Reinventing the Wheel at Apex Door Company

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Jim Delaney, president of Apex Door, has a problem. No matter how often he tells his employees how to do their jobs, they invariably “decide to do it their way” as he puts it, and arguments ensue between Jim, the employee, and the employee’s supervisor. One example is the door-design department, where the designers are expected to work with architects to design doors that meet the specifications. While it’s not “rocket science “as Jim puts it, the designers invariably make mistakes-such as designing in too much steel, a problem that can cost Apex tens of thousands of wasted dollars, once you consider the number of doors in, say, a 30-story office tower. The order processing department is another example. Jim has a very specific and detailed way he wants the order written up, but most of the order clerks don’t understand how to actually use the multipage order form. They simply improvise when it comes to a detailed question such as whether to classify the customer as “industrial” or “commercial” The current training process is as follows. None of the jobs has a training manual per se, although several have somewhat out-of-date job descriptions. The training for new people is all one the job.Usually,the person leaving the company trains the new person during the one –or two-week overlap period, but if there’s no overleap, the new person is trained as well possible by other employees who have filled in occasionally on the job in the past. The training is basically the same throughout the company-for machinists, secretaries, assemblers, engineers, and accounting clerks, for example.
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