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ANSWERS TO CHAPTER 3 QUESTIONS

ANSWER 3.1
Forming a concurrent team is the most suitable strategy for
this assignment. The steps to take are: (1) name selected staff
with experience in major functions (e.g., marketing and sales,
design engineering, product development, customer service, and
production) as members, (2) set objectives, (3) define timelines
and budget constraints, and (4) declare a top priority for all
supports the team might need.
ANSWER 3.2
She should take the following steps: (1) benchmark externally
to define the current level of in-house quality performance and
pertinent metrics to assess quality performance; (2) set up a
quality improvement team (quality cycle), comprised of
representatives of the workers who have hands-on experience and
skills in handling different materials; the team should have no
management people; (3) define team objectives; (4) specify time
and resources constraints; (5) hire external consultants to offer
ideas of best practices in materials handling, but only if the
team makes little progress over a reasonable period of time; (6)
support the team recommendations and make resources available for
its implementation; (7) recognize and reward team achievements;
and (8) regularly monitor quality performance thereafter.
ANSWER 3.3
The preemptive introduction of the first batch of
sophisticated products to a technologically un-advanced country
signifies a major competitive advantage for the company in that
marketplace. Only fools would give up that marketing entry and
associated expansion opportunity and hand it over to the
competition. Do not make the same mistake as the training manager
who suffers from a chronic lack of perspective. The company
should do the following:
A. Reject the suggestion of the training manager and continue to
honor the sales contact.
B. Conduct a comprehensive survey of trainees to elicit comments
about the training program (e.g., language, technical terms,
speed of delivery, lack of hands-on practices, trainers not
proficient in training, arrogant attitude toward third-world
engineers, etc.) and ask for their recommendations to improve.
C. Work with trainees to refine the training programs (e.g., add
remedial topics for trainees to catch up on selected background
materials, use electronic equipment not widely available back

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home, conduct plant tours to observe real-life operation and


maintenance procedures, etc.).
D. Send experienced maintenance and operational personnel to
visit the trainees for a period of time to provide additional onsite guidance.
E. Set up a call center to continue to offer support for the
trainees.
ANSWER 3.4
A change in business conditions is a valid reason for
manpower reduction. Yes, the engineer should be discharged with
severance pay. The company may want to retain the service of an
outplacement consulting firm to assist the engineer in finding a
new job. Furthermore, the company may offer a very positive
reference letter to support the engineer in his search for a new
job.
ANSWER 3.5
The company president should take the following steps:
A. Authorize market research to verify the existence of an
enlarged customer base for the companys products.
B. Conduct an external benchmarking program to validate the
companys marketing practice in order to be comparable to the
best in industry.
C. Communicate the results to all employees via a town meeting,
electronic bulletin board, company newsletter or other such
means.
D. Form a high-level team which contains representative of all
major functional groups (e.g., marketing, design engineering,
product development, production, finance, and service) to come up
with a strategy of broadening the customer base (e.g., segment
size, growth rate, new product features, competition, marketing/
sales program, service organization to ensure customer
satisfaction, etc.).
E. Create a New Products Division whose primary objectives are
to make, market and sell new products and provide service to the
enlarged target customer base.
F. Authorize resources and delegate the responsibility and
authority of program implementation to the New Products Division.
G.

Review results regularly to monitor progress.

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Chapter 3 Answers

ANSWER 3.6
Acquire a small company to shorten the
thus more readily preserve its position in
Integrate its technology into the company,
to accommodate the upgrade, and assign the
sales and service staff to manage customer
way, the company can take advantage of its
and expand the current customer base.

time to market and


the marketplace.
modify production line
current marketing,
relations. In this
established brand name

ANSWER 3.7
The preferred members on this presidential task force should
be marketing/sales, design engineering, product development,
production, finance, logistics, and service. The specific
representatives from these functional groups must be experienced,
recognized leaders in their domains of expertise, known for their
innovative and creative insights, and be relatively easy to work
with.
The task force should first get organized. Available data
are then to be reviewed. The task force should brainstorm
possible causes for the declining sales:
A. Was the product price too high in comparison to
competition due to high product cost?
B. Were the sales people ineffective due to poor training, low
morale, meager compensation, and/or inadequate equipment/
facilities?
C. Was the advertisement budget too low, resulting in poor
product exposures and insufficient brand name recognition?
D. Was there a decrease in product demand due to new
substitution products recently coming into the market from
overseas?
E. Were the customers dissatisfied with the services (e.g.,
problem-solving, spare parts, order processing, etc.) offered?
F.

Others.

Assign task force members to collect/acquire applicable data


to verify any identified causes responsible for the decline in
sales.
Once the real causes for decline in sales are identified, add
additional experts to the task force to help define solutions.
Develop options to eliminate all causes of the problem.
Rank-order the options, document the decision criteria and
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Chapter 3 Answers

report back to the company president with recommendations.


Reorganize the task force to include experts on project
implementation. Carry out the project plan as approved.
ANSWER 3.8
Meeting customers requirements must always be the primary
goal of every company, even if it means a loss of profitability.
Re-organize the project to utilize external resources (e.g.,
drafting, model making, testing, design of specific parts,
quality control, etc.) for supplementing in-house capabilities in
order to shorten the time to market. The project manager should
estimate the additional costs involved and get an authorization
from company management. Assure Marketing that Project X will be
delivered on time.
Understand the real causes of project delays (e.g., poor
initial estimates, poor execution, special unanticipated events,
delivery problems of vendor-supplied parts, short supply of
skilled staff due to resignation, etc.), develop the pertinent
contingency measures, and document these findings for future use.
ANSWER 3.9
Since the directors need to know details may be brought
about by the need of his boss, the VP, it is not a good idea for
Sally to question Marks wisdom of raising so many detailed
questions. Read all progress reports, make notes at staff
meeting, and tabulate the major milestones and results of all
projects. Sally should have this table on her desk so that some
details can be extracted from it, when the director calls.
If Sally cannot answer specific questions, offer to call in
the professional staff involved and have a verbal report made in
Sallys presence. Make notes on additional details so reported.
Resist an increase in the frequency of reviews, as Sally
should protect her staff from diverting too much time to
communications with the director.
ANSWER 3.10
As illustrated in Table 3-1, there are two additional ladders
besides the managerial ladder for engineers to consider:

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Chapter 3 Answers

TABLE 3-1.

CAREER LADDERS FOR ENGINEERS

Vice President

Director

Director

Fellow

Manager

Manager

Associate

Supervisor

Project Manager

Consultant

Section Engineer

Project Engineer

Senior Engineer

Staff Engineer

Engineer

ANSWER 3.11
The difference in the number of people assigned to different
departments is rather common. It depends on the scope of
activities involved.
A small manufacturing company may need 9 people in the
production, 3 people in accounting and financial control, 7
people in marketing and sales, 6 people in product design and
production engineering, and 4 people in corporate office.

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Chapter 3 Answers