University of Twente Student Theses


How to enhance the efficiency of seasonal companies: a design-approach on resource sharing, focus and differentiation strategy.

Meier, Vera Christina (2011) How to enhance the efficiency of seasonal companies: a design-approach on resource sharing, focus and differentiation strategy.

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Abstract:Business problem-solving projects are essential in exploring new patterns. They are further used for designing new processes and strategies and are directed directly to provide improvements to business performance. The design-oriented methodology is also applied in this thesis about “How to enhance the efficiency of seasonal companies”. Generally, seasonal companies operate only for several months within the year, while during the other remaining seasons, warehouses, human resources, materials etc. are not widely used. Thus, it should be explored whether those organizations could be more efficient when they change operations, collaborate with other companies or following other business strategies. Next to an intensive literature review, the research project is based on qualitative research within different companies in the cross-border region Euregio. The main research question, which is “What are the actual seasonality-grounded problems faced by seasonal companies and how can these be solved in order to enhance the efficiency of these organizations?” already indicates the inductive nature of this research project. As referred to in this research question, the first part of the project is to explore the actual problems which are faced by seasonal companies in Euregio. After conducting in-depth interviews and a secondary data study, two main problems of seasonal nature could be identified in those organizations: (1) problems based on the warehouse/production facility utilization rate and (2) problems based on the human resource utilization rate. Given those identified problems, which extended the findings in scientific literature, the research is further addressing those challenges. Based on the second half of the research question, solutions about how to solve these problems need to be provided. By not only relying on a critically carried out research framework, provided by an extensive literature review, but also based on the qualitative empirical research, different seasonality-grounded solutions can be generated and assessed: (1) establishing facility resource sharing between seasonal companies, (2) building human resource sharing relations between companies, (3) combining two organizations within one location, where the host organization supports the other company with facilities and additional manpower, (4) outsourcing facilities to save costs, or (5) engaging in a differentiation strategy in order to overcome seasonal fluctuations of the products by enlarging the product line. Besides, for those solutions, different preconditions were identified and assessed. Fulfilling the particular preconditions can lead to engaging in the particular and regarded strategy. Relying on the design research approach, this research method is applied as this area of investigation is relatively novel in scientific literature. Thus, the general framework about how to deal with enhancing the efficiency of seasonal companies is based on a qualitative method, which indicated that further research is needed to investigate the generalizabilty of this solution model and change plan. The established general solution model is object to be tested in quantitative research, which is beyond the scope of this research. This research shows the exploration of a novel topic, which was not widely explored and addressed in current scientific literature.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Kamer van Koophandel, Enschede
Rabobank Centraal Twente, Enschede
Syntens, Enschede
Elcon B.V., Borne
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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