The Case of Littleton Manufacturing

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The Case of Littleton Manufacturing
Executive Summary
Littleton Manufacturing is …. For years, they have been able to capitalize on synergy between the Information Technology group and other departments and look to continue that trend with the deployment of a new paperless job posting system. A similar transition to paperless in their purchasing group has saved the company millions of dollars, so digitizing another manual paper process seemed like a sure bet. However, a recent change at top executive leadership threatens to derail the project. This analysis is based on information provided on the article and some reasonable assumptions made by the reader. It is divided into sections for each of the identified key problems and within those sections, situational facts, cause - effects, opportunities, and recommendations are presented. Key Characters

Paul Winslow, Director of Human Resources at Littleton Manufacturing, has been with the organization for several years and is currently wrestling with how to best deal with six identified problems at Littleton. Bill Larson, Plant Manager of Littleton Manufacturing, has been in his role for the past seven years. He’s a former Army officer and farmer. He considers himself a people person, but someone who holds his employees accountable. Dan Gordon, Fabrication Manufacturing Manager, has been with Littleton Manufacturing for fifteen years and runs his operation with a firm hand and strict rules. Phil Hanson, Components Manufacturing Manager, has been with Littleton Manufacturing for seven years and has worked his way up to his current position from materials manager. Organizational Facts

Brooks Industries, the second largest producer of domestic appliances in the United States, acquired Littleton Manufacturing in 1942. Forty-one years later, in 1983, Brooks also purchased Fruhling, Inc which brought a new components manufacturing business to Littleton. To support the new business, the workforce of Littleton was increased 4X from 150 to 600. The Fabrication operations at Littleton supports the Components operations by providing subcomponents and each are treated as cost centers to Brooks. Situational Facts

After enjoying several years of successful growth in the appliances industry, Brooks’s sales has declined almost 10 percent due to external pressures from Asian and European competition. In response to an unexpected first quarter loss in 1990, Brooks announced a corporate wide efficiency drive, workforce reduction, and corporate restructuring. Additionally, operations such as Littleton Manufacturing have seen salary increases limited and resources reduced. To make things worse, a recent survey conducted by a local university found six critical problems at Littleton: •Lack of organizational unity

Insufficient focus on Littleton’s priorities (Work-out) •Change is poorly managed (CAP)
Lack of consistency in enforcing rules and procedures
Supervisor’s role poorly perceived
Lack of systematic approach to training
Lack of Organizational Unity
The lack of organizational unity started is mainly seen with the difference between the two manufacturing facilities that coexist at the Littleton plant. The newer components manufacturing operation is perceived to be easier and in a better, newer part of the factory. Additionally, the supervisors on the fabrication operation are seen as enforcing rules more strictly than that of the components side. It is important for the continued success of Littleton that it standardizes on a single set of core values and structure. A good starting point for Littleton would be to involve the workforce and management in developing a code of ethics as a formal statement of the company’s values concerning ethics and social responsibility. Additionally, leaders should be reinforced in the application of values-based leadership. By applying values-based leadership, employees are reassured that they are treated with...
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