Case Discussion: Smithfield Custom Furniture (Part 3)
It is now 2015, and Smithfield’s Custom Furniture has continued to grow. Its new product line of lower-priced furniture was an immediate sensation in the marketplace. The company now has 344 stores and 21,000 employees. The company now has a total of 12 international retail stores evenly divided among Spain (3), France (3), Germany (3), and England (3).
Margot Smithfield, Jonas Smithfield III’s only heir, is now running the company. She has a master’s degree in design and an MBA degree. She has been running the company for 3 years.
Margot Smithfield and the 12-member board of directors have been assessing an opportunity to acquire You Figure it Out, a moderately profitable 51 store chain of ultra-modern furniture. The furniture and furniture-related accessories of You Figure it Out are all made in China and sold only in the United States. Their retail stores are located in Texas (6), California (13), New York (15), Nevada (4), Florida (9), and North Carolina (4).
Margot and her board have reasoned that the company has excess capacity at their 5 manufacturing plants. They are aware that producing a new line of furniture would mean retraining several hundred of their workers in the new production process. However, if this change is successfully executed it would significantly increase the profitability of the You Figure It Out brand. The company also sees a market for the ultra-modern style of furniture in Smithfield’s existing foreign markets and believe the current Smithfield stores in Spain, France, Germany, and England could display some of the new furniture along with their traditional lines of furniture and take orders that would be produced in the US plants. Other than that, the Smithfield Custom Furniture product line and the You Figure It Out brand would operate as they currently do.
They have decided to conclude the purchase with You Figure It Out executives and want to announce the decision to their workforce as soon as possible.
The Management Issue: Margot Smithfield is concerned she will overlook something important in her communications to employees and the decision making of the board.
Your Task for Your Initial Post
Margot Smithfield is asking for your input to help her understanding and ensure she does not overlook anything important to the success of introducing a new furniture product line to the current Smithfield product line. She has requested that you send her a single-spaced summary, using only course readings and proper citations, that addresses (in the order they are listed) the issues she believes she needs to be aware of related to communications and decision making.
- Explaining to her, using not more than 4 sentences, why employees need to understand the need for Smithfield to continue to be innovative.
- Selecting the 3 “noise” factors that are most likely to interfere with the successful launch of the new product line. Using not more than 4 sentences for each of your 3 noise factors, you will explain to Margot why you selected each of the 3 noise factors you selected, including its potential negative impact on a new product launch if it is not eliminated or reduced.
- Identifying for Margot Smithfield the 3 most significant obstacles to change that you believe will make the acceptance of the new product line difficult for employees to support. Using not more than 4 sentences for each obstacle to change you identified, you will explain to Margot why you selected each of the 3 obstacles to change you selected, including each obstacle’s potential negative impact on a new product launch if it is not eliminated or reduced.
- Selecting for her and explaining, using not more than 4 sentences, the one specific change management technique or tool you think is most likely to pave the way for a successful launch of the new product line.
- Explaining to her, using course readings on decision making and in no more than 4 sentences, the most likely decision-making oversight the board could make in the launch of a new product line.
Note: You are expected to use in-text citations and create a reference list in answering the above 5 issues.
Format for Your Initial Post
You must use the following numbers and corresponding headings for each part of your response to a particular issue.
1. Understanding the Need for Innovation.
2. Significant “Noise” factors
3. Obstacles to the Acceptance of Change
4. An Effective Change Management Technique
5. Possible Decision-making Oversight