A Window on Life

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Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 11/12/2012 01:58 PM

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Overview of the Case

Gilbert LaCrosse learned how to make residential windows in his chilhood. He opened his small workshop that grew up in years. LaCrosse products had always to be of the highest quality because they gave families a “window on life”. Even when LaCrosse employed over 200 people, he never lost touch with the workforce. LaCrosse would still chat with plant and office employees several times each week. He used to thank everyone for making the business a success. He used to bring boxes of donuts during the evening break and discus how the business was doing. As the company reached the quarter-century mark, LaCrosse made the difficult decision to sell a majority share to Build-All Products, Inc. As a part of the agreement, Build-All brought in a vice president to oversee production operations while LaCrosse spent more time meeting with developers. The new production vice president, Jan Vlodoski, would rarely leave his office, send to supervisors memorandums. Since that time less attention had been paid to inventory controls. Goals were established for supervisors to meet specific inventory targets. After one year, inventory expenses decreased by 10 percent, but the number of defective windows returned by developers and wholesalers had increased markedly.

1. Identify the symptoms indicating that problems exist at LaCrosse Industries, Inc.

Several symptoms indicating the problems exist in LaCrosse, Inc. There are three sources of the problem: changing in leadership style, differentiation, and communication.

The cause of the problem is actually the changing of the leadership style. The employees who were comfortable with the style LaCrosse used to manage the company feel a bit strange with the changing style brought in by Vlodoski. They did not get the supportive style that previously was dominant in the company since Vlodoski prefer to stay in his office rather than visiting the production plant. Vlodoski did not notice that the strength of...