Wengart Aircraft is not able to maximize profits as evidenced by its ranking of sixth out of seven in its industry. Aircraft rework is a quality problem that is increasing even to the extent that some rework is being completed after the product has been delivered to the customer. The rework problems have created costly down time with the line workers. While waiting for products coming from the preceding production team, or waiting on delayed inventory items the workers are going to the company store, taking longer coffee breaks or visiting with friends on other production teams.
Wengarts biggest customer the federal government has concerns about the quality of the product the company is producing. They have sent letters to Wengart stating their intention to exercise their contract provision to withhold partial payment as a penalty (D. Brown, 2011, pg. 364). The Department of Defense is also encouraging all defense contractors to adopt Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM is a management approach to long term success through customer satisfaction. In a TQM effort all members of an organization participate in improving processes and products (D. Brown, 2011, pg. 44). Wengart President, Ralph Larsen, feels that TQM is a matter of common sense and he believes that they are either already doing this or should be. Larsen chose to release the OD Practitioner and present TQM himself to the company vice presidents. When Maria Lopez, vice president of human resources brought to Larsen’s attention that TQM should be a joint project between human resources and production, with the president’s office coordinating the program, Larsen explained that he didn’t have time to get involved because he wanted to spend his time and energy improving profits (D.
Brown, 2011 pg. 365). He then assigned vice president of production, Kent Kelly to spearhead TQM. The methods of communication being used at Wengart are causing problems with the implementation of TQM. Kent Kelly decided to present TQM to the plant managers through a memo. Allan Yoshida, Pico Durango Plant Manager, met with all the managers and line supervisors and explained his interpretation of TQM. The managers and supervisors came away from the meeting with various interpretations of TQM thus the line workers recieved different ideas about TQM.
Yoshida then sent a brief memo to all workers in the plant outlining TQM and that the managers and supervisors had the details and that everyone was to support the program (D. Brown, 2011, pg. 365). Two veteran line workers interpreted it as another management program where union workers did all the work and management got the credit and the bucks and after speaking with other workers around the plant the consensus was that Yoshida was trying to speed up production so that the midnight shift could be cut (D. Brown, 2011, pg. 365). The current structure of Wengart Aircraft is being affected by these previously mentioned problems. By Wengart accepting and allowing rework to become part of the companies culture the quality of their product has gone down which has also decreased profits. The psycho-social system is being impacted by the poor communication exhibited by all employees of Wengart Aircraft. Management’s treatment of TQM is a perfect example of the break down in effective communication.
Wengarts technologic systems are being affected by the lack of quality control within the plant. With a good quality control system in place the reworking problems would be eliminated. The managerial system is being impacted by the misunderstanding by management of the correct approach to TQM. Some alternatives would be implementing quality control measures to eliminate the rework problems and send a good quality product out the first time. Ralph Larsen needs to meet with all managerial staff and explain and discuss in detail the TQM.
A meeting with the entire plant could be conducted discussing TQM and the goals Wengart expects to accomplish by implementing TQM. Recommendations for Wengart would be to rehire the OD Practitioner and have them come in and work closely with management on the most effective way to implement TQM. The OD Practitioner and the president should then present to the entire plant the use of TQM and the direction Wengart expects to take using TQM. With the proper implementation of TQM the faulty communication within the company will resolve itself.
Having all of management understanding TQM the same there is no miscommunication or misconceptions everyone is on the same page and working toward to the same goals. Goals for each department in regards to the quality of work should be set. A reward system should be implemented to keep employees vested and motivated to work towards the goals set.
An Experiential Approach to Organization Development, Donald R. Brown, Eighth Edition, 2011, chapters 12-13.