This paper will discuss two system fit issues at The New York Times Shared Services Center. A system fit is the examination of how an organization’s system elements and subcomponents fit with one another whether it is a loose or tight fit. Poor system fits lead to macro-problems with micro-level symptoms. An example of this would be micro-level symptoms may effect the employee, which in turn effect the employee’s performance.
Two system fit issues are lack of employee space and limited use of copying machine.
Although there may be several solutions to these, system fit issues, only a few of them would be effective. Solutions to this fit would mean interruption in work patterns and could decrease productivity.
The Shared Services Center (SSC) currently employs 180 employees. The SSC is constantly growing and changing to meet the needs of The New York Times Company. The SSC was created to provide financial and benefit support to its 121 business units nationally and globally.
The Center’s functions have increased greatly over the past three years. The hire rate has doubled and continues to grow at a rapid rate. This positive growth impact allows the SSC to manage the changes brought about by the local business units it serves.
However, the SSC did not take into consideration the number of employees needed to perform various duties. The SSC now faces overcrowding of employee workspace.
The information technology department was just moved to a newly renovated area on the 2nd floor, but now find that the breakroom is being used for employee workspace. In developing long-range plans, management is now considering expansion of workspace for employees. Estimates of future workspace demand increased cost and consideration of organizational culture. Culture is defined by a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguish the organization from other organizations. Management decisions take into consideration of the effects of this overcrowding and the outcome on the people within the organization. Management must also consider maintaining the status quo in contrast to growth.
The inputs and resources are directly effect the furniture suppliers and real estate of possible leasing for additional space. Private investors have a valued interest in keeping the SSC in the World Trade Center by offering lucrative rewards and incentives for maintaining a lease.
The outputs are greatly affected by the Center’s ability to produce effective and efficient ways of providing service. Technology maintains innovative and up-to-date technology to manage the external environment. The environment is must consider city, state and federal laws of occupancy. The SSC also must consider how this will affect OSHA guidelines for the remodeling, such as storage of supplies and construction materials.
The two solutions are either to move the SSC to another location or remodel existing space available to maintain the space needed.
To move the SSC to another location would be a costly decision. Currently, the data center is housed at the World Trade Center. Moving this to an another outside source would cost millions. The data center could remain in the World Trade Center with the possibility of moving the daily operations to another site, but this could offset another system fit issue. This would cause departmental division and possible breakdown of communications. The SSC receives benefits such as a long-term lease agreement with the benefit of the Town Point Club within the building for business meetings, luncheons, and seminars. There is a gym also available for employee usage.
Consideration the prospect of remodeling existing space available would mean careful consideration of employee hire rate and how much space is available. The SSC currently leases two floors of the World Trade Center.
Remodeling the existing space available would be the best system fit. Ideally, the Company should consider combining the two floors to just one. This would solve the division created between departments. Allowing the information technology department to be combined with the employee services and production would create a seamless relationship. The center should remain within the World Trade Center due to the cost of moving the data center.
There are only tow photocopy machines available for use by the staff at the SSC. This resource provides easy, quick, and convenient service to the staff in the reproduction of materials related to teaching, research, and service activities. In effort to reduce high copying cost, a new policy was implemented. All copying for small jobs was to be done by the executive assistant and automatic devices were installed to monitor and count all copies made. The machine would not operate without one of these devices, preset with a department charge account, which the executive assistant possessed. Some employees found that access to copying was considerably less convenient than it had been in the past.
Last minute service is not easily obtained and strategic planning for copied material was needed. The executive assistant finds that numerous special trips to the machine are necessary. These trips to the copying machine have resulted in interruptions of typing and other office responsibilities by the executive assistant.
Inputs or resources effect the Center’s availability of equipment and people. Budgets are created quarterly to maintain cost effectiveness. The outputs were services are not efficient. Employees waste valuable time to use the copying machines, which can allow for unproductive time. The existing technology does not allow for the transforming the resources into outputs. The environment takes into consideration that SSC must create a competitive advantage for The New York Times Company.
The two solutions are to purchase additional copying machines with unlimited usage or provide a mailroom and a position for a mailroom clerk with the responsibility of copying and mailing documents for the organization.
Providing additional copying machine would elevate the stress of employee finding time to make copies. The cost for the additional copiers would be justified by the employee’s ability make the necessary copies for job completion. Often deadlines are important in line of a multi-media company. Changes are always occurring and the company must be prepared to meet the deadlines. Employees would no longer stress on the long waiting periods for copying privileges.
The executive assistant would no longer be required to make copies. Elevating this task would enable the executive assistant to perform obligations for the company under their job description.
The second solution of creating a mailroom, along with a position for a mailroom specialist to make the copies with the existing machine. The mailroom clerk would be responsible for the copying of material, mailings and distribution of mail and copied material. Creating this mailroom and position will still allow for the limited usage of the copying machine but will ease the waiting period for employees to make copies. The mailroom clerk would elevate the existing unorganized duties of copying.
Creating a mailroom, along with a position for a mailroom specialist, would be the best system fit. This mailroom would also conquer the problem of packages and mail being distributed in a timely manner. The copying process would allow employees to receive the needed material, while the company maintains its cost of limited copies to employees.
Identifying system fit problems within organizations can help decide if the inconsistencies are harmful. Developing a diagnosis allows organizations to develop and implement strategies and goals. When diagnosing a system fit problem, organizations must determine if the organization needs strategic plans, the effects of changes, whether the system fit will be effective and consequences of the system fit.