BSBA Writing Skills Assessment Spring 2006 Learning Goal To express ideas clearly, logically, and persuasively in oral and written communication Objectives Assessed Demonstrate proficiency in written English using a variety of methods and formats (conventional hardcopy assignments such as position papers, executive summaries, memos, letters, meeting notes and summaries, proposals) Ability to integrate ideas from multiple sources, correctly cite and reference sources, and effectively articulate the meaning of the data for the audience. Assessment One essay exam question administered in the final exam conducted in 6 sections of Bus 189, Strategic Management. Sample attached. Scoring Two English Department faculty members evaluated each exam using a common rubric based on the rubric used in the 100W assessment, achieving 74% agreement. Scores that differed by more than one point were resolved by negotiation. Standards Exceptional: Score of 7-8 Acceptable: Score of 4 though 6 Unacceptable: Score of 3 or below Results Exceptional: 2 Acceptable: 89 Unacceptable: 87 Recommendations Results were reviewed by the College Assessment Committee. The committee appointed a writing skills subgroup that is reviewing major curriculum modifications to enhance student writing skills. Activities being considered include: conducting more fine-grained data analyses (by major, transfer status, etc.), conducting assessments at multiple points in the curriculum so early interventions can be taken, and targeting courses as writing intensive courses. Sample Essay Question COMPREHENSIVE EXAM CASE: FORD 2000 Three weeks after being named CEO in 1993, Alex Trotman attended a meeting of senior managers at Ford’s London office. During discussions, he asked the managers: Could Ford tear down its highly segmented regional structure and create one global system? Trotman gave the managers six weeks to determine the question’s feasibility. There were several motivating factors behind the need for restructuring. Under the existing system, there was massive duplication of processes in both North America and Europe. According to the company, this raised annual costs by at least $3 billion. Furthermore, Ford’s average new-car development time was much longer than its competitors, approximately six years compared with Toyota’s three. Its competitors have more profits per car and higher pre- tax margins. Trotman also saw the need to refocus the company in order to enter emerging markets in China, Russia, and Latin America efficiently. Thus, Ford 2000 was born. With the ultimate goal to become “the best automaker in the world,” Trotman announced in April, 1994 the most massive reorganization of the company in its 91 year history. The specific directives included (1) increase the speed and efficiency in developing new cars, (2) expand the range of products, (3) Match the Japanese cost advantage, (4) reduce vehicle assembly time, and (5) mimic Toyota’s policy of selling the same vehicle worldwide. The finer points of Ford 2000 were hammered out by a team of 150 executives. The team devised ways for the company to streamline itself. The team itself was a direct contrast to Ford’s old culture. It was housed in a war room, a large open area filled with small desks and cubicles, with no private offices. The idea was to put all the decision makers in one place and force them to hash out decisions on the spot, rather than waste months passing around memos. All the team members had delegated their other responsibilities so they could dedicate their efforts to planning the reorganization. An informal atmosphere was purposely created because Trotman “wanted people to leave their corporate credentials at the door.” The resulting Ford 2000 plan laid the groundwork for a decade’s worth of products all built from a common design and with great economies of scale. In January, 1995, the first part of the plan was implemented. Ford of Europe and Ford North America merged to form Ford Automotive Operations (FAO). To give a sense of the merger’s scale, Ford’s combination created a $94 billion business. The Nabisco-RJR Reynolds merger was approximately $24 billion. The new organization was divided into five vehicle program centers (VPCs). Each VPC was to be responsible for the development, manufacturing, marketing, and profitability of their specific Ford vehicles, no matter where they were sold. The VPCs were divided into small and medium sized front-wheel drive cars, large front-wheel drive cars, rear-wheel drive cars, light trucks, and commercial trucks. Europe kept control of small and medium car development because of its proven expertise. Dearborn, MI was to handle the rest. Although Europe got only one out of the five new VPCs, the European center retained responsibility for developing vehicles in market segments having the biggest potential to gain from Ford’s global strategy and expected to account for about 50% of Ford’s world car sales sometime during the 2000 decade. Each VPC was given the capability to alter its product to suit regional markets. The formidable task of each VPC was to make everything under the hood the same, and everything that has to do with taste and local regulations different, and to do this in a cost-efficient manner. As Trotman put it, “Even with under-the-skin components that may be identical, the design and feel of our vehicles can be made very different to suit local tastes.” Ford believes the new organization will be successful, particularly with quicker adaptation to shifting customer demands. New product time cycles are targeted to be uniformly less than three years by 2000. Plant changeovers for new “global” models produced at various locations around the world are scheduled to follow each other in weeks, not months. Extensive investment in computers and videoconferencing technology has been made to facilitate the process. Ford, with the help of a consulting firm called Logica, has created its own worldwide integrated purchasing system (WIPS). All of Ford’s purchasing activities, which represent more than 100,000 separate parts worth $40 billion, are on the workload management system. To some observers, Ford has chosen a strange time to conduct a reorganization. Ford reported record earnings of $5.3 billion for fiscal year 1994 on top of record revenues of $128 billion. Trotman has defended the criticism by saying that concentrating on change and improvement is a lot easier when times are good. “If you make big changes when times are difficult, expediency often takes precedence.” If Ford pulls this off, the benefits could be tremendous. Ford anticipates savings of up to $5 billion a year. The reconstruction will also create a more efficient company with fewer global suppliers. Ford estimates that by cutting suppliers of everything but auto parts from 50,000 currently to 5,000, it will save $1 billion a year. 1. Which of the company functions in this case are especially critical for designing a successful value-added outcome, how should your selected functions be interrelated, and how can they be optimally managed as a whole? 2. What internal and external factors in this company case do you find especially critical to the firm’s long-term profit-making potential, and how should each be incorporated into its strategic thinking?
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