Problems in the Computer Assembly Division


You are in charge of a five person operation responsible for assembling personal computers for a small computer manufacturing firm located in the southeast. As the assembly unit supervisor, your production goals include assembling 80 personal computers per day and ensuring 95 percent of these computers pass the operational inspection of the quality assurance unit. To meet these goals, you coordinate and plan the work of your five subordinates and ensure they have the training and materials needed to get the job done. To maximize efficiency, you have organized the tasks performed by the group members along functional lines. Fred is responsible for assembling all of the hard drives for the unit. Fred is a retired Army sergeant with 16 years of electronics experience, is a hard worker, and has been assembling hard drives for six years. Bill assembles the CD ROM and floppy drives. Bill recently completed an electronics degree from a local technical school and this is his first full time job. He is 20 years old and has been working in the assembly unit for a year. Sherry assembles the mother boards. She is a single mother with two children and will be completing her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in three months. She has been with the assembly unit for four years and has been an outstanding employee. Julie does the final assembly, and has only been with the assembly unit for six months. Julie is 22 years old and her sister is married to the owner of the company. Morgan has five years of experience working in the company’s parts supply section. He attended the company’s operational inspection course and transferred over to your unit six months ago. Although he has no electronics experience beyond the operational inspection course, he performs all of the unit’s final operational inspections before the computers are shipped to the quality assurance unit. Partly through your training and coordination skills, the assembly unit has been able to meet all production and quality goals set over the past year. However, given the events of the past few weeks, you are uncertain whether you will be able to meet this quarter’s production goals.


Over the past several weeks you have noticed your work group has only been assembling an average of 62 computers per day, and 15 percent of the computers assembled have been returned to the assembly unit for failing to meet quality assurance standards. Julie has privately complained to you that she cannot complete the final assembly of the computers because Fred has been doing a very slow and shoddy job assembling the hard drives. When you confront Fred with this problem, he states he is having a difficult time getting reliable parts from the supply department. Some of the parts he receives are out of specs, and rather than waiting four hours for supply to bring new parts, he repairs the parts himself before using them in the hard drives. He also states the production problem has more to do with Julie doing very little but talking to Morgan for the first two hours every morning and then working hard for the next six to see if she can make the unit’s daily production goal. Fred also stated Julie seemed very bored with her job and she may have resorted to this work tactic to make her job more challenging. You have also noticed Morgan has been coming to work late and Bill has been taking longer lunch hours than permitted over the past four weeks. When you confront Morgan and Bill about their tardiness, Morgan stated he and Bill always stay late to make up their time, and coming to work late was not a big deal in the supply department and shouldn’t be one for the assembly unit. Additionally, everyone in the work unit seems to be fairly angry because you gave Morgan several days off to attend his high school class reunion (even though he spends the first two hours talking to Julie, comes to work late, and the unit is not meeting production goals) and because the owner recently singled out Julie for her outstanding performance by giving her a five percent pay hike for helping the assembly unit meet its performance goals for the first half of the year. You have noticed the level of cohesion and communication in the work group has taken a substantial drop recently. Morgan, Julie, and Bill seem to be talking to each other but not to anyone else.


            Fred seems to be keeping to himself more than usual, and Sherry has told you she wants to leave the company because of all the infighting in the assembly unit. You know Sherry is serious about leaving the unit and has been interviewing with one of your competitors across town.


The owner has become concerned with both the performance and the morale of your work unit, and you are to meet with him this afternoon to discuss these problems. You know he is a man of action and will want to see a specific plan for improving both the unit’s morale and performance. Moreover, because the firm operates on a low profit margin, you know if you do not get results in the next few months then you may be looking for another job. What will you do?


Case Study: Problems in the Computer Assembly Division

Situation explained

Being an in charge of a five person computer assembly operations, I have to make sure to achieve the goals set for the assembly division. These goals consist of assembling 80 personal computers per day and making sure that 95% of the computers produced pass quality assurance tests. The problem that is faced currently is that the assembling of computers has gone down to 62 computers per day and 15% fail to meet the quality assurance standards. There firm cannot afford such a situation because it operated on a low profit margin. I have to bring back productivity to the assembly division and try and resolve the issues reportedly faced by the five people working in the assembly division.

Major Issues to be addresses

After reading the case study, I need to point out the major issues that exist. Pointing these issues is important because they would provide a point to start in solving them. Following three major issues have been found.

The quality of products has decreased significantly in the assembly division.

There is limited or low respect for the policies of the company.

The employees seem to have less motivation to perform their duties.

Goals to achieve

In order to resolve the problems in the assembly division, following goals are set in the light of the above, three issues identified.

There is a need to improve the communication process among the employees of the assembly division so that any conflicts, that have risen, can be avoided. Effective communication is a key to organizational excellence (Atak & Erturgut, 2010). There is also a need to look closely at the work ethics and identify where these ethics have been violated and how to restore these ethics. Bill and Morgan have attendance issues, it needs to be dealt with. Also we need to focus on keeping Sherry as a part of the team. We need to bring back the focus on the tasks at hand and look for the areas where the standards of quality are not being followed.

The Plan

There are three parts of this plan. These three parts will correspond to the three issues that we have already identified.

The first part of the plan focuses on increasing the quality of the products. To do so, we will look for new suppliers who can provide us with better hard drives. Also, we would conduct quality assessments at different levels in the production cycle to isolate damaged or malfunctioning parts and remove them from the production in the future.

The second part of the plan corresponds to the lack of respect for the policies of the organization. Firstly, the policies will be evaluated again and the employees will be made a part of the process so that any gaps can be filled in the policy. Secondly, the employees who come late to work will have to face a deduction in their pay, even if they complete their work before they go home.

The third part of the plan will focus on increasing the motivation of the employees at work. Motivation towards work can not only increase the quality of work, but also the quality of life of the employee (Esra, 2012). The employees who work more than what is expected of them will get incentives in the form of being allowed to get to go home after half days. The employees will be encouraged to communicate with each other to have an end to any misunderstanding that might be existing. The focus of the plan would be to improve the quality of work and put any personal issues and problems at a side that could be causing the work quality to decrease.



Atak, M., & Erturgut, R. (2010). Importance of educated human resources in the information age             and view of information society organizations on human. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences2(2), 1452-1456.\

Esra, Z. (2012). The effects of work motivation in quality of work life and A study on banking    sector.