CASE STUDY OF:
FAB SWEETS LIMITED
Motivation by Fawad Iqbal
FAB Sweets Limited Case Summary
FAB Sweets Limited is a manufacturer of high quality sweets. This mid-sized family owned company is partially unionized, and a successful confectionery producer in Northern England. The case study takes place in a single and most problematic department of the factory hereby referred to as HB. This department produces and packs more than 40 lines of hard boiled candies using a batch production system.
In total, 37 people work in HB. There are 25 male workers in the production division and 12 women in packing. The two divisions are separated by a physical barrier overseen by a charge hand and a supervisor respectfully. The department manager oversees both divisions and has to report to the factory manager.
Although the production process is quite simple, it usually takes 2 years to acquire the skills necessary to effectively complete all tasks of production. Sugar is boiled to a set temperature depending on the batch line and the resulting batches are manipulated by the workers to create the required texture, color and flavor of the candies. This is also referred to as slabbing and mixing. Different batches are molded together before they begin to cool and then cut into individual size sweets ready to be packed.
Some of the products are automatically wrapped and transported by a conveyor belt to the packing room to be inspected, bagged and boxed, ready for shipment to retail and wholesale markets. Remaining unwrapped product lines are fed into a wrapping machine where they are inspected, bagged and dispatched. Many different product lines can be produced simultaneously with each task interdependent of the next. The most crucial stage of the production process occurs early, and the operator needs to "feel" the right finish for each product line. The job seems quite simple; however HB faced many serious problems. Main Problems and Practical Importance
Some of the main problems facing HB were a high level of labor turnover, production below targets, high levels of scrap, attitude, and atmosphere. Workers experienced low levels of motivation, low job satisfaction, and received little feedback from management about their performance. Compensation and interpersonal issues between workers and management were not uncommon.
How well a manager performed was in terms of overall production. When production fell below charts, the pressure was transferred to the supervisors who stressed the employees for an increase in productivity. Sometimes the production supervisor pushed the pace of work at levels unattainable by the workers. He also ignored the wishes of the staff to work less in the afternoon when they were tired. In both cases, high level of scrap resulted and feeling of dissatisfaction spread amongst the workers.
Likewise, the packing supervisor had added pressure from management to pack sweets more efficiently. Since the packing department's task was interdependent of the production, her only option was to alter work hours and allocate workers to help out else where when production fell behind. Interpersonal conflicts between the two divisions were common when the men worked too fast or too slow.
Seasonal peaks and troughs in the market demand created additional problems in HB. During busy periods, unskilled labor was drafted in to assist. When demand was low, workers were transferred to other departments where they were given the least desirable position. In either case, the employee's view of management practices received much criticism. The blame shifted from one person to the next, from one department to the other, until all the employees, supervisors, and senior management agreed that HB was in a crisis. Theoretical background
Too many companies believe that employee motivation rests in monetary rewards, without either realizing or acknowledging individuals' needs for...
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