Custom Chip

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Written Analysis of Case (Custom Chip, Inc.)

SummaryCustom Chip, Inc case describes the situation of a company where lack of coordination and cooperation among different departments is hindering them to achieve their common or ultimate goal as a single business entity. Applications engineering, product engineering and manufacturing are all inclined towards achieving their individual objectives and timelines rather than collaborating and synergizing their efforts in order to attain a common goal of effective production with improved cost reduction. Few of the primary reasons are insufficient and unorganized company policies for coordination and cooperation, poor networking with in the organization especially on management level, lack of communication and influence among managers and VPs, insufficient human resource, and measuring a department's effectiveness solely on its performance based on individual objectives, rather than checking its effects on over all company's performance.

Key IssuesFrank has been working as product engineering manager for 14 months but he had not been told clearly about his objectives as a manager, sometimes he questions his effectiveness as a manager. He is not been able to prioritize his tasks and he often forgets many things he has to do in a day. He tries to be organized by maintaining a TO DO list but still is unable to achieve them. Product engineering department faces the biggest problem of not being able to develop elaborate and error free manufacturing documents which are required by manufacturing to build a product designed by applications department. The current documentation is very poor and its causing delays in production as inexperienced operators are unable to proceed with certain products, also it causes errors during manufacturing thus lowering yield and causing the productivity to decrease. Product engineers believe that they have shortage of human resource and most of their time is wasted in day to day manufacturing issues and they can not coordinate with application engineers during design phase to reduce design errors. Also they can't do any scientific measures by experiments to control and improve yields.

Lack of company policies on coordination among different departments is also a major issue, product engineers have to coordinate both with application engineers and manufacturing during daily operations. The lack of cooperation is mainly due to departments concentrating on their individual goals, applications engineers top priority is to satisfy customer needs through designs, manufacturing and operations are more concerned about productivity and timelines. Thus their objectives are inherently conflicting. The problem of product 1210A which involved redesigning of a product was delayed only because applications engineer was busy on some other task assigned to him and both departments doesn't have the bigger picture of the whole objectives and goals of the company. Applications engineer cooperated because both department managers had a good working relationship which clearly indicates the importance of networking within the organization. The problem of product 3806A highlights the lack of cooperation between manufacturing and applications department. It also shows that bias of one manager is hindering the over all productivity and even if Frank is inclined towards collaborative efforts of the two departments, Rod is stubborn and is not willing to cooperate which negates the very essence of team work thus undermining the company's over all accomplishments. VP's having no influence on each other is another issue which needs to be addressed by the president of the company. Also VP engineering not being supportive and providing enough human resource to Frank is also causing the department to lag behind others thus causing decrease in yields and over all delay in production. Due to conflict and lack of cooperation, Sharon is disheartened and she decided to quit her job...
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