|University||Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS)|
The current CEO of Saver.Coin is Mr. Gordon Phua. He graduated from a local university with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. During his university days, he had ventured into several small businesses. Although he did not sustain most of these small businesses, he had gained much in terms of experience and confidence. In 2015, a survey conducted by Gordon and his friends revealed that:
- 25% of Singaporeans eat out daily
- 54% of Singaporeans purchase based on price
- 33% of Singaporeans purchase dining discount
- 40% of Singaporeans purchase based on the deal.
In 2016, Gordon Phua with his two friends decided to set up Saver.Coin, a lifestyle solution company that strives to integrate social media and discovery services through artificial intelligence to create a lifestyle platform focused on the discovery of places and people. Basically, the company focuses on connecting subscribers with local merchants by offering activities, such as shopping online by offering the latest fashion apparel to high tech gadgets, as well as offering the best deals and discount vouchers for dining at the most delicious eateries in town. In addition, Saver.Coin helps merchants advertise their businesses and products and services at a low cost.
Management and Leadership
Mr. Gordon Phua believed that keeping the organization structure lean and nimble greatly reduced unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape thus, greatly contributed to a higher level of ‘efficiency and effectiveness’ in the business. With a simple structure, the fixed and direct costs would be kept at a low level. Most of the business costs were variable costs that were directly linked to the operating revenue and sales activities. In terms of financial management, that would keep the breakeven point at a very low level – an essential factor for the survival of the business, especially at the inception stage. Gordon Phua’s business philosophy was to ‘focus on the value creation and the value-add of the business’ and the costs would be taken care of. Currently, the business employed 20 full-time staff and 10 part-time staff mainly in the writer division – see diagram 1 for the organisation chart with four hierarchical levels.
The Challenge and Opportunity Ahead
Gordon Phua was very optimistic about the future of the digital business in Singapore as Singapore could serve as the ‘gateway’ to the other nations in Southeast Asia. With the current progress of AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) and the adoption and implementation of the ASEAN Charter, it would greatly strengthen intra-trade and economic cooperation among all ASEAN nations.
In the digital age, online business is one of the fastest segments in Singapore and the region. Starting an online business requires some marketing research on the customers’ target, needs, and wants, educating oneself on how to start and incorporate the online business into the core business, and extensive investment of time, effort, and finance on online infrastructure. On the other hand, the online business provides a tremendous opportunity for many businesses in the digital age. To be successful in the online business requires proper planning, lots of creativity, and a legal and regulatory framework.
Recently, Mr. Gordon Phua intended to expand the current business to the region to take advantage of the ASEAN Charter initiative to liberalize trade and investment in Southeast Asia nations. After several rounds of meetings and deliberations, the management had yet to finalize its decision to expand the business in either Indonesia or Vietnam. As part of the corporate planning and strategy, the management had to make a final decision based on a proper macro external environment analysis for these two countries.
- Compare and contrast the traditional goal-setting and Management By Objective (“MBO”) approach. As Gordon, the CEO of Saver.Coin, was a very goal-oriented leader, how would you explain to Gordon on the use and benefits of MBO in Saver.Coin?
- Conducting external environment scanning is one of the essential competencies needed to deal with today’s turbulent and dynamic business environment. You are required to identify and describe the key components of the macro external environment in Southeast Asia, and then develop a checklist of items (or questions) that the CEO must look out when conducting the macro external environment analysis. Provide relevant examples.
- Discuss how the top management of Saver.Coin could apply the eight-step decision-making process (also apply the checklist developed in part (b)) to finalize its decision on whether to invest in Indonesia or Vietnam. Develop your answer in a report format.
Important note: Address this question in a short-essay format. Your answer must include an introduction, a body comprising the macro external environment analysis, and a conclusion.
- Apply the knowledge of organisational structure and design that you had learned to describe the three (3) organisational structure problems that Saver.Coin is facing, and provide relevant examples from the case. Put forward two (2) suggestions on how to deal with these problems.
- As Saver.Coin intends to expand its business abroad, examine the current structure, and then propose a new structure for the organisation?
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