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2 to 3 paragraphs, with minimum of 3 references with in text citations and web address from the course material provided below.*

This week we begin the process of collaborating on the dilemma facing Easy Wheels (case scenario provided below). We will collaborate using the Six Hats technique as a tool help make both group and individual strategic plan decisions. Please review the following explanations of the system to get a sound idea of how it works Paul Sloane on Explaining the Six Hats Tool(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMr7JGKk5BQ); Six Hats (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHiwpz7r4wY); Value Management HMTL Six Hats (http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_bono_six_thinking_hats.html).. The goal of the collaboration exercise is for you to interact with your classmates to come up with concrete ideas to make the best leadership decision for Easy Wheels.

This week’s discussion will center around the steps in the process wearing the Yellow Hat of Positivity and the Black Hat of Negativity. Faculty will be the Blue Hat facilitator and when the Blue Hat is on everyone will follow the lead of the instructor.

MAIN RULE: WHEN WEARING THE COLOR HAT NO OTHER DISCUSSION FOCUS IS ALLOWED. (e.g. If wearing the yellow hat only good things may be discussed about the idea).

Use of class material to support your work is mandatory, as well as in text citations and a reference list .

Course material

Read the Following Case Scenario

Dwight Rickenbacker and Omar Shariff were two American Army Veterans who wanted to make a difference for their fellow wounded veterans.  They decided that they wanted to make semi-customized wheel chairs.  After researching the idea, the two vets agreed that they were going to do something unique with the wheelchairs.  Dwight and Omar make the wheelchairs with 3-D printing and they were going to make them with easily replaceable parts so repairs could be done by someone with basic mechanical skills.  They also agreed that they would only hire veterans as employees.

Dwight and Omar started their business, Easy Wheels four years ago in Birmingham, Alabama.  Since then, the business has grown exponentially.  Last year gross sales were over $4 million, and was projected that the business will reach $5.5 million by the end of 2017.

A significant part of Easy Wheels success has been through Internet sales. The company website is geared to the American market.  So far, the company has not gone global despite requests for the products from around the world.  Most of those people buying from the Internet site are from Asia especially Tokyo. The average cost of a non-motorized chair is $69.00, half of the cost of a simple product found at Walmart. The battery-operated models average between $600 and $700, almost a quarter of the traditionally produced models.  Prices for parts for the chairs are varied but the most expensive part is the battery for the mobile units, which is priced at one-fifteenth the price of an average battery. The company can customize colors, add oxygen container carriers and other features that improve the wheelchair-bound person’s life for minimal cost because their computer program allows the chair to be designed to each person’s specifications before manufacturing. 

In recent months, Rickenbacker and Shariff have been overwhelmed with requests to partner with businesses overseas to produce and sell the goods. They have also seen many requests from individuals who wish to buy the product directly from the Easy Wheels’ website especially from people in Tokyo. They think it is time to go global. After consultation with a good friend who runs a successful business selling motor scooters in Japan, the partners are leaning toward physical expansion in Tokyo. However, they are not certain whether to manufacture and sell in Japan or ramp up their Internet presence and set up a shipping and warehouse location in or outside the city. The decision is strategic and as leaders of the company they want to be sure that they each a decision that will not compromise the existing operation and income. While the partners know they have the money to expand, the question is how.

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