Operation Managment

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AL-YAMAMAH UNIVARSITY An American Tragedy: How a Good Company Died CASE STUDY An American Tragedy: How a Good Company Died Zachary Schiller The Rust Belt is back. So say bullish observers as U.S. exports surge, long-moribund industries glow with newfound profits, and unemployment dips to lows not seen in a decade. But in the smokestack citadels, there’s disquiet. Too many machine-tool and auto parts factories are silent; too many U.S. industries still can’t hold their own. What went wrong since the heyday of the 1960s? That’s the issue Max Holland, a contributing editor of The Nation, takes up in his nutsy-boltsy but fascinating study, When the Machine Stopped. The focus of the story…show more content…
Their departure under Houdaille was followed by an “endless and ultimately futile search for a better formula.” But, he concludes: “No formula was a substitute for management involvement on the shop floor.” In the end, however, Holland puts most of the blame for the industry’s decline on government policy. He targets tax laws and macroeconomic policies that encourage LBOs and speculation instead of productive investment. He also criticizes Pentagon procurement policies for favoring exotic, custom machines over standard, low-cost models. This adds up to an industrial policy, Holland writes—a bad one. The point is well taken, but Holland gives it excessive weight. Like their brethren in Detroit and Pittsburgh, domestic tool-makersin the 1970s were too complacent when imports seized the lowerend of the product line. The conservatism that had for years servedthem in their cyclical industry left them ill-prepared for change. Evennow some of the largest U.S. tool-makers are struggling to restructure. Blame the government, yes. But blame the industry, too. Questions 1. Write a brief report that outlines the reasons (both internal and external) for Burgmaster’s demise, and whether operations management played a significant role in the demise. 2. Do you think that inadequate strategic planning was a factor that resulted in the company’s asking for trade protection? 3. Can you think of a strategy
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