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Managing People EMBA 2016

Written Assessment of Case


Case: Mod IV Product Development Team

Submitted By:
Asim Sultan
Roll No. 16040003

Mod IV Product development team at Honeywell Building Controls Division (BCD) is working
to design and introduce into market a new motor that will be better in quality as compared to their
current models and will require less to construct and market, thus increasing the profits for the
company.
Mod IV is the final phase of a three phase cost reduction and quality improvement initiative that
started in 1981. It is the most ambitious as it plans to replace products that comprise of more than
30 % of the divisions profits.
At Honeywell BCD new product development took place in a sequential manner. The usual
sequence is as given in Exhibit-1.
Marketing Division Design Division Process Division Manufacturing Division
Exhibit-1 Sequential Flow for Product Development
The work done by one functional group was devoid of any collaboration with other groups. This
wasted a lot of time in the product going back and forth the groups as sometimes the work done
by one group made the work to be done by other group impossible. This was also a very costly
method of product development which could only be kept running when the profit margins were
very high and had virtually no competition in the market. However, during 1980s the number of
competitors of Honeywell increased from two to three to more than 150 also the company was
required by the market to introduce new products every 3-4 years as compared to 30 years
previously. This required Honeywell to rethink its product design philosophy in terms of cost
cutting and speedy development of new quality products. This was achieved by adopting parallel
development process for product development. In this process all groups designated personnel to
work on a project with the other groups and it made all groups work collectively on the project.
This caused the development time to be reduced dramatically, however this process was not
without faults which are discussed later.
Mod IV was an anomaly in the sequential design process as it was started in engineering by Jay
Elander, rather than the marketing team.

The personnel involved in Mod IV project are as follows:

Linda Whitman Director Marketing

Dick Bahn Product Manager (Marketing)

Gordon Frayne (OEM Market Manager)

Phil Bohrer - Mod IV Project Manager ( Marketing)

Jack Scott Program Manager (Manufacturing)

Larry Rodgers Mechanical Design Engineer (Engineering)

Jay Elander Senior Principal Engineer (Engineering)

Mod IV was a Mod IV was in development stage when the shift from sequential development
process to parallel development process was implemented at BCD. This did not cause much
problems for the design and process engineers they were already working together.
In April 1989, the Mod IV project team is facing a few problems. These problems and their causes
can be summarized as follows:

The Product Development team was behind schedule. There was a problem with the noise
created by the motors used. The noise was higher than what is expected from these type of
motors and would cause discomfort for customers. The engineering and design teams were
concentrating on resolving this problem and not working on the next step of design and
production.

The Marketing group was not completely behind the project and had reservations regarding
the Mod IV Project. They were uncomfortable with this project because:
o The Mod IV project was conceptualized by the engineering team to reduce the cost
of manufacturing and also improving the quality of the product. However, there
was no feedback from the market, i.e. the customers that the older products, that
Mod IV was going to replace, had any faults and marketing group believed that
there was no need to develop the Mod IV product as far as they were concerned.
o The reduced cost would also reduce the price of the product thus reducing revenue
and the performance of marketing was judged on revenue.
o The marketing personnel were changed frequently during the tenure of the project
and the new people coming from the marketing completely revised the marketings

standpoint which caused animosity towards them and also made for problems like
the one discussed next.
o Marketing was also not totally forthcoming with the engineering persons regarding
the market behavior and needs due to their fear of being accused of delaying the
project. For example the control modules on the motors were the equipment which
would make the Mod IV quite attractive to the customers, however marketing was
not pressing the issue as they didnt wanted to be labeled as the cause for any further
delays.

Honeywell was a giant among a multitude of small companies that were trying to make a
place for themselves in the market, thus reducing Honeywells market share and its profits.

The delay in Mod IV production will cause the company to lose money which will make
the company more susceptible for takeover. The company was in a tight spot as its profits
were declining and also other companies were looking to take it over. Mod IV was to the
saving grace for the company. Its success would increase Honeywells share prices and
would cause a lot of companies to rethink their take over options.

Another cause of the problems was that the business plan for Mod IV was not developed
in detail and this caused a difference in the interpretation of the business plan.

There was also not a clear project leader that was solely responsible for managing the
overall project. This caused a lack in co-ordination and communication, which in turn lead
to conflicts between the groups.

The project interim deadlines were also not set-up, only individual group deadlines were
set-up which usually cause a cascading delays in the project time schedule.

The project teams for engineering and manufacturing have been working well together and
supporting each other. Their majority of goals have been achieved and they have created a synergy
among themselves that has worked well for the teams up till now. However, the teamwork between
marketing and the other teams has been less than positive, although marketing has not caused a
major delay as yet but they have been a cause of confrontation and discontentment between team
members. It has also caused extra burden on different members and made them question the Mod
IV project.

To resolve the problems and try to make the project in time the management should at first select
a project leader to whom all groups report and who has the overall responsibility to make teams
work to attain the deadlines. In my opinion Ms. Linda Whitman would be a suitable candidate for
such a position as already the primary responsibility for the profit and loss of Mod IV project rests
with her. Also her past track record shows that she is disciplined, motivated and result oriented
and she understands that she has to work with engineering and manufacturing divisions.
Once selected as the leader she should ask the respective groups for final deadlines and work with
them to finalize a time line which finalizes the production of Mod IV in August 1989. If that is not
possible then she should ask the management to increase the production deadline to the one that
management and the teams can live with.
Another of her jobs is to reduce the conflict between marketing and engineering by gathering them
in the same place and explaining their concerns and trepidations regarding Mod IV to the other
teams in details and how each team is working for the shared goal of achieving maximum profits
for the company in the shortest time. She should also work as an intermediary between the teams
taking information she deems necessary from one team and give it to the other team with
everyones knowledge that the information has passed on. This will help in the flow of information
and will cement her relationship with various teams.
She should also set discrete project deadlines and have all teams adhere to them and make sure
they are followed. These deadlines should be realistic and should also take into account the urgency
of the project.
It is expected that if engineering comes over the noise problem and finishes its responsibilities on
time the Mod IV project would finish on time. The marketing groups necessity for Control
modules should be incorporated into the motors at a later stage than the initial product introduction
as it is a real and essential demand of the customers and the market in general.