DIAD Customer service Strategy and Proposal
Condor Auto Group Best Opportunity for Improving Customer Service
Table of contents:
Purpose of Report…………………………………………………………….4
Current Business Issues………………………………………………………7
UPS DIAD Customer Service System……………………………………….8
With the advent of information technology, key business processes have been made faster and more efficient. Companies have also been able to integrate certain business activities leading to the reduction of overhead costs.
Corporations are nowadays exploiting the developments in information communication technology not only to minimize their overheads but also to gain competitive advantage and consequently increase their share of the market.
This paper begins with a brief background of the Condor Auto Group. It looks at the capital base of the company as well as the executive management of the company. It also looks at the consolidation program that the company has embarked on.
The research findings of this report are centered on DIAD (delivery information acquisition device) and how it has successfully been utilized over the years by UPS (United Parcel Services) to maintain a competitive advantage in an ever-increasing competitive environment. This is discussed in detail
For the DIAD to function it must be supported by a cellular network. This paper goes ahead to give a description of cellular wireless networks and how they function including the supporting infrastructure required for their proper functioning.
The paper also discusses the evolution of wireless technology. It discusses the benefits of the current 3G technologies in terms its speed and reliability in transmitting data.
In conclusion certain recommendations are made to the management of the group. With the successful implementation of the issues addressed, the company would be able to implement its expansion strategy successfully in addition to maintaining a competitive advantage.
Purpose of the report:
This report aims at looking at how Condor Auto Group can exploit current developments in information technology to gain competitive advantage as well as increase its market share. As mentioned earlier in the company background, Condor Group through its consolidation strategy aims to expand from the current six to over thirty dealerships in the year 2011. However this cannot be possible without developing a comprehensive ICT strategy that will go a long way in facilitating this expansion.
A company that does not develop an information and communication technology strategy and integrate it with the company’s long-term strategy does so at its own peril. We are living in the information age where access to information supersedes everything else. Companies with elaborate ICT policies are the companies of the future as they are the only ones that can survive fierce competition.
The main issue addressed by this report is how the service department of Condor Auto Group can successfully install a customer service system that will enable customer’s to check on status of the repairs of their vehicles online. A case study of UPS which has successfully implemented a similar system (UPS DIAD) over a span of fifteen years educates this report.
The report makes recommendations to the executive directors of the group as to why and how to implement the system. The company major business is motor vehicle sales. However the service department if well equipped and managed can prove to be a key alternative source of revenue for the company.
The issues discussed in this report if implemented can prove to be useful in streamlining the operations of the service department. The scope of this report ends with the making of the recommendations. The responsibility of implementing this report, however, lies with the management.
A background of the Condor Auto Group:
Condor Auto Group is a newly formed company with a capital base of $250 million raised through private placement. Through this capital, the group aims to fund business growth and industry consolidation.
As part of its consolidation strategy, Condor has agreed to acquire Pennmark Auto Group, which comprises of a series of three consecutively located Mercedes Benz stores. These stores service Wilmington, Delaware, Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania and West Chester, Pennsylvania. Condor Auto Group projects to grow from the current six dealerships to over 30 dealerships by 2011 with a revenue base in excess of $2.5 billion. This will help accomplish the equity building objectives of the executive group.
The management of Condor is comprised of experienced auto industry executives, who have incredible experience in the retail auto industry. Condor Auto Group has given these talented executives an excellent opportunity to show case their skills in the retail sector of the auto industry. Two other senior executives have been recruited from the Buchanan Auto Group, Sarasota, Florida. The new executive team members will also invest some of their personal capital in this transaction, as well.
Current Business Issues:
Condor Auto Group major business is automobile retail. To achieve this goal it has embarked on an ambitious program to buy out other small automotive groups. Currently it is involved in the purchase of the Pennmark group.
The group also aims at increasing its revenue to the tune of $2.5 billion by the year 2011. With this in mind, the management must be more creative in devising new sources of revenue within the group. The group cannot just rely on the conventional sources of revenue and expect to achieve this goal.
Big multi national companies are famous for diversification within the scope of their operations. A lot of options for diversification exist in motor industry apart from just auto retail. Strengthening other areas such as the service department can prove to be crucial in the long term. It can also be useful when the motor vehicle sales are low, as existing motor vehicle owners still need their vehicles to be serviced.
In addition to this, Condor Auto Group must keep track of the rapid changes in ICT and use them to stay ahead of its competitors. Information technology is a key area in any business, which if properly utilized can be used to attract potential and maintain existing clients. It might costly to implement a reliable IT network in the short term but the long term benefits are invaluable.
The automotive industry is a huge industry in America with many players and some with vast resources at their disposal. This means that to survive in the industry is not easy. Therefore the company must diversify its operations that besides increasing their revenues will enhance their competitive advantage.
UPS DIAD Customer Service System:
UPS introduced a cellular-based wireless data service in 1993. Through this system UPS has been able to track the delivery of packages on a full time basis thus gaining a competitive edge over its competitors. Use of cellular networks and over seventy cellular sites transmit package delivery information transmitted from the UPS’ vehicles to the UPS’ main frame in Mahwah, New Jersey.
To achieve this, UPS uses DIAD (delivery information acquisition device). The DIAD is a hand held electronic data collector that records, stores and transmits information. It is custom built for UPS by Motorola to capture delivery information as well as the customer’s signature as soon as a delivery has been made.
The cellular network facilitates connection between the point of data entry, the UPS vehicles in this case, and the company’s private network. The UPS field workers connect the DIAD to an adapter in the vehicle that is connected to a cellular telephone modem (CTM) also built by Motorola. The CTM transmits data captured by the DIAD to the cell sites.
Data contained in the DIAD is routed by the cellular network to the packet switching network that is then transmitted to UPS mainframe. This system is set up in such a way that it is fault tolerant, has cellular redundancies, dual access to the company network and multiple connections to the data system.
A cellular network is a radio network consisting of a number of radio cells each served by a fixed transmitter commonly known as a cell site or base station. Multiple cells are used to set up the network as they provide radio coverage over a wide area. (Guizani M, 2004)
For a network to operate effectively as a cellular network it must be programmed in such a way it has a standardized method for each distributed station to distinguish the signal emanating from its own transmitter and the signals received from other transmitters. This is due to the fact that multiple transmitters must be used to achieve wider network coverage. An effective solution to this issue can be achieved by two methods, frequency division multiple access (FDMA) and code division multiple access (CDMA).
FDMA achieves this by using varying frequencies for each adjacent cell. By assigning each cell a distinct frequency, it is possible for the distributed stations to avoid the signal from other cells by tuning to the frequency of a chosen cell. CDMA is a bit more complex, but the end result is the same result. Essentially the distributed transceivers can select one cell and listen to it.
Wireless cellular networks have evolved from the initial 1G analog systems to the 2G, 2.5G and the modern 3G high-speed, digital networks. Modern cellular networks can be built to support 3G’s next-generation, data-centric applications including multimedia messaging. (Umar A,2004)
2.5G networks incorporate 2G technologies with GPRS’ higher speeds to support the transmission of data transport. 2.5G acts as a bridge between the voice-centric 2G networks and the data-centric 3G networks. GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is a radio technology for GSM networks that supports packet-switching protocols. Through the 2.5G GPRS technology, high-speed wireless Internet and other data communications can be easily achieved. GPRS networks can deliver SMS, MMS, email and WAP applications.
3G networks is the new generation service with transmission rates of above144Kbps. 3G have the ability to support multimedia applications, such as video conferencing and Internet access. Both UMTS (WCDMA) and EDGE support 3G services. 3G networks operate on a different frequency than its predecessors. (Hamel G, 2002)
UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) or WCDM (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) is the European standard for 3G wideband digital radio communications. It utilizes one 5 MHz channel for both voice and data and offering data speeds of up to 2 Mbps.
EDGE is a mobile network radio technology that allows current GSM networks to offer 3G services within existing frequencies. EDGE is an upgrade to GPRS’ data and GSM’s voice networks. EDGE provides data speed three times that of GPRS.
The 3G technologies can be utilized to install wireless cellular networks with the following features:
Data transmission rates of 144Kbps in high mobility conditions (for example, in a vehicle) and 384Kbps in low mobility conditions (for instance, walking), up to 2Mbps.
Packed -switched services.
High capacity and enhanced spectrum efficiency.
After carefully researching on the UPS DIAD customer service system, as well as the organizational needs of Condor Auto Group, the following recommendations have been suggested:
¨DIAD may prove to be useful if well utilized by the company’s service department. To begin with this device will facilitate communication between the mechanics in the service department and the customer service centre. This will reduce the time wasted in having to physically check for the progress.
¨As mentioned earlier, DIAD is a hand held device that is very user friendly more like having a mobile phone. The customer care representatives will be able to routinely be updated on the progress of repairs which they will then upload on the company’s website. Any customer wishing to know the status of the service of their vehicles can then log on to the website instead of having to physically come to the offices. This is also convenient for customers in far locations who may wish to know the progress of their repairs.
¨In addition, this service may attract big clients with big fleet of vehicles. By regularly updating the status of their repairs, the clients may be able to know which vehicles are ready for collection and which ones are not.
¨Through this technology, the company will monitor their efficiency in terms of the time taken to carry out repairs and the resources used. This will enable the group to eliminate any inefficiency in the process. Besides the whole process does not need any paperwork and thus will eliminate all costs associated with paper work.
¨Condor Auto Group is a company with a vision. This is well seen in the kind of plans the company has for the future. It also has a sound management to drive the company to its desired destination. However it is not the only one on the road, many others are headed towards the same direction but it is only the chosen few who are not shy to accommodate new ideas who will reach the finish line.
¨UPS is company that has been able to wither competition over the years because it has evolved with time. The DIAD technology, which may have seemed impossible to many, has taken them to imaginable heights. Therefore although this project may seem costly currently, in future the company will look back and say it might as well been pone of the most brilliant ideas to have been implemented by the company.
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Morinaga N (2000) Wireless Communication Technologies: New Multimedia Systems, Springer.
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Hamel G (2002) Leading the Revolution: How to Thrive in Turbulent Times by Making Innovation a Way of Life, Harvard Business School Press.
Goldsmith A (2005) Wireless Communications, Cambridge University Press.