Case Analysis: The Rose Co.
Due Date: July 27, 2014
The Rose Company is building a new plant to reduce cost, improve the quality of products, and maintain competitive leadership by gaining a slight production advantage. The main obstacles to be overcome are the commissioning of a new plant, new methods and process, and administrative reporting issues. As the newly hired General Plant Manager, I plan to resolve these issues by insisting that all plant communications flow through me, instituting training for plant personnel and setting operational expectations.
Situation Analysis - The Jackson Plant an older, established unit in the Rose Co. has not operated ...view middle of the document...
Now they will report to me. While the need for change is evident based on the P&L and the evolving competitive landscape some of the changes are not urgent. Initially, change will be at a slower pace because the existing plant will continue to run until the new plant is commissioned. I think that this slower pace of change will be to my advantage since it will afford me more time to understand the production landscape and the players involved.
Problem Identification - The most critical issues involved in managing and implementing the changes at the Jackson plant include a new plant, new methods and processes, and changed relationships. The new plant will also have the inherent vagaries of starting up new equipment and the associated learning curve for the operators. If this learning curve is not addressed aggressively, any expected gains in productivity could be lost. I would suggest the creation of plant simulators and a requirement that all operations employees be trained on the new operation. The new methods, processes and materials could pose a problem for operations. The old plant has been running for many years and there is a wealth of experience within the operators. Most of the work force has “grown up” in that plant and may be resistant to change. If the workforce feels that the new methods and processes are too cumbersome, they may try to circumvent the new methods and revert to the old methods. This would negate the reason for building the new plant, so operational supervision will be a priority. I will institute target measures for supervisors who track the adherence to our new methods and standards.
While the issues above will require attention, the administrative reporting issue is most pressing. The functional VPs have agreed me to issue all instructions to me and have agreed to cut off their connections with their counterparts in the plant as part of the new structure. However, the home office executives have proposed maintaining a dotted line relationship with those individuals. This arrangement sets up two different patterns of home office/plant relationships and having dual reporting relationships at the plant level is troublesome and will lead to confusion and dissatisfaction. This type of arrangement could potentially undermine my power at the facility regardless of my accountability or ability to manage performance. If individual plant level managers do not agree with decisions I make, they may attempt to circumvent my authority by working directly with home office executives. In the event home office executives support the plant level managers, I will have no enforcement powers and many initiatives that I start may fail before they are given a chance.
This administrative issue is best resolved by severing the functional relationship between the executive office and the plant level managers. Decision-making authority is power and people are often reluctant to give up that power. One...