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Crosby Manufacturing Corporation’ Management Report

Synopsis of the Case

In 2005 Wilfred Livingston became the president of Crosby Manufacturing. During that time, the company’s revenue from the manufacturing of electronic components was $250 million per year (Kerzner, 2009, p.494). But Livingston was not satisfied. He believed that he could increase the profitability of the company by securing large government contracts. He reorganized the company and turned it into a modified matrix structure. Livingston also initiated a project to update their current MCCS reporting procedures.

An advanced model requires the design, development, and implementation of a much improved and computerized MCCS. Livingston decided to appoint Tim Emary, a skilled planner, to head the project. Livingston’s decision to make Emery project manager can be unproductive for the company.

Appointment of Emary as Project Manager

It was an ill-advised decision, to appointment Tim Emary as the project manager. The fundamental error in this decision is the assumption that the project is easy to accomplish. In this regard, it can be argued that Livingston’s decision did not come from the lack of information but due to the fact that he was given inaccurate information. If one would review the discussion made by the MIS manager and the EDP manager, one can make the conjecture that they were trying very hard to impress their boss.

The MIS manager failed to provide an accurate assessment with regards to the difficulty of preparing a detailed plan to design, develop and implement a new MCCS. When asked regarding the requirements, the MIS manager simply provided an overview of the project. He then pointed to the EDP manager to supply the other missing pieces of information. When the EDP manager was asked with regards to the requirements of the project, he also did not provide a realistic assessment of the difficulty of the undertaking. On the contrary, the EDP manager said that he was optimistic that they could complete the project sooner than their initial estimates.

It is true that Emary was not the right person to handle the position of the project manager, but because of the optimistic assessment of the MIS and EDP managers, Livingston made the wrong assumption that the only thing needed to do is to devise a plan that could be followed by all the workers involved. Thus, he brought in an excellent planner in the person of Emery. But he is not qualified to lead the project because he lacked the technical skills needed to understand the complexity of the problem fully. As a consequence, he would never be able to determine the timeline required for securing the correct hardware for the task at hand and more importantly he would never be able to accurately assess the requirements needed when it comes to developing software that is tailor-made to the needs of Crosby Manufacturing.

The reaction of employees to the appointment of Emary

It is highly probable that functional employees would resent the appointment of Emary. In this project, most of the functional employees are IT, specialists. They test and purchase hardware. They set-up the computer networks, they maintain the hardware. The programmers, on the other hand, develop software from scratch. Even if the project requires them to buy ready-made software Emary would never understand the full extent of the work process. This is why functional employees would not trust him completely.

There are at least two reasons why functional employees would resent the appointment of Emary. First of all, they could not trust a man that they have never worked with before and does not have expert knowledge of the kind of job required to design, develop and implement an MCCS. Secondly, Emary would develop a work schedule based on his assumptions. It is, therefore, possible that Emary would force them to stick to a plan that is unrealistic.

Impact of Cost and Time Constraints

There are two important constraints, and it is the cost of the project and the time required to complete the said project. The cost of the project includes three phases: design, development and implementation (Shinkle, Gooding & Smith, 2004, p.44). In this case, the design phase requires determining the details of the problem and then come up with a solution. Afterwards, the solution has to be developed from scratch. When it comes to the need for an upgraded MCCS, it requires new hardware and new software.

If there is a limited budget, then there can be significant delays when it comes to the development phase. With regards to Livingston’s vision of an upgraded company, funds are needed to purchase the necessary hardware. Without the new hardware, it is foolish to develop software without having access to the hardware that would run the said software applications.

While it is true that the cost of the design, development and deployment of a new system can derail the project, time is a more problematic constraint to deal with. Time plays a major role when it comes to the completion of the task. In the case of Livingston’s vision for a new MCCS, the preliminary studies suggest that the 18 month time table given to complete the project is within the range of possibility. This is based on the crash time and the normal time needed to complete the project. However, this is only possible if the project team receives the go-ahead signal in a week’s time. Here is the main problem, Emary does not have the full support of the team, and so he may not be able to come up with the appropriate plan that would meet the requirements of the company.

A management expert was able to put it succinctly when he said that, “Every value steam has a primary bottleneck (constraint) that limits its ability to reach its goal” (Bell, 2006, p.53). Time constraints can force the team to cut corners. In the case of Crosby Manufacturing, time became the major factor that influenced their every move. For instance, the team said that management go-ahead could be achieved in less than a month. This is an overly optimistic goal.

They are being forced by time constraints; team leaders would have to readjust their schedules. Consider the fact that the “Crash Time” requires to complete the project was pegged at 15 months. This is easier said than done. As a result, the team is forced to run activities in parallel. Using network techniques, the team would soon realize that they need to increase the number of workers dealing with the project and also those that are needed to maintain the existing program.

Constraints that Compromised Performance Quality

It is time constraints that ultimately compromised the performance quality of Crosby Manufacturing. Livingston may have been correct when he said that a new MCCS could be expected in eighteen months time. However, this goal is only achievable if the project team led by Emary can supply an accurate and very detailed project schedule. This is the most critical part of the whole undertaking. There is no need to force the team to come up with a half-baked proposal. But it seems that they are heading towards this reality.

The team is forced to design a plan that is not based on realistic goals. This is not their fault because Livingston is pressuring them to do so. The assumption has been made that the moment they would submit the plan, Livingston would immediately approve it in a few days time. As a result, they presume that they can immediately work on the project. But in the event that Livingston finds a weakness in the plan, he would reject it, and as a consequence, the team is back to the drawing board so to speak.

Their project can officially start if Livingston gives the green light for the project. Until that time comes, the team would have to study every facet of the project persistently. There is no need to rush every worker to speed up the process of designing the plan for the new MCCS. But there are many problems that they have to deal with in order for them to reach that point of complete unity, synergy and efficiency.

They had to deal with Livingston’s unwavering commitment to transforming an old system into a new one. There is nothing wrong with this decision except the fact that no one paid careful attention to the details. The core strength of the company is not in developing software but in manufacturing electronic components. Therefore, they can have an inferior computerized MCCS in the past and still be able to comply with the requirements of their clients. In other words, Livingston and his predecessors need not have the qualifications and knowledge of an IT expert in order to run a manufacturing company. They simply relied on their MIS and EDP manager for this kind of task.

The core leaders of the team, as well as the employees working under them, may feel frustrated in the long run knowing that the project was not dealt with using standard protocols when it comes to designing a new management information structure. Livingston does not have the capability to comprehend what was required to implement a new system fully.

As a consequence, the company is forced to add more workers or to force their workers to work overtime for the next 15 months just to run a parallel system. Once again, the workers and core leaders of the team are forced to cut corners in order to adhere to a tough work schedule. This is made evident in the comparison between normal work schedule and “crash time.” In the normal schedule, the needed time to complete the computer applications is three months only, but in the “crash time” column it says six months. The team is well-aware that developing new software from scratch is a lengthy process.

Creating software custom-made for Crosby Manufacturing requires the purchase of relevant hardware. This has to be completed first before the EDP manager can mobilize his IT personnel to begin developing software. But after the creation of the software, there is a need to go through a debugging phase. The said software has to be installed using new hardware, and then it has to be tested in real-time by the workers who would use the system. There can be unexpected problems. For instance, the system may work if there is only one project but bogs down the moment the company is using it to deal with three projects at the same time.


Bell, S. (2006). Lean Enterprise Systems. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Kerzner, H. (2009). Project Management Case Studies. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Shinkle, G., L. Gooding, M. Smith. (2004). Transforming Strategy into Success. New York: Productivity Press.

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