A Manufacturing Crisis in Bayrischer Silicon Products


Emergency has just erupted at the German manufacturing plant, Bayrischer Silicon Products, because today it created over a million Euros of “scrap” as it produced computer memory modules. The plant's manager, Karl Arnstadt, asks the HR manager, Irene Lorraine, to facilitate the management team in “strategic planning” to resolve the crisis. Irene asks American consultant Barry Kravich, to fly in and help her facilitate. The manager and consultants agree to a rapid-implementation planning approach, in which the strategic plans are developed in one day and then tested in action and revised immediately. Contentious plant supervisors learn of the off-site planning event as it is occurring, and they make unexpected, forceful demands. After an active conflict among the managers, they decide to engage all 80 supervisors in actively co-creating the new strategic plan. In addition to fixes for the machines that had produced the scrap, the plan includes a dramatic revision of the management offices, creating an equally dramatic impact on the plant culture. This new culture is severely tested when the new office design embarrassingly fails, yet an unusual response to that failure leads to major, sustained gains in both internal and external performance.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

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