Plastech Engineered Products has gone through a major logistics quality initiative for quality management, especially in the form of new information technology solutions.
The company has been undergoing changes in its organizational size. Plastech already acquired other companies and, consequently, increased its assets and size of its operations.
The strategic moves Plastech made resulted in bigger and more complex operations, such that Plastech leaders started looking for possible ways of increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the operations.
SupplyWeb Solution for Plastech
One quality solution that Plastech leaders decided to go for was the implementation of logistics and supply chain software. This software, called SupplyWEB, is supply chain management solution that is intended to increase the efficiency of logistics processes through the use of the Internet. Basically, the product allows users to manage logistics online.
As a result, Plastech is able to access its supply chain management tools via the Internet at practically any location, thereby allowing the company to manage its logistics and overall supply chain with considerable convenience and ease.
Analysis and Discussion
The quality management case of Plastech involves the change in organizational size through acquisition. Acquisition leads to the merger of two companies, such that the supply chain of one of the companies is usually added to or combined with the supply chain of the other company. In some cases, the supply chain of one of the companies is reduced or removed, and gets replaced by the supply chain of the other company.
The overall result is a bigger and more complex supply chain supporting Plastech. Considering the bigger size, the resulting supply chain would also involve more channels through which materials and goods are transported, and more people working in the logistics operations to support the company. The resulting supply chain is also characterized by higher diversity of people as well as higher variety of materials and goods transported through logistics operations of Plastech, and higher variety of processes and tasks of the employees who are directly involved in the supply chain and logistics operations.
Plastech also underwent changes not just in the supply chain and logistics, but also the other aspects of the firm. For instance, the organizational structure of the company was changed as a result of the merger. This means that the employees of Plastech also had to be able to adjust to the new organizational structure. Moreover, the company also experienced potential issues in organizational culture, which are common in cases of mergers. This means that Plastech had to be find ways to streamline the changes in the company, and to ensure that the combination of the two companies resulted in a better company, rather than a company that manifests conflicts that are based on differences in organizational culture.
One of the ways of helping make the new organizational situation is through the implementation of technological solutions. Plastech responded by considering the suitability of a web enabled supply chain management solution. Tools that increase the speed and accuracy of supply chain and logistics operations usually characterize such a solution. Thus, it is understandable that Plastech expected to help increase the actual speed and accuracy of its supply chain and logistics operations.
Changes at Plastech
The main changes experienced by Plastech include the following. These changes are important determinants of the overall situation of the company.
- Shift of logistics management into the online environment
- Integration of the supply chain of the merged companies
- Change in the work processes of employees who are directly involved in the logistics operations of Plastech.
The shift of logistics into the online environment comes with changes in the work activities of the employees. For instance, some of the work activities would now require authentication of the identity of the employees. In addition, some of the activities of the employees would need to be changed or removed completely. The online tools and functions of the new solutions would replace some of the tasks of employees.
To address the changes that were happening in the company, Plastech implemented an information desk to properly disseminate information throughout the company, and to accommodate complaints from the employees. In addition, Plastech also used the information desk to actively collect feedback information from the workers, especially the employees whose jobs experienced a lot of changed resulting from the implementation of the new software solution. The information desk provided venues for hearing complaints and suggestions anonymously, to encourage the employees the information. The information desk also used interviews to target specific positions in Plastech, with the aim of getting as much information as possible to ensure that the different positions in the firm are running smoothly after the merger and after the implementation of the software solution for improved logistics and supply chain operations.
The case of Plastech provides a realistic look into the issues that can be encountered in implementing changes in supply chain and logistics operations, especially as a result of the implementation of new technological solutions, such as management solutions. The important thing to consider is the communication aspect throughout the company to ensure smoothness of transition of the organization.
- Dale, B. G., Van Der Wiele, T., & Van Iwaarden, J. (2013). Managing quality. John Wiley & Sons.
- Evans, J., & Lindsay, W. (2012). Managing for quality and performance excellence. Cengage Learning.
- PR Newswire (2015). Plastech Selects Agilisys to Improve Logistics and Supply Chain Visibility. [Opens in New Window]