Question 1: Identify and discuss the major issue(s) in the case
In the requisition of the carborundum blades, it specifically mentioned that no substitute for Swiss blade is permitted but Iqbal still trying to find alternative solution available in the local market. He found the alternative sources and persuades the sawing operation to perform the trial. The trial is failed and now Iqbal convinced that he being sabotage, he accused the sawing operation team was purposely unfairly treated the local blades during the operation to ensure the local blades would fail. This is because, during the discussion with Sam, foreman of sawing operation, he is reluctant to proceed with the trial and very confident that the local brand will not work. His expression and behaviour showed that he feel happy to prove that the trail is failed.
Question 2: Key fact of the case
When Iqbal viewed the requisition of carborundum saw blades at Tampin plants, he found that the specialised blade made from Switzerland and purchase through local supply in Penang at cost of $220, DDP Penang. The requisition specified that no substitutes were permitted and Iqbal went to look for other alternative sourcing for better saving.
Iqbal found two suppliers that producing local blade and was informed that the local brand, Dipson 412 is same quality as the Swiss brand. They quoted price of $112.50 and $115; both are DDP Tampin.
Sam, foreman of sawing operation at Four Square is reluctant to try the local brands as he confident it would not stand up as per the Swiss brand. Finally he agreed but told Iqbal that he knows that the local brand will not work. Iqbal proceed with the trial purchase, and put provision that blades could returned for credit if it not prove equal to Swiss brand.
The trial is fail as Sam showed Iqbal the sample of two local blades which burned during due to excess heat during the production. Sam expression was happy when he told Iqbal about the situation. Iqbal was convinced that the production workers had treated the blade unfairly to ensure that both blades trials unsuccessful.
Question 3: The main problem in the case
The trial failed and Iqbal convinced that the sawing operation team purposely treated the local blades unfairly to ensure that the trial is fail. From earlier discussion with Sam, the foreman of the sawing operation, he expressed his reluctant to proceed with the trial and informed Iqbal that he is confident that the local blades would not match the quality of the Swiss blade. Sam was also expressed his satisfaction when he bring the result to Iqbal showing the burned blades as prove that both local brands is not as equal to the Swiss blade.
Question 4: What could Iqbal done to avoid this situation
Iqbal could do the precaution step by monitoring the whole process of trial to ensure that the blades are being treated correctly in the operation process. This is important especially when during the discussion the foreman, Sam seems very reluctance of doing the trial. In order to avoid being disrupted or sabotage, he should closely monitor the entire process.
Other than that, he could request the suppliers to involve in the trial process. Besides ensuring the blades are treated fairly, the supplier could share their expertise and able provide immediate advice if there is problem occurs.
Question 5: What should Iqbal do now
Iqbal should discuss with the management regarding the issues and point out his thought. He should get the independent opinion on the issues. But he should also bear in mind that his accusation may turn up to be wrong and the sawing operation team is not guilty. In handling the issue of possibility of being sabotage it could be sensitive and this will affect the positive relationship among co-workers in future.
Iqbal could also do another trial if he convinced it will work but this time he or his trusted person which had expertise of understanding the procedure should monitor the process to ensure the blade is being handled fairly and trial is done properly. By doing another trial it would definitely increase the operation costs.
He could also further discuss with the supplier of local brand and show the burned blades. By doing so, he could use the supplier expertise to gain information whether the blades has been treated fairly or not by examining the burned blades and find out the possible causes.
Question 6: Suggestion for improving the situation of the company
Open for substitutes
Providing the clause that no substitutes were permitted which means depending on one source of supplier could be high risk for the Company. It also not encouraging the operation team to try new change as normally the operation team prefer the normal procedure that they already familiar with.
Involvement of supplier
Involvement of the supplier during the process could help to ensure that the process is being done properly and it would also help to provide the fast response for solution if there is problem during the sawing operation process.
To ensuring the trial is done properly without any possibility of unfairly treated, expertise, the engineer should be in place to monitor the whole process.