Needs Assessment- The Case of Breads of the World
The primary goal of conducting a needs assessment in a business is to determine the current and desired goals. There are so many activities in busy business companies that it is hard to determine what may hold it back. Getting to know what is working and what is not is crucial in helping employees make an organization successful.
Case Study Problem
The Breads of the World bakery was started in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1981. The bakery produced bread of different types across numerous cultures in the world. With time, the company’s reputation grew, and the owners received more orders to ship their products to friends and family members. With time, the company has grown, and mail-order operation constitutes 95% of its business. As a result, the company has employed numerous people at the production facility and even more people for shipping and back-office undertakings. Today, the BOW bakery ships 18 different types of bread to the US and Canada with a constant growth rate of between 8 and 10 percent.
However, for the past four months, the Customer Service Department has been increasing cases of complaints of late deliveries and wrong orders. The above issue started shortly after the company hired 22 new workers to fulfill new orders and ship them. The company lacks formal employee training. On the contrary, the employees receive On-The-Job training whereby there is a guide to follow, but the workers need not follow it since they familiarize themselves with the job. The complaints mentioned above have cost the company customers. Below is a needs assessment for the company to reduce the number of mistakes and improve customer ratings.
How to Conduct a Needs Assessment
Quantitative and qualitative methods will be employed to conduct a needs assessment. Quantitative measures such as surveys, assessments, and job-task analysis will help obtain complex data that is objective and measurable (Bryman, 2017). The data will be stated in terms of percentage and time. On the other hand, qualitative measures such as interviews and observation will help in yielding soft data that is less intangible, such as attitudes, opinions, assumptions, feelings, and desires. The two methods mentioned above are critical in the process of needs assessment. For instance, being knowledgeable of how the employees feel (qualitative measure) about a particular skill is as critical in the final training design as knowing how best (quantitative measure) they will execute it.
Possible Causes of the Problem
Some of the possible causes of the issues at BOW bakery are as follows. The first is the lack of formal training for the new employees. The company lacks formal training, and the employees are supposed to learn on the job. The above opens doors for mistakes in the company. The second is ignorance from the management. The Customer Service Department started receiving spiked complaints four months ago. However, the management did not react immediately to identify the cause of the immediate complaints. On the contrary, the management observed the situation as it worsened and only reacted when things were almost getting out of hand.
Determining the Problem
To identify if the problem results from the new employees working with inadequate knowledge and skills, multiple data sources will be considered to evaluate the number of complaints currently and four months ago. Sources such as consumer interviews and Customer Care Department records will be critical in the above analysis (Benge & Warner, 2019). If the data indicates that there were no or were minor complaints four months ago, then it means that the new employees are partly to blame for the current increased complaints. Another possible cause of the discrepancy could be miscommunication between the consumers and the employees tasked with receiving the orders. Communication is critical for the success of any business. Thus, communication barriers could result in numerous mistakes for any company.
Who to Involve in the Needs Assessment
There is a need to involve the top management during the needs assessment process. The top management is responsible for initiating any solutions proposed to fill the gap between the desired and current performance (Champagne et al., 2017). Thus, if the top management is involved, they will identify the causes of problems firsthand, and that way, they will act quickly to remedy the situation.
Benefits of Needs Assessment
A need assessment is beneficial in several ways. First, a needs assessment informs the decision-makers of the identified gaps. In the above case, a needs assessment will inform the top management of the BOW bakery of the possible causes of the current issues in the company. Second, a needs assessment facilitates the process of decision-making and allows one to prioritize solutions (Łuczak, 2018). Once the management is informed of the causes of the issues, they will be guided on the best decisions to tackle them. Additionally, the management will prioritize finding solutions to the problem to prevent losing more customers.
Furthermore, a needs assessment provides data to back up recommended solutions, for example, success measuring methods. The needs assessment will offer the management proof of the success of the methods proposed. As a result, the management will be motivated to make the necessary transformations since they are confident that their investment will be beneficial (Rahman, 2020). Lastly, a needs assessment allows for reflection on past choices, current techniques, and lessons learned. From a needs assessment, the management can identify the positive and negative results obtained from the decisions made in the past and the lessons they have learned from those results. Consequently, the management will be informed on the best methods to put into place currently.
Benge, M., & Warner, L. (2019). Conducting the Needs Assessment# 2: Using Needs Assessments in Extension Programming. EDIS, 2019(6).
Bryman, A. (2017). Quantitative and qualitative research: further reflections on their integration. In Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research (pp. 57-78). Routledge.
Champagne Queloz, A., Klymkowsky, M. W., Stern, E., Hafen, E., & Köhler, K. (2017). Diagnostic of students’ misconceptions using the Biological Concepts Instrument (BCI): A method for conducting an educational needs assessment. PloS one, 12(5), e0176906.
Łuczak, A. (2018). ELP Teachers as Researchers. On the Benefits of Conducting Needs Analysis. Studies in Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric, 53(1), 177-193.
Rahman, M. S. (2020). The advantages and disadvantages of using qualitative and quantitative approaches and methods in language “testing and assessment” research: A literature review.
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File Unit 2 Assignment Bread of the World Needs Assessment Case.pdf Unit 2 Assignment Bread of the World Needs Assessment Case.pdf – Alternative Formats (203.751 KB)
For this assignment, you will review the case, A Needs Assessment for Breads of the World Bakery, and discuss the importance of conducting a needs analysis. See the attached document for complete instructions and grading rubric.