MBA 575: Case Study 5
The University of Northwestern Ohio
CH 3: "Antar Automobile Company-Part 1: The Automation Project" Rob Dander, project manager in the Operation Research Department (ORD) was charged with managing a large computer project for Antar’s new manufacturing process. Dander was assigned three assistants to help with this project, all with different experience levels. The team was to function as a high-performance product development team, however they lacked sufficient tools to do so. “The primary problems of poor communication and poor coordination of typical product development processes in organizations can be rectified by creating self-managing, cross-functional product development teams” (Griffin and Moorhead, 2014). Implementing an effective revamp of Antar’s manufacturing process with the installation of a robotics system lay in the findings of Dander’s team. “The ORD would run a full-scale simulation of the entire manufacturing process and determine the working requirements that would optimize production while lowering costs. A major concern of management was to establish a program that would occupy minimal computer time and which could easily adapt to changing parameters and inputs. A secondary objective was to use the simulation to train operators on how to manipulate the new computer monitors which automation would bring” (Seijts, 2006). Thus, it is clear that management had a large investment in the outcome of the project with the company’s need to stay competitive in the market by cutting manufacturing costs. In implementing this team, management chose for Dander three assistants; Susan Wright, Dan Vincent, and Mark Mancuso. These employees had never met and had varying work experience for the company. Susan brought experience from anther automobile manufacturer, Dan brought systems engineering skills, and Mark brought three years of operational experience and work-study experience in determining the number of robots needed for Antar’s manufacturing change. This team has the essentials to be a highly successful product development team, however there were critical skills and knowledge that the team did not receive. As project manager, Dander determined that LATOC would be utilized as the programming language for the simulation. Going into this project, none of the assistants had any knowledge of LATOC and would be expected to learn the material provided to them in the LATOC manual and produce the simulation. “Following an initial two-day briefing, Rob spent only a few moments each day with the assistants, usually calling them into his office twice a week for discussion. This routine, however, lasted only a few weeks, after which Rob left his assistants largely to their own devices, to build the simulation model for the assembly line, and express it in LATOC” (Seijts, 2006). This was not normal company procedure for working with inexperienced assistants. Dander should have held a strong leadership role in the project and helped them with the rough model of the project; however he left his inexperienced team to a trial and error process in hopes that they would be successful. Having noted these things I believe that the team will form a neutral relationship between each other with some hostility toward Dander. I believe that the team will be neutral in that they are all in the same boat with a lack of knowledge of the LATOC program, however tensions may rise among them due to frustration with the trial and error process. To be a highly functional team, Dander needed to have a large leadership role among the group with open communication among the team for them to come to him with questions and concerns. There were no clear guide lines, deadlines or recourses for the team which can also cause frustration and a lack of motivation. Had the team received feedback on their progress, a form of a check-point system for deadlines and a guiding...
References: Griffin, R. W. & Moorhead, G. (2014). Organizational Behavior. Managing People and Organizations. (11th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western.
Seijts, Gerard H. (2006). Cases in Organizational Behavior. WestJet Airlines (A): The Culture That Breeds A Passion To Succeed. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
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