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Herb’s Concoction: The Case of the Deadly Fertilizer Essay

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“Herb’s Concoction (and Martha’s Dilemma): The Case of the Deadly Fertilizer”. I will assess what I would have done being placed in Martha’s position, and the steps I would have taken to find a proper resolution for the possible issue at hand. I will address each question asked and fully explain why those decisions are best.

Management Module 4 Case Assignment

Where To Start If I was in Martha’s position I wouldn’t make a programmed or hasty type of decision, this type of decision involves conscious thinking and information gathering on Martha’s part. Martha needs to assess all aspects of the complaint, and also use her intuition of what she feels is the right thing to do based on her own experience in using the product. I would have researched prior files and complaints to see if any other similar issues had existed. As well as what the companies prior resolutions had been if any.

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Educate Yourself

All chemicals and fertilizers must be labeled with all ingredients; as wells as recorded in a MSDS safety book, an important component of product stewardship and occupational safety and health. It is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for safely handling or working with that substance in an appropriate manner, and includes vital information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, proper disposal, protective equipment, and spill – handling procedures.(“Material Safety Data Sheet,” n.d., p. 1) Both of those sources would have given insight as to the ingredients as well as their environmental impact. Of course the internet and search engines make research and information easily obtainable. Educating herself about the product will make communicating with the owner and supervisors easier; saving time and confusion, allowing for a quicker solution for the problem at hand.

The Next Step Martha should next request a meeting with Herb the company owner and her supervisor Mac. Martha should also address Mac’s prior statements” Some people will complain about the littlest things” and “,Now and again someone whines about finding dead animals, but that’s just their imagination”. Martha should inform him dead animals are not a part of someone’s imagination. That all complaints should be taken seriously. She should address any complaints that resulted in death of any animals, as well as her personal experience with the product, as that is the main concern and evidently a known complaint; and wholly present each complaint, along with the item used, the application, along with the time frame in which the animals were then found in relation to the time of the application. If she was unable to obtain the source of the “secret ingredient” she needs to ask, so that she can be fully informed as to the fertilizers entire makeup.

Martha should also look into legal repercussions the company could potentially face if there is something in their fertilizer that is hazardous, and present those to the owner as well. Protocol Martha needs a set up a standard protocol; either at her level or at a higher level, resolving a complaint situation between the manufacturer and customer. Most generally protocol involves: an agreement on the customer complaint, quality management to handle remedial actions and compensation; such as reimbursement, credit and so forth.(MSDN, n.d., para. 2) Having a set protocol will help eliminate wasted time, and efficiently handle consumer complaints, and make the company appear to be well ran and organized. Consumers want answers and results now, not later.

The Next Step Martha should voice her recommendations, implement her protocol and their importance to the company. Martha should encourage Herb that this change and research is beneficial for the company and its customers. Martha should recommend that the company come up with some sort of a crisis management plan. This plan would consist of a crisis report that would help the company keep a record of the incidents occurring at Herb’s Concoction and how to handle such incidents. As well as discussing a unique plan that would be effective to handle such incidents. Martha should encourage management to take a closer look at their product line, and have it independently tested; and see if in fact the ingredients are hazardous, and actively react to those results; good or bad.

This would not only benefit the organization, but it would also decrease the amount of incidents occurring if in fact the product is harmful to animals, as well as its potential environmental impact. Martha should also address the issue of safety and the importance of quality and how they might impact the overall business; Herb needs to be made fully aware of the impact of complaints could become damning for his company, assuming more customers are faced with the death of a family pet, or worse a child. The death of a child surely couldn’t be imagined.


A business has to be accountable for its actions and products, and at times it takes a Martha to make those realizations come to light. At times it takes someone to show a manager or owner the light and what could be lost and gained due to changes that must take place for the success of the company.

MSDN. (n.d.). Business Protocols: Implementing A Customer Complaint System. Retrieved from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms978507.aspx Material Safety Data Sheet. (n.d.). In Material Safety Data Sheet. Retrieved December 5,2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Material_safety_data_sheet

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