This assignment involves you submitting a word-processed paper that applies the steps in the Managerial Decision-Making Process to the case and background information. [The steps to the Decision-Making Process are described on pages 242-246 of our MGT 3000 textbook (10th edition by Daft &Marcic) and outlined on the scoring rubric found at the end of the case study.]
Typed Assignment Required for MGT 3000
Applying the Managerial Decision-Making Process toEngineered Plastics, Inc.
Ben Dooley and Casey Stringer stopped for coffee before heading up to the 35th floor for a Board of Directors’ meeting of Engineered Plastics, Inc.
“You seem deep in thought,” Ben said, placing the two cups of hot coffee on the table.
“Watching Joanneand Robert in our previous Board meetings helps me to understand why the folks in Congress can’t get anything done,” Casey mused. “Both sides have stated their positions and nothing will budge them. I dread this meeting. I’d rather have a root canal.”
“While the Joanne and Robert battle it out, the rest of us must work out some sort of compromise. We outsourced manufacturing operations to China several years ago to cut costs and now things are changing rapidly and we have a major decision. Does Engineered Plastics make the best of the current situation in China?”
“…..Or do we re-shore?” Casey added.
“Someone must be the voice of reason today,” Ben said. “Robert has been in charge ofour outsourcing to China.Initially, it was a great move.”
“I agree the cost savings were pretty amazing. The retooling and creation of a state-of –the-art factory in Wenzhoureally propelled us to a new level of excellence within the industry,” said Casey.
“However, things have changed and we have a problem,” Ben replied.
“Yes. Robert is going to have to face the fact that if we stay in China, we have to move from Wenzhou,” Casey pointed out. “The worker shortage is bad and getting worse. The last estimate for that region was one million workers short of our needs. As wages go up and other opportunities present themselves, manufacturing jobs are losing their appeal in the Chinese cities. In our China plant, the managers have to come down and work on the production lines. That is not good. To try to stave off a mass industrial exodus, the Chinese are now offering a stimulus to industries to relocate into the interior ofthe country. The interior offers more workers and lower wages.”
“But a factory’smove delays manufacturing and makes shipping even more difficult,” Ben replied. “Add to that the Chinese insistence on full payment before shipping and we are looking at some potentially serious delays.”
“On the other hand, Joanne is going to argue that the situation in China is an indication that now is the perfect time to re-shore and bring the jobs back to the good old U.S.,” Casey added. “She is going to dig in her heels on this one.You and I know that at least two members of our Board are going to back off and let her have her way with no careful analysis of the pros and cons. I sometimes think Frank is a people pleaser. He isalways agreeableespecially toward Joanne because she is the Chair of the Board. Furthermore, Mara usually doesn’t say anything, much less offer an opinion. She stares down at her hands when the going gets rough.”
“The pros for Joanne are obvious: bring jobs home where the USA needs jobs, shorten the supply line, reduce shipping costs, offer faster response to customers, and,(I believe) offer a better quality product. It is worth a little higher labor cost,” admitted Ben.
“So, what are the cons?” Casey asked.
“The problems are the higher wages in the U.S. and the cost of retooling older U.S. factoriesthat have been empty for a few years,” replied Ben.
Casey responded, “Although we probably do not have to build a new factory deep in China’s interior, will their interior workforce be adequately trained? I would guess not. The Chinese government is to help with building and relocation costs, but still….”
“So both Joanne and Robert have strong arguments and some glaring weaknesses. Is there room for a compromise? That is what I want to see. They both get something,” opined Ben.
“I do not know,” Casey responded. “I am eager to see how the Board addresses the issues and determines the best solution. It should be an interesting conversation.”
“Or a very uncomfortable afternoon,” Ben said as the two headed for the elevator. “I wonder what you and I might do to help Joanne and Robert resolve this conflict. What do you think we should do, Casey?”
Casey suggested, “Let us suggest that the Board follow the steps in the decision making process to help everyone decide on thebest solution to the problems we are experiencing in China. This should help the Engineered Plastics’ Board members make an informed, effective decision in a more objective way that should appeal to all including Joanne and Robert.”
Background Information for Engineered Plastics, Inc.
Engineered Plastics, Inc. (EP) is the premier supplier of custom machined plastic components. EP has extensive experience manufacturing custom engineered plastic parts specializing in the automotive, aeronautic, communications, instrumentation, oil and gas equipment, semiconductor equipment, and medical industries. For example, EP’s automotive products include automobile fenders, windshields, wiring and electrical systems, interior parts, and exterior body panels.
EP has over 35 years of experience providing cost effective custom (engineered) plastic parts with minimal production times and delivery times that meet the needs of their customers. These qualities have helped EPaccomplish their strategic goals and maintain their market share in the highly competitive engineered plastic industry.
The engineering plastics market is growing even more competitive as companies globalize their businesses. In fact, the industry is predicted to grow 15-20% during the next five years. To stay competitive, all plastics companies (such as EP) are continuously looking for new developments and striving to become leaner, quicker, faster, lighter (products) at the same cost or lower. Modernized plants, up-to-date machining processes, and skilled workers are essential to the success of all engineered plastics companies and especially to EP.
4a. Comparison of Alternatives (to enable 4b. Selection)?
4b. Selection of Desired Alternative?
|1. Recognition of Decision Requirement||1. Problem (or opportunity) is not identified or is incorrectly identified.
Problem not mentioned but mention alternatives to solve problem
|1. Problem (or opportunity) accurately, clearly, and thoroughly described.
|2. Diagnosis/Analysis of Causes of Problem||2. No cause mentioned
Mention one cause
|2. Three or more causes of problem noted
|3. Development of Alternatives||3. Only one relevant alternative described and/or alternatives reflect no understanding of the situation.
|3. Three or more different relevant alternatives described AND alternatives reflect in-depth understanding situation.
|4a. Comparison of Alternatives (to enable 4b. Selection)||4a. When comparing alternatives, fails to address all alternatives in Step 3.
No comparison (missing)
Mention one cause in Step 2
|4a. When comparing alternatives, all alternatives noted in Step 3 fully compared referring to all causes noted in Step 2.
|4b. Selection of Desired Alternative||4b. The selection of best alternative not justified with appropriate information.
Seems to be missing
Good start; need details
|4b. Selection of best alternative justified with detailed explanations.
|5. Evaluation and Feedback||5. No mention of follow-up evaluation of effectiveness of selected alternative.
Seems to be missing
Good start; almost inferred
|5. The importance of a follow-up evaluation of the effectiveness of the selected alternative emphasized|