This case talks about John Smithers and his experience with the new Six Sigma Program at Sigtek. The program was implemented by the parent company of Sigtek and Smithers and a colleague, Sam Murphy, were both selected to learn about this program from Telwork (the parent company) and then run the program to teach about change to the employees at Sigtek. Problems: The main problem that is seen in this case study is the fact that the Six Sigma program that was implemented to bring change was not working. To Smithers it felt as if corporate didn’t really care about the company or this program.
There was not enough support given to the program or the need for change so that Six Sigma could actually be a positive force of change in the work place. Every time there was an issue and Smithers thought he addressed it; it ends up not being the case and taking longer than he expected. Another problem that stems from main problem is the fact that Smithers’ credibility is damaged. During meetings he is doing the best that he can to understand situations and come up with solutions. When these solutions don’t happen, in the eyes of workers that come to these meetings, Smithers loses his credibility.
It is not Smithers’ fault that these solutions are not implemented as quickly as possible. It goes back to the main problem and how the company really didn’t care and thus it took a lot more effort to get these changes implemented. Another problem that Smithers faced was that his own moral for the program was lost. For a long while he felt very good about this program and the changes that he could help to implement with it but after all these negative occurrences Smithers started to feel very differently about the program. He started to think that the program was very cookie cutter and was way too much to handle.
Near the end of the case Smithers thought his chances of survival in the company were slim and began to think if he could have done anything differently to change the situation. Theories: Vertical coordination is something that can be seen in this case. Vertical coordination is when higher levels control and coordinate the work of subordinates through authority, rules, policies, planning and control systems. In the case it can be seen that Telwork uses vertical coordination to have Sigtek and its other subsidiaries comply with its Six Sigma Program.
It gets the upper level people of the company to do as they are told so that the program runs along at the pace that they had preordained for it. Through vertical coordination Telwork gets Smithers and Murphy to do this program according to the company’s views and at the company’s pace. Lateral coordination can also be seen in this case study. Smithers and Murphy head up meetings to help those that work at Sigtek understand the needs for a Six Sigma Program and then they try to use these meetings to implement change as they see fit (after getting input from employees that participated in the Six Sigma meetings).
A task force is set up to bring these changes into effect. From this case we can say this situation illustrates excessive autonomy. All the instructions are giving down from the parent company and all that Smithers and Murphy can do is obey orders. They went to get trained and then came back to Sigtek to train the employees all according to the plans that were put in place by Telwork. There was no leeway at all for the two men to make their own judgments and even if they did; those judgment were over ruled by the parent company with its orders and the upper management of Sigtek who does not stray from the orders they are given.
Qualitative Data: While reading the case it can be seen that Smithers has a very positive outlook on this program from the start. Though Murphy and Smithers did not see eye to eye they found out that they both had a great deal of pride in what they were doing and wanted to see this Six Sigma Program succeed. Though they had every intent to make this a success; in the end it ended up being too much of a burden for the company and their careers. Richard Patricof was someone that did not share their views.
He did not understand the program and the things that were being taught through Six Sigma beforehand. Patricof was selected to be Sigtek’s representative to Telwork for the Six Sigma program and from the start it could be seen that he was not very enthused. Patricof did as he was told and did not deviate much from the plans of the parent company even when it was seen that the program was not working as it should have been for SIgtek. The program that was set up by Telwork was created as a one size fits all.
Every subsidiary of Telwork was told to run this program and get such and such results by a certain time frame. At the start the quality of the program looked good to Smithers and Murphy but by the end they came to see that the program was flawed by the autocratic nature of the company and how slowly change was being implemented. Results of Analysis: The Six Sigma program looks like it was bound for failure from the start. With Telwork being as demanding and imposing as they were it does not look like the program could work as well as it should have.
After looking through all the evidence from this case it can be seen that the vertical coordination that the parent company used to control Sigtek did not allow for the company’s Six Sigma program to mature at its pace. Smithers and Murphy tried to get change to take place at Sigtek but because all of the decisions came from up top it took a lot more time than it should have to implement the necessary change. This dampened the positive effects this program could have had if it was done in a more swifter fashion. Recommendations:
After reviewing the case and looking at all the evidence the first thing that is recommended to do is for Telwork to not be as head strong with its implementation of the Six Sigma program at their subsidiaries. It does not seem to be working for the likes of Sigtek. They have selected and trained individuals to administer this program in their subsidiaries and they should stand back and let these people have the control to do their jobs as they see fit. As its showed in the case, having very little power really stunted the efficiency of the Six Sigma program at Sigtek.
Action Plans: The first thing that should be done is for Sigtek to take control of this Six Sigma program so that they can run it as effectively as possible for their company. This should happen as soon as possible because (as the case showed) having all the say in the hands of Telwork did not allow for the company’s Six Sigma program to work at Sigtek. It stunted the effectiveness and caused the program to sour in the eyes of employees who were really hoping for change. A change away from this top down power structure would e beneficial for this program to work The next thing that can be done by Telwork now that they have handed off more control to Sigtek to run its Six Sigma program would be to periodically check in to see how the program is working. This can happen once every four months or so. Telwork and Sigtek should come together to discuss the Six Sigma program, its implementation, its progress or setback that they are facing. Smithers and Murphy should continue to hold meetings with Sigteks employees every month at the least.
They should get ideas on how to make things work better at the company and also hear out people’s concerns and try to resolve them. It seemed like he had a lot of credibility with the people because of the importance he placed their concerns. That credibility waned due to the top down power structure and Sigtek not being able to fix the problems quickly enough but things should be a different after the changes that are put in place following the time frame in this case. Conclusion: In conclusion this case shows that Sigtek has a little work ahead of it for the Six Sigma program to be successful at their company.
The control and direction from the parent company (Telwork) should be enough to give direction to the program that it is trying to implement in its subsidiaries but it should not seriously limit the ability of Sigtek to follow through in making Six Sigma a good program. Smithers and Murphy have the desire and the knowledge to make the program into one that can bring change for the company but they must be able to do things as they fit and at the pace they believe will benefit their company. With the recommendations that are giving its only a matter of time before Sigtek starts to make good on its promises of change to its employees.