Reference no: EM132280006
The Parker Construction Company, a small construction company in North Carolina, has been awarded a contract for the construction of a new 35,000 seat soccer stadium at Greensboro. The construction cannot start earlier than March 2, 2020 (because of the availability of bond funds) and must be completed within 1 year (52 weeks). A penalty clause of $14,000 per week of delay beyond the 52 weeks is written into the contract.
Ms. Abigail Phillips, the president of the company, called a planning meeting. In the meeting she expressed great satisfaction at obtaining the contract and revealed that the company could net as much as $250,000 on the project. She was confident that the project could be completed on time with an allowance made for the usual delays anticipated in such a large project.
Malinda Hunt, the director of personnel, agreed that in a normal year only slight delays might develop from labor shortages and weather conditions. However, she reminded the president that for such a relatively large project the company would have to use only unionized employees and that the construction industry labor agreements were due to expire after midnight on November 29, 2020. The company operates on a Monday-Friday work week. Past experience indicated a 50-50 chance of a strike if there is no agreement with the union. Ms. Phillips agreed that a strike might cause a problem.
Unfortunately, there was no way to change the contract. She inquired about the prospective length of a strike, if a strike occurs. Malinda figured such a strike could last 8 weeks (70 percent chance) or possibly 12 weeks (30 percent chance).
Ms. Phillips was not too pleased with these prospects. However, before she had a chance to discuss contingency plans, she was interrupted by John Black, the vice president for Engineering. John commented that an extremely cold December is being predicted for 2020. This factor had not been taken into consideration during earlier estimates since previous forecasts called for milder weather. In the event that December is cold, all activities requiring the pouring of concrete during that time period would require special heating that cost $800 per week. But the probability that heating will be needed is only 33.3% (depending on the temperature).
This additional information did not please Ms. Phillips at all. The chances for delay were mounting. And an internal overhead expense of $600 per week would be incurred in the event of any delay beyond the anticipated completion date (note, this is different from the due date).
The technical details of the project are given in the appendix to this case. The management team was asked to consider alternatives for coping with the situation. At the end of the week four proposals were submitted.
Proposal 1: Do not take any special action at all; leave the original plan as it is and hope and pray that there is no strike and that there is also no cold December. Hint: this does not mean there are no consequences in the event of a strike or a cold December.
Proposal 2: The roof is very important since it precedes several activities. Use three shifts and some overtime to cut six weeks off the roofing at an additional cost of $9,200.
Proposal 3: Expedite the pouring of seat gallery supports. This would cost $18,000 and cut the duration of that activity to six weeks.
Proposal 4: This is the same as Proposal 3 but in addition put a double shift on the filling of the field for an additional cost of $8,500. The duration of that activity will be cut to 5 weeks.
1. Analyze each proposal and make recommendations on which proposal should've selected fubased on expected costs (and profitability). For each proposal you may want to consider (where appropriate) the cost of the expediting activity, penalty costs, overhead costs, cost of heating, cost of no strike, cost of an 8 week strike, and cost of a 12 week strike and the associated probabilities.
2. What other basis (besides expected costs) should Ms Phillips consider before making a decision? What then might the decision be?
3. What other factors might enter into the decision such as behavioral, organizational and political?
4. What recommendation would you make as the president of Parker Construction Company?
Appendix: Technical Details of the Stadium
The stadium is an indoor structure with a seating capacity of 35,000. The project begins with clearing the site, an activity that lasts eight weeks. Once the site is clear, work can start simultaneously on the structure itself, and also on the field.
The work in the field involves subsurface drainage which lasts eight weeks, followed by filling for the playing field and track. Only with the completion of the filling (14 weeks) can the installation of the artificial playing turf take place, an activity that consumes 12 weeks.
The work on the structure itself starts with the excavation followed by the pouring of concrete footings. Each of these activities takes four weeks. Next comes the pouring of supports for seat galleries (12 weeks), followed by erecting pre-cast galleries (13 weeks). The seats can then be poured (4 weeks) and are ready for painting. However, the painting (3 weeks) cannot begin until the dressing rooms are completed (4 weeks). The dressing rooms can be started only after the roof is completed (8 weeks). The roof must be erected on a steel structure which takes 4 weeks to install. This activity can only start after the concrete footings are poured.
Once the roof is erected, work can start simultaneously on the lights (5 weeks) and on the scoreboard and other facilities (4 weeks).
Hint: it is easier to do your analysis using “week” as the unit of time as opposed to calendar days.