Motorola Inc. Bandit Pager Project
Motorola Bandit project demonstrated several important points. First that a full automated manufactured line is the best way to reach high quality standard and high flexibility; that with the right persons and a clear goal, challenging objective can be achieved and that you do not have to over plan the project. In the following document will be analyzed the different aspects that brought Motorola to reach a huge success through the Bandit project and what will be the next step to be performed internally into the Company to spread the lesson learnt from this project throughout all the employee, getting the best return on investment could ha been reached.
Introduction and background
During the mid 80’s Motorola communication Department was one of the main producers of the Pager devices. The name of their product was Bravo. It had a large market share in US. Usually this type of devices were sold to the final user or leased to them; then the final user had to pay a monthly fee to the Telco Operator. The basic function of the pager was to receive on its display some messages, usually of phone number of people who where looking that person. During the firs years of the 80’s the company had to face itself with the Japanese competitors, who were employing unfair trade practices dumping chips to gain Market share. Motorola understood the main issue for them to remain competitive was not anymore optimizing their costs, and to have the best product was not enough, because the could have been copied rapidly; they realized they had to change completely the way to produce their devices, investing a lot in the quality through the improvement of their manufacturing capabilities. This was the scenario in which the Bandit Project took place; from June 1986 to December 1987 the Bandit project had to implement a fully automated line for manufactured the Motorola’s Bravo pager. Motorola, like several Us companies in that period, had to solve the Not Invested Here (NIH) Syndrome; in fact in that period NIH was a cultural problem spread all over the company, part of the mission of the project was in fact to overcome this syndrome taking the idea and the technology from everywhere. The project was called Bandit to emphasize this target. In February 1986, some of the best technical people of Paging product division met to create an advanced Manufacturing technology for the Bravo pager production. The pager was chosen because it was a typical object that could benefit of an economy of scale. It was clear to anyone in the project that that the bandit project was of strategic importance, in fact it was the response to Motorola necessity of change, and it had to prove how manufacturing process could have been improved to maintain low production costs in US as well as in other countries. Given this importance was the executive of the Communication Department itself to go to the Board of Directors asking for the final investment approval.
The project was a real success, it reached everything they wanted to achieve thanks to several reasons, that will be analyzed in the rest of the paragraph. In fact at the end of the project they reduced production costs and the got the Flexibility they needed to adapt their product to customer need.
The project was different from its first conception, the project leader, Piltsch, did not agree with Motorola method and evaluating project, stating the results were only measured subjectively. For this reason he decided to introduce the Contract book containing agreement between the development team and the senior management. Each of the people involved had to sign it. This was an innovative approach of project management in Motorola’s environment. The Contract book allowed people to have a clear and designed task in the project, and being signed also from senior executive it tried to avoid the conflict between the functional...