In an executive meeting of March 2010, CEO Mary Shields praised the team for their 'excellent performance.' In fact, for fiscal years 2007 to 2009, MMI outpaced its closest competitors from a revenue standpoint, thus, prompting a smile of accomplishment from Bill Wren, Director of Marketing and Sales. Particularly, strong marketing and sales efforts resulted in revenue growth of $55, $60, and $80 million over the above three-year period. And despite the ever-bouncing fluctuations of currencies in purchasing markets, and economic uncertainties at home, Dianne Hill, Finance Director, was praised for keeping the financial health of the business intact.
MMI is a manufacturer of outer casings (shells) for laptop computers. Located in an excellent sector of Scarborough, Ontario, the business works three shifts, 264 days per year, and employs a diverse team of 75 employees. Most of the various plastic resins the company use are purchased from foreign suppliers located in China, Brazil, India, Mexico, Italy, and the U.S. There are many suppliers for these strategic resins (ABS and Polypropylene), and average inventories for the above three years have been $19, $15, and $12 million. The business competes on differentiation and, as such, the cases produced and sold are considered unique.
Will Harris, Operations Manager, is a five-year veteran with MMI. His responsibilities include: Engineering, QC, Manufacturing, Purchasing and Inventory Control, HRM, and Shipping and Receiving. Over the last three years the business quality index averaged 93% while on-time delivery hovered around 91%. Older equipment, mostly manual operations, and people training, relative to such marketing terms as "new and improved," seem to be lacking. The business enjoys, however, support from loyal customers, and from a COQ standpoint, prevention costs have skyrocketed in an attempt to improve external failure costs. Stakeholders have nicknamed MMI "the brown" manufacturer since government bodies have visited the facility on many occasions to deal with environmental issues.
HR strategy, headed by Tao Wang, includes "hiring the best - when there is a need to do so." Yet, with this focus, the turnover rate of new employees over the last three years stands at about 13%. Salaries and wages are below market levels, and supervisors seem to make all the decisions. Psychological components of job design are highly noticeable but difficulty often arises if/when a member is away from work. Ergonomics has improved slightly over the last two years and there have been talks of improving methods analysis.
MMI's mission includes 'customer satisfaction' driven by attention to quality and service, and focus on economic and shareholder growth. Essentially, the company is fixed on expansion within the 2011-14 corridors through vertical integration, and in such areas as Quebec and Alberta. International, and global strategies, according to Mary, will follow later on "as we drive to increase our market share to 25%."
Operation expenses have risen and, according to Dianne, "they will continue to rise unless something is done soon." Particularly, "the plant is no spring chicken" so heating and A/C expenses are on the rise. Dianne went on to talk about: "inventory overage, and old and unused stock that's costing us money." And with a total of 250 suppliers last year, Dianne believes "there is room for improvement."
As the meeting wound down, Dianne raised a question about Part # 1345. This is a "C" item, Dianne said, and "it's wasting our time and costing us money. We produced 5,000 pieces in 2009. It has a fixed cost of $10,000 and a contribution of $1.75. Is anything being done about this?"
Dianne was, perhaps, more blunt when she said our only constant is "taxes" at 25%. "Our COGS", she said, "is nothing to write home about: for the last three years they were $38, $45, $58 million." "Also", she said: "our net income (6.4%, 5.0%, and 3.5% of sales) is dwindling." Dianne went on to say: "Increasing sales is one thing, throwing it away is something else. Our competitors are smiling at our performance - who is doing anything to bring about positive change?"
With possession of minutes from the executive meeting, with knowledge of MMI operational activities, as Assistant OM with MMI, and for your six-month review with Will next Thursday, write a 1,200 word essay stating what, in your opinion is wrong, what changes you would consider, and what you would do to bring about positive change.
Particularly, your essay will include, but is not limited to, such information as:
- The incorporation of class content (relative information learnt in your BUSN 129 course). Plus,
- Priorities you have chosen, and how you plan to support positive change and better grow MMI.