MBA 1st Semester Case Studies 4 Humanised Robots Questions Answers
MBA 1st Semester Case Studies 4 Humanised Robots Questions Answers:- Study Material Notes Question Papers notes Sample papers Knowledge Boosters to illuminate the learning Chapter wise Notes.
Case Study 4
Humanized Robots (2015-16)
Helen Bowers was stumped. Sitting in her office at the plant, she pondered the same questions she had been racing for months: how to get her company’s employees to work harder and produce more. No matter what she did, it didn’t seem to help much.
Helen had inherited the business three years ago when her father, Jake Bowers, passed away unexpectedly. Bowers machine parts were founded four decades ago by Jake and had grown into a moderate-size corporation. Bowers makes replacement parts for large-scale manufacturing machines such as lathes and mills. The firm is headquartered in Kansas City and has three plants scattered throughout Missouri.
Although Helen grew up in the family business, she never understood her father’s approach. Jake had treated his employees as part of his family. In Helen’s view, however, he paid them more than he had to, asked their advice far more often than he should have, and spent too much time listening to their ideas and complaints. When Helen took over, she vowed to change how things were done. In particular, she resolved to stop handling employees with kid gloves and to treat them like they were: she hired help. In addition to changing the way employees were treated, Helen had another goal for Bowers. She wanted to meet the challenge of international competition. Japanese firms had moved aggressively into the market for heavy industrial equipment. She saw this as both a threat and an opportunity. On the one hand, if she could get a toehold as a parts supplier to these firms, Bowers could grow rapidly. On the other, the lucrative parts market was also sure to attract more Japanese competitors. Helen had to make sure that Bowers could compete effectively with highly productive and profitable Japanese firms.
From the day Helen took over, she practiced an altogether different philosophy to achieve her goals. For one thing, she increased production quotas by 20 percent. She instructed her first-line supervisors to crack down on employees and eliminate all idle time. She also decided to shut down the company softball field, her father had built. She thought the employees really didn’t use it much, and she wanted the space for future expansion.
Helen also announced that future contributions to the firm’s profit-sharing plan would be phased out. Employees were paid enough, she believed, and all profits were the rightful property of the owner. She also had private plans to cut future pay increases to bring average wages down to where she thought they belonged. Finally, Helen changed a number of operational procedures. In particular, she stopped asking other people for their advice. She reasoned that she was the boss and knew what was best. If she asked for advice and then didn’t take it, it would only stir up resentment.
All in all, Helen thought, things should be going much better. The output should be up and costs should be way down. Her strategy should be resulting in much higher levels of productivity and profits.
But that was not happening. Whenever Helen walked through one of the plants, she sensed that people weren’t doing their best. Performance reports indicate that output was only marginally higher than before but scrap rates had soared.
Payroll costs were indeed lower, but other personnel costs were up. It seemed that turnover had increased substantially and training costs had gone up as a result.
In desperation, Helen finally had hired a consultant. After carefully researching the history of the organization and Helen’s recent changes, the consultant made some remarkable suggestions. The bottom lines Helen felt, was that the consultant thought she should go back to the thought that ‘Humanistic nonsense’ her father had used. No matter how she turned it, though, she just couldn’t see the wisdom in this. People worked to make a buck and didn’t want all that participation stuff.
Suddenly, Helen knew just what to do: She would announce that all employees who failed to increase their productivity by 10 percent would suffer an equal pay cut. She sighed in relief; feeling confident that she had finally figured out the answer.
Q.1. How successfully do you think Helen Bowers’s new plan will be?
Ans. Helen Bowers’s new plan would become successful as it would probably meet the challenge of international competition. Since Japanese firms had moved aggressively into the market for heavy industrial equipment, Helen had seen this as both a threat and an opportunity. In her plan, she made the following amendments:
- She increased production quotas by 20 percent.
- She instructed her first-line supervisors to crack down on an employee and eliminate all the idle time.
- She decided to shut down the company softball field as built by her father.
But since after all these amendments, payroll costs were lowered, personnel costs were up, turnover increased substantially and training costs have gone up, so she announced that all employees who failed to increase their productivity by 10 percent would suffer an equal pay cut.
Q.2. What challenges does Helen confront?
Ans. Helen confronted the following challenges:
- To meet international competition.
- Moving of Japanese firms into the market for heavy industrial equipment.
- Her strategy didn’t result in much higher levels of productivity and profits.
- Performance reports of the employees were not according to her.
- Output was only marginally higher than before but scrap rates had soared.
- Payroll costs were lower but other personnel costs were up.
- Turnover had increased substantially and training costs had gone up.
- People worked to make a buck and didn’t want all the participation stuff.
Q.3. If you were Helen’s consultant, what would you advise her to do?
Ans. If I was Helen’s consultant, I would suggest she take all necessary steps for improving the productivity of the workforce. For this, the following points are to be considered:
- Each and every member of the firm is required to be well aware that he is accountable for his actions and decisions and he can neither pass the buck nor pass the blame to someone else.
- It is required to continuously review the targets so that it may not lead to dissatisfaction among the employees.
- Encouraging the employees helps them move forward and do even better and makes them happy. Innovative ways of motivating them to spur them even more.
- Teamwork also helps in increasing productivity since there is more input in the form of ideas and minds at work.
- It must be ensured that people enjoy their work. So, ways must be devised to make the seem challenging and interesting rather than mundane and boring.