Treetop Forest Products is experiencing several key problems within the packaging department. Packaging productivity has been in a decline over the past two years and effecting the rest of the departments negatively, all other departments are up significantly but unable to reach their total potential due to backups and quality issues in packaging. The employees are minimally supervised to times of a total lack of supervision, this is resulting in poor work performance. Employees are experiencing severe lacks in motivation and have begun to adopt norms not fitted with the company. Inventory costs are on the rise and the risks of damaged stocks are showing potential increases. The quality of the appearance of the finished products is also decreasing, resulting in a loss in the market share in the industry, this is bringing profitability down and creating loss of business to other competitors. Employee lunch and shift abuse is causing the decrease in productivity for the packaging team.
The lack of supervision is also one of the main causes of most of the problems stated. The group’s cohesiveness is causing them to behave in similar manners, even when an outside temporary worker is assigned to help, only after a few days the abuse is noticeable within the temporary’s behavior. Behaviors being adopted are not in line with the norms of the rest of the company and are known within the organizations other departments. The packaging department is located further across the property than all the other departments, management responsible for overseeing packaging are having issues covering their main departments and making the long trek to the packaging facility. The lack of management attention is creating a sense of isolation and exclusion for employees and the rest of the company.
Packaging’s poor performance is causing an overstock which results in high inventory costs and risk of damaged products since they have to be stored outside, thus causing the poor appearance of the finished product which affects the buyer’s decision. To counteract the “social loafing”, the company should increase feelings of indispensability. Doing this within the group would motivate the employees and increase performance feedback, so that employees will know how to improve themselves as well as give them a firm understanding of what they did well. Employees will be motivated in the work they are doing; also by knowing the company’s goals they would have a sense of belonging to the company. Supporting employees with a more structured environment, Treetop should hire and train two new supervisors specifically for the packaging department.
This will decrease inventory costs, increase production numbers, better communication between other departments, and rebuild the fit and finish of the finalized products. Though hiring two more management staff will increase the company’s costs, it will drastically decrease the overtime hours. To reduce extra overtime costs, managers will need to limit employee overtime, and increase productivity goals. Utilizing these practices will increase productivity due to fixed goals, and eliminate the extended lunch and break times. To reduce the overtime costs, limits should be put on the amount of overtime hours an employee is allowed to use, along with a deadline for a specific amount of products. The downside to sudden changes in job practices is resilience the capability of individuals to cope successfully in the face of significant change, adversity, or risk.
To counteract resilience, the changes and imposed goals should be discussed and explained to employees, there for increasing the probability of their achievement. The recommending solution would be to add supervision to the packaging department, the lack of proper management is the key issue facing Treetop Forest Products. New management will allow direct focus on the packaging department, employee slacking will be reduced, extended lunches and breaks will be eliminated, and structure to the department. Packaging employees will gain a sense of self-worth and collectivism or a cross-cultural value describing the degree to which people in a culture emphasize duty to groups to which people belong, and to group harmony. Communication should be immediately improved between all departments to counter the unbalanced productivity.
Communication is the key ingredient to the resolution issue of the inventory costs problem. Upper management should designate management to be directly in charge of the packaging team. If upper management feels the costs of hiring a new supervisor are too high, they need to evaluate the large amount of overtime hours being paid out. One other cost effective idea is to give an existing supervisor more shifts allowing for better coverage and leadership for the packaging department. Although hiring and training costs are high, the company will benefit from this addition in the long-term. The new supervisors would counteract the social loafing the company is experiencing. Supervisors could be trained to focus on the motivation of his/her team (rewarding good performances, etc) empowering employees to work hard to attain goals and build a sense of pride in their work.
The new supervisors will also be responsible for limiting the employees to a certain amount of overtime hours they are allowed to attain; employees and managers will have a clearly outlined guide of the consequences of violating the overtime policy. The supervisor would reinforce the company’s norms, eventually eliminating the self-imposed employees in the group (the individual ring leaders who take longer breaks and extended lunch periods). The supervisor would also promote group cohesiveness and a pleasant working environment, showing employees the way to job success.
Company leader’s short term goals may include hosting a meeting or assembly between all departments to make them feel interrelated and important to the company. This could motivate employees to work harder, quicker, and more efficiently. In the long term, group evaluations could be necessary to measure the group’s performance and to see if the actions taken are resolving the problems, by studying these evaluations upper management will be able to view the results of management implementation. At this point they will now be able to make a decision in favor or against more supervision to lead each department to achieve the company’s goals and increase productivity.
McShane, S. and Glinow, M. (2009), Organizational Behavior: essentials, 2nd Edition, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.