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What Should the Supervisor Do Next

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Answer, in 200-300 words, the three questions following this incident.

What Should I Do Next?

Kim Allred is relatively new as a supervisor, having been promoted only two months ago. Before her promotion, she had worked for the company for seven years as a sales specialist in office equipment. There is no doubt that she is a whiz at selling office equipment. Because of her accepted expertise in the field, it was natural for her to be promoted when the supervisory opening in office equipment sales became available. Yesterday, Kim received a memo from her boss, Ed Jackson, stating that all departmental plans for the next fiscal year were due by the end of the month, which was 10 days away. She immediately went into a panic. She had never prepared a formal plan, and she had no idea what was required. After worrying over the matter for a day, Kim decided that the best thing to do would be to ask Ed for some guidelines.

Kim: Ed, yesterday I received your memo regarding next year's plan. I've never prepared a formal plan, and frankly, I don't even know where to start.

Ed: Calm down, Kim. I apologize for forgetting that this is your first go-around in the planning process. What I am looking for is a plan for attaining the objectives that we agreed upon for your department last month. In other words, the ABCs of how you plan to accomplish each objective.

Kim: In other words, you want a written explanation of just how I expect to accomplish each objective. Just how detailed should this plan be, and what format are you looking for?

1. How would you answer Kim's questions if you were Ed Jackson?
2. How would you go about preparing this plan if you were Kim Allred? (Suggest a framework for Kim to follow.)
3. Do you think Kim's initial reaction to the planning process was unusual? Why or why not?

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1. How would you answer Kim's questions if you were Ed Jackson?

I will answer Kim's questions by pointing Kim to various resources that can be used to develop the sales plan. For example, a good point to take cues on starting the plan can be last year's plan. I can hand over last year's plan to Kim, so that she has a good idea about the requirements of the plan. Further, I can also provide her resources on general guidance about writing a sales plan. I can also ask other departmental heads to assist Kim in developing the plan for the first time.

Further, once the rough draft is prepared, I can go over it and give suggestion to Kim to refine the plan.

2. How would you go about preparing this plan if you were Kim Allred? (Suggest a framework for Kim to follow.)

If I was Kim Allred, I will follow the usual process of creating a sales/ marketing plan to achieve the targeted sales of the office equipment divsion. I will certainly involve my departmental employees in the preparation of the plan, so that their valuable inputs and suggestions can be incorporated in the plan. Further, I will also seek assistance from other concerned departments, such as finance/ accounting department for the development of the plan.

The questions that I should answer in your sales plan are:

What are you going to focus on?
What are you going to change?
In practical terms, what steps are involved?
What territories and targets are you going to give each salesperson or team?
The sales plan will start with some strategic objectives. You can then explain the stepping stones that will allow you to achieve these objectives. Use objectives which are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.

It is ...

Solution Summary

How would you answer Kim's questions if you were Ed Jackson?

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An Unannounced Inspection

SCENARIO # 1: An Unannounced Inspection
The Situation: An OSHA inspector arrives at your worksite requesting to talk with you about an inspection based on the health and safety complaints of a worker. You are in your office and the OSHA inspector is at the reception office. You know this worker to be a highly disgruntled individual who is constantly questioning all aspects of his job and the work environment. The area he works in is currently undergoing a major renovation for a process change for the product in the line, but it is still trying to produce the older version of the product at a lower volume than before. Your area supervisor is a competent individual, but they are working under a lot of stress with the changeover; therefore, you are only 80% sure that the claims listed in the complaint are groundless and without merit. The worker is also heavily involved in an effort to unionize the plant employees. In addition, your plant manager is in another state at corporate headquarters for some important meetings.

The Questions: How would you act, what actions should you take, and what would you do? Should you challenge the validity of the OSHA inspector's request, or their right to enter the workplace? Or should you request a warrant to enter the workplace, and thereby gain some time to make sure everything is in order back in the plant? Can you gain any time to check with your in-area safety supervisor first? Or, should you immediately comply with the request for the inspection? Explain your answers.
SCENARIO # 2: Serious Near-Miss Crane Incident
The Situation: You are the EH&S professional at your company's shipyard. You have just received a call from a production supervisor that there has been a very serious near miss accident out in the assembly area. Your company is manufacturing the second Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the US Navy. This new generation high speed, trimaran design warship has been designed to carry out a wide range of tactical, combat, and support operations in the near-shore (littoral) environment. The project is severally over budget and has received a considerable amount of criticism for it. Successful completion of the project at this phase will be a prime determinant in your companies securing the very lucrative follow-up contracts for more LCS's. Everyone in the shipyard feels the pressure to complete this project ASAP.

Apparently a very large 20 ton overhead crane had some cables snap and has partially collapsed while trying to hoist a large section of the vessel into place for its final welding operation. When you arrive on scene, you see the section wedged overhead between some support beams and walkways. About a dozen hourly workers are scattered about as they leaped to safety after hearing the cables snap. There are many bumps, bruises and scratches on the workers, but they all are able to be treated internally at your nurse's office. In this initial assessment, there appears to be no need for, or request on the part of the employees, to go to any outside medical consultant or hospital emergency room.

Almost immediately you can hear the men complaining that the first attempt to lift the unit did not work and then the production engineer's decided to "jury rig" some extra cables to lift the unit in place. In addition, one individual said that they were trying to hoist about 28-30 tons, and that was just too much for the old crane. Another offered that the cables themselves had not been changed out in a couple of years and that was against OSHA regulations. Everyone said that they could hear the unit groan and screech before the cables snapped and the crane partially collapsed.

Before you walk off with the supervisors to inspect the damage one of the workers offers the opinion that this is an "imminent danger" situation. About 30 minutes later, you are meeting with the engineers and supervisors on one the overhead platforms continuing your inspection of the damage: when a supervisor comes up and tells you that he has heard that an hourly employee has just called OSHA and told them of the situation and that they used the term "imminent danger" in their conversation.

The Questions: What are your most important concerns? What should you do next? What information is the most critical for you to have right away? What directions would you give to the supervisors and engineers? When should you inform your facility manager and what should you tell him/her? Should you meet with the hourly employees and what will you discuss with them? How will you handle the OSHA inspector should one show up in the next few hours?

For Scenario # 1 and # 2, you are required to discuss a sequential Action Plan on your part that addresses all of the issues presented.

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