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1. Introduction (Problem- solving)

The world's population is increasing and urbanising rapidly, so is the demand for necessities, the distribution sector is forced to deliver and thus increases problems at the fulfilment centres, Pholo and Ngwira (2014). Carr (2010) explained that there is a need for a new set of skills in the distribution sectors, including the ability to solve problems through a strategic problem-solving model. However, Ehrler, Seidel and Schöder (2019) described these models as designed to reasonably adapt to managers based on their backgrounds and progressive achievements to implement solutions. According to Proctor (2019), different creative thinking techniques aid problem-solving and develops the creative potential of managers and contributes to performance. Yu, Shahzad and Yao (2012) believed that to improve problem-solving skills; managers need to understand underlying problem structures and move towards mathematical model-based problem representation and solving for generalised problem-solving skills.

However, this report identifies problem-solving which explicitly identifies solutions and how to implement them using the problem-solving model approach. The approach is proposed by Proctor (2013 cited in Bransford and Stein, 1993) for improving problem-solving skills, and it's based on identifying problems and opportunities, define goals, explore possible strategies, anticipate outcome and act, and look back and learn(the IDEAL model). Halimah, Sutrio and Verawati (2019) supported the problem-solving models based on the result from their experience, which shows that the technique does contribute to improve the problem-solving skills of managers. These views are supported by Carr (2010 ), who described the models as critical thinking ability, which includes observing the situation, analysing, and evaluating the problem. Carrs' (2010) explanation also concluded that there is an effect of problem-solving models on managers with critical thinking ability.

Additionally, as the distribution sector faces a multitude of customer complaints daily, according to Ehrler, Seidel and Schöder (2019 ). Nonetheless, Cai et al. (2019 ) suggested that the sector should adopt reasonable communication skills to solve problems presented to them. Kayabaşı (2010) also had an opinion that to provide high-quality services, depends mainly on empathising with customers and effectively managing activities from their aspects.

Furthermore, a problem is any situation in which a gap is perceived to exist between what is and what should be, Proctor (2013). This report explores how practical problem-solving skills and responsive leadership styles influence decision making in the distribution sector. The findings are supported by reflective evidence from a management experience related to customer dissatisfaction(see Appendix A). In the views of Wisdom ( 2020 ), the best way to solve a problem as a manager involving a customer is first to assure the customer and show concerns whilst looking forward to finding a suitable solution to the problem. Rushton, Croucher and Baker (ed.) (2014) shared a similar opinion. But, they believed that the key to solving problems involving a customer is to set up relevant objectives and propose a better communication approach to the problem.

The reflective learning log in appendix A is an example of a management problem which occurred between a customer and myself. The customer ordered a 20foot container of grains from our online shop.  Unfortunately, the goods were not delivered as expected. Conflict escalated after several attempts to resolve the problem. I made further contact and implemented the IDEAL model approach from Proctor (2013) to fix the problem. The reflective learning log allows a manager to take a reflective view of an experience and learn from it.

2. Theme 1 Problem solving models

Problem-solving models is a set of various skills and appropriate procedure for systematically resolving specific business issues. The main objective of this aspect is to design a suitable path for addressing the issues which are raised at the workplace by effectively understanding things. It’s a sequence strategy that helps an enterprise in controlling the probabilities of minutes’ errors which might raise while solving business-related issues. Along with this, models of problem-solving play a very significant role in directing the entire workforce towards the right path because it consists of documentation which is having a bifurcation of employee’s activities, tasks, services and so on. In other words, the problem-solving model is also known as a six-step approach in which things are occurred by following different phases (Bardach, & Patashnik, 2019). Every phase of the problem-solving framework aids an organization during an effective decision-making process by showing relevant data related to operational activities. According to Peng & Reggia, (2012) models are also utilized by firms for addressing the business challenges which are identified in the workplace due to the presence of competitors in the marketplace or it might have incurred because of fluctuation in any internal or external factors. Hence, numerous employees use distinct approaches for managing regular issues so that they get succeeded in finding the best solution (Baker, 2017).

2.1 Promote collaborative team work

According to Stanford University, California, collaborative groups are involved in a single project for handling it by using a team-based problem-solving approach as it’s the best strategy for overcoming numerous success obstacles. As suggested by Bardach, & Patashnik, (2019), it is divulged that learning which relies on a team is having several pedagogical advantages because students who get involved in the togetherness approach then they get succeeded in developing greater solutions with the help of several skills. Along with this, able to understand the content; acquire higher motivation towards learning, able to represent the greater quality of solutions and encouragement to enthusiasm for course content. Additionally, by following ongoing, concentrated interaction between group members helps in building appropriate communication as well as interpersonal skills with greater comfort in collaborative groups. All these explained situations are incurred when the students or any employee get involved in collaborative teamwork for managing specific activity whether it's personal or professional. Therefore, the problem-solving model is an approach that always enforces every member of an enterprise to meet together for making an outstanding plan by creating various teams and assigned them a specific task ((Bardach, & Patashnik, 2019). As a result, an overall firm needs to work in a collaborative team for handling any business problems or to attain set targets in a defined time. As per the views of Chafouleas et.  Al., (2010), it is divulged that problem-based, project-based and team-based learning was well organized in the teaching tools of Stanford University as every collaborative system is full of active learning. In this modernization world, few teams of students are interdisciplinary due to the presence of online technologies distributed at the global level because issues might have local or international significance as in few cases it might give by corporate or any other partners.  

As per the Evans & Owens, (2010) Collaboration among teammates becomes a major element for the growth of groups such as; corporations team, public institutions, enterprise, and governmental agencies. If there is a single uncooperative member is present in a team member then it will surely have a negative outcome on the growth of the entire group. However, skilled collaboration, as well as social interaction, enhances the performance of the business in the marketplace by maintaining a positive relationship between shareholders. According to the viewpoint of DR. Cherry Collier, 2016, she has noticed that groups and corporate world are still using the same traditional solving techniques. Moreover, several clients are functioning into silos are having a propensity to associate the potentiality for solving the issues by own as a kind of independent action. But this work only to a certain degree as after the increment in complexity level of problem, solo solving tools become ineffective. Hence, group member decided to increase the diverse team and create a multidisciplinary pool which is resultant into designing of a diversified workforce. As per the views of Yeoh & Yokoo, (2012), it is divulged that it is useful not only in the enhancement of performance but it’s the best aspect for increasing productivity by solving the problem in a corrective way through collaborative approach problem-solving models. Hence, it has been understood by Cherry Collier that the theory of collaborative problem solving which is introduced by Alexander Hancock is a splendid framework for clients to attain their target. This tool enforces individuals to collaborate with other individuals for exchanging the data, ideas, thoughts, and perspectives for identifying the best solution to a specific issue.

2.2 Ideal for complex problems (easy to repeat steps)

Complex problem solving is a cluster of self-regulated psychological procedure and activities which is indispensable in dynamic surrounding for attaining ill-defined objectives which cannot be achieved without regular actions. The problem-solving model is considered as ideal techniques for resolving the complex issues and it’s easy to accomplish it in the workplace because employees are already aware of the phases due to which they don’t need to learn again and again. Simply, the problem-solving model is a strategy that uses an appropriate step for determining the best solutions from present alternative options. According to the perspective of Paul Plotczyk, 2018 problem-solving approaches is a very elegant framework that helps in managing several issues of the business. This framework concentrates on data accumulation for making a correct decision by considering relevant facts or figures. Simply, it’s a very simple and logical procedure of solving business issues that are very complex in a systematic way. Problem-solving models are adopting useful methods and sequence phases by repeating the steps for overcoming the set business issues. In other words, complexity is a term that signifies the interesting patterns and structures identified from the dynamic communication of independent factors. However, every business is encountered with complex business issues which can be solved by the models of problem-solving such as; teamwork aids in presenting several ideas due to the presence of diverse employees as every member is having a different set of skills, knowledge, and experience (Campbell, Ali, & Fienberg, 2016).  As a result, togetherness support in resolving complex obstacles of an association by encouraging every staff member towards their set professional target. Apart from this, business managers can able to solve complexity by using the most favourite framework that is tools of systems. Therefore, by considering the systematic theory of problem-solving models, the company can able to manage the major and drastic issues in a very effective manner (Prabhu and et. Al., (2013). Mainly, they follow a suitable stage for controlling the probabilities of small errors such as;

•    Understand the exploration value which contributes to the factors of the problem.

•    Analyse the potential intention and unintentional outcomes.

•    Need to redefine the issue based on closer observation at every contributing element.

•    It’s time for choosing the best solution for delivering the greatest degree of modification in the workplace.

    Consequently, these above criterion shows the effectiveness and prove that the problem-solving model is a very ideal approach for overcoming various business issues which are too much complex in nature as well as hard to understand (Slinger & Roesch, (2010).

2.3 Process of continual improvement

According to the viewpoint of Colin McArdle, (2017), improvement and problem-solving activities are very much indispensable for the sustainability of business especially continual enhancement is extremely significant so that effective business operation can also have maintained. It’s a very common nature of managers to have expectations from staff members and newly appointed employees that they must be having the capability to resolve workplace issues. On the other hand, the author also believes that the consequences of problem-solving influenced staff members because they haven’t attended any training related to essential approaches related to problem-solving such as; PDCA, Six sigma and 8D. On contrary to this, Maggie Millard, (2018) mentioned in a blog that numerous methodologies might use by the corporate world for designing a structure in a business process of determining and acting upon improvement opportunities so that the company can maintain a continual improvement. Although, firms are encountering numerous business problems for which they tried to adopt distinct approaches to problem-solving. As a result, the entire firm always engaged in continual improvement because business issues emerge every week due to the fluctuation in internal and external factors( Baker, 2017). Hence, a company needs to act accordingly for coping up with the environmental changes such as; change in consumer demand, taste, preferences, fluctuation in economic rate due to the life-taking health problem, alteration in governmental policies for a deal with current complexity and so on. For instance; Corona-Virus is a major problem which is encountered by corporate firms due to which they are facing a high range of losses because the government has imposed many restricted laws and prohibited social gatherings. As a result, it’s a major problem which requires full attention and advanced approaches of problem-solving that aids enterprise in promoting towards continuous improvement. Interestingly, Corona-Virus is a major example that shows that private firms are improving their situation continuously by trying harder and harder with the use of systematic phases. Therefore, it has been understood that models of problem-solving play an eminent role in overcoming the organizational growth obstacles and promote it towards sustainability by getting involved in social programs (Slinger & Roesch, (2010).

3. Theme 2 Identifying solutions

Problem-solving models are designed for identifying the best solutions from different alternatives by encouraging various staff members towards corrective path so that they can do efforts for resolving the issue. According to Riggle, (2011) identification is a stage where an organization involves in the searching process for finding the best or suitable solutions so that the company gets succeeded in effectively resolving the business problem. It’s a very significant phase of the problem-solving model because members are going to accumulate necessary data and information for making a corrective decision. This stage also goes through certain steps for ensuring that acquired information is authentic or not as well as try to understand whether the solution is fit for purpose (Baker, 2017).

However, many methods are there which are used by companies and individuals for determining the best solutions from a larger pool. On the other hand, Ireland & Murray, (2013) states that the emergence of technology gives major support to the organization in identifying the best solutions for overcoming certain growth obstacles. For example; social media is a useful tool for identifying the reviews of the public on specific products, KPI tool is used for analysing the current performance of a business, and assessment of return is beneficial in understanding the profit level of the company and so on. At the same time, Scherer & Tiemann, (2012) believes that identification of the best solution is also accomplished by acquiring opinions from a diverse background of employees and select the best alternative amongst all of it. Hence, the identification of solutions is also a very wider stage that supports an entity in overcoming their business problems more suitably.

Identifying potential solutions

3.1 Framing of problem

According to the viewpoint of Lesh & Harel, (2014) framing is the most significant element in the identification process as this process involved in structuring and presenting a specific problem so that further action will be taken. It involves explaining and discussing the related aspects of the issue of acquiring support from entire staff members. However, staff members or audiences are considered a key element in the framing process because the information is acquired by them regarding the identified problem. Understanding of problem which is encountered by an organization helps in directing employees to take instant initiatives for managing it. On the other hand, Jay Melone (2018) states that before beginning the thinking about suitable solutions, it’s essential to design sprint or frame the problem so that the firm can understand that whether problem-solving is worth it or not. For example; there is a rumour of improper safety measures in the workplace between staff members due to which managerial team has decided to identify the base of this issue so that they can take immediate measures for resolving the identified problem (Bardach, & Patashnik, 2019).

From the above diagram, it has been identified that there is an appropriate step that needs to follow for proper formation of a problem which is gossip by staff members in the workplace during performing their assigned task. The author mentioned that initially, it’s important for a business manager to discover the problem which has already discovered from rumours of employees. Secondly, the problem which is framed must relate with the business because personal issues are not considered as organizational obstacle as every step of the problem-solving model consume a heavy amount of capital. Third, a manager needs to understand the problem from the user perceptive so that the actual issue gets identified that whether there is a presence of lack of safety in the workplace or it’s just a gossip subject. Now, it’s time for conduct mapping from business to use for making a final reframing. Then, after understanding the entire concept, the company has come to know that employees are encountering a problem regarding safety as one of the workers has gone through electric shock while touching a switch (Campbell, Ali, & Fienberg, 2016).  Therefore, the manager’s requisite to take immediate steps for controlling the probabilities future major accidents as this problem influences the goodwill of an organization and gives a negative impact of the company on staff members. As a result, few employees might decide to leave the firm for protecting them from the insecure surrounding of an association (Herawaty & Widada, (2017).

Problem Framing

3.2 Generating number of possible solutions

In this stage, the managerial team is responsible for generating the best solution after understanding the root or causes of the problem which is encountered by a staff member. It’s a liability of problem solver that he/she can come with suitable solutions which will surely resolve the issue without making a situation more worsen due to incorrect decisions. Therefore, initially, the manager needs to set a certain criterion or conditions which will be an acceptable solution and must meet the requirement without causing any further issue. There are certain instances questions which a team can ask in considering at the time of emerging solution (Hyun & Park, (2013)

  • Will the selected solution solve the emerges issue?
  • Is the introduced solution being realistic? 
  • Is it ethical in the business context?
  • Is it economical?
  • Will it aid in offering many more advantages than a disadvantage?
  • Are the advantages being important?
  • Is it harmful or dangerous for staff in any manner?
  • Is it clear to everyone?

After determining this criterion and acquired a supportive or positive answer to these questions, now team members need to start proposing solutions under the mentioned conditions. However, the main concentration in this stage is to come up with the best suitable idea instead of evaluating it for overcoming the existing problem (Guerin, 2018). For example; the problem of safety measures is going to resolve by a company through renovation program as this issue need a complete renovation and proper internal wiring from expert electrician so that possibilities future accidents get controlled. Along with this, a company needs to invest capital in purchasing qualitative electrical equipment for reducing the probabilities of a future problem because qualitative materials are durable in nature as well as it's also become a plus point in the internal infrastructure of a company (Zawojewski, (2013).

Generate Solutions

Although, Albert Einstein believes that group which was working together for generating corrective solutions and conduct its evaluation are having an ability to reduce the chances of future errors by coming with most suitable ideas. Some of the essential tips that will surely help in the brainstorming of thoughts are- 

  • Ideas need to be expressed in a free manner which means that thoughts must be expressed without getting it evaluated from others. 
  • All the thoughts whether it's wild or otherwise must be acknowledged. 
  • It's significant to never discard or criticize the beliefs or concepts which are generated in this phase because rejection will resultant in negative influence and slow down the production of the idea. 

Therefore, it is essential for managerial members who are responsible for problem-solving to think many more ideas so that business issues get succeeded in overcoming the problem as soon as possible (Porter, Rempel & Mansky, (2010).

4. Conclusions

From the above report, it has been summarized that the problem-solving model is a very suitable approach that is used by the entire corporate world for systematically overcoming their business problems. At the same time, it is essential to get aware about each step as well as concepts which are related with solving process such as; continuous improvement, ideal for complex problems, encourage collaborative teamwork, determine the suitable solutions, generating corrective solutions by comparing various options and implementing it with the help of a separate team. There are numerous authors has identified which have stated their viewpoint in distinct ways such as; some are having an opinion for the initial stage of solving model, whereas another is saying something on the second phase of a model so that things getting more clear. Although, every phase of the problem-solving process is significant and having their major role in overcoming the business issue which shows that there is an interrelationship between stages (Lee, (2010). Additionally, it has been understood that phases of solving process are a beneficial factor for company growth which support productivity in several ways such as; direct employees towards the right path, ensuring that things are going in a correct path, employees come to know about their potentiality, come closer for performing an assigned job and so on (Spoelstra, 2017). All these things are playing a major role in the maximization of business productivity which automatically increases the profit level. Along with this, the managerial team is also performing major roles in the entire process by making appropriate plans and selecting the best measures for solving the small as well as large problems that are encountered by the workforce. Mainly, this report proves that the problem-solving model somehow acts as a key element in creating a collaborative team in the workplace by encouraging staff members to get involved with each other identifying the best solution to a specific problem (Rosenbloom, (2011). This thing automatically improves the professional relations of employees through which there is a minimization of conflicting activities and created a peaceful environment at the workplace. According to the viewpoint of Wayne Stottler, Kepner-Tregoe, (2020) problem solving is a core element in human evolution as it’s a tool which is used for understanding the things which are happening in the surrounding, determining the activities which need to modified and then figuring out activities which require to be accomplished for attaining the desired result (Stoszko, 2019). Simply, the problem is a major source of all the fresh or primary inventions, social and cultural evolution as well as considered as a base for continuous enhancement and learning.

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