Manzana Essay

5945 Words24 Pages
Harvard Business School 9-692-015
Rev. January 30, 1997
Christopher Loch and David Paul Grant prepared the original version of this case (S-DS-87, Revised 5/90) under the direction of Professor Michael J. Harrison, Stanford University. It is based on an earlier case by Karlyn Carnahan.
Professor Steven C. Wheelwright, Harvard University, prepared the abridged case as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation.
Copyright © 1991 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and by the Board of Trustees of the Leland
Stanford Junior University. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685 or write Harvard
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Whatever the problem is, we need a solution fast.
I’ll expect a memo with concrete suggestions on my desk in two weeks.
When Bill Pippin was in business school, he had become interested in applying production management techniques to service industries. He had interviewed with a number of financial service companies, including Manzana Insurance and Golden Gate Casualty, California’s two largest property-liability insurers. Ultimately, Pippin decided to join Manzana as assistant manager of the
Fruitvale branch. (See Exhibit 1 for an organization chart.) After reading Tom Jacobs’s memo, he paused for a few minutes’ reflection and then decided to ask some questions about the scheduling of work flow at the Fruitvale branch.
Company Background
Manzana Insurance, founded in Sebastopol, California, in 1902, originally specialized in orchard and farm insurance. Following the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, however, the company saw an opportunity to expand its business throughout northern California by buying several insurers that had been driven to near bankruptcy by the catastrophe. In 1944, anticipating the end of World War II and foreseeing a boom in home ownership in southern California, the company purchased the Santa Ana Underwriting, Casualty and Escrow Company. By 1953, Manzana had become the second-largest home

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