Cultural Analysis of Ben & Jerry's Issue Using Schein's Culture Framework

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Company Background of Ben & Jerry’s
In 1978, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. was established in Vermont, Burlington. According to Material Handling Management (2008), Ben & Jerry’s operate with “more than 650 employees in three facilities, all in Vermont – South Burlington, Waterbury and St. Albans. Corporate offices are located at South Burlington site.” Ben & Jerry’s hold ‘Free Cone Day: free scoops of Ben & Jerry’s’ once a year to mark its annual anniversaries nationwide. Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is founded in 1985 to offer funding to community-oriented schemes. The board of directors of the company “commits 7.5% of the company’s annual pretax profits to philanthropy.” ( Ben & Jerry’s donation through Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to non-profit organizations is appreciated and awarded with the Corporate Giving Award from the Council on Economic Priorities in New York City in 1988. “The Foundation awards about $1.8 million annually to eligible organizations across the country and in Vermont.” ( In 2000, Unilever, giant food company, bought and hold the ownership of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream manufacturer. Ben & Jerry’s support Fair Trade and have wide range of Fair Trade Certified ice-cream flavours. According to Dairy Industries International (2010), Unilever, current owner of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream maker, “wants every ingredient used in all its ice creams sourced as Fairtrade certified by 2013.” Fair Trade certification ensures that suppliers receive a fair amount for their efforts that can support their further investments. According to Reynolds (2010), Ben & Jerry’s achieved sales worth of £50.9m in 2009.

Focus of this report

This report will focus on how Ben & Jerry’s attempts to improve its St. Albans production plant equipments and overall process. It will focus on an issue of Ben & Jerry’s response to production plant due to harsh conditions and high demand for products. Ben & Jerry’s have to improve uptime and cut down its maintenance costs of distribution and production plant in St. Albans, Vermont. The 143,000-square foot facility in St. Albans operates for three brands, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers and Good Humor. In order to perform more efficiently to its high volume of inventory, its lift trucks have to be well-maintained and it is always in operation during working hours. In 2004, Ben & Jerry’s distribution center in Bellow Falls, Vermont is shut down which makes St. Alban’s facility an all-purpose facility for Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream.

Ben & Jerry’s have to cope with material handling challenges. Lift trucks are used to transfer packages through areas of frigid temperatures and damp floor. Door foamers are used to disinfect lift trucks’ tires which can damage wheels and bearings. Frigid temperatures can corrode equipments. According to Farveau, lift trucks were not working for 60% of the time. (Material Handling Management, 2008) Ben & Jerry’s overhauled its lift truck fleet from Pengate Handling Systems Inc. which increased uptime and reduced repair costs through comprehensive, fixed price maintenance agreement.

Introduction of Organizational Culture
In general, culture is how a group of people live their life. Organizational culture is how an organization is managed and operated overall. There are several organizational cultures elements due to each organization have different behavior, opinion and values on different matters. Organizations have shared values where everyone aims to meet organizations’ set goals such as high-quality product and good customer service. Hofstede (1991: 262) described organizational culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one organization from another.” (Wilson, 2010: 218) Schein (1990:111) defined culture as “(a) a pattern of basic assumptions, (b) invented, discovered, or developed by a given group, (c) as it learns...
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