Organizational Culture and the Change to Single-Part Workflow

Abstract

Whether dealing with individuals or organizations, one well-documented reality is that change is difficult. While the desired outcome of any change effort is undoubtedly to make “things” better, the efforts themselves may not be appreciated by those who must change what they do and how they do it. In organizational terms, change efforts are designed to improve product, services, and/or processes to ensure that the organization realizes a reasonable and sustained return on stakeholder investments. However, there are always multiple realities and perspectives regarding any organization's decision/effort. This case deals with a manufacturing company’s efforts to improve its production processes and expand its markets. For more than two years, this company invested heavily in new equipment, provided extensive employee training, and redesigned the production process from batch production to single-part flow. The company’s stated goal was to increase quality to the point at which they could compete for original equipment sales to the major automobile manufacturers, expanding beyond its current manufacturing of after-market automotive brake parts. In the end, however, the parent company decided that they needed to halt any manufacturing of after-market automotive brake parts and close that division of the company.

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