Ted Jones, the Supply Manager, has been struggling with one crisis after another since assuming his position two years ago.
Morale amongst his team is an issue. His senior buyer just submitted his resignation to take another job with a salary increase.
Performance trends in his department look good compared to past months but there is room for improvement.
Ted realizes that a better training program will bring some folks along a bit faster.
The Maintenance Department requested a new Robot at an estimate of $5.5 million to be delivered and operational in 7 months. Only one source of supply is available and that supplier, Fenwick Electronics, proposed $7.2 million because the original estimate was only the amount budgeted for the machine last year. Failure to research and build a good proposal has left Ted's buyer no leverage in negotiating a good deal on the robot.
Finance has reduced funds available for office supplies and because of this the copy paper being used in the photocopier is jamming the machine, causing downtime, reducing productivity, and frustrating the workforce.
Operations ran out of parts one week. Ted is puzzled about the hopscotch communication among operations, material control, marketing, and management.
Quality of incoming parts is causing major production problems
Janitorial services are not being done properly
Discussion/Recommended Courses of Action
There are a myriad of issues described above but Ted has solved a small piece of it by being puzzled by the hopscotch communication between his departments. From my viewpoint it seems the biggest hurdle in his organization is shared vision and priorities and common operating picture. Each division is on its own sheet of music and not working in concert. This is a recipe for disaster and if left unchecked will erode morale and cause people to jump ship (which is already occuring). If Ted is not already doing so, he should start holding regular meetings to assist everyone in having shared understanding. The author Patrick W. Lencioni wrote a book entitled Death by Meeting which lays out an excellent strategy for managers at organizing meetings that are productive. Good meeting are not hours long, exhaustive and stressful events, but really productive endeavors. Ted could hold a daily ten minute stand up with his key supervisors to go over immediate daily goals. A weekly organizational staff meeting to cross-talk important operational and administrative matters. Monthly strategic meetings to talk long term goals (purchasing strategies, production improvement, etc) and annually an off-site to talk visionary things and team build. These meetings are important because they involve everyone and open lines of communication and common understanding. Using an example, the maintenance department could have laid out the proposal for the Robot at a monthly strategic meeting along with their initial estimate and the other department reps could provide input on whether or not the Robot was good for the priorities of the organization, would increase production and if so, is there any way to improve the proposal or was anything missed. This team based approach is win-win for the team.
There are other things that Ted's team can implement within Supply Manangement to improve their environment. Analysis of their supply chain might determine the issues that led to operations running out of parts. Is Operations storing enough parts on hand to meet demand? Ted himself has realized the potential of additional training and there are many areas to look at implementing such programs,