Thursday, November 28, 2019

Balanced Scorecard free essay sample

Strategic Plan III: Balanced Scorecard A balanced scorecard is a strategic business tool used to collect and report information to management on four specific areas which include the financial perspective, customers perspective, internal operations perspective, and learning and growing aspect. These help a business monitor performance and make necessary improvements that will contribute to the success of the organization. In the following paragraphs I will discuss my ice cream parlor’s balanced scorecard and how it will be used to better my business. In my ice cream parlor’s financial perspective of my balanced scorecard the strategic objectives that merit the main focus would be revenues and costs, profitability and competitive position objectives. Revenues and costs are extremely important because these will help us get the necessary ratios to determine the current ratio and whether or not we are stable in our finances. The goal is to have higher revenues than costs. We will write a custom essay sample on Balanced Scorecard or any similar topic specifically for you Do Not WasteYour Time HIRE WRITER Only 13.90 / page The profitability is also just as important and we can use the profit margin to conclude if we are meeting our objectives and targets, which are to maximize the business value and to increase profits by three percent every six months. The initiative used would be to create a main focus on net income and sales to create stricter strategies to meet our goals. Lastly, our competitive position would be our products prices. They will be lower than the other ice cream parlor- like stores because we will buy from a wholesaler or distributer and start selling making a slight profit but as the competition raises their prices we will raise ours but keep them lower than the rest. Customer value perspective is very significant to my business. My business strategic objectives would dominate in the following areas: customer retention, customer satisfaction, and customer value. The most important strategic objective is to keep customers happy and loyal to my company. This can be achieved by keeping the business fun, friendly, clean, and fast which is what most customers want. This can help us predict that we will maintain a stable clientele and be able to attract more customers. To measure this, web polls, surveys, and emails will be used. We will have many promotions and use different media types to advertise so we can meet our target of increasing our clientele 3 to 5 percent every 6 months. Our customer value is what will help us establish our customer retention. We will give the customer a delightful and high quality treat for the low price they are paying as well as the best service possible. Our internal operations perspective includes strategic objectives on measures of process performance, productivity, and operations metrics. The objective on measuring the process performance will be to keep a high quality of products and service as well as a friendly staff. This would be measured by customer satisfaction through web polls and surveys. In this aspect, our target would be to introduce a new product every 6 months and reassess processes to modify as needed. Productivity objective would be to keep high levels of production and maintain high levels of demand. Employees would be trained accordingly and would also have incentives and rewards for extraordinary performance. As for our operations metrics, our objective would be to maintain efficiency in all processes and operations. We would achieve this goal by having regularly checks and getting input from employees as well. The learning and growth perspective would include strategic objectives in areas such as employee satisfaction, employee retention, and level of organizational capability. Employee satisfaction and employee retention go hand in hand and the objective for these is to develop a strong relationship with each employee to keep a dedicated employee and keep them happy. To measure this we would survey employees and have monthly meetings where they could also have a say in most aspects of the business and give ideas that could better processes whether it is speeding them up or lowering operational costs. The target is to be to better in all aspects of the staff which includes communication, management, skills, morale, and knowledge. Employees would receive incentives, bonuses and rewards for being the best. All aspects of a balanced scorecard are very important and can definitely help an organization flourish. It will give insights and remind everyone of objectives, measures, targets, and initiatives. In my ice cream parlor, a balance scorecard will help establish goals and report information to all shareholders. It is a valuable tool that helps achieve success. Balanced Scorecard free essay sample Since the Market downturn in October 2007, a challenging set of economic events has been rocking the financial services industry and AXA equitable has since experienced major changes to keep the company competitive. A well-developed balanced scorecard is what AXA Equitable needs in order to remain a worldwide leader in the financial services industry. In the past, management have believed that the factors critical to the success of a company were based solely upon financial measures; this is why the Balanced scorecard was developed. The BSC has gained increasing popularity as an effective management tool that aligns employee actions and goals with corporate strategy since first being introduced in 1992 (Davis Albright, 2004). Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton proposed the balanced scorecard (BSC). The Balanced scorecard is a widely recognized tool to support decision making at the strategic management level which improves the satisfaction of the strategic objectives (Kaplan Norton, 1992). We will write a custom essay sample on Balanced Scorecard or any similar topic specifically for you Do Not WasteYour Time HIRE WRITER Only 13.90 / page The BSC provides feedback on internal business processes, performance, and market conditions in order to review the trategy and future plans and  Large U. S. companies, such as General Electric and Federal Express, and non-profit and public organizations have implemented the BSC approach (Creamer Freun, 2010). According to the module, â€Å"financial measures are inadequate, however, for guiding and evaluating the journey that information age companies must make to create future value through investment in customers, suppliers, employees, processes, technology, and innovation (Baltzan, Phillips, Haag 2010). The balanced scorecard deals with a proposed model that embraces both financial and non-financial aspects to measure performance of an organization in the financial services industry (Wu, Tzeng, Chen, 2009). The  balanced scorecard[pic](BSC) is a multi-criteria evaluation concept that highlights the importance of performance measurement, and it recognizes that performance measurement should be incorporated in both of financial and non-financial measures; it captures not only a firm’s current performance but also the drivers of its future performance (Tseng, 2010). The balanced scorecard would be a positive force for AXA Equitable as it is a vital part of an overall strategy to become and remain an industry leader. Since times can be unsettling and while no company is immune from the challenges of a volatile market, management should strive to identify the factors that are critical to the success of the company. AXA Equitable needs to implement the measures listed on the balanced scorecard to achieve the company’s critical success factors. This will strengthen the company and continually improve AXA Equitable’s ability to manage through turbulent market conditions when necessary. The Balanced scorecard has four main parts. The balanced scorecard is developed along the four well-known perspectives of Financial, Customer, Internal Business Process, and Learning and Growth Performance, which, at any point in time of measurement, characterize the current status and future potential of organizations (Craig Moores, 2010). The financial perspective includes the measure of an organizations financial performance. For instance, it measures revenue growth, shareholder’s value, assets under management, and cash flow. This perspective links the company to its shareholders with main attention to the question: â€Å"How do we look to our shareholders and those with a financial interest in the organization? † Financial goals include achieving profitability, maintaining liquidity and solvency both short term as well as long-term, growth in sales turnover and maximizing wealth of shareholders (Asosheh, Nalchigar, Jamporazmey, 2010). The customer perspective includes the measure of an organizations market share, customer satisfaction, customer retention, customer referrals and value added activities. This is the second external oriented perspective that takes a look at the organization’s customers, who are the crucial factor for financial success generating revenue by buying products and services. The question is: â€Å"How do our customers perceive us in term of products, services, relationships and value-added? † (Asosheh, Nalchigar, Jamporazmey, 2010). The internal process perspective includes the measure of an organizations productivity, research and development, customer complaints and returns, and operational speed. This Measure focuses on the internal processes that will have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction and achieving an organization’s financial objectives. Firms should decide what processes and competencies they must excel at and specify measures for each of them (Asosheh, Nalchigar, Jamporazmey, 2010). The learning and growth perspective includes the measure of an organizations turnover ratio, hiring goals, education and training of new and existing employees, and number of new and improved products or services. This perspective identifies the infrastructure that the organization must build to create long-term growth and improvement. Intense global competition requires that organizations continually improve their capabilities for delivering value to customers and shareholders. Thus the question remains: â€Å"To achieve our future vision, how will we continue to improve and create future value for our stakeholders? † (Asosheh, Nalchigar, Jamporazmey, 2010). The best way to measure AXA Equitable’s financial performance is the shareholders value. This shows the value that the shareholders perceive AXA Equitable to be worth. There is strong evidence that the balanced scorecard is an effective strategic management tool that leads to improved shareholder returns (Crabtree DeBusk, 2008). The primary objective of management should be maximizing its shareholder’s value. Since the turbulent economy, AXA Equitable shareholder value is back on the up rise again. This can be seen with the stock price. AXA Equitable stocks, just like most other companies, were not immune to the highly volatile market conditions; However with the market getting back together, the stock price is gradually rising again. The management decisions at AXA should be geared towards maximizing the wealth of AXA Equitable shareholders, which means increasing the value of shares owned by existing shareholders. A good measure of AXA Equitable’s superiority over its competition would be the ability to generate consistent and high total returns that it gives to its shareholders over time. Major company issues will exist with AXA Equitable if management interests are not aligned with those of shareholders. When managers pursue self-serving behavior rather than the maximization of shareholder wealth, several symptoms may become apparent: low stock returns, below-average operating performance, and suboptimal investment decisions. The likelihood of company problems is higher when managerial incentive systems do not coincide with shareholder wealth maximization (Manry Stangeland 2003). It is very important that AXA Equitable management put the interest of the shareholders first. Research suggests that firms with management that pursues its own interests at the expense of shareholders will perform comparatively worse than firms with management whose interests are aligned with shareholders (Manry Stangeland 2003). When a company like AXA Equitable is able to generate wealth for its shareholders year after year, it is able to differentiate itself from the competition and creates better value for its shareholders. Investors who purchase AXA Equitable shares hope that the returns they get on their investments would be higher than what they could get from putting those funds in a risk-free savings account. This shows that the investors are definitely willing to tolerate more risk of ownership in AXA Equitable because of the chance of making higher returns. Assets under management are a measure of the total market value of client assets with the company. AXA as a whole has 1. 46 trillion dollars in assets under management, making it the 13th largest company in the world. One of the biggest advantages of having assets under management as a critical success factor on the balanced scorecard is that focus on increasing the total value of assets under AXA demands continuous efforts and improvement by the management and employees of AXA. This financial measure is not only obvious to AXA management and employees but also those outside the company, i. e. the public. Ranking organization like Fortune 500, use the figures for assets under management as a financial success measure to rank companies against their competition and industries. Constantly increasing the sale of financial products or services is a very important aspect of a company especially one in the financial services industry. AXA Equitable offers a wide range of financial products and services like fixed income investments, equity investments, individual retirement accounts, education planning accounts, life disability insurance and annuities to its clients. The products or services is used to address their needs and help shape their financial futures. The sale of AXA Equitable’s financial products or services is crucial in measuring the financial success of the company. The product or services sale is exactly how the company makes money and becomes profitable. Employees of AXA Equitable earn production credits after each sale of its products or services. Production Credits are the total amount of compensation that AXA Equitable pays to its employees in form of commission for the sale of its products or services. The total amount of production credits earned by each employee is the best way AXA uses to measure employee performance. The Production credits can also serve as a measure of financial performance that AXA Equitable uses as a requirement for other benefits other than commission for its employees. Benefits such as medical plan eligibility, stock options, stocks appreciation rights, AXA Share plan and AXA Equitable Advantage. AXA Equitable should strive for consistent and positive investment results for its investment portfolios. This is very important to a company that deals with attracting new prospects and retaining existing clients. An AXA Equitable client, for example, with a portfolio with poor investment results will not remain with the company if that client can get better results with other financial companies outside of AXA Equitable. AXA Equitable financial advisors manage the managers. Portfolio managers manage the investment portfolios and financial products inside AXA Equitable. Those managers are in turn, managed by the financial advisors that make these investment portfolios available to the clients. The portfolio managers are responsible for picking the equities and bonds available in each portfolio, making changes and the investment results for the portfolios they handle. Clients can benefit from a professional allocated portfolio of AXA Equitable funds that delivers automatic diversification, risk management benefits, quarterly rebalancing, and consistent investment results. The customer perspective section of he balanced scorecard cannot be effective if customer satisfaction is not the number one focus. The first and most important rule for any company in the financial services industry is that the client is of the utmost priority. Financial advisors should learn to put the interest of their clients first before any other interests. Companies in a service industry should understand that customer satisfaction is a great measure of performance. Banks and other companies that deal with providing financial services to the public must first put more emphasis on customer satisfaction, and then on financial return. These companies must ensure that their customers remain loyal to them and develop new markets to attract new customers (Wu, Tzeng, Chen, 2009). A crucial part of maintaining client satisfaction is understanding the clients and their needs. AXA Equitable and its advisors are responsible for making financial recommendations and providing its clients with financial products and services, and financial education to address their needs and help the clients create the retirement of their dreams. AXA Equitable should take sending out client satisfaction surveys to every client on the anniversary date of purchasing a financial product or service very seriously. This Client Satisfaction Index survey is a true measure of customer satisfaction and has helped the company identify the key drivers of client satisfaction. AXA Equitable uses this survey to get client feedback on their financial products and the level of service that their advisors showed the client throughout the year. Value added activity is an important way a company can separate itself from the competition. Companies in the financial services industry primarily offer financial products or services to their clients. Why would a client want to use AXA Equitable’s products and service versus another financial company like American International Group (AIG)? What can AXA Equitable offer that client that no other company can? For example, every financial advisor is required to provide the clients with a contract after every sale of a financial product or service. This contract usually contains copies of signed forms and prospectus. It is better to hand deliver these contracts instead of mailing it to the clients. AIG, a major competition for AXA Equitable, usually sends out thank you cards and client referral forms after every new sale of the company’s financial product or service. This is very effective because it showed that AIG appreciates the client and their business. Value added activities can be as simple as remembering a customers’ favorite drink. Whatever the activity is, managers must find a way to capitalize upon it, as doing so will enable them to gain a competitive advantage. AIG uses this service-oriented strategy to get additional referrals and establish relationships with their clients. BSC is an effective performance measurement tool in performance improvement, which positively affects service quality (Ghani, Said, Laswad, 2010). Exceeding client expectations is another critical success factor on the balanced scorecard that AXA Equitable and its employees should incorporate. When this strategy is taken seriously and done correctly, the clients are satisfied; they stay with the company longer, purchase additional financial products or services and most importantly, refer others to the company. Customer satisfaction offers an immediate, meaningful and objective feedback about clients’ preferences and expectations (Mihelis, Grigoroudis, Siskos, Politis, Malandrakis, 2001). AXA Equitable has provided several tools like eRelationship ® for its financial advisors for client contact. The eRelationship ® platform is a good way for the advisors to have continuous contact and build strong relationships with their clients all year long. For example, doing the simple things like remembering and sending out birthday cards, wedding anniversary cards, seminars invitations, could go a long way in building and maintaining credibility, trust and satisfaction with the clients. When the financial advisor is compassionate and is always willing to help, the clients can now see the true value of the advisors. AXA Equitable needs to generate clients constantly to be successful in the financial service industry. To be successful in this business, the financial advisors have to constantly be in front of their clients. Activities that drive the success of AXA Equitable financial advisors include prospecting and meeting new clients, number of appointments set, running appointments and appointments closed. AXA Equitable uses to 5-3-1 weekly matrix to guide our advisor activities They will be successful every week if they can have five prospecting visits, run three client appointments and sign up one new client†. Internationale Nederlanden Groep (ING), another major competition in the financial services industry uses a performance management strategy to keep track of employee activities. The financial advisors are required to submit their performance goals, development plans, and action plans at the beginning of every quarter to their managers. At the end of the quarter, performance reviews are conducted by the managers to measure the activities and production of the financial advisor. The balanced scorecard will help enhance communication between the client and the organization to ensure favorable organization performance (Wong, Lam, Chan, 2009). The internal business process perspective measures efficiency and productivity level within the company. During the client appointments, after the recommendations have been presented to the client, how quickly and efficiently can AXA Equitable provide the financial products or services needed to the client? This can be done with a software called eDox ®. eDox ® is an online database software that the financial advisor carries with him to every appointment with clients. eDox ® contains information about every product that AXA Equitable offers to its clients as well as links to products from other companies that AXA Equitable advisors can also offer to its client. Intra-industry trade (IIT) has been central to increasing the variety of products available to consumers (Moshirian, Li, and Sim. 2005). eDox ® also serves as a tool that top management uses to send out memos, journals, sales ideas, and information on new product launches to every employee of the company. When the client agrees to go ahead with the advisors recommendation and get the financial products; all the applications and forms necessary to make the sale can also be found on eDox ®. A continual review and constant improvement of eDox ® would be very important to keep productivity levels high to become an industry leader. AXA Compliance department is faced with the task of keeping AXA Equitable and its financial advisors compliant with the governing rules made by the Security and Exchange Commission. The Security and Exchange Commission set rules, regulations and guidelines that govern all the companies in the financial services industry. The SEC draws up new regulations periodically that sometimes make business very difficult in the financial services industry, for example, the 90-24 transfer rule, which involves more documentation for transfers of funds between one financial companies. Meeting these guidelines and standards set by the Securities and Exchange Commission is important to eliminate client complaints, trading malpractice, and negative internal and external audit for AXA Equitable Growth within a company like AXA Equitable does not always have to mean more profits because it is in the financial services industry. To become a leader in this industry, the financial company would have to hire more financial advisors to acquire more clients, which in turn leads to more productivity within the company. AXA Equitable should set hiring goals for its managers each year that the company expects to be met because an increase in the number of financial advisors every year will cause an increase in the amount of business written in that year. AXA Equitable and other companies in the financial service industry are constantly rolling out new financial products or services to keep pace with market volatility and unlimited client needs. The companies equip these products with better features and benefits to make them more attractive to the clients and stand out from the competition. AXA Equitable should be committed to providing its financial advisors with the resources necessary to build a lifelong career. Companies facing intensive competition also have a greater impetus to find ways to differentiate their products and services from those provided by competitors, this frequently results in a greater number of product and service lines and differentiation sought through increased customization of products and services in order to meet specific customer desires. (Guilding and McManus, 2002). The Learning center at AXA Equitable is set up to train and support new and experienced financial advisors. For example, when a new financial advisor is hired, the advisor is required to take some necessary courses on AXA Advisors Virtual University (AAVU) to learn everything about the company, its policies and financial product or services. American International Group (AIG) is another company that has a similar new employee development strategy. AIG developed a New Branch Employee Orientation Program where new employees receive online orientation sessions that include information about AIG, as well as company policies and benefits. AXA Equitable should require additional sessions for training and development for their financial advisors. These sessions should include experiences and accomplishments of experienced licensed financial advisors to keep the all other financial advisors motivated and knowledgeable about everything going on with the company and the industry as a whole. Introducing a balanced scorecard in an organization and implementing the critical success factors identified on it will not be an easy task. When firms develop a  scorecard they often start with a strategic performance measurement system which includes a set of financial and non-financial measures. Afterwards, the cause and effect relationships between the different (sets of) measures are developed further to translate the firm strategy to operational activities (Wiersma, 2009). AXA Equitable’s Management and employees will have to cultivate a change initiative. The increasing use of balanced scorecards is changing the way top managers run their companies. When envisioning a firm’s future development, they no longer focus chiefly on monetary success indicators in the financial area, Instead balanced scorecard is designed to complement financial measures of past performance with their measures of the drivers of future performance (Asosheh, Nalchigar, Jamporazmey, 2010). Companies need to address issues to help assess competition in their industry. The Balanced Scorecard is generally implemented at the corporate, business unit, and individual level, and also becomes a powerful tool for the directors to monitor the implementation of the corporate strategy.

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