A multivariable system based approach for process improvement in bid management

Author:R S Bharat Chandran
Position::Member IEEE, India

This paper presents a control system based approach on bidding process for winning business deals, which make use of a basic non linear model formulated with the steps involved in common bidding scenarios in the present industry. This system will follow an error-correcting mechanism for creating proposals which will result in successful business contracts. The input-output feedback system... (see full summary)


1. Introduction

In 1911, Frederick Taylor, father of scientific management proposed several methods to increase the worker productivity. Since then, researchers are trying to apply scientific methodologies to management in varying fields of interest [1- 5]. A typical example is the application of the concept of control systems, which is a methodology commonly used in electrical sciences, in management systems [6]. A control system is a set of devices to manage, command, direct or regulate the behaviour of other devices of the system. These set of devices act together to maintain the actual system performance close to a desired set of performance specifications. A control system can be one which controls the output of another system. Control is a process by which a system is modulated, controlled, or changed depending upon the output, or response it produces.

In a management system, if the manager needs to achieve a target, his team should be aligned accordingly to reach the specified goal, for which he needs to monitor and regulate the performance of each team member [7]. Here the control system acts such as to align the team and control the team to get the optimum performance and reach the target in a short time with the best output.

Study of control systems is a wide branch in science which deals with system performance characteristics and improvement strategies for each of those. A very basic system will consist of an Input and an Output, i.e. Single Input- Single Output (SISO) system. In control system language, the system to be controlled is called the process or controlled system, which is having a command following nature, wherein the controlled attribute (output) follows a given command (input). Thus a control system can be considered as a regulator, where the command input is the desired value of the controlled output and is processed within the system (regulated) to achieve the optimal output. Systems can be broadly classified as Open type and Closed type. Output of open type system will

be affected by corresponding input and the system parameters. While in the case of closed type system there a feedback exists from the output to the input. A portion of the output of a process or system is returned to the input, especially when used to improve performance or to control the system or the process. The return of information about the result of a process or activity is an evaluative response. In feedback systems another variable, the error or manipulated variable is used to realize a prescribed accuracy and adequate stability for the system. Feedback is a process in which a system regulates itself by monitoring its own output. That is, it "feeds back" a part of its output to itself. For example, in a water tank level controller, the water level is detected (the output variable) and is used as the feed back variable which is compared with a set level and an error signal (deviation) is generated. This error signal is made use of by an on-off controller which controls the system to avoid tank overflow.

Management control systems are used to provide information to managers which help them in achieving their goals and to assist the organization in developing the strategic planning and maintaining operational control. In such systems feedback is inevitable for progress [7-9]. For achieving any goal one has to know where he stands and then plan accordingly to reach the goal. No matter whether in the planning or the execution stage only corrective action will assist improve to get better. This corrective action would be a result of feedback, which will essentially show the deviation from the expected outcome. If a system is defined to achieve a set of goals, we need to walk through the system and measure its performance based on the actual and expected results. Here, the control action will be decided based on the deviation parameters between the actual and the expected values. This deviation parameter can be called as the learning from the present system. This learning will contribute to the improvement in the next version of the system or even the inputs may be modified to achieve the expected results. The "feedback" in a management control system is any response or information about the result of a process.

From the feedback when a discrepancy or error is noted, the initial step is to determine whether to take an action for that corresponding variation or not. This decision of 'action' or 'no action' is decided by the controller. Is the error too small to act on or is it too large to be raised as a red flag to the system? This decision making process is entirely depended on a controller or a set of controllers. A manager in a small project based system can be considered as a controller for that specific project. He would be having enough information about the system and would also be having a clear idea about the expected output from each of the resources in his team. He would try to give inputs to the team members who are not approaching to his expectations (or set targets) and motivate them to reach up to the expected level. Here, the manager (controller) monitors a team, gives suggestions...

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