Management Consultancy Project Report For Chesapeake Corporation Management Essay
This report presents review and recommendations related to current communication strategy and implementation of the introduction of new printing press ‘Speedmaster XL 105′ in the Newcastle unit of Chesapeake dealing in branded packaging. Based on the survey, including questionnaire and interviews, relevant issues were identified. The issues related to communications are mainly concerned with workers’ perception of management being secretive and less responsive to workers suggestions. The issues related to installation are mainly related to work overload on the employees involved in the project and the technical complexities of the project. Subsequently appropriate recommendations were provided that addressed the prevailing issues. These included utilizing various communication techniques like the employee newsletter, employee bulletins, intranet and appointment of a communication coordinator to improve the level of communication in the company. Regarding the installation process, delegation of responsibilities and organizing cross functional training and apprenticeship programs for effective management of human resources are recommended for long term benefits. As far as possible, attempts have been made to keep the recommendations less resource intensive for the company.
The installation of ‘Speedmaster XL 105’ is expected to herald Chesapeake Newcastle into a new era that represents opportunities of great technological progress and consolidates Chesapeake’s leading position in branded packaging market. However, the event also poses challenges related to the successful implementation of the introduction and installation of the new press in the company. The introduction of the new press in the company is associated with effective communication of the change event within the company, while the smooth installation process depends on the company’s abilities of managing resources and handling major change events. Hence issues related to communication and installation of the new press in Chesapeake play a crucial role in the success of the event and company’s overall progress.
This report aims to provide an in depth review and analysis of the communication strategy within Chesapeake and the issues related to the installation of new press in the company. The review would be based on the research and survey conducted in Chesapeake which includes questionnaires and interviews conducted with both the managers and the workers. The report will first give an insight of the current communication strategy within the company and explain relevant findings related to internal communication and installation of the new press in the company. Subsequently the results will be analyzed to determine the specific problems that the company might be facing at present or may confront in the future. Finally, based on this analysis specific recommendations pertaining to the issues of communication and installation would be provided, keeping in mind the current resources of the company and the implementation priority of those recommendations.
The current communication strategy of Chesapeake is mainly based around direct interpersonal meetings between supervisors and subordinates. Keeping in mind the requirements of the new project, meetings between team leaders involved in the project are now being held on a weekly basis. Meetings for handling queries of workers are held every 2-3 weeks by team leaders or production managers apart from quarterly meetings with operations director. Regular communications related to issues between different departments are mainly handled by the shift coordinator. However, the company follows an open door policy where employees can bypass normal routes of communication and directly approach top management. Furthermore, appraisals are supposed to be conducted once every year in the company.
The investment of 3.5 million GBP in the new press carries obvious concerns about the return of investment as well as the smooth progress of the installation process. The large number of employees (225 permanent employees and 30 temporary employees), higher average length of service of workers (25 years) and relatively higher turnover of the managers raise issues related to communication and organizational culture in Chesapeake. The new press, which is twice as efficient as the 4 other presses installed in the company, would need 8 operators with unique skills; hence would require appropriate selection, recruitment and training of work force. However, while the installation of the new press signifies a major change event in the company, the company has not witnessed any change event of such magnitude in the past couple of decades.
In order to get relevant and authentic information about Chesapeake, on its basic context, communication structure and specific information related to installation of new press, the research was structured along the triangulation method (Bogdan & Biklen, 2006) which is a powerful approach to enhance data validation through multiple sources. Also, by Combining questionnaire survey and interviews, with workers and managers, efforts were made to gain advantage of both, the quantitative approach and the qualitative approach to obtain in-depth information about the prevailing and potential issues related to Chesapeake’s internal communication and installation of new press.
The first step was interviewing the operations director of Chesapeake who provided the basic information, facts and figures about the company, the present communication strategy and the change project. Subsequently a short questionnaire was designed which included questions relevant to workers’ attitudes towards Chesapeake’s current communication approaches as well as the recent change event. The questionnaires were delivered to 50 workers randomly selected in the company. Additionally, since interviews are especially helpful in understanding the real story behind the participant’s experiences (McNamara, 1999) questions were prepared for the interviews with the managers which were intended to be semi- structured. The interviews were conducted with 8 managers, 6 of whom were directly involved in the change project.
Subsequently the results of the questionnaire survey with the workers were analysed and questions were framed to confirm and probe deeper into the issues related to the project which were not fully explicit in the results of the questionnaire survey. The interviews with the workers were again semi-structured and 4 workers were interviewed. These interviews helped in further investigating the responses of workers in the questionnaire survey.
Findings and Data Analysis
The results of the questionnaire survey and the interviews showed that almost one-third of the total number of workers surveyed and one-fourth of total number of managers surveyed consider the present communication level in Chesapeake as unsatisfactory. While the rest of the workers and managers surveyed were either satisfied with the present level of communication or considered it acceptable at least.
Comparison of Views between Management and Workers on Chesapeake’s Communication Strategy
The predominant views related to the present communication level in Chesapeake were:
Those who viewed the current communication level as satisfactory considered that communication was more open in Chesapeake compared to other companies.
Those who viewed the current communication level as unsatisfactory or just acceptable considered management a bit secretive.
However, results related to the introduction and installation of the new press showed that all the managers surveyed unanimously held positive views regarding the installation of new press in Chesapeake and thought that this event would be beneficial for them and the company. Nevertheless, one-fourth of the workers surveyed, who although had overall positive opinions about the event, were worried by the work overload they were currently facing. Majority of the workers (54%) also viewed the event favourably, while rest were either unconcerned or held negative views about the event.
The predominant views related to the change project were:
Those who viewed the change event positively associated it with more job security, good performance of the company and benefits for the company in future.
Those who viewed the change event negatively or neutrally were either concerned with the work overload or extra work or thought that the event was of no particular significance for them benefiting only the company or those working on the new press.
Comparison of Attitudes between Management and Workers towards the New Installation
Overall the results of the survey indicated that the views of managers and workers are similar on subject of Chesapeake’s current communication strategy while attitudes toward on the new change project are relatively different from each other. However, in depth description of specific issues related to communication and installation are presented in the next segment which is based on the questions asked during the interviews to probe into the visible issues deeper and also discover the hidden issues.
Issues related to communication and installation
Issues Related to Internal Communication
Taking into account the inputs obtained through the questionnaire survey and interviews, we identified several issues related to the present communication level in Chesapeake and these are:
Less openness in Communication: Although almost one third of worker surveyed reported being unsatisfied with the present communication level, they were still less inclined or motivated to take initiative in clarifying their doubts or presenting their suggestions or opinions in front of the management.
Lack of timely and appropriate feedback: employees expressed their dissatisfaction with the management’s response to their suggestions or opinions in the past. They expect the management to respond timely and appropriately to their suggestions, and the failure of management to do so makes them less motivated to initiate the communication.
Consider management a secretive: few employees consider that management tries to hide facts and figures from them and does not involve them in their decisions.
Interdepartmental communication: the employees also consider that the interdepartmental communication can be improved.
Appraisals: formal appraisals which are supposed to be conducted once every year have not been regularly conducted over the past few years.
In the past, when workers voiced their suggestions or opinions to the management, the management either failed to give them proper feedback or it was not timely. Consequently the workers lost the motivation to take initiative in communicating with the management. This is the reason why suggestion box failed to serve its intended purpose. As a result the communication flow was disrupted and it became mainly from top to bottom. When workers become less interested in clarifying their doubts, the transparency of managerial decisions automatically decreases. They start perceiving management to be secretive and their trust on management declines. Although there is a demand for secretive behaviour on running business (Salmon, 2009), by lacking of transparent information delivery, such secretive principle is unavoidable to underlying exploration of motivations; that in turn make communication flow disrupted. The loss of motivation or apathy also causes the workers to be less involved with company’s overall benefits and they find less incentive to engage in interdepartmental communication for company’s better performance. According to Diamond (2000) this may happen due to several reasons, for instance, miscommunications between human resource recruitments and other practical departments, and lacking of Management Information System (MIS) which leads to unsuccessful information delivery (Donovan, 2005).
Issues related to the Installation of new Printing Press
The main issues related to the installation of new press are:
Lack of Experience: Since there have been very few major change initiatives in Chesapeake in the past 20 years, the magnitude of present change, considering the new technology, poses problems related to lesser experience in handling such major change events.
Short notice of change: most of employees reflected that the short notice of the implementation of installing new printing press met them less fully prepared and uncomfortable. This effected the organization and management of resources for preparation of the change. This was also relevant where employees were expected to prepare a presentation while applying to work on the new press.
Increase in workload: Due to the short notice of the change team leaders involved in the project faced sudden increase in their workload, causing them to focus more on the new project at the expense of their regular or old work. Additionally, employees believed that when the new press becomes fully functional, higher efficiency of the new press will lead to extra work on other relevant departments, such as finishing department, cut and crease department, repro and plate making department. Apart from this the previous work would also have to be matched and adapted along the quality of work of the new press. Some departments like the finishing department may need to replace older machines with new ones to maintain the efficiency.
Assistance to the project team leaders: the complex technology of the new press poses some unexpected and unique problems which the team leaders have to manage on their own, regardless of the assistance from the press manufacturer; for example, matters related to the local raw materials suitable for the new press.
Cross-departmental training: Workers not selected for working on the new press felt a bit left out but still expected cross department training or apprenticeship, not necessarily in print department, as a means of offering them chance to do work other than their routine work, and also opportunities for personal growth and job satisfaction
The major issues related with the installation of new press seem to be managing the increased work load on departments directly affected by the change event and delegation of work, insuring that the quality of training related to the new press is meeting or exceeding employees’ expectations, and handling unexpected problems encountered in the installation of new press so that the project proceeds smoothly and finishes in time. In order to obtain the tangible and measurable result of change project, the installation needs to be promoted by the change agent, in terms of project teams, down through the whole organization.
Issues related to Organizational Culture
Organizational culture has significant relationship with business context, which contributes to organizational innovations and success (Wilson, 2001) and is also related to the internal communication in the company. However, the relatively high turnover in the management team tends to influence the stability and strength of the Chesapeake’s organizational culture. Probably because of this, Chesapeake’s organizational culture does not seem to be very clear and specific. Although largely cooperative, invisible walls seem to exist between departments as well as between workers and management. Employees are more involved and concerned at individual and departmental level rather than at interdepartmental or company level perspectives, probably because they are not motivated enough.
For Improving Communication in Chesapeake:
Before proceeding to practical techniques for improving communication in the Chesapeake, it is necessary to clarify some absolute essentials for any communication irrespective of the technique utilized. These keys factors of effective communication and their effect on the organization are depicted in the diagram below:
Source: Marques, J.F. (2010) Enhancing the quality of Organizational Communication
Any communication within the company should be timely, clear, accurate, credible and pertinent. Apart from satisfying these key requirements the communication should be responsible such that the information may not be misinterpreted or hurtful; should be concise but deliver its message directly and optimally; should be professionally formulated and expressed; and should be sincere because irrespective of their educational levels people do possess certain emotional intelligence which requires that people trust the information before they believe it (Marques, 2010).
Having stated these absolute requirements for any communication within the company, the following paragraphs would present more specific recommendations to improve the communication in Chesapeake.
The recommendations on improving communication satisfaction in Chesapeake are mainly organized around three fundamental aspects: 1) Building trust, 2) Motivating employees, 3) Actual implementation of communication strategy. The operations director or the company spokesperson should call an informal meeting with the employees to encourage them to openly participate in utilizing the different communication channels by:
1) Developing Trust in employees:
Before the program is actually implemented, the supervisors, team leaders and managers should be made acquainted with the program, its purpose and benefits, and then harnessing their support, subsequently the workers can be involved. Another concern is getting the support or approval of the union before the plan is implemented so that the efforts are not seen as management’s scheme of decreasing the power of union officials (Fenn and yankelovich, 1972). Therefore the following steps may be taken to address, first the supervisors, team leaders and union leader, and then communicated to the workers by the company spokesperson:
Assuring that the survey and interviews conducted recently were a part of the management’s interest in finding and addressing employees’ views, issues and concerns and acknowledging the employees’ co-operation in the survey (Gieselman, 1968).
Disclosing basic results of the survey (Gieselman, 1968) and acknowledging previous inconsistencies or delays in providing timely and assured personal feedbacks.
Stating support and commitment of management in improving the communication process and forming a base for a more open communicative environment in Chesapeake.
Assuring that the modifications in the communication process are based on employees’ feedback and any feedback or suggestion pre or post implementation of the process is always welcomed. Based on their feedback, communication methods would be regularly evaluated and adjusted as necessary to maintain open relationships with employees (Gustin, 2009).
2) Motivating Employees:
Assuring prompt personal feedback on employees’ suggestions, queries or complaints and more openness to ideas and listening to problems (Mueller and Lee,2002). Giving and receiving feedback is an essential approach to discover errors and make improvements (Entrepreneur’s Notebook, 2002); however, the feedbacks need not be necessarily positive but should address the employees’ issues providing them appropriate explanations in case their suggestions cannot be implemented so that they are assured that their opinions are not being overlooked or ignored.
Assuring that outstanding contributions or suggestions will be recognized and rewarded.
Assuring regular and more frequent appraisals (possibly biennial instead of annual).
Introducing the planned modifications and listing the resources (Gustin, 2009) for improving the communication process.
Acknowledging employees’ role in developing a better communicative environment in Chesapeake and encouraging employees to actively participate and contribute in the process for their personal benefit and company’s progress, which are related to each other.
3) Implementing changes in the communication process:
Supervisory and Subordinate Communication:
When information regarding ongoing issues in the organization is needed, employees tend to prefer direct interpersonal communication, preferably from their immediate supervisors, over mediated communication (Cameron and McCollum, 1993). From a cognitive point of view people show two fundamental traits. They not only seek new information but also seek confirming information (Hamrefors, 2010) and supervisors or team leaders can be the most important source of such confirming information. Supervisors and team leaders can effectively communicate useful instructions, helpful advice and share organizational news with the workers, along with explaining the rationale behind management decisions (Yates, 2008), thereby helping in building trusting relationships between employees and management (Jo and Shim, 2005). To facilitate this, team leaders or shift coordinators could be provided some assistance in the form of training of communication skills as they are in direct contact with the workers (Gillis, 2007). Outstanding efforts of these supervisors or team leaders in their communication role should be rewarded to motivate them in achieving goals and strategy of the company, addressing employees’ concerns and stimulating behavior change (Yates, 2008).
The large number of employees in the company necessitates some kind of more formal communication practices (Gillis, 2007) especially when communicating with those above their immediate supervisors. Hence to facilitate a meaningful communication a person should be chosen for the post of communication director or communications manager who possesses a sound knowledge of company’s operations as well as be proficient in arts of effective public speaking, creative writing and utilizing audio-visual aids and technology. The communication director should have access to all sources of management activities and operations and keep the employees informed about the happenings in the company and individual work areas, while eliminating all superfluous or non productive communications. The person should also know which particular media to use for transfer of particular or specific information (Carl, 1970) so that it’s intended meaning is conveyed, remembered and believed. However effective communication does not simply involve transferring messages from the source to the receiver but also creating meaning or understanding in the communication. This may involve arranging meetings between the concerned parties (Hamrefors, 2010), for which the meeting room can be utilized, which should also be the responsibility of the communications director. The communications director should also be consulted on all matters of internal and external communications, including company’s newsletters and public relation materials (Carl, 1970).
Ideally the communications director should be responsible for handling and mediating all sorts of communication in Chesapeake; however, if the current resources in the company do not allow creating the post of communications directors, then alternatively, a respected, trusted and enthusiastic person from the staff can be given additional responsibilities of acting as a special coordinator (Fenn and Yankelovich, 1972) between the workers and the managers or between different groups. Possibly the H.R. administrator could be chosen for this responsibility. The special coordinator would be responsible for collecting, moderating, if required, and transferring the complaints, questions or suggestions of the employees to the concerned official or the most qualified person to respond, and would also collect and transfer the response of the manager to the worker, offering the worker a chance of face-to-face meeting with the concerned person or a follow up question if desired. The coordinator may be allocated a special number on which any worker or manager can call. However it is also recommended that the coordinator take active charge of stimulating communication, for example, by sending a self mail form with a mini survey, requiring feedback on communication, suggestions, questions or comments from the respondent, once every three month, at each employee or managers’ homes requiring them to fill the form and send to the coordinator. Protection of the anonymity of the respondent should be guaranteed such that only the coordinator knows the respondent’s real identity. The most important question and answers can then be published in the company’s publication or bulletins.
Utilizing company’s Publications or Company’s Newsletter:
A well written and informative company newsletter can be utilized to foster a sense of camaraderie among departments and encourage a sense of belonging for the company in the employees. Attempts should be made to make the newsletter attractive and interesting rather than being overtly elaborative and formal. Along with this care should be taken to keep the language of the newsletter reflective of the education level, background and demographics of the workforce. The newsletter may contain articles related to the particular company along with the relative performance of other divisions of the company. There should always be a few words from the CEO of the company in every issue the newsletter. However the focus should be on addressing the effect of the reported events on the employees, rather than simply reporting the events. The news should be reported from the perspective of employees’ interests. For example reporting the installation of new press in the company should involve describing how the event would positively impact on workers’ job security and how it would benefits those who would be running the machine, rather than simply detailing the machine’s productivity and efficiency. Apart from this any outstanding performance or contribution of a particular employee can be mentioned in the company’s publication, along with their name and photograph to motivate the employees (Mitchell and Clifford, 2007). Publishing employees’ profile in company’s publications to acknowledge their valuable contributions in the project’s or the company’s overall progress would have a similar motivating effect on the employees (Communication World, 2006). Similarly any superior performance of a department or team in achieving its goals may also be mentioned.
Another good way to communicate, especially when the company is going through a major change event, such as the present installation of the new print press in the company, would be the use of employee bulletin or a supervisor bulletin. These bulletins, brief and irregular, would serve the purpose of suppressing rumors in the company by providing short, readable, authentic and reliable information to the employees, quickly and efficiently. These bulletins may be posted in easily visible and commonly accessible locations like the bulletin board, the cafeteria or may be included in paychecks and also available online or sent by emails. Nevertheless care should be taken, not to disclose any information which is truly sensitive or may be considered anti employee (Mitchell and Clifford, 2007). Rather the messages should be conveyed with a tone of privacy and generate positive feelings in the employee.
Bulletin boards can also be utilized as an effective communication instrument and may provide information related to company’s policies or policy changes, work rules, good news (such as the installation of new press) or achievement of production goals and even Christmas greeting or any other appropriate holiday wishes. However the bulletin board should be periodically updated by current news to maintain and retain its impact and interest among the employees. To easily alert employees of any new information the colors of the paper used for announcement may be varied so that the employees can spot the difference on the bulletin board and take time to check for any latest news (Mitchell and Clifford, 2007).
The intranet can be utilized to provide news and information and well as receive instant feedback on those news and information. A company’s page may be designed and named as ‘NEWS and VIEWS FORUM’ where information similar to that in company’s newsletter or employee bulletin may be shared online, allowing employees to instantly post comments or feedback on the articles. This page and its contents, including the comments from employees, may be moderated by the communication director.
Suggestion box should be re-introduced in the company but in the form of opinion box. This can be utilized as an additional source of receiving feedback and suggestions from employees who are not very comfortable using emails, intranet or direct face-to-face communication. Apart from this it can also be utilized for collecting results of surveys which may be conducted in Chesapeake to review the success of its communication strategy or other issues.
The use of meeting room already operational in the company should be encouraged and promoted for meetings between team leaders or supervisors and their subordinates as well as interdepartmental meetings of managers. The meeting room should also be utilized for providing latest news or information and obtaining employees’ views on such topics.
Regular evaluation or audit of communication process:
Apart from implementing the various communication practices, the company should formally evaluate the communication practices using biennial employee opinion surveys to assess which practices are most effective in terms of employee satisfaction and employee engagement (Gillis, 2007).
All the above mentioned practices can be utilized to improve communication in Chesapeake but they require commitment of top management which should be evident in the quality of response to any questions or suggestions put forward. The communication channels should be kept stable and unaffected by any changes in corporate leadership. Another concern is a common practice of withholding communication of change until the last bit of plan is finalized and completed, which is not recommended as it would invariably increase the likelihood of growth and spread of rumors within the company, which is detrimental for a positive communication environment. Rather a general and broad comment on the direction or purpose of the intended change, for example changes in communication strategy, should be made earlier during the change, with details following, when required (Hatch, 1967). This would negate the results of informational vacuum.
Priority of implementation of suggested changes:
Meetings with supervisors, team leaders and union leaders can be organized in August. Following which the workers can also be introduced with the proposed changes.
Next step would be to appoint the communication coordinator, probably in August-September.
Subsequently employee bulletins, bulletin board and opinion box can be introduced and suggested modifications for intranet can be started after consulting the IT experts.
The employee newsletter can be introduced in October which can be immediately after the successful installation of the press.
The first communication audit can be conducted 6 months after the introduction of all the communication techniques in the company and the progress evaluated. The plan should then be continued in the original form or modified if needed.
Costs: the employee newsletter, employee bulletin and opinion box are the least cost intensive techniques; while the meeting room is already operational. However the intranet development and assignment of the communication coordinator may require some considerable expenses. Nevertheless choosing someone from within the company as communication coordinator and delegating the extra responsibilities in return of extra pay would be a more cost effective option at present. Later on depending on the success of this kind of mediated communication a special post can be created for the communication director which would be worth the expense.
For Implementation of the Installation of New Print Press
In order to successfully implement the whole change process with regards to the installation of the new print press, the capacity management of a business operation, in terms of its delivery system from input to output on the effectiveness and profitability, is the key for sustainable improvement in Chesapeake. Based on the issues related to installation, mentioned previously, and considering the short-term and long-term benefits, we recommend the following solutions from three different perspectives, in terms of Operation, Human Resource, and internal marketing and interaction, in Chesapeake in order to ensure timely and trouble-free implementation of the installation of new print press.
Improvement in Operational Performance
The short notice of the change requires employees to adjust to extra work related to the new press. As Bushardt et al (1988: 77) discuss, “the organization explicitly delegates to the individual the authority to use resources in meeting organizational needs and individual responsibilities.” Good team work is needed to get things done, and so is delegation. (Horton, 1992: 58). The clear delegation of responsibilities will also avoid “upheavals or pockets of resistance, confusion, or simple lack of momentum”. (Law, 2009: 387) With the increasing work load, the delegation of responsibilities plays an important role in the departments associated with the change project. Rational personnel re-assignment will improve overall departmental performance. The estimation of the transfer of work to the new press should be made, whilst managing work among the different presses to maximize the efficiency. This would demonstrate Chesapeake’s capacity management which means using resources fully based on the current work deployment and exploiting hidden capacity of individuals. It is necessary to structure the printer team for efficiency as this will result in the achievement of the company’s goals with fewer workers. (Toor, 2009:46) This also illustrates Chesapeake’s lean management while dealing with extra work load.
However, due to little experience on major change in the past two decades in the company, when the change happens it is import to maintain the efficiency of the workflow and cooperation on the interface between different departments. Retaining synergy and team work in the transition stage, in terms of project team review and improvement is important. With regards to the high productivity of the new print press, there is a clear trend that there will be increased work load on other departments in future. To better allocate the existing resources into new work and estimate the work load between different departments, it is necessary to prepare a flexible but measurable work plan so as to avoid the effects on the existing work. Proactive adaption involves recasting existing know-how and systems coping with such technical change (Law, 2009:386-387). In order to align with the work demands from the print department, Chesapeake should estimate and prepare for the potential work load on other departments in pursuit of best practices as a whole.
Considering the quality management to overcome the complexities and challenges caused by the increasing work load and change in a short time, Chesapeake should forecast the potential need for the new technology or equipment which may be required in the near future; to facilitate the work conditions and achieve efficiency within the required timeframe.
It will be necessary for Chesapeake to provide technology support or personnel assistance to project managers and team leaders in order to assist them with difficulties concerned with the installation of the new press to avoid confusion. By requiring the company to give knowledge support, the project team must “develop an understanding of the problems of others and be willing to assist them in return for assistance they receive.” (Bushardt et al 1988: 76) The timely and effective assistance to any queries and problems should be available everyday throughout the company. In addition, to cope with the new technology, Chesapeake should become an open learning system where strategy, structure, people and systems are seen as levers to encourage an effective change process. (Todnem, 2005: 375)
Monitor the installation progress on a regular basis
By reviewing the whole work flow and reporting the change process, the problems would be kept under control as soon as they are identified. However, implementation and control are required in the long-term. Only through a regular monitoring system can the installation progress achieve production goals. With respect to roles, goals and expectations, proper evaluation on a regular basis will keep the program on track and measure the amount of progress achieved. (Mento et al 2002: 56).
Internal and External Interaction
Among the departments at the manufacturing site, people have direct information and quick response about how the system of prodution is improving. However, people working in the commercial or sales departments may not fully realize what benefits and advantages the new technology would bring to Chesapeake. The new beneficial product features are most likely to attact increased customer demand and business. Therefore, Chesapeake should bear in mind how to integrate the investment in technologies with business, whilst encouraging employee involvement and retaining effective operational performance. Due to the importance of different departments, the internal interaction on the new and innovative techniques between the operations, commercial and sales sections becomes essential. We suggest involving more people into this change project. As the 2009 JRA Best Workplaces Survey demonstrates factors which prevent an effective workplace include “lack of co-operation or interaction between departments and teams”. (The New Zealand Herald, 2010) For example, the Supply Chain & Planning Manager and Commercial/Estimating Team Leader should be kept informed of what is going to be required of customers and suppliers in relation to the new manufacturing process. And the Sales Manager also should be advised of what is going to be contributed to customers. The marketing, planning and cost/budget financial analysis need to be aligned with operational performance and vice versa. Then the external marketing on Chesapeake’s new products traits will always be delivered to the customers. Implementation of the change project occurs from the internal to external. Without fully understanding of the benefits of the new press, sales cannot correctly market the competitiveness of Chesapeake’s products. The likelihood of success is significantly enhanced after the new print press is fully functional.
Human Resource Training and People Management
As Toor (2009: 40) mentions, “an important element in managing a complex project is to know how to manage your most valuable asset: your human resources.” For the employees, especially those not involved in new press who may harbor potential resentment, the Human Resource department should let them know that there will be opportunities for employees to engage in training in the future. This will reinforce their value to business. Workers will still feel motivated while working on other presses. Apart from the training on new print press, it is worth considering that employees have demands on enhancing their multiple skills through vocational education and a self-improvement program in Chesapeake. Hence, apart from learning the new printing job’s specification, there is a necessity of cross functional training or apprenticeship for selected people from other departments in order to create buffer staff in case of any need. The selection decisions are linked to validated competency models. (Macaleer & Shannon, 2003: 20) From the company’s point of view, Chesapeake will benefit through this motivational tool that increases the number of high-skilled individuals. From a worker’s perspective, they can see what they will achieve or potentially achieve in the future. (Toor, 2009:53) In addition, they gain career development and grow with Chesapeake. This leads to active employee participation that directly contributes to the improvement of operational performance and promotes the installation progress.
The new rate of pay agreed for new press, which is higher than current salaries, increases current employees’ expectations in regard to future remuneration. Hence, managing employee performance and reward in Chesapeake raises a new challenge for Human resources to balance individual and organizational needs. Estimating potential demands from the Union and workers become necessary. Chesapeake should utilize compensation schemes and performance management policies that attract, retain and motivate high-performance employees, in case need arises. (Macaleer & Shannon, 2003: 20) The appropriate method will result in continued workers’ commitment to the company.
According to the above recommendations, Chesapeake can prioritize these solutions step by step into a three year plan so as to achieve short-term success for long-term change efforts. (Kotter, 1995) For the first two years, the company could concentrate on improving operational performance as we suggested above. It is a high priority based on day-to-day activities while the new press is functional. At the same time, Chesapeake should promote the interaction between departments for constant and strategically communicating change. This can be found in the recommendations on internal and external interaction. In the final year of the plan, Chesapeake should create a long term plan for the cultural fit making the change last. (Mento et al 2002: 53) It is concerned with training and performance appraisal as mentioned in the Human Resource Management section.
Reviewing the history of change project, analyzing the current situation and finding solutions; these were the main objectives during the course of this consultancy project. As a result, while concentrating on the problems regarding the information gap, the betterment of organizational performance and educational training, the suggested recommendations have taken the cost-effectiveness and timescale factor into account. The recommendations are aimed at transforming the way that Chesapeake functions to a more effective management model. This report will provide senior managers solutions from the more strategic view of the impact of the change program that affects the organization. Our suggestions will provide a valuable direction for management’s key decisions now and into the future.