Flying high – relationship strategy development
The company Westland Helicopters Ltd (WHL) is a UK-based manufacturer company specialized on helicopters. Since WHL’s core competence lies in development and design, some of its manufacture and assembly production have been outsources to suppliers. In 1995, the newly appointed Director of Materials Martin Porter wanted to implement some drastic changes in the company’s supply chain and strategy. The company produces five different types of helicopters, however, this new strategy will first be exclusively applied to the latest model – the EH101, and if successful, be implemented further. The first problem WHL needs to tackle is the evaluation and improvement of the current purchasing function. The main issue for WHL lies in the divided functional groups within the company who tends to work independently as well as use the approach ‘power of information’. WHL has clearly a functional structure which leads to lack of communication between these functional groups, e.g. in design, marketing, quality control etc. Even if the efficiency works well in these particular groups, its feel like an old fashion way of structure an organisation nowadays. Martin Porter should implement an organisational structure that welcomes and improves the communication and information flow in the company. A good way to start this is to gather a manager and some team members from each functional group and have regular meetings. The aim is to create a larger understanding of a supply chain and how to make it as lean as possible while sharing information and knowledge. The different functional groups cannot exist parted from each other but instead simultaneously and work to the same direction. Otherwise the efficiency and output from WHL will decline in the increasingly competitive market the company is working in. Part of the purchasing function is the problem with the current supplier. Since the new helicopter EH101 needs to be an success...
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