Sun 29th Jul 2007 03:47PM
Avon as a long recognized brand name is certainly an interesting company to examine. Considering its overall market penetration and brand recognition it certainly raises the question as to the validity of it approach. Avon’s sales system which entails the infamous and time proven technique of direct sales is certainly in contradiction with the most up to date and revolutionary sales tools that are available to virtually all size companies. Hence inherently leading to the question as why Avon has failed to adapt to increase productivity, efficiency and effectiveness which would logically lead to greater bottom line.

It is unclear what the motivation of such company maybe. It could include lack of funding, managerial / stakeholder insistence on maintaining the status quo, lack of viable competition that would force changes, as well overall company cultural and attitude toward changes. In any case, the individual issues such as their approach to direct sales, outdated paper sales system, high turnover of employees and sales personnel and lack of uniform informational technology tools are all secondary issues. There are more fundamental problems that need to be addressed.

Essentially examining the details of a given problem in an organization is not only ineffective in terms of overall organizational strategic vision; it is a barrier to correct potential issues as it applies to the entire organizational culture. For all intents and purposes Avon appears to have large philosophical and theoretical discrepancies. It is not a secret that their methodology has not seen an overhaul for a long time. This certainly raises the question as how this could be changed.

By no means one can certainly know or pin point the exact reason/s as why changes have to been conducted. Yet is certainly obvious that many possible changes are available for consideration. The first and most important asset of any company is certainly its human capital. The Avon ability to reduce its high turnover of its sales personnel should be the first and most obvious point of discussion which could include reevaluation of hiring procedures, overhaul of human resource department guidelines, survey of current and past employees to determine major causes of dissatisfaction and many other similar issues. Deployment of high tech tools including sales automatization, performance evaluation, adaptation of uniform IT tools as well as rigorous examination of data and return of investment could certainly assist in increase effectiveness and efficiency.
Nonetheless, as mentioned before, micro examination and determination of problems as well as micro recommendation in this particular case is contra productive. The more important issues is the examination of the organizational culture that appears to be resistant to change. Certainly there is an argument to be made that Avon organizational culture has resisted changes in order to maintain the status quo; or alternatively changes have not been considered because of potentially less than assuring outcome or probable disruption to the existing operation.

No matter what the reason for the organizational resistant to change, it is a fundamental problem on organizational long term success. It is not only logical, but commonly understood fact of conducting successful long term business that changes in virtually all aspects of business are inversely unavoidable. Changes in the business world can be caused by evolution in technology, its availability, and cost effectiveness as well as changes in customer needs and requirements, changes in social and cultural factors, governmental regulations, domestic or international factors such as tariffs or sanctions as well as issues such as globalization.

Ultimately, in general as well as in Avon’s case, it is not out of order to suggest that a long history in resisting to change may illustrate a very fundamental flaw that may even jeopardize the very survival of a company. The most generic recommendation, without wanting to examine every detail of such basic mistakes, maybe within the most significant asset of Avon or any other similar company; namely its human capital.. Hence it is logical that one can and should suggest an elementary change in adding and replacing those that are essential to organizational culture. A logical start would certainly suggest that the core personnel i.e. senior management should be replaced with individuals more open to adoption and change. Such radical change would certainly assume that a trickle down effect will take place; those senior mangers that are instructed to bring about changes by means of adoption will certainly echo their efforts down to the chain of command to the mid managers and ultimately to the front line workers. 

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The original article is located at: Avon