Case study: ‘No Name’ Aircraft
CEO Adam O’Meara of ‘No Name’ Aircraft has become increasingly concerned about organisational profits. He’s worried that a company takeover is imminent. O’Meara realises he needs to maximise shareholders’ return on investment and obtain a high share price or this international company may be at risk and, of course, this means his job could well be on the line. ‘No Name’ operates out of Australia and has subsidiaries in three countries – China, Singapore and Vietnam. ‘No Name’ build and sell aircraft to 50 countries around the world. Numerous parts of the aircraft are produced in China and Vietnam and most of the design engineers operate out of Singapore. Aircraft are assembled in Singapore and also Australia.
‘No Name’ home country (Australian) teams are not working well and there is a communication breakdown between integrated teams and across teams and management. The culture at ‘No Name’ has developed into one that is very negative and workers have adopted the mantra ‘near enough is good enough’. Staff give the impression they would resist any attempt to make change. This kind of culture extends to communications between Headquarters and the subsidiaries.
One of the home country management teams has identified quality as one of the major problems at ‘No Name’ and this is directly related to parts from China and Vietnam. Aircraft require small to large modifications even after they have been delivered to customers. Customers, both government and non-government, are complaining about the lack of quality, once very important to ‘No Name’. A number of stakeholders have sent O’Meara letters warning that unless quality is improved within six months, they will withhold partial payments and some are quoting percentages – certain customers say they will withhold 100 per cent and others are quoting 50 per cent.
One supervisor at ‘No Name’ is responsible for a sub-design team of 9 people, another is responsible for 11 people who are the wire harness assembly team, and another team of 6 sets the harnesses in place in the aircraft. These are just three of over 50 teams that make up the assembly of an aircraft. There is no integration across the teams. Ben Brown, a member of the wire harness assembly team, notes ‘…..the other teams make it really difficult for us to complete our job. We all get in each other’s way. There’s a lot of resentment’.
The teams work to specifications for their area only, and working relationships within and across teams are suffering. The communications both laterally and horizontally are compromised and staff members are complaining about not receiving adequate
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