11.4 Written Assignment
Read the following cases and answer the questions that follow. You should write your answers in this document, and answers should be between one half and one full page for each question.
1. It started off as a day basically like any other. You went into the Starbucks that you manage, helped employees open, and thought about making a dent in the mountain of paperwork left over from the previous week. But then, you got an unexpected visit from a team at the corporate office. They started talking about the need to lower labor costs, improve efficiency, and increase productivity. When you asked them how they planned on doing all that, they responded, “lean production.”
They informed you that lean production is a management philosophy derived from Toyota that is focused on reducing waste. Whether it’s wasted motion, wasted time, or wasted parts, the goal of lean production is to eliminate waste so that the entire organization can do its work efficiently. The executives then show you all the “waste” that’s in your stores right now—baristas bending over to scoop coffee from a counter below, others waiting for coffee to fully drain before starting a new pot, one worker carrying trays of pastries from storage to the display case, another spending ten seconds per drink to read the milk label. They even show you a map showing the winding trail that a barista takes in making a single drink. It looks like a big pile of spaghetti, you think to yourself.
With lean production, the executives explain, you can reduce the amount of motion that employees spend making drinks, and the amount of time they spend reaching for stuff, reading labels, or moving from here to there. This will make your store more efficient and productive, so that the same number of employees can serve more customers.
You’re intrigued by all of this, as nothing would please your supervisors more than increased revenue and lower costs. But you’re also worried about how your employees will react. Many of them came to work at Starbucks because it wasn’t like other fast-food chains that only focus on speed, speed, and speed. How will they feel once you tell them that they’ll have to change the way they work to become faster? What if they feel like you just want them to be coffee-making robots, leaving them no time to interact with customers or experiment with new drinks? Consider these issues with three or four other students as you discuss the questions below. 
· How would an increase in efficiency and production benefit your employees?
· How would you address employees’ concerns that they are being transformed into coffee-making robots?
2. When you told your friends and family that you were starting your own business, they were thrilled. When you told them that it would be a food truck, well, they were less than thrilled. All they could imagine was a truck filled with cold sandwiches and watered-down coffee parked next to a construction site. But you used your culinary training to come up with fresh, delicious, and healthy dishes that appealed to almost everyone. And instead of construction sites, you parked your truck next to busy office buildings and downtown intersections. In almost no time at all, there were hundreds of people lined up at your truck, waiting for one of your latest creations.
Ever since you opened, the business has been pretty small—just one truck, you manning the kitchen in the back, and your best friend taking orders and working the cash register. But all of that could soon change. A few weeks ago, a camera crew and producers from Food Network came by your truck to do a profile on the hottest dining trends in the country. They called your truck “adventurous,” “cutting-edge,” and a definite “must-eat.” A little while after that, you were profiled on TV news and magazines, and you’ve lost track of the number of food bloggers who have stopped for a taste. And the attention hasn’t come just from the media. Investors are calling left and right with offers to help you expand your business. They want to help you buy more trucks, hire more people, and increase your productivity so that you can sell food in more cities across the country. Some have even called with you offers of opening up a chain of restaurants.
This seems like a dream come true, taking a small business and growing it into a nationwide chain. However, your best friend has a word of warning. He says that growing so fast isn’t always the best way to go. He tells you about Jim Picariello, who had a small business making all-natural ice pops. Picariello began making the pops himself, at home, but in just two years, he expanded into a 15-employee company with a 3,000-square-foot facility. But when the recession hit, all of his funding dried up, he couldn’t afford to make payments on his manufacturing equipment, and he eventually had to lay off all of his employees and declare bankruptcy. Then he tells you about Toyota. For decades, the company had a sterling reputation for making quality vehicles. But when it made rapid expansion its overall priority, the quality of its cars suffered and it was forced to recall 11 million vehicles. “Definitely not where you want to be,” your best friend concludes.
So what should you do? You don’t want to turn down an opportunity to expand your business and make more money. But you also don’t want to lose what you have by growing too fast. What to do?
· As the owner and manager of this small business, what pace of growth do you think is ideal—slow or rapid? Why?
· What steps could you take to make sure that the quality of your products, and the customer service your employees offer, do not suffer with expansion of the business?
 Source: Laura Petrecca “Fast growth isn’t always good” USA Today, 13 Sept 2010, 1B-6B.
Reflecting on what you have learned in this course, are you interested in a seeking a position that would require you to conduct investigations and interview clients and witnesses? Are there any tasks that you would find particularly challenging in this area of law? What areas of law would involve client interviewing and investigation?
Think of a business or service that you have interacted with recently that lacked productivity. For example, perhaps you experienced service at a restaurant that was very slow, even though there seemed to be enough servers to handle the patrons. Or maybe you had to wait six hours to get your tires changed. Describe the situation. How would you use partial productivity and multifactor productivity measures to help you understand where productivity can be improved at these businesses? What would higher productivity mean to the business or service? As you listen to your classmates’ responses, look for areas of improvement that they may not have considered. Also, look for potential negative effects to increased productivity.
Think about all that you have learned from this course. What did you find most challenging? What did you learn about yourself? How can you apply what you have learned to a future role as manager?
If you were in charge of a mid-size company that rented tents for parties and events, what control method would you use—bureaucratic, objective, normative, concertive, or self control? What about your chosen method of control makes it so appealing? How do your experiences at your current job or previous jobs support your chosen method? Do you think your preferred method of control can be used at any company, or do you think certain methods work for certain types of businesses? What about certain types of businesses make them easier to manage with certain control methods? In your responses to two classmates who chose control methods different from yours, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their preferred method.