Value Chain Analysis: Army Recruiting Company Foundation for Business intelligence Before he passed away in 1999, satirical novelist, Joseph Heller, wrote in his book Catch-22, “I had examined myself pretty thoroughly and discovered that I was unfit for military service” (Heller, 282). While in this instance, the individual was missing a leg and therefore not eligible for service, this quote has been used at times by those that have a fear or misunderstanding of the United States Armed Forces.
Despite this, there is a requirement to maintain the volume of Soldiers within the United States Army and that recruiting companies develop a desire to join within the communities where they are located. Understanding the Companies valued processes allows for analysis of what operations are already being performed well and what areas can be improved to increase desire to join. As an Army Recruiting Commander it is my job to ensure that the Company I lead is producing the best product for our customers. It is described as customers because there are two entities that this company serves.
The more obvious of the two is the United States Government. We receive a mission for the year, as to the Government’s goals for the quantity and quality of new enlistments to the United States Army. While it is important to this customer to receive a certain number of these enlistments at various phase lines through the year, the type of enlistment is just as vital to customer satisfaction. For best results, the enlistee should not only show educational aptitude, but also be a malleable or trainable product before they arrive to Basic Training.
This customer’s requirements for success require that the company provides them an on time, quality product, in determined quantities. The other customer that this Company serves is in fact those very people that are enlisting to serve Customer Number One. Less than one half of one percent of the American population has chosen to serve in the Army during the past decade (Miles, 3). Though this number is likely to remain low, growing pressure from competing Department of Defense Agencies such as the U. S. Navy or National Guard, requires us to illustrate to the customer exactly why they should choose us as a provider.
Where Customer Number One requires a high tempo turn over for their product, it is more important to this customer that service meets their specific timeline. Some customers need to begin their Army Career as soon as possible due to financial or familial responsibilities. Others have requirements to complete, such as graduating from high school or college, therefore requiring a suspended leave date. In addition to a customized timeline, it is important to understand the specific reasons why they would choose to enlist in the first place.
Understanding this allows the Company to tailor the right package of benefits and job selection that meets the customers desires and replaces the need to seek opportunities with other Department of Defense Agencies. In order to meet the requirements of the Companies two customers, there are certain activities that must be accomplished. Though there are other processes that support the Company’s operations, the critical activities for mission success are marketing and research, prospecting, input management, and output management.
These activities are necessary to complete services for both sets of customers and are continuously being completed. It is generally likely that many of these activities are being conducted simultaneously in order to reach final goal of a quality Soldier prepared to ship to Basic Training with a customized package of job and benefits. It is said that the first rule of sales is that people must like and trust you (Klivans, 1). Though we typically try to distance Military Recruiting from sales, this principal still applies.
For many people there is a negative connotation when considering the Armed Forces as a career choice for themselves or those that they influence. Generally, this is due to lack of knowledge of what the Army or other Department of Defense Agencies is like aside from aggrandized portrayals of violence from movies, television, and news. In order to combat this ignorance, the Company has become very successful at utilizing marketing within the local area. We effectively utilize advertising and public affair in order to engage the population and inform them about the military, its benefits, and the opportunities that are available.
More than 43 percent of the recruiters for the entirety of Department of Defense within the area belong to my Company. Due to this, we are able to conduct branding operations across a larger swath of area than the other services. Participation in schools and providing branded materials for on the spot dialogue or future appointments at a recruiting center allows the company to diverge potential applicants away from other services increasing company production.
Finally, utilization of friendly influencers such as, coaches, guidance councilors, and church leaders adds to our value as they provide the message about the Army’s worth without the supposed bias. These marketing and branding activities lay the framework for mission success and market domination, but prospecting is where the literal rubber meets the road. As with the marketing, the number of recruiters in the area allows for a larger area to be covered and more school visits per day, but its knowing where and how to target potential applicants that allow for greater success.
Company recruiters conduct no less than four school engagements and multiple days either calling or visiting qualified leads identified from responses to our area marketing. Each phase line, which is generally about a month, we utilize historical data to identify key “must win” zip codes. By looking back at the last two years of recruiting data, we identify these key areas where enlistments are more likely to come from as well as what time of the year is generally the best to prospect in these areas. The analysis of historical data also helps with understanding the approach that should be utilized when discussing a potential enlistment.
We utilize this to understand when to offer the action and adventure of the Combat Services or money for college and medical degree programs. This alone plays a significant part in our success and claiming more than 40 percent of the total market share of all enlistments in our key areas. At this point we should have satisfied all of the requirements for customer number two. They are given the red-carpet treatment and provided with the specialized bonuses, job placement, and Basic training dates that meets their aptitude and preferences.
They then become the input for fulfilling the obligation to Customer Number One. Though each enlistee has the customized packet and has general satisfaction from the process, it is still possible to have an enlistee change their mind about shipping and is taken as a loss. The acceptable standard for loss rate from the United States Army Recruiting Command is ten percent with no losses inside of 35 days (USAREC, 7). Losses that occur are generally due to pregnancy, police record, drug use, or loss of influencer support.
To combat losses, Future Soldier Leaders are assigned and conduct weekly training with the enlistees. During the training these leaders provide enlistees with information and training necessary to become successful at Basic Training and in their military careers. At the end of each training the enlistees are given a safety brief to remind them of potential risks to shipping and what mistakes will cost them. This action has reduced the loss rate of the Company to approximately eight percent with significant reductions in pregnancy, drug use, and police record losses.
However, loss of influencer support continues to be the primary reason for loss and generally result in a loss being taken well inside of the thirty day window. Losses taken before ship date due hurt the overall effectiveness rating of the Company. What also becomes a challenge is getting the enlistee to ship on time to basic training. The most important part of getting an applicant out the door is time flow management. There is an expectation that the Company can enlist a Soldier, prepare him or her for basic training, and get them out to their unit in a few weeks.
Currently, the average “flash to bang,” amount of time between initial contacts during prospecting to shipping to Basic Training, is just under 50 days. Though this is above the standard timeline for stated Command policies, this timeline is faster than all other recruiting Companies in this area. Issues that extend the flash to bang timeline typically are contract renegotiations for individuals that are unsatisfied in their specialized package. Also, individuals that fail to complete school requirements at the expected graduation time require an extension to their original ship date.
In order to increase the success of the Company it is important to understand not only the areas where success is being achieved but what items can be adjusted to maximize efforts as well. For instance, though having a higher recruiter share allows for us to cover a larger area during the marketing and prospecting phases, the Marine Corps and Air Force manage to recruit a significant number of high aptitude Seniors even in our “must win” zip codes. Both services supply one specialized message and target specifically those individuals looking for careers in technology and engineering.
Providing more focus on Army careers in STEM, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is needed to lessen efforts by other services. Also, adjustments need to be made during the input management phase in order to diminish losses inside of 30 days to include more involvement with enlistee influencers to ensure no loss of support. Finally, contract renegotiations should be kept to a minimum. Ensuring that a thorough understanding of our customers motivators and fully address in initial package and limiting renegotiations that would extend Flash to Bang timeline are needed steps.
Engendering support to join the United States Army will continue to be a daunting task. In order to make certain continued satisfaction from the two customer groups requires understanding of working processes and potential areas to improve. Through utilization of higher recruiter numbers to cover larger area, developing good marketing and prospecting processes, ensuring proper training and management through Basic Training ship date and applying fixes to deficient areas, the Army Recruiting Company can continue to meet the demands from our customers.
Works Cited Heller, Joseph. Catch-22. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961. Print Kilvans, David. “The First Rule of Sales. ” Ezine Articles. N. P. , 03 October 2007. Web. 02 March 2013. . Miles, Donna. “Survey Shows Growing Gap Between Civilians, Military. ” American Forces Press Service. Department of Defense, 28 November 2011. Web. 02 March 2013. . USAREC Regulation 601-95. (2002). Delayed Entry and Delayed Training Program. Washington DC. Department of the Army. 12 August 2002. PDF File.
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