What makes an effective control system? - Marketing Strategy

Control systems require careful design. Generic principle sexist which are common to all effective control mechanisms. As with management processes,it is important to retain a degree of flexibility and common sense. The project manager can deploy the following principles to ensure effective control:

  • Involvement :This is achieved by encouraging participation in the process. Management can achieve desired results viaconsultation.For example, staff could contribute towards setting targets.heir own staff development needs could be considered along with the required tasks. Correctly applied, the process enhances morale, promotes ownership and develops the skills base of employees.
  • Target setting : There are two important factors. Firstly,the target criteria should be objective and measurable. How this is assessed needs to be communicated and agreed in advance. Secondly, it needs to be achievable but challenging.
  • Focus :Recognize the difference between the symptoms and the source sofa problem. While it may be expedient to treat the symptoms, tackling the source of the problem should eliminate it once and for all.
  • Effectiveness :The tendency exists to measure efficiency as opposed to effectiveness. Efficiency is the usage and productivity offsets is about doing the right things. Ideally, we want measures of efficiency applied to areas of effectiveness. In reality we tend to apply efficiency measures to areas easiest to measure. Be careful to measure what is important, not what is easy to quantify .Additionally, measurement should be accurate, valid and consistent.
  • Management by exception :Management attention is directed to areas of need. Identifying what constitutes an exception to the norm is a useful exercise in its own right. The process involves setting tolerances and benchmarks for normal operation. Management action only becomes a priority when pre-set limits are breached .The Below Figure shows a simple tolerance control chart. This is based on planned sales revenue plus or minus a tolerance of 5 per cent. If the levels are broken, or in proactive system appear as if they may be breached, management will begin to take an interest in the process.
  • Action :Good control systems promote action. Such systems do not just detect problems, they solve problems. Basically, actions adjust the inputs to the process. For example, extra resources could be made available to deal withal backlog or a process or procedure could be redesigned to make it more effective.

Problems of control

Problems of control

A good control system is not easy to develop. The project manager requires an awareness of the general problems associated with control systems.No system is perfect and no control system offers one hundred per cent accuracy. Often, the concern is keeping operations and plans within acceptable limits.

Three problems are commonly associated with control systems.

Firstly, such systems can be costly. Here the benefits of control and subsequent improvements are outweighed by the cost of the control mechanism. This often relates to large bureaucratic systems –layer upon layer of administration is built one upon the other. This disbelieving rather than customer-focused, often absorbing resources that would be more effectively deployed in core activities. Secondly, control systems stifle effort and creativity. Such systems promote uniformity and conformance to pre-set targets. They become barriers to innovation. Thirdly, control promotes a view of inspection as opposed to development .Systems often deal with the symptom rather than the root of the problem. Here,we tend to be constantly ‘fire fighting’ and looking for the quick fix as opposed to developing a better overall method of operation. The effect is to filter and/or suppress information from those with the power to radically overhaul a poor system.

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