Provide an executive synopsis for the study.
Trading in oil products has in the recent years changed with an emphasis being given to electronic based platforms. The e-store is one such system that allows Shell to better customer experience. In the recent years more emphasis has been given to clients in turns thus ensuring the company gets better profits. Note that interaction with the system ensures the customer gets a firsthand understanding on the workings of the company. Shell is a leading petrochemical company in Canada employing three thousand people plus in Calgary, Alberta. The company operates independently but it is however allowed to get assistance from the Shell group.
What are the core problems and opportunities?
Earlier shell customers balanced their need for lubricants and fuel on a trust based system. There was a lack of extensive price-sensitive information. This group represented a huge majority of the company's main clients. However, this group has been gradually fading from existence with the introduction of two segments, one being price sensitized on the products and the other being price insensitive. The company needs to introduce a new trading system that will provide better services than what was on offer before. Digitizing the sales platform is one way to go. Further note that lack of knowledge of the system is one key problem.
Conduct a SWOT analysis: Identify at least 5 Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Strengths: Introduction of the digital platform gives the company a better opportunity to make profits. Observedly, to make the e-store platform work, a number of technological and business operations were put in place such as provision of services was increased and was highly influenced by the shell systems. Also important, this structure was largely classified into two groups a front and a back end where the front end represented the platform where the clients would engage the system and search catalogues so as to get price quotations, make orders, raise reports as well as place requests for customer services.
The back end was to provide the intricate services of business, logistics, engineering and data storage services needed to operationalize the organization. For the management of business assets the company came up with an application bringing together examples from around the state. C. Wright and his colleagues came up with methods to give out information about the platform by means of gathering information from clients and service providers. Other information was sourced from interacting with a demo of the e-services.
Weaknesses: The organizational changes brought a myriad of challenges. In one case the eBusiness platform lacked accountability with weeks and months passing without meetings. There was inclusion of many people on the platform coupled with contradicting information. For example, one group believed that the price quotation performed well while another group, however, showed that the father was slow in providing results as the statistics showed clients signing up for the store platform surged upwards with the number of those using it remaining as before. Additionally, customers only signed up for the system, but did not actually use it. The feedback received touched on knowledge of several issues. Some clients had no knowledge of the e-store. Those with an idea of the platform prepared to work with their local agents since they provided excellent services, thus they saw no need of using the system. This relationship between the client and sales agent was valued by the customers.
Opportunities: there is need to roll out the e-Store to other products of the shell group ensuring it is accessed by everyone who needs their products.
Threats: The online platform, according to the clients, only duplicated on the roles of sales agents who always had their phones on standby and they were able to promptly take orders. The sales reps showed conflicting interests with one group advocating for the use of the store whereas another gave it minimal support. Some agents were concerned with the time used to interact with the system that it would be better placed in dealing with the customers directly. Clients were shown how to sign up for the e-Store but further assistance in the working of the system was not yielded, from this, Wright learnt that the platform was nothing like the one that was previously deployed by the troupe.
What is the greatest risk and greatest benefit for the company?
C. Wright took a huge risk with the introduction of the e-store. Shell had been using the customer agent system for a long time and therefore had to review its mode of operation. Even though the digitization was a great risk it turned out to be great opportunity in that the company was able to get more clients and sell more products.
What would you recommend as next steps for the firm based on the case study and why?
The use of the digital system is a great opportunity for the company. Technology and business go together hand in hand. For a company like Shell to remain relevant in the oil industry they should look out for new ways to better their sales. In addition to that the company can also team up with other e-store based platforms such as e-bay.
In conclusion, I would like to recommend that on tackling the problems that arose there is need for better knowledge of the platform and for it to be fully brought forward for the clients. This would impact the technical know how on the sales agents that would be later given to the clients. Additionally, Making the services provided by the system complimentary to those provided by the sales agents will help realize the objectives of e-store. I also suggest that e-store should ensure that the e-system is customer friendly and efficiently responsive to customer needs. Finally, the e-store as a system of trading is an excellent option, however, I would suggest that there is an urgent need for Shell to roll it out to new clients so as to get a new market base.
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