Case Discussion   SMITHFIELD’S CUSTOM FURNITURE

Week 1 Discussion 

Discussion Instructions

Please refer to the Discussion Grading Rubric and the module, Discussions for details regarding how your performance will be assessed.  NOTE: Please be certain to read the entire discussion assignment since, in some cases, there is more than one question to discuss, respond to, or address. Be sure that you have answered the entire question! Also: as part of your first post to the discussion question, acknowledge that you have read and understood the class announcements.

Initial Post

 

This week’s discussion is a case analysis of Smithfield Custom Furniture developed specifically for this course. Your posting should answer the questions posed using this week’s course materials to support your answers. It is important to write concisely and to follow the detailed instructions provided below.  Include in-text citations and references in a reference list. For APA citation examples, follow the link to the Library under Resources on the homepage.

Case Discussion  

SMITHFIELD’S CUSTOM FURNITURE

It is 1901. Alicia Smithfield, daughter of the founder of Smithfield Custom Furniture, just inherited the company. She is the only surviving heir to the furniture empire her father built.

Headquartered in upstate New York, the company has grown significantly over the past 60 years. Began in a shed built next to his log cabin, Jonas Smithfield’s quality furniture developed a huge following among New York City’s wealthiest residents.

After being educated in the best business schools in Europe and America, Alicia has run the business side-by-side with her father for the past 15 years. When there were many issues confronting the business, a tree being felled took an unexpected route and brought Jonas’ life to a surprising end.

The company had just moved to a facility large enough to house its workers: 10 carpenters; 5 furniture designers; 5 wood finishers (varnish and dye experts); 10 machine operators to assist with the various equipment needed to cut the wood into various designs, polish and sand the wood; 5 mechanics to keep the vehicles (5 trucks) and boats (7) that transported wood from upstate New York and Canada to the work area in good repair; 15 lumberjacks who cut wood in nearby areas and moved it downriver by boat or over the rugged highway by truck; and 5 office personnel who assisted with filing, invoicing, drafting and responding to correspondence, handling customer inquiries, and performing other necessary office functions. More than half of these employees were hired in the past 5 years.

Alicia’s Big Issues

The major issues confronting Alicia Smithfield are these:

(1) The furniture manufacturing functions are very disorganized. It is not clear how to best organize these functions. For example, the varnish and dye experts each use a different method to complete their tasks.

(2) The production schedule is a mess. It is not clear which projects should be completed first to ensure products are being delivered to customers on time.

(3) The lumberjacks, both cutting trees down and shipping them by truck or boat, differ on the best methods to perform these tasks.

(4) Tempers are flaring as a result of the disorganization. The office, clerical, and support workers are rude to each other and can’t seem to act as a cohesive work unit.

(5) While the company is financially successful, as it has grown from a small family-owned business to a large and complex enterprise, the organizational structure has not kept pace. Few formal rules exist, and the keeping and maintenance of records are haphazard.

(6) Employees are feeling overworked and losing satisfaction in the work they are doing. They believe their basic needs are not being addressed.

Alicia’s Proposed Issue Solutions 

Alicia Smithfield is familiar with all of the contributors (e.g., Weber, Gilbreath, Taylor, among others) to the management theory you have read about this week. She has decided to hire six (6) of those contributors to management theory from the week’s readings as consultants. (We shall now refer to those contributors (e.g., Weber, Gilbreath, Taylor, among the others) in this week’s readings as “consultants.”)
 
Each of the six (6) consultants selected will be assigned to solve only one of the six (6) issues listed above. Alicia’s problem is that she is unclear as to which of the six (6) contributors selected from the week’s reading to be her consultants are best matched to solve each of the six (6) specific issues listed above.

Your Task for Your Initial Post 

You are to answer four (4) of the above-mentioned six (6) issues identified by Alicia Smithfield. Specifically, she has asked you to recommend a consultant to solve four of the six issues confronting her. You have been requested to explain to Alicia why you selected the four consultants you chose to solve each of the four selected issues. Each consultant will solve one of the four issues you identified that particular consultant to address. You must explain the major contribution/idea of the consultant selected and how that contribution/idea applies to the specific issue you have recommended that the consultant solve. You must identify the school of thought that each consultant represents.  

Note: You may not use any of the individuals in the readings to solve more than one of the four (4) issues. If a person you select is deceased, do not let that inconvenience stand in your way. You may still use that individual to solve a specific issue.

For research associated with this discussion, you must use course materials only. You must provide APA formatted in-text citations and references for each of the four (4) issues you select.

Format for Your Initial Post

You must use the exact numbers and corresponding headings for your initial post for each of your 4 selections. For example, one student’s post may be numbered 1, 3, 5, 6; another student’s post may be numbered 1, 2, 4, 5; and so forth. Any four of the six issues listed that a student selects to answer will be acceptable.

1. Manufacturing Functions are Disorganized

2. Production Schedule is a Mess

3. Lumberjack Disagreement Methods To Cut Trees/Load Boat

4. Tempers Flare among Office Support Staff

5. Lack of Formal Rules/Record-Keeping Processes

6. Basic Needs and Job Satisfaction Overlooked

Two Options for Your Required Replies to Classmates 

Option 1 is that you find a consultant selection made by a classmate to address a specific issue, as identified by the issue number and description, with which you disagree. You must state why you believe a better consultant should address a particular issue that differs from your classmate’s response. You must state the major idea associated with your choice and why that idea applies to the issue more appropriately. Your reply must be supported with course materials, in-text citations, and references.

Option 2 occurs if you agree with all of a particular classmate’s consultant selections. In that case, you must address one of the remaining two (2) listed issues that your classmates did not answer. You will explain which consultant you think could best address that issue, the school of thought that individual represents, and explain how that individual’s major contribution or idea applies to the specific issue you selected. Your reply must be supported with course materials, in-text citations, and references.

Note: You may use either Option 1 or Option 2 for each different classmate to whom you respond.

Initial Post and Classmate Reply Deadlines

Your initial post is due by Saturday at 11:59 PM. Your replies to your classmates are due by Tuesday at 11:59 PM (see below about how to reply). You are required to respond to a minimum of 2 classmates by the Tuesday 11:59 PM EST deadline.

How Many Replies to Classmates?

Read the grading rubric carefully. The rubric points out the major criteria, including response frequency and timeliness, that will be used to grade this assignment. Note that you cannot earn maximum grades for a frequency of posting by responding to only 2 classmates. Two is the minimum number of replies to receive a passing grade. You are required to respond substantively to 4 classmates to maximize your grade in this area. (See the explanation below and the grading rubric regarding the meaning of “respond substantively.”)

How Often Should I Reply to Classmates?

Read the grading rubric carefully. The maximum credit is given for replies to four (4) classmates across three (3) different days of the class week. Less credit is earned for responses on two (2)  different days, and the least amount of passing credit for the number of replies is granted for making all responses to classmates on the same day.

Instructions for Responses to Classmates’ Posts

After you have created your initial post, look over your classmates’ discussion posts and give at least two responses to different classmates (one per classmate) as outlined in the Discussion Grading Rubric.

A response posting should be a minimum of one short paragraph. Word totals for these posts should be in the 75–150-word range. The goal of your response posts is to extend discussions already taking place or pose new possibilities or ideas not previously voiced.  Your goal should be to motivate the group discussion and present a creative approach to the topic.  Do not merely agree or disagree, repeating what a classmate stated or what you have already stated. Explain the ‘why or how’ with supporting evidence and concepts from the course material. Include in-text citations and associated references within a reference list.

 

You must start a thread before you can read and reply to other threads

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