Whereas, key weaknesses are delivery timing, quality, and adaptability with the latest technology.

External environment (Cairo):

Political:
● Recent stable democratic establishments would be an advantage for TalkTalk
● Unstable relation with neighbour Ethiopia could be an issue for the Company
Economic:
● Higher inflation rate 13.87% due to unstable economic condition (Plecher, 2020)
● Continuous improvement in the economy since 2014
Social:
● High rate of unemployment (8.612%) in 2019 (Plecher, 2020)
● Improvement in social lives can result in a good customer base
Technology:
● Current technological development progress in Cairo is a fast process
● Mobile and computers are being popularised recently
Environmental:
● Being situated in the middle east region, Cairo has environmental extreme conditions
● Environmental regulation is easy to follow along with government incentives
Legal:
● Legal regulation encouraging global businesses are open for international business organisations
● ECC allowed foreign companies to enrol for business

 

5.2 Objective and scope of the proposal
The foremost objective of this expansion project is to enhance business operations and providing network services in Cairo, Egypt (Africa). The scope depicts that this project will enable TalkTalk to start its first international business operations in outer UK regions. It will be helpful to integrate low-cost and high-standard telecom services in middle-income economies like Egypt.
5.3 Project strategies
Development of team and Key stakeholders
This project will require a team of 4 participants, 1 operational manager, 1 HR manager, 1 finance officer and 1 project head.
Employees: Responsible for operation and activities related to the project
Tech-partners: Responsible for providing technology supports such as TCS and O2 provided earlier to this company
Customers: Customers are responsible for accessing services offered by the company and providing feedback

Planning:
1. Identification of operational tasks by operation manager
2. Establishing a network support system and communicating with other organisations
3. Financing and assessment of prospective costs related to starting a low-cost mobile connection in Cairo will be led by the finance officer
4. Recruiting eligible employees from Cairo and train them (Mohammed, 2020)
5. Mobile Network management and connection establishment in Cairo providing services customers

5.4 Budget plan
(Refer to Appendix 1)
Implementation:
This is intended to be completed within 6 months to start its own network services in Cairo, Egypt.
Resource plan:

5.5 Schedule and Gantt chart:

5.6 Risk management
Risks Management offers a better opportunity for identifying and controlling risks in future business plans.
Identification of Issues and risks:
● Competition from local and global companies such as BT, EgyptSat Telecom, and others
● Service quality and low-skilled employees
● Maintenance of the telecommunication towers due to extreme weather conditions
● There is a need to abide by customer demands as well. There are already established telecom sectors, which offers internet and other facilities within Cairo. Hence, TalkTalk, in this case, is needed to lower their expenditure so that they can provide the services at a low rate.
Analysing Risks:
1. Numbers of mobile network service providers available in the Cairo market
2. Service quality needed to economic and high standards
3. Maintenance such as customer service is required to be perfect
Evaluation:
1. High service quality will be the most essential for an expansion project for positive responses in Cairo from just in time delivery
2. Maintenance needed to regular to maintaining high standard of network coverage and internet service for maintaining high quality management
3. Competition from other network providers could be a significant risk for this business project
Risk treatment:
1. Partnering with tech -companies and providing latest technologies
2. Regular assessment of services form customer feedback and strategic actions
3. Offering low-costs network and new job opportunities in Cairo
Risk Review:
Partnership With tech-companies can help to introduce low-cost technologies for customers in Cairo. On the hand, regular assessment of services will provide a guideline for maintaining service standards.

Conclusion
From above discussions, it can be concluded that there are several issues that have been identified in the operation management process of TalkTalk. Firstly, poor quality of services has been identified to cause issues, such as poor customer satisfaction and poor adaptability to advanced technology. However, recent changes, such as partnering with tech companies, and adapting cloud-based systems have delivered positive results to the company. Technology development and testing facilities have been achieved that helped this company to improve its quality of network services. Additionally, the company also provides low-cost internet connection through wired networks systems domestic and industrial users. This strategic plan helps to maintain and sustain its business profits and the company is required to establish its own 4G network to help its future expansion project in Cairo, Egypt. Low-cost and high-quality services could be effective for this project in Cairo.

References

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Dilawo, R.S. and Salimi, Z., (2019). “Understanding TQM implementation barriers involving construction companies in a difficult environment.” International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management.

Fisher, M., Olivares, M. and Staats, B.R., (2020). “Why is empirical research good for operations management, and what is good empirical operations management?.” Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 22(1), pp.170-178.

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