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Peter Browning and Continental White Cap.

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Introduction

Peter Browning and Continental White Cap Introduction Peter Browning assumed the management of Continental White Cap, which was a division of the Continental Group, Inc. Browning was recognized as a very powerful and influential leader that had assumed and completed strenuous assignments in his prior history with Continental. In his new role, Browning would need to revitalize a division of Continental which had stable sales and rising operating costs. In addition, the market was changing; their competitors were seeking new innovations and building additional market share. Continental was known as a company that looked after its employees. Browning would need to reduce salaries and administration (S&A) costs without tainting company morale. Environmental Factors to Consider * White Cap's management did not recognize the competitive onslaught of the plastics innovation * Bob White was the previous manager and established a multi-layered, formal, and restrained organization. This was known in the organization as "Management without confrontation" * White Cap's most recent competitors were slashing their prices. Continental did not want to cut their prices. ...read more.

Middle

by people. The most important decisions are how to deal with the various individuals that are obstacles to his goals. These people would be Bob White (actually Bob's legacy), Jim Stark, and Tom Green. It is not clear in the article but Dick Hofmann might prove to be an obstacle because Hofmann knowingly put Browning "smack dab between a rock and a hard place." * Tom Green Browning needs to determine how best to motivate one of his problem people, Tom Green. Browning should clearly identify his targets for reducing cost through headcount (i.e., the bloated administration). Tom has been with White Cap for a long period and should be given time (perhaps, 6 months) to determine if his motivations align with Browning's goals for the division. If they do not, then Tom should self-select out. If he does not, Browning should let Tom go and hire someone strong willed and capable. The plan should include a way to identify the truly bloated areas and those employees contributing to the bloat. The company should move to produce an incentive plan that drives their employees to want to contribute to the company as opposed to feeling entitled as they do currently. ...read more.

Conclusion

* General Organization and Actions Browning needs to not support actions such as described in the Christmas Bonus episode and should insure that the company moves to a "if the company does well, then the employees do well" model. If the company can not afford Christmas bonuses, it should not borrow money to pay its employees. Nucor Steel is a good model to follow where employees actually took lower pay to help the company through the hard times, a.k.a. the Pain. There are two other areas that are not 100% clear and I would need more data to understand the scenario. The first is the organizational chart. I am not clear as to why there appears to be an additional layer of management between Browning and Jim Stark. If there was more data in the article, I might look at how to rearrange the organization. There also appears to be a lot of employees in the Chicago plant that will need replacing. Perhaps, it would make sense to alter the Chicago plant and train those people on how to work in plastics so that the division can break into that arena. ?? ?? ?? ?? Peter Browning Page 1 of 5 BUSN 610 - Dana W. Edwards November 17, 2003 ...read more.

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