L. P. Manning Corporation
In March 1991, the Marketing Division of the L. P. Manning Corporation performed a national survey to test the public's reaction to a new type of toaster. Manning had achieved success in the past and established itself as a leader in the home appliance industry.
Although the new toaster was just an idea, the public responded favorably. In April of the same year, the vice presidents for planning, marketing, engineering, and manufacturing all met to formulate plans for the development and ultimately the production of the new toaster. Marketing asserted that the manufacturing cost must remain below $70 per unit or else Manning Corporation would not be competitive. Based on the specifications drawn up in the meeting, manufacturing assured marketing that this cost could be met.
The engineering division was given six months to develop the product. Manning's executives were eager to introduce the product for the Christmas rush. This might give them an early foothold on a strong market share.
During the R&D phase, marketing continually "pestered" engineering with new designs and changes in specifications that would make the new product easier to market. The ultimate result was a one-month slip in the schedule.
Pushing the schedule to the right greatly displeased manufacturing personnel. According to the vice president for manufacturing, speaking to the marketing manager: "I've just received the final specifications and designs from engineering. This is not what we had agreed on last March. These changes will cause us to lose at least one additional month to change our manufacturing planning. And because we're already one month behind, I don't see any way that we could reschedule our Christmas production facilities to accommodate this new product. Our established lines must come first. Furthermore, our estimating department says that these changes will increase the cost of the product by at least 25 to 35 percent. And, of course, we must include the quality control section, which has some questions as to whether we can actually live with these specifications. Why don't we just cancel this project or at least postpone it until next year?"
"Don, project management is the only way to handle this type of project. With $40 million at stake we can't afford not to use this approach."
"Listen, Jeff, your problem is you take seminars given by these ivory tower professors and you think you're an expert. I've been in this business for forty years and I know how to handle this job—and it isn't through project management."
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.