Issues and Discussion Questions
1.What are the goals and subunit orientations of the different functions in Rondell?
The five principal functions in Rondell that must work together to produce new products are production, sales, research, engineering services (part of engineering), and the control department (containing accounting, purchasing, and materials control). Each function contributes something unique and has adistinct subunit orientation.a. Production minimizes manufacturing costs. The goal is to obtain products from the engineering designdepartment for easy and inexpensive manufacturing. The manager in charge of production, Dave Schwab,is concerned about protecting his turf, and resists attempts by other departments to interfere withmanufacturing. Production’s orientation is short-term technical efficiency. b. Sales’ goal is to supply customers with new and innovative products to retain their business. It alsowants new products on time without shipping delays. Sales has a history of optimism about deliveringnew products quickly, and that optimism pressures other functions. Sales is to supply information toR&D for use in product development. Its orientation is toward meeting the changing needs of Rondell’scustomers—it is focused on the environment.c. R&D’s goal is to find innovative ways of improving existing products and creating new products.Some R&D functions try to improve the manufacturing process to reduce costs or increase reliability, butR&D is purely new product oriented. R&D causes problems by introducing new innovations into thedesign process at an advanced stage. Its orientation is toward long-run product development.d. Engineering service’s job is to coordinate and integrate activities. Engineering services takes the inputsfrom sales and R&D—new customer requests or improved component designs—and builds the final product design with production specifications. It sends these plans to production, which designs theassembly process to produce inexpensively and efficiently. Its orientation is to improve the effectivenessof internal systems.e. The control department controls purchasing and materials control. It is a service department to themanufacturing and engineering services and has an internal systems orientation.
2.What are the sources of conflict in Rondell and why is the conflict among functions a major problem?
Although engineering services is responsible for product development, other functions, like R&D andsales, influence the new product development process. This causes conflict. Sales can set ambitioustargets for introducing new products over engineering’s objections. Both sales and R&D can intervenelate in the design process and make changes, creating problems for engineering services. The productionmanager constantly returns the product design plans sent to manufacturing because engineers have notworked out the bugs. More redesign becomes necessary, and manufacturing is slowed down, causingsales problems as product introductions are delayed. Manufacturing itself contributes, routinely sendingflawed plans back to engineering, though many errors could be corrected during the preproduction setup.Each function pursues its goals at the expense of the others.Growing complexity of the company’s business and the wide range of products it produces resulted inengineering services as the linchpin of the product development because it coordinates other functions.Yet, this function is considered crucial by top management, which always sides with R&D or salesagainst engineering. R&D is considered the most important function because the company has been driven by technical developments that result in new products. Just as in the Ramrod Stockwell case, thereis a power imbalance, and different functions compete for power and control of resources.It is helpful to use the material on conflict in Chapter 14 and discuss the five main sources of conflict:a. Interdependence. As Rondell has grown, each...
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