The senior management of your company has already made the strategic decisions to allocate annual funding to each of the Strategic Business Units (SBU) within the company. You have been hired to manage one of the companies SBUs.
Your new company is a mid cap company with revenues of approximately $350 million dollars a year. This company, like many others, is struggling in today’s economy. It realizes in order to survive it needs to both expand and control costs at the same time. You are new to this industry. This company’s vision is to become the “go to” support or the “provider of choice” for the cruise ship industry throughout the world.
This company currently is in the travel and hotel support industry. As such, you supply support services to the travel and hotel industry such as linen services to cruise ships and major hotel chains in the Southeastern United States. Most of your new company’s revenues are derived for the cruise ship industry versus the hotel industry. This company is home based in Tampa, Florida, as most of your business is in that geographic area.
You are in charge of the Operations SBU and responsible for the management of a product portfolio in this strategic business unit. The Operations SBU is the SBU that provides all the company’s services to its clients. There are a number of projects already in progress, but there has not been a good portfolio management process in place.
The parent company has set the following strategic goals for the entire company:
Expansion goals are to grow the company 10% per year, specifically to include the following:
Expand into new markets in Alaska and Europe
Expand services provided to current customers
Increase revenues by 10%
Increase customer satisfaction by 15%
Cost Control goals include the following
Reduce operating costs by 10%
Reduce overhead and warehousing costs by 5%
This is a two part assignment.
First, develop project selection criteria and a high level process for applying the criteria and managing the portfolio. The criteria should be consistent with the business environment for the industry, consistent with your company’s overall mission/strategies, and consistent with the mission and strategies of your strategic business unit. You are proposing a process, not individual projects.
The deliverable for Part 1 is a written proposal for the project selection criteria and a high level description of a proposed portfolio management process. You may also be expected to make an informal presentation of the report in class.
The proposal should be in the form of a memorandum to your Vice President (your instructor) outlining your proposal. The memorandum should be no more than 10 pages, including any figures and tables. It should be double-spaced, 10 or 12 point font with one-inch margins. This is a summary for an executive, so be concise, to the point, and leave out the fluff. If you don’t need 10 pages to document your proposal fully, I am sure that your Vice President will be happy with less as long as it is complete. Using appropriate grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure will be part of your grade.
The actual proposal should include the following:
A description of the proposed portfolio process. You are explaining it to the executives.
The reasons it was selected (tie to strategies as appropriate.)
A description of the proposed selection criteria. How will the process be applied in your SBU?
The method for applying the selection criteria, and the justification for both. How are you going to score the projects and evaluate the scores?
Hints for a Successful Part 1:
This is not a complete project proposal or even a complete status report. You are making a specific proposal to management of a “Project Portfolio Evaluation and Selection Process”.
All reports and memos to executives should include an executive summary at the beginning. This one is no exception.
The discussion of the organization should be limited to how the SBU organization supports projects and the PPM process. It is not necessary to discuss the total company.
Pay attention to the specifics requested in the deliverables. Do NOT make your memo a list of questions and answers. That is not the way a business memo is written.
It is easy to select a process that is presented in a reference but you must propose one that works for your SBU.
When you think you are finished put yourself in the role of someone who was not working on the solution and read your presentation. You can assume you know the basics of PPM.
Does your presentation provide a good description of the process and how it will be applied?
Are there obvious questions that it raises that are not answered?
This is not a classroom assignment, it is a business memo. Also it is not a research report and you are not trying to demonstrate your academic expertise and how well you are read.
In Part 1 of the project, the new Vice President (your instructor) of your Strategic Business Unit had asked you to create a portfolio management process and project selection criteria for use by the SBU. It is now time to apply this process in selecting this year’s projects for your portfolio.
In the annual budget cycle, your SBU was allocated $24 million dollars of funding uniformly spread over the next year for your portfolio. This means you have $6 million dollars to spend any given quarter. You may select any of the below projects to be included in your portfolio, but you cannot spend more than the allotted dollars allocated to your SBU. Your task is to select those projects, using your selection criteria, that most benefit the overall company without exceeding you quarterly budget of $6 million dollars. You must also lay out a plan for what quarter your selected projects will start in.
Below are your possible projects:
Project Call Center
Currently you have no call center to address customer complaints or accept orders. Customers must use the internet to fill out an online form to address their complaints or service needs. These forms are processed by employees in your department. Currently the turnaround time on any given form is between four to eight hours. This creates a number of other customer complaints. Project Call Center is designed to reduce this turnaround time by 75% by creating and staffing a call center in Tampa. Building acquisition, building renovations, building fit out, IT system upgrades, and hiring and training of staff are estimated to cost $8.5 million dollars. This $8.5 million dollars can be paid evenly in any two quarters in the next year. In addition, seven new employees will need to be hired at $40,000 burdened labor costs per year to staff the call center. Management of this project could easily be done with the current in-house staff. Most of the work of this project would be outsourced and will have minimal impact on day-to-operations.
Project Ordering Upgrade
Currently ordering processing is done online. The software and hardware used in this system are about ten years old. As such, order processing is a long, arduous process for the fifteen person staff. Upgrading this process to a state of the art system would cost approximately $2.5 million dollars, and it is a onetime pay in full internal charge to your SBU. It would also result in a reduction in the fifteen person staff by 7 individuals and reduce order processing time by 50%. Each individual in this department is paid $35,000 burdened labor costs a year. Most of the work of this project could be done internally with existing staff. One weekend of operations will be impacted by the project in its entirety.
The Alaskan cruise ship industry is booming. For some reason, people like to look at icebergs. Unfortunately, our company is servicing no cruise ships in Alaska. Project Rocky is to expand into the Alaskan market. This project will require the acquisition of property in Alaska, renovation of that property, and staffing of the facility. This project is seen as a major money maker for the company and has a NPV of $19 million dollars over five years. Its costs would be $13 million dollars to initially set up the project and $400,000 a year to operate the facility. This initial cost can be spread evenly over each of four quarters of the entire year. These initial costs should be recovered within the first two or three years of operation. Most of the work of this project would be outsourced and management of the project would likely be difficult.
The Mediterranean cruise ship industry is booming. Unfortunately, our company is servicing no cruise ships in the entire European area. Project Europa is to expand into the Mediterranean market. This project will require the acquisition of property in Italy, renovation of that property, and staffing of the facility. The current governmental overspending and austerity issues may impact this project. However, this project is seen as a major money maker for the company and has a NPV of $15 million dollars over seven years. Its costs would be $11 million dollars to initially set up the project and $500,000 a year to operate the facility. This initial cost can be spread evenly over each of the four quarters of the entire year. These initial costs should be recovered within the first three years of operation. Most of the work of this project would be outsourced and management of the project would be extremely difficult.
Our key distribution center is in St. Petersburg, Florida. It has a staff of 100 individuals to process the linens for the Florida cruise industry. Automation would allow us to reduce staff by 35 individuals. The average burdened labor costs of each of these individuals is $45,000 dollars a year. The cost of such automation would be in the neighborhood of $17 million dollars. This initial cost can be spread evenly over the entire year. This project would also likely disrupt the facility for about 3 months while the work is being done. Upon completion, the newly remodeled facility will be 1/3 smaller allowing our need for warehousing space to be reduced by 1/3. This would allow us to sublet this space for an estimated $2 million dollars a year in revenue. Most of the work of this project would be outsourced.
In order to become the provider of choice for the cruise industry, our company needs to expand to more than just linens. A suggestion was made to expand into supplying tableware to the cruise industry, as much tableware is lost every cruise to breakage. Currently this need is supplied by a number of smaller companies that we could easily compete with. This project would involve creating a Just In Time process to receive and supply the cruise ships. It would also involve the need for a minimal warehouse facility. This project is likely to cost $5.5 million dollars and have a NPV of $1 million dollars over five years. All initial costs can be spread over any two quarters of the upcoming year. It would likely take four years to recover the initial costs of this project. It would further cost approximately $300,000 dollars a year to operate this facility. All of the work of this project would be outsourced.
Your task is to use your portfolio process to determine which of the above projects best fit into your portfolio and create a time based plan by quarters as to when each project selected should begin and be paid for. Once this is accomplished, you need to write an internal memo to your Vice President denoting the projects selected, the time based plan in quarters, and why you chose as you did.