Business Ethics

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Background
The Custom Woodworking Company is a small-to-medium sized custom furniture and cabinet making company, with head-office and a spacious plant site at Industrial Estates, Someplace, BC. Its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer is Ron Carpenter now in his late-sixties. His wife Mrs. Emelia Carpenter, being an aggressive business woman and somewhat younger than her husband, now effectively runs the company. Ron Carpenter is affectionately known to all as "Woody" and so the company is generally known as "Woody's". Woody, after an apprenticeship as a cabinet maker, started his small furniture manufacturing business back in 1954 and he and his wife moved to their present location in 1959. The company quickly gained a reputation for attractively designed and well constructed furniture, using imported hardwoods and indigenous softwoods for its products. Woody's now produces custom furniture to order, several lines of furniture for wholesaler/retailers, and a number of variations of standard kitchen and bathroom cabinets, including units made to order. Over the years the Carpenters continued to prosper and built up a loyal staff and work force. More recently their son, John Carpenter, has joined the company's management after having obtained a commerce degree at the local university. At John Carpenter's insistence, lured by longer production runs and higher and more consistent mark-ups, the company has moved into subcontract work supplying and installing counter-tops, cabinets and similar fixtures for new commercial construction. To date, Woody's has established a well-founded reputation for supplying millwork to the construction industry.

 

Woody's Corporate Profile
Head Office: Business:Ý Someplace, BC Furniture manufacturing, custom millwork, and hardwood importer; federal charter 1960; privately held; number of employees approx. 850. Major Shareholder: Emelia Holdings Ltd. At December 31, 199X, total assets were $181,000,000. In fiscal 199X, sales were $93,250,000 with net earnings of $6,540,000.

Directors: Chairman & CEOÝ President Executive Vice President Director Key Personnel: VP Production Miles Faster Ron Carpenter Mrs. Emelia Carpenter Kim Qualey

John Carpenter

VP Finance and Administration VP Personnel VP Sales Estimating Controller and

Spencer Moneysworth

Molly Bussell Bruce Sharpe

Kim Cashman

 

Other Key Players in this Case Study:
I. Leadbetter (Ian) R. Schemers (Randy) Woody's Project Manager Principal, Schemers and Plotters (S&P), industrial design consultants Director, Expert Industrial Developers (EID), industrial property developers and contractors EID's Project Manager I. Beam Construction Ltd., steel fabricators and installers Classic Cladding Co., cladding and roofing contractors I. C. Rain Ltd., water-proofing contractors Tinknockers Associates, mechanical contractors Zapp Electric Co., electrical contractors Piecemeal Corporation, equipment suppliers Project management consultants

A. Fowler (Alfred)

I. Kontrak (Ivar) D. Rivett (Dave) B. Leakey (Bert) C. Droppe (Charlie) A. Dent (Amos) O. Volta (Olaf) E. Forgot (Eddie) W. Easley (Win)

 

The Opportunity

In 1989 there was a mini-boom in commercial construction in south-western BC. With the possibility of a major airport expansion, and free-trade opportunities south of the border, Bruce Sharpe persuaded Woody's directors that they were well placed to expand their manufacturing business. Miles Faster, regularly complaining that the company's production efficiency was being thwarted by lack of manufacturing space, made a pitch to John Carpenter for moving to completely new and more modern facilities. John Carpenter, with a vision of growth based on computer controlled automation, talked over the idea with his father. Woody discussed it with his wife who in turn brought Kim Cashman and Spencer Moneysworth into the debate. Cashman and Moneysworth felt strongly that they should remain where they...
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