Running Head: Consulting Project Plan- Part One 1
Consulting Project Plan Part One
MGT/527 – Business Consulting
October 20, 2014
Presenting Problem within Ford Motors
Ford Motors changed employee work hours from nine hour to twelve hour work days.The hours changed due to an increase in demand. Ford’s goal was to produce $500,000 cars within a years’ time. Many Ford employees were walking off the line and leaving work early because of the increase in hours. The employees were working twelve hour shifts for four months straight. Therefore, since employees were walking off the line it caused Ford Motors to lose money and decreased their goal of producing $500,000 to 100,000 cars.
The managers put their first-line supervisors and team leads in charge to assess employee morale and to find out why employees were walking off the line. The first-line supervisors and team leads assessed the problem and reported thatthe employees wanted more time off from work, since they were working twelve hour shifts, six days a week. Employees wanted to replace the six days to a five days a week shift. The top managers took the word of the line- supervisors and team leads and were able to accommodate the employees’ request. The top managers changed the work week from six to five days. Unfortunately, the changes did not strengthen employee morale or keep them from walking off the line.
Redefining the Problem
Therefore, top managers of Ford decided to bring in consultants that specialized in time management, and organizing employee work schedules. The consultants conducted interviews with the line-supervisors and team leads, and scheduled a meeting. The line-supervisors were very resistant with speaking to the consultants. The consultants were very transparent and able to reassure the managers that they were only there to help and give support. The discovery phase emphasized (Block, 1999):
- Treating each interaction as a learning event
- Persistently asking what the client was doing to contribute to the problem
- Seeking language that gave charity to reality without judging it
The consultants’ main focused was to get to the root cause of the problem. The consultants’ also interviewed a hand-full of employees that work directly on the line. From these interviews and meetings came a different explanation as to why employees were walking off the line.
- Employees were only given one 20 minute break during their twelve hour shift.
- Employees complained that they only had a 30 minute lunch break during their twelve hour shift.
- The employees felt that top management didn’t value their work, dedication, or commitment to the company.
The goal of the consultant is to develop a clear and simple picture of what is causing the problem (Block, 1999). The consultants were able to assess the underlying problem and developed a different explanation and redefined the cause of employees walking off the line. The employees were not given enough support and acknowledgement, and sufficient breaks and lunch breaks. The consultants scheduled a meeting with top management to address their findings.
Managing the Underlying Problem
The consultants’ scheduled a meeting with the top managers and introduced their data and findings with a PowerPoint Presentation. The consultants’ redefined the root cause of the problem and suggested recommendations. Furthermore, once management were given the redefinition of the root cause of the problem. They were able to solve the problem. The consultants implemented a new break and lunch schedule for all line employees. Each line employee was given five 20 minute breaks during their twelve hour shift. In addition, each line employee was given a 45 minute lunch break. The line employees was also given an option of only taking four breaks and adding 20 minutes into their 45 minute lunch break, which would give them an hour lunch break. To show support and that they valued their employees, Ford managers decided to honor their employees by throwing a company picnic every quarter. The picnic would be a four hour event including raffles, prizes, games, and food.
Therefore, after implementing the new lunch and break policies the morale of the employees had gotten better and less employees walked off the line. The company picnic also boosted employee morale and Ford Motors were able to produce 150,000 more cars within a month after the new break policies took effect.
Block, P. (1999). Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used.