Analyzation of “The Case for Change at Modern Appliances”
James Bradshaw came to understand employee engagement as a way to ensure ongoing business effectiveness through a series of events. In the article, it states “Modern Appliances had been in business for almost 75 years and manufactured a wide range of appliances. With sales in excess of $2 billion, Modern was considered a quality manufacturer and a good marketer.” Further, it states that in recent years, the company began to face competitive pressure as North American companies began to outsource manufacturing to China and Vietnam as well as domestic Chinese manufacturers were learning to compete effectively outside their home markets and were importing into Modern’s traditionally strong North American markets. Additionally, European companies were focusing on styling to tempt people away from traditional North American suppliers and they were luring away segments of the market to whom innovative design was appealing. (Gantz, 2007) Modern’s old business model consisted of various layers of cost control. Modern had strict and comprehensive cost controls in place to ensure expenditures were being controlled. For example, all supplies were ordered centrally and Modern’s purchasing department consistently negotiated good prices from their suppliers. With the various measures in place, Bradshaw felt that Modern could defend itself from new entrants if the workforce was fully engaged in the challenge of creating a truly superior value proposition for its customers and then sustaining the value proposition through everything they did to manufacture the product and market through their trade channels (Gantz, 2007) Globalization put pressure on Modern because of outsourcing and the importing of appliances into North American markets. Further, the new entrants focused on the style of their products and in turn, Modern began to lose business as customers were being lured away as they found the designs to be innovative and appealing. Modern had become complacent over the years, as they did not have stiff competition and for many years for was market leader in quality appliances. They did not upgrade their designs and there were issues with costs and quality. Bradshaw stated, “Modern employees had simply not been sufficiently engaged in understanding the business, in analyzing how Modern could do better, or in participating in the development changes to the way that business was done.” In the article “Engaging Employees, Another Step in Improving Safety” the author states, “successful organizations involve employees at all levels in various aspects of the business and value their input. To create a fully encompassing corporate culture, employees must be involved, engaged, and have the opportunity to provide input on changes to their workplace. (Raines, 2011) Further, in an article titled “Recasting the Role of the CEO”, Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies instituted a groundbreaking approach to management. He instituted “employees first, customers second.” The “employees first, customers second” approach to management is that it unleashes the power of those working in what he called the value zone where direct interaction with customers actually creates customer value and lessens the inhibiting effect of those in top-level positions, thus increasing the speed and quality of innovation and decision making.” (Nayar, 2010) Bradshaw stated that over the years there had been a number of initiatives that solicited employee involvement such as quality circles, total quality management, ISO certification, Kanbans and other interventions. He further stated that some of the initiatives met with success while others did not result in a culture change. Bradshaw labeled the initiatives as “events” and he stated that after the events were over, the culture at Modern reverted back to the same old way of doing things.
Change produces anxiety and uncertainly. Employees...
References: Gantz, J. (2007). Employee engagement at Modern Appliances, Inc. Boston, MA: Harvard
Business School Publishing. Retrieved from http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/access/9788411
Nayar, V. (2010). Recasting the Role of the CEO: Transferring the Responsibility for Change-
How Leaders Can Tap the Creative Energy of Employees. Retrieved from
Raines, M. S. (2011) Engaging employees: Another step in improving safety. Professional
Safety, 56(4), 36–43
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