Treetop Forest Products and Productivity


Treetop Forest Products, Inc. is a forest product corporation established thirty years ago. It has one general manager, sixteen supervisors and support staff including 180 unionized employees. The mill is divided into the boom, packaging, sawmill, planning, shipping and maintenance departments. The departments in this company operate in shifts of morning and afternoon, the boom, sawmill and packaging departments starts their shifts at 6 am and 2pm in the afternoon in a two week shift rotating schedule. The planning and shipping departments work on morning shifts only whereas employees in the maintenance department work the night shifts that start at 10pm. However, every department has a supervisor on each work shift except the packaging department. Furthermore, the packaging department is housed in a different building from other departments making it difficult for assigned supervisors to visit the department.

All of the company's products are solely marketed by the largest marketing agency called Westboard Company. Since the market for building grade lumber is very competitive with prices due to the availability of the numerous mills. The product packaging determines whether the buyer buys from Treetop or other mills. Treetop has won the packaging quality award organized by Westboard severally in the past five years. However, just recently customers have started to complain about the packaging of treetop hence they have switched to competitors lumber criticizing Treetops final products appearance. However, the planning and sawmill departments have considerably increased productivity setting new records in a single day. This is attributed to better operations trainings, reduction of machine breakdown and better raw logs selections.

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Production in the boom, shipping and maintenance departments remained constant while the packaging department decreased productivity resulting to backlogs, inventory costs and stock damages. This led to the addition of Saturday overtime shifts and extra hours to process the backlog in the packaging department. This is annoying as the packing department is able of processing all the daily sawmill and planning production without overtime. More so, its cost competitiveness suffers since employees earn double the normal pay on overtime. The packaging department is lazy since it has been note they constantly extend lunch breaks by 10 minutes, coffee breaks by 5 minutes and typically leave work early than the required time. This exploitation has worsened of late especially on the afternoon shift and even temporal employees assigned in the department adapt to the trend after just a few days.

Key Issues

Each and every individual in the factors or production should actively perform his or her role for the betterment of the company (O'Sullivan, 2009). However, this is not the case in Treetop Forest Company, the management in this case the supervisors do not actually do their job as required. Laziness and irresponsibility is the key issues depicted in Treetop Company, the role of each employee to contribute fully in the company seems not clearly defined. On the other hand however how hard the marketing companies try to popularize and sell the products, it all turns to the buyer's decision to choose to purchase from what company at the end.

In this case scenario, the marketing agency Westboard has in totality actively and efficiently played its role. They encourage most of their clients to package their products in the best way possible so as to attract and keep customers through promotions; Westboard sponsors a monthly package quality award. Poor management strategies and policies are also key factors that have greatly impacted to the poor performance of the company. It is evident that the packaging department has no supervisor and only depends on supervisors of other departments to run checks in different shifts. More so, the packaging department is housed far and in a different building from other departments.

Definition of the Problem

Poor management strategies and policies are the key contributing factors that affecting Treetop forest products. The role and functions of management in terms of planning, controlling, coordination, supervision and advertising are completely neglected by the company (Grant, 2006). It is evident that the packaging department has contributed to almost 80% of the woes facing the company yet the top management is not implementing necessary action to address the issue. The company of its caliber having only one general manager is a sure reason to explain the management crisis facing the company.

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Lack of prompt supervision has resulted into little effort and laziness among the company's employees. The fact that employees in the packaging department extend coffee and lunch breaks and to some extend leaving work early than the scheduled time shows failure in management. Unrealistic strategies paying employees more for overtime work and employing more staff to come clear the backlog of work is another aspect brought about by poor management. A more disturbing analysis is that all employees and supervisors are fully aware of the wanting situation in the packaging department but no decisive steps to address the situation.

Marketing being a vital component in selling products for the target consumer has been delegated to and external marketing agency that even though they do their level best, the company is not taking their recommendations seriously.

Alternative Solutions

Underperforming departments and employees to be scraped off and incorporating new hardworking individuals. The packaging department that is seen to lag behind be contracted to private stakeholders who will work under stipulated company guidelines. Also, ensuring each department is headed by a manager who coordinates every single activity that is required by the company. However, provision of motivational incentives for employees and good performing departments will enable rise in production levels. Marketing strategies to be implemented by the company itself, this will ensure that the company's interests are addressed on first hand basis.

Best Solution, implementation and recommendation

It is evident that the problems facing Treetop company lies with its top management. When the management fails then consequently the company is bound to fail. Restructuring the Company's management by enlisting a board of directors that jointly and effectively oversee the company's operations instead of leaving all the responsibility to one general manager. It is apparent that the general manager is overwhelmed by the responsibility bestowed unto him by the company since he has failed to crack the whip. This is essential because decisions, strategies and company's policies will arise from a consensus by all the directors. This will also ensure accountability from all company employees since they are being watched by many eyes.

Departments that never had supervisors like the packaging department will no longer depend on other departmental supervisors' thus promoting efficiency. Each department will have a departmental manager and a supervisor to oversee all the activities pertaining to that particular department. The supervisors will be accountable to departmental managers who in turn will report to the directors for necessary course of action. For future company prosperity and stability I recommend that the appointed board of directors to introduce motivational incentives for its employees. It is also necessary to explore all avenues before additional expenses on more worker and overtime when trying to clear backlogs in order to minimize on extra financial situations that may result to lose for the company.