Written Analysis of the case: Erik Peterson
Cellular Communication Services Inc (CelluComm),a growing cellular telephone service provider, founded by Ric Jenkins, started as a small California based system and quickly grew to be ranked among the top 20 in the Cellular industry. Much of its success was attributed to the ability and aggressiveness of its founder. CelluComm was an early winner of some larger metropolitan area licenses including Sacramento, California and Tampa, Florida. It also had an aggressive campaign in obtaining the rural area licenses from the small entrepreneurs who were awarded the licenses by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and was success in gaining 12 of these rural area licenses, 9 of which were operating while 3 were in the pre-operating stage. GMCT was one such system.
The Green Mountain Cellular Telephone Co, Inc (GMCT) was a subsidiary of the parent company CelluComm. The system was in its pre-operating stage and was intended to service a customer base of approx. 400,000 people in several cities and towns of New Hampshire and Vermont. Erik Peterson, a recent MBA was made the General Manager of GMCT. Erik had previously worked in U.S. Army Signal Corps and had a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering.
Challenges Faced by Erik Peterson
When Erik joined GMCT, the company had been in legal existence for one and a half years and had a working organization of 6 people. The task assigned to Erik was to bring the system to operations by the turn-on date (initially Feb 1, but later changed to April 1). There were several key issues which contributed to the delay of this task which are identified below.
Broad Problems Identified:
Erik Peterson initially thought that he was going to report directly to the President, Ric Jenkins as he showed great interest in the project, but to Erik’s surprise, he was assigned to Jeff Hardy, CelluComm’s Director of budgets and plans. Hardy had no prior experience in system operations and was unable to offer Erik any advice or guidance which was helpful. His only suggestion was regarding the marketing of GMCT, with which Peterson didn’t agree. Apart from that, all his visits were mostly “nit-packing” stuff concerning with how many uniforms installers should be issued without resolving any problem of Peterson.
Support Staff Problem
The Chief engineer of GMCT, Curt Andrews, was having difficulties in handling the planning aspects of his job. Curt, who had worked his way up from switch technician to Chief engineer, didn’t have a college degree, but was technically rated first by CelluComm. Curt didn’t have any prior experience of planning and designing a new system and Peterson felt this limitation intensely because he also didn’t have the required experience and thought he could learn from the Chief Engineer.
Peterson first tried to get Curt relocated but CelluComm was reluctant to do so because he was just shifted from Tampa to Hannover and insisted that Curt had the ability to handle a start-up. As a result, Peterson had to take several steps to help Curt improve the planning and co-ordination.
1. As a first step, Peterson had one-on-one counseling sessions with Curt about how to plan better.
2. Secondly he made Curt call weekly construction meetings. However, Curt didn’t get involved actively in these meetings, rather most of his reports came from his subordinates.
3. As a third step, Erik established an inventory control reporting system, but still he faced difficulty in getting things completed in time from Curt’s end.
Inventory Planning Problem
The timely availability of Radio equipment was extremely important for the installation team. The unavailability of the equipment would cause wastage of valuable time and money. GMCT ran short of these radios on two occasions due to bad planning of...