Management homework help. Background
TD Company is a small refrigeration manufacturing business located in West Tennessee. The company has approximately 125 hourly employees and has approximately $4.3 million in sales yearly. It was founded 60 years ago by an individual and continues to be privately owned. Manufacturing units are located in West Tennessee, Canada, England, and Australia. The corporate office is located in Nashville, Tennessee. Salespeople in the field or headquarters do most of the bidding on contracts.
The plant in West Tennessee manufactures both reach-in and walk-in commercial refrigerators. These are made from both aluminum and stainless steel. Shipping to customers is done almost entirely through commercial transportation companies. On rare occasions, local individuals are used for expediting late deliveries of refrigerators. The insulation is mostly from two chemicals that when mixed together forms a rigid material that provides stability and cooling for the product. Improper use could result in scrap material and possible breathing hazards if the mixture were to catch fire. These chemicals should only be mixed together during the manufacturing process. These chemicals are an isocynate (A Foam) and resin (B Foam). A Foam has a reddish-brown color that resembles molasses. B Foam is more of a dark brown color. These chemicals are shipped every 5 to 6 weeks by a company located in Michigan that uses an independent carrier. The drivers of these containers vary with each shipment and they do not have knowledge of the chemicals they are transporting. A truck pulling a cylinder with three separate compartments labeled 1, 2, and 3 delivers shipments. The chemicals are stored in a separate building that is attached to the main manufacturing facility. On delivery day the maintenance and quality managers are responsible for working with the truck driver to unload the two chemicals. The quality manager’s primary responsibility is to take samples from each container on the truck and conduct sample tests to check for viscosity, tack time, and density. The maintenance manager along with the truck driver begins the unloading process by hooking up hoses to two of the cylinders on the truck. These hoses are then run through a window in the foam building and attached to two storage tanks within the building. An air hose is attached to the top of the truck though a device called a “Christmas tree”. This tree is a small cross-like device used to ensure that the compartments do not become over pressurized. Once a container has sufficient pressure, the chemical is literally blown off the truck, through the hoses, into the storage tanks within the building.
One late day in November, the foam truck arrived at the plant to be unloaded. John, the maintenance manager began helping Tom the truck driver get the hoses off the truck. While they were doing this, Bill, the quality manager began taking samples from each compartment on the truck. While Bill was conducting the tests, John carried the bill of lading to the front office so they could begin processing payment. When John returned, Bill had finished his analysis and said that the shipment was good to accept quality wise. John then told Tom, the truck driver that if he had two “Christmas trees”, they could pressurize two compartments at the same time and blow off both chemicals at once. Tom said that he had only brought one “Christmas tree”. Therefore, John said, “We’ll just do one at a time.” He then began to hook the hose on the inside of the building to the “A Foam” storage tank, which happened to be the first tank. While he was doing this, Tom was hooking his hose up to compartment one, which contained “B Foam”. With compartment one of the cylinder fully pressurized, John turned the lever that allowed the chemical from the truck to flow into compartment one. Suddenly John’s and Bill’s faces turned ghost white. Something had gone wrong.
Now for the critical question: Does one mean “one at a time or does it mean number one”?
- From a communication standpoint, what went wrong with the chemical mix-up?
- What procedures would you suggest be implemented to prevent an accident like this one from occurring again?
- Identify and discuss barriers to effective communication that may arise when implementing procedures identified in question 2.
- Would a training program for those who handle the chemicals be an effective way to improve communication and thus reduce the chances of future accidents? Discuss.