Posts Tagged ‘stakeholder

1        Implementation Strategy

The MFB was designed in such a way as to allow the community to repair, rebuild and replicate the design right throughout Cambodia.  However, whereas in the Western World, we can do so through a range of product distribution lines, government organizations, and marketing; to do so in Cambodia, is not as straightforward.  To put it simply, supply and demand alone is not what guides a third world country (Quinion, 2005).

1.1    Stakeholder and Customer Communications

Whereas in the America, Europe, Australia, and most other developed nations, a communications strategy can use existing media channels such as radio, television, and the Internet, third world countries often lack such communications infrastructure, which delivers those countries a comparative disadvantage to developed nations.

When assessing a suitable communications strategy, an essential belief of our team was to use communications strategies that were native to the Tonle Sap, Cambodia.

Since Cambodia is community-oriented, the fact that a new bridge is being built by the cooperation of locals and Westerners will already raise awareness.  As the town planner begins to work with families to establish where the “main street” should go, there should be a community participation rate between 90-100%.

One of the most effective ways to train staff to build the MFB is to initiate a “Requirement Publication” which details the start-to-finish construction of the MFB.

1.1.1   Marketing Mix

The model used to assess the marketing mix is the 5P model (Borden, 1953).  Product

One of the foremost considerations we made for the production of the MFB was, in what ways, could we satisfy a want or need (Kolter, 2006) in the Tonle Sap region of Cambodia, but yet could do so in a way that was somewhat constricted by the low GDP of Cambodia.

As a tangible product, the MFB in the Cambodian economic climate interestingly does not work on an economies-of-scale production model.  Instead, a better representation of the production model would be a “franchising system”.  In summary, this business philosophy has the franchisor granting its franchisee’s the right to distribute products, techniques, and trademarks for a percentage of gross monthly and royalty fees.  The franchisor additionally commonly also makes available advertising and training.

Reasons for why the franchise business model works include (Alon, 2005):

v  The MFB is based on the infrastructure of the West which has a good track record of profitability (civil usability)

v  The MFB is based around the unique concept of “walking on water”

v  The MFB has a broad geographical appeal, for opportunities in other towns that struggle with flooding

v  The MFB is relatively easy to operate, particularly considering the constant considerations we made for its lower level of labor education

v  The MFB is relatively inexpensive to operate, made from environmentally friendly wood products, and recycled plastic drums

v  The MFB can be easily duplicated around Cambodia due to its simplicity and its low cost appeal  Price

As the old saying goes “nothing is free”; there is a price involved in the construction of even the MFB.  It may be cheap to the West’s standards of pricing, but including assessment for Labor pricing and Value of time, it starts to become obvious that critical to the expansion of MFB is finance.

The method of funding and financing the MFB Roll-Out (network maintenance, improvement, expansion) are taxes and user fees.  With Cambodia, this will derive from federal income tax (20%) (Asian Development Bank, 2008), as well as local (sales tax or CGT [capital gains tax]), variable (fuel tax), or user fees (tolls, congestion charges / fares).

In the West, the main form of financing is loans; bonds; public-private partnerships; and concessions.  In principle, the dominant forms of financing available in the West (loans, bonds) are unavailable in Cambodia due to its low credit rating and GDP.

However, there are definitely innovative opportunities for sponsorship, such as “Coca-Cola” or “McDonald”-sponsored Cambodian bridges that could be a great source of advertising revenue, as already implemented by the Huajian Rice Industry on a Chinese Highway, shown in Figure 7.1.

7.1: Advertising Bridge by Sihun Highway
(Huajian Rice Industry, 2007)

The Cambodian Government could also provide tax breaks and guaranteed annual revenues to help rapid expansion of the MFB.

Furthermore, as a third world country, Cambodia also has access to international financial institutions who are dedicated to financing and technically assisting third world countries for development programs, usually including “bridges” and “roads”, with the role of reducing poverty. This includes:

v  The World Bank (World Bank, 2008)

v  International Monetary Fund (Sullivan, 2003)

v  World Trade Organization (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009)  Place

There are three separate materials used in the construction of the MFB:

Waterproof (Tung oiled) wooden planks: The planks are from the forests of Cambodia, so require little transport, but the waterproofing method requires considerations for the application of the Tung oil.  Fortunately, this process is easy and can be applied at build time.

Recycled plastic drums: The recycled plastic drums are available from within Cambodia

Steel bracket: This is the primary consideration for the “Place” problem, in relation to distribution channels, et cetera.  They will need to be manufactured overseas, or in factories in Cambodia.  Fortunately, because of the compact size and relatively lightweight of these steel brackets, the outcome is reduced transport size, transport costs, and furthermore carbon footprint as a result.  Promotion

The promotion used for the MFB will predominantly be word-of-mouth (Grewal, 2003), due to the viral nature of this form of publicity which works well particularly in Cambodia, as well as more generally for public civil-engineering projects.

PR will also be used (Grunig, 1984), both in relation to raising awareness for the production of the MFB, as well as to address Green lobby groups who may want to diminish development of developing countries because of environmental impacts it may have (Sullivan, 2003).

Advertising will also have its place in the production of MFB, to raise awareness for the MFB in Cambodia, on the television stations, radio, and billboards of Cambodia.  Billboard advertising may present itself to be rather effective.

Because of the franchise-like system used for the distribution of MFB, one of the issues facing this system is “control”, particularly in face of lack of possible legal sanctions in the legal environment of Cambodia.  For this reason, it is probably useful to establish an “mfb” brand, analogous to that of Hewlett-Packard (“hp”), as shown in Figure 7.2.

Figure 7.2: Users know they are buying “quality”
when they spot the Hewlett Packard “HP” Brand
As a result, bridges manufactured by “mfb” can be separately identified by that of a non-branded, non-certified nature.  In some ways, the culture, as well as entrepreneurial ship in MFB bridges could be reflected in other aspects of business in Cambodia as a result.  Packaging

Because of the political nature of infrastructure building, public opinion may sway trends and knowledge, as well as political power.  As a result, careful consideration must be given to:

People, of which high-ranking officials of Cambodia should sit on the Board of the MFB

Process, in that procedures, mechanisms, must be professional and understood well by Western businesspeople to garner their support

Physical evidence, which may include customer treatment, cover letters.

1.2    Infrastructure Preparation

The existing civil infrastructure in Tonle Sap, Cambodia, is housing and transport.  Houses are built on raised platforms to prevent flooding, and transport (during the wet season) is generally via self-made boats.

In order to maximize the usefulness of the MFB, a town planner must map out where families are residing within the community and a way in which to maximize access to the bridge.

1.3    Manufacturing Roll-Out

The metal brackets will be imported into Cambodian, funded by both Government and charitable organizations.

The Live & Learn staff, volunteers, and the Tonle Sap communities will be involved in the development of the MFB.  When coming up with our manufacturing design, we had this fact in mind, and for these reasons, have only used materials that are easily obtainable in Cambodia.

Construction may occur during the wet or dry season, but once the main street is constructed, its use is not validated until it connects the housing infrastructure.  Although some side streets may need to be constructed, in general, many shops, if not housing, can connect directly with the “main street”.  For privacy reasons however, the MFB’s should not connect directly with housing.  Rather, a boat of any kind, which can be docked at either the house or the MFB, should be used.

1.3.1   Quantity of Production

This design was not specifically constructed to connect an entire village together, thus a village would only have 2-3 MFB’s connecting the major parts of the village together such as connecting the local trade markets together.  Since the MFB is a very generic design and each section of the bridge is repeated every few meters, this allows the villagers in Cambodia to easily maintain the bridge and keep it in service for as long as possible. 

1.4    Training

Training and education is key to the production of the MFB.

Both the Cambodians and Live & Learn staff workers should be taught basic skills in construction from DIY parts.  Informal half-hour training seminars should be effective enough.  The Cambodians could then teach one another once a critical mass has learnt how to construct the MFB.

The educational process must be:

Instructional, facilitating staff towards learning objectives delivered by instruction

Taught, refer to the actions of a real life instructor designed to impart learning to a student; that can be applied upon completion

The MFB Training Guide should include learning modules that are (Theroux, 2004):

Visual, learning based on observation, such as drawings, images, and models of the bridge

Auditory, learning based on audible instructions/information, such as the conveyance of the process to manufacture bridge

Kinesthetic, learning based on hands-on work, such as actual construction of the bridge

1.5    Change Management

Traditionally, bridges in Cambodia are built with bamboo, water-permeable wood, and are typically non-movable.

In considering management of change, as consideration is made to the PDLC (product development life cycle), the question of how to deal with market decline.  In particular, say if an entire network of MFB’s were to be created, if it were to reach anywhere near the size of the United States network of roads, at 6,430,336 kilometers (CIA World Fact Book, 2009); how would such infrastructure deal with change?

Furthermore, as a result of the introduction of the MFB, an interesting network of effects on the economy will occur.  Immediately, new jobs will be created:

v  Bridge constructers

v  Transport economists (Discrete choice modeling / Traffic flow) (McFadden, 2007)

v  Town planners / regulatory agencies (RCW MRS Center of Washington, 2005)

v  Businesses relating to tolls (IBTT Association, 2007)

v  Pollution/health authorities

7.3: Bridge on Tonle Sap
(TravelPod, 2009)

With existing Tonle Sap bridges, as shown in Figure 7.3, the issue with such traditional design, is that when the water levels rise, the dirt loosens, and the structure falls apart as a result.  The differentiating factor with the MFB is that the bridge attaches itself to infrastructure, rather than the ground, and can ascend and descend depending on the water levels.  It is difficult to comprehend how Cambodians would not accept such transformational proposal, but may need some adjust from predominantly using boating to a combination of boating and MFB’s for navigation purposes.  This will be a change for the good however.

1.6    Problem Resolution

Because this project is a community project, individuals or certain groups may oppose construction methods, or in particular, how the town planner plans where to insert the “main street”.  The Vice President in charge from overseas should sort out any problems.

Although congestion is quite a big problem in the Western World (Small, Kenneth; 1998), this will not be considered in this design brief for now.  There are ways however, to combat this issue, using congestion pricing (such as tolls).

One big issue with such a large project is “where to start?”  Professional project appraisals and evaluators from the Western World should head these projects, and use their business tools in conjunction with their decision-making. In doing so, their coming to their decision should be transparent and clearly drafted and presentable to the Cambodian Cabinet.  These analyses may include:

v  Cost-benefit analysis (European Commission, 2001), analyzing cost effectiveness

v  Social Return on Investment (SROI, which is the best targeted to NGO’s) (Lingane, 2004)

v  Value of time (Mackie, 2003)