Case 5: Maple Leaf Foods (A): Leading Six Sigma Change
Introduction: This case study investigates Maple Leaf Foods' (MLF), a highly successful diversified corporation, proactive approach to the implementation of the rigorous, culture penetrating and comprehensive measurement-based philosophy, Six Sigma. In fact, MLFs' change champions and "dynamic duo", Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer (CEO), and Bruce Miyashita, vice-president (VP) Six Sigma, unequivocal support, confidence, vision, and expertise in this process improvement and variation reduction strategy ignited the essential motivation and stakeholder loyalty that was paramount to the receptivity/achievement of their "well-thought out" conversion and implementation phases. Moreover, the Six Sigma method was utilized as a benchmark standard to catapult MLF's organizational processes and business functions to an unprecedented level; thus affording the company an unrivaled position and an unrivaled competitive advantage in its respective industries.
A database defines Olympian: as being majestic in manner or bearing; superior to mundane matters; far beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree; an exceptional memory . And surprisingly, Six Sigma quality control appeared under this definition. In fact, an analogy to the Six Sigma process, which is an all-encompassing development strategy, is a majestic Olympian athlete's pre and post calisthenics' strategies. Namely, both require: time; toolkits of resources; expert training/feedback and measurement strategies to plot their effectiveness; such as, coaches, mentors, and other stakeholders who consistently provide various means of monetary, emotional, physical, technical, and diverse supplementary support. Equally important, both entities embrace mindsets of continual process improvements and variation reductions strategies to tackle internal and external changes (for example, the Olympian has to cope with the residuals effects that are related to age, nutrition, ailments, injuries, agility, as well as physical and psychological stress, and etc); so too does the organization encounter internal and external challenges. Furthermore, how a corporation responds/adopts to the inevitability and relentlessness of change determines its degree of success. Patricia Felkins, B. J. Chakiris, and Kenneth Chakiris argue that as momentous changes are occurring in social, political, and economic systems throughout the world, many organizations also are experiencing a transformation. Yet some of the opportunities that could bring organizational learning and renewal are lost in the stress, conflict, and contradictions related to change
Organizational changes are both subtle and dramatic. On the surface many organizations appear to be subtle, unified, and generally efficient in day-to-day operations. Yet beneath the cover of orderly operations and structured hierarchical relationships, the effects of continuous change are creating new patterns and structures and changing the way organizations define themselves, how they respond to customers, and how they will do business now and in the future (1993, p. 1). Lastly, they state that indeed, some of the most powerful change opportunities are embedded in daily work practices, shifting structures, and new management roles within the informal organization (1993, p. 4). Likewise, just as an Olympian athlete may have superior talents, capabilities, and covet the "superstar" status, he/she intrinsically knows that to earn/retain the "Gold" (and that his/her competitors are tenaciously not far-away) ongoing training and constant modifications to their regime is crucial to achievement. Of course, the Olympian is mechanically attempting to manage these elements of change which affects his routine; he is a change agent (organizations also manage chaos by assigning change agents). McShane and Von Glinow define a change agent as anyone who possesses enough knowledge and...
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