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CLEARWATER FINE FOODS INC (PowerPoint) Powered By Docstoc
					Clearwater Fine Foods Inc.:
 Using a Group Support System
     for Strategic Planning
• Established in 1976
• Private company & 100% owned by
• Board of Directors in internal
• One of the world’s leading seafood producers
• Live lobster, sea scallops, shrimp, surf clams,
  ground fish, tuna & shark
        Background Cont’d…
• Operates year round in North America, Asia &
• Several acquisitions and partnerships have
  helped the business grow
• Sales in 1996 were over $200 million
• Focus has been growth orientated
• To continue growth, the board instructed
  each line and support function to prepare its
  own strategic plan to facilitate the “CFFI
  Vision 2000”
• 1996 annual meeting identified a problem
  with communication and collaboration in the
• Technology
  – Corporate Intranet
  – Upgrade to Microsoft Exchange for e-mail
  – Search for brainstorming and consensus-
    building software for decision making
Team Meeting Agenda:
•   Introduction – Purpose of meeting

•   Review of background – How did we get to this point?

•   Presentation on GSS – What is it? How does it work? Costs

•   Discussion on how GSS functioned for our last planning session
     – Pros & Cons
     – Cost / Benefit

•   Decision
Team Meeting Agenda:
  1. Should Clearwater continue to use a Group support System for
  decision making in the future?

  2. If yes, should Clearwater invest in a GSS of our own? Why, why
       Group Support Systems
Definition of GSS:

   An information technology designed to
   improve group work. A GSS influences
   interactive processes via software tools that
   are used by group members to generate,
   organize, evaluate and communicate
           Group Support Systems
     Several common characteristics of group support
     systems are:
1.     Reduces barriers to communication that might otherwise be present
2.     Supports many different types of group activities such as:
        • strategy planning
        • project evaluation
        • work-process design
        • budgeting
3.     Are social technologies: programs which allow users to interact and
       share data with other users
4.     Comprise of a combination of computer, decision, and
       communications technologies (but the mix of these technologies
       varies substantially from system to system)
                 GSS Tools
•   Electronic Brainstorming
•   Vote
•   Idea Organizer
•   Topic Commenter
•   Alternative Evaluation
•   Policy Formulation
•   Stakeholder Identification
         GSS Tools Cont’d…
•   Questionnaire
•   Group Matrix
•   Group Outliner
•   Group Writer
•   Group Dictionary
            GSS Environment
• A single room
• A series of personal
  computer workstations
• A facilitator workstation
• A shared projection screen
  located at the front of the
• Each workstation also has
  its own private display
            GSS Requirements
• A boardroom large enough to hold workstations for all
  participants and the facilitator

• A facilitator

• Facilitators workstation (must be a fairly powerful server unit)

• Individual workstations (need not be advanced)

• Projection unit and screen

• Excellent software packages are available for about $900 per
The Meeting
GSS Supported Meetings – Pros
• User friendly – began with tutorial

• Structured approach – stayed focused and constructive

• Very effective at identifying ideas and getting them “on the table” –
  good information processing

• Meeting very well received by participants – evaluation very positive

• The meeting environment non-threatening, allowed for more free
  flow of ideas and considerations
GSS Supported Meetings – Pros
• Did not allow few to dominate & did assist with company problem of
  collaboration - Participants felt they all had equal opportunity to

• Professional & independent facilitator helpful in keeping focus and
  moving meeting along

• Resulted in good decisions along with a clear and well developed
  plan of action for moving forward on priority items
GSS Supported Meetings – Cons
• Some participants felt rushed at times

• Some felt that with focus so much on computer and Whiteboard,
  there was an element of isolation from the group

• Some were miffed because some important issues they had were
  not included – not necessarily a result of this process

• Three months after meeting, the follow-up session to have been
  done by the end of Nov is still not done – reflection of GSS?
GSS Supported Meetings – Cons

• This has not addressed some other company issues such as

• GSS has not clearly demonstrated it’s effectiveness, however, issue
  could be more cultural – i.e. lack of discipline to follow through
                 Cost Benefit Analysis
New computer equipment costs:
•   10 PCs for the workstations @ $1,450 each
•   1 server for the facilitator @ $3,000
•   Cabling & Installation @ $4,600
•   Software for 10 workstations @ $900 per workstation
•   1 projector and screen @ $2,000
Other costs:
•   GSS training costs - 10 people @ $300 per person
Total cost: $36,100

•   Reduced travel cost - 10 people @ $1,000 per person
•   Reduced facility rentals - $800
Total Benefit: $10,800 per meeting

Payback time:
$36,100 / $10,800 = 3.34 meetings = less then 1 year if used for each quarterly review
To proceed with GSS or pursue some other strategy?

a) buy outright and set up fully
b) outsource as required from third party
c) do nothing with GSS but hire independent
   facilitator for strategic planning sessions.
d) other

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