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Barton Engine Works: Case Analysis

Having gone through the presented case, it is evident that Barton Engine Works Company is no longer performing positively. Things have been getting tougher over the years due to the increasing level of competition from both local and foreign engine manufacturers. Following the sudden death of the owner of this company and his son, William Barton Jr. and William Barton III, new details have emerged to non-family members that Barton has been facing serious concerns.

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Nonetheless, William Barton Jr. was always keen to continue supporting the original business model he had inherited from his father. Although his son thought that some changes were needed, Bill Barton Jr. was unwilling to listen to him. It would, therefore, be appropriate to consider each problem individually and present evidence-based strategies to transform the situation.

Market Position of Burton

From the presented facts and developments, it is evident that Barton Engine Works has a sizeable consumer market share of around 33 percent (“Barton case study,” n.d.). Its industrial market position stands at around 19 percent (“Barton case study,” n.d.). Unfortunately, its dominance in this sector has been decreasing steadily. For several years, Bill Barton Jr. was convinced that his business model was effective and that more customers purchased lawnmowers and generators fitted with its engines. Unless something is done immediately, chances are high that more clients will shift their attention to Japanese products. This is true since they believe that they are of the highest quality and capable of meeting the demands of different users.

Several forces appear to be shaping the market for this company. Firstly, emerging technologies are resulting in faster and quieter engines. Barton Engine Works has failed to consider this kind of a change, thereby becoming less competitive (“Barton case study,” n.d.).

Secondly, companies in this sector are embracing the concept of research and development (R&D) to design and present superior products to the customer. This company’s failure to pursue similar initiatives might eventually affect its performance. Thirdly, the wave of globalization never used to be a major challenge several decades ago. This meant that customers could purchase machines and engines that were produced locally. Today, globalization has become a new reality whereby companies and clients are capable of acquiring materials and finished products from different continents. This kind of force explains why Barton Engine Works is now forced to compete with Japanese engine companies or manufacturers.

Fourthly, legal factors cannot be ignored in the world of business today. Mr. Alvarez has filed a lawsuit since he believes that Barton Engine Works has been involved in discriminatory human resources (HR) practices (“Barton case study,” n.d.). This incident has exposed additional malpractices whereby the majority of the workers at the company are from majority groups. This means that those from minority races have been ignored after applying for jobs at this company.

The current lawsuit is a development that is capable of disorienting performance and forcing the organization to part with its resources. Fifthly, social trends are dictating the way businesses in different sectors are pursuing their objectives. At Barton Engine Works, generational differences are evident since the elderly are no longer willing to listen to their juniors. This is also the same reason why Michael Mannheim has already presented his intentions to oppose any new change at this company.

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Despite these forces, Barton Engine is capable of considering several factors that have the potential to promote performance in the market. The first one is the presence of young individuals who can present new ideas and leadership models to take the company to the next level. This is supported by Earl and his colleagues who have designed better-customized engines (“Barton case study,” n.d.). The second force that can promote this organization’s market success is that of globalization. The decision to export its engines and partner with foreign companies to acquire its engines is something that can improve performance. The third factor is that of emerging or modern technologies. The adoption of such developments will take Barton Engine Works to the next level.

After examining the existing issues, it would be appropriate for Barton to change its marketing strategy. Within the past three decades, no improvements have been done to attract additional customers or improve the superiority of its products. This new transformation will begin by presenting superior engines that can compete with the ones from Japan while at the same time meeting the expectations of different customers.

As the new leader, it is appropriate to implement powerful promotional strategies to maximize the level of awareness. The idea to partner with different companies that manufacturing various machines will increase the current market share. Taking the example of Honda, Barton can go a step further to market its engines in different countries across the globe (“Barton case study,” n.d.). This goal is attainable since Barton Works has adequate resources to support such an initiative. These suggestions will eventually make Barton successful and maximize its revenues.

Mr. Alvarez’s Lawsuit

The lawsuit filed by Mr. Alvarez stands out as a unique challenge that has the potential to affect the future performance of Barton Engine Works. As the one in charge now, it would be appropriate to instruct the relevant attorney about these legal issues and how they might have developed. This means that the company will be keen to handle the matter professionally since it has the potential to taint its image and eventually make it less attractive in the market (“Barton case study,” n.d.).

After this issue is settled successfully, it would be appropriate to consider the importance of introducing a new policy whereby individuals can be hired based on their competencies and skills. It will also be appropriate to introduce superior strategies for empowering workers and ensuring that they acquire additional skills to become more productive. The stakeholders, in this case, should also be informed that the company has been keen to hire individuals who are competent in supporting organizational performance. This initiative resonates with the attributes of public relations (PR) and can ensure that the organization does not lose its market share.

The call from Pete Rumanok needs to be handled professionally. This is something critical since any negativity associated with this lawsuit can have detrimental impacts on this company. The fact that it has employees from minority groups is a clear indication that the current allegations are untrue. The reporter should also be informed that the company has been taking the issue of diversity seriously while at the same time identifying the competencies of the targeted workers (“Barton case study,” n.d.).

It would also be appropriate to highlight that the complainant applied for an apprenticeship at a time when the company was not hiring. This kind of information will ensure that Barton Engine Works maintains its public image and eventually wins the case. The most important thing to understand is that how this issue is handled will have significant impacts on Barton Engine Works’ future performance and profitability.

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The 10-Horsepower Engine

Barton Engine Works has been designing and producing these two engine types: 5HP and 10HP. The second engine appears to be disorienting performance since it has been resulting in losses. For instance, the projections for 2002 reveal that the company is expected to make losses amounting to around $448 million from the 10HP engine (“Barton case study,” n.d.). The anticipated profits will reduce significantly and make it impossible for this company to achieve its objectives.

With these developments in place, it is agreeable that Barton Engine Works might lose a significant portion of its customers if it fails to deliver such 10HP engines. The decision to stop producing these engines might disorient the current performance.

The existing systems and processes put in place to deliver this product to the targeted customers will also become irrelevant. The most appropriate consideration is to identify evidence-based strategies and initiatives that will ensure that this company achieves its goals. This means that it can engage in continuous research in an attempt to understand the unique gaps that are making it less profitable. The company can go further to make appropriate adjustments to the engine and ensure that it becomes admirable to the targeted customers.

The concept of R&D will empower the current engineers to present additional improvements to improve its performance, reduce production costs, and maximize this organization’s effectiveness (“Barton case study,” n.d.). The decision to employ younger workers at this company will lower operations expenses while at the same time maximizing performance. Barton Engine Works can go a step further to examine the strategies and initiatives the Japanese implement to produce high-quality 10HP engines. This knowledge will be embraced and utilized to support the production and delivery of high-quality products to the greatest number of customers. When such issues are taken into consideration, chances are high that the situation will be transformed and eventually make this corporation more profitable.

Dealing with Michael Mannheim

Opposition to change is a common occurrence in any given organization. Michael “Bull” Mannheim is convinced that the current transformation in leadership might have significant implications on his career and source of income (“Barton case study,” n.d.). The issues he outlines appear to support the argument or notion that Barton Engine Works is performing poorly. When employees are aware of such challenges, they tend to assume that job cuts and retrenchment strategies will affect them. Mannheim’s observation echoes those of the other workers at this company. These issues explain why it would be appropriate for leaders to approach this issue from an informed perspective.

As a new leader, it would be appropriate to consider the attributes of a relevant change model. Since this company is not functioning effectively, it is appropriate to begin by considering the complaints of different workers and understand why the company might be recording negative performance. This initiative will be followed by educating and informing all workers about the importance of implementing new changes and how they can transform performance. The case reveals that many file workers at this organization believe that they will lose their jobs. This is the case since Bill Barton had assured them that they will have permanent jobs at this company (“Barton case study,” n.d.).

After doing this, the next thing will be to introduce appropriate performance management measures. The purpose of such tools is to hold all workers accountable for their actions. The new change will be introduced in such a way that all employees remain committed and maximize their efforts to improve performance. This will be followed by the continuous provision of the desired resources and the improvement of decision-making processes. Leaders should encourage this company’s engineers to focus on the best ways to deliver high-quality, durable, and admirable engines to the targeted customers.

If these initiatives are undertaken without any form of discrimination, it will be possible for those in leadership positions to obtain the support of the rank and file workers at this organization and eventually maximize performance.

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A new culture at this company will be essential to ensure that the current differences are addressed. Being the person in charge, it will be appropriate to introduce new practices that encourage workers to focus on the outlined organizational vision, respect one another, and engage in decision-making processes (“Barton case study,” n.d.). Such a model will empower all employees and minimize the level of disrespect. The result is that you will be able to lead comfortably at this company, solve emerging challenges, and deliver positive results.

Financial Position and Performance

The presented information indicates that Barton Engine Works is performing poorly and incapable of recording positive results in the future. According to the presented Statement of Income, it is agreeable that this company’s revenues have been declining since the year 1999 (“Barton case study,” n.d.). The total revenues for the year 1999 amounted to $125 million while those of 2001 were $110 million in 2001 (“Barton case study,” n.d.).

This document shows that the company has not been able to attract more customers or maximize its sales. Consequently, the level of profitability has reduced significantly. For example, the organization’s gross profit for 1999 was $26,438,000, 24,350,000 for 2000, and $21,130,000 for 2001 (“Barton case study,” n.d.). These statistics or facts reveal that the company has not been performing effectively.

The current financial position is also questionable since this organization is losing its market share. For instance, the retained earnings from the recorded profits or revenues have been declining significantly. The net income losses have been increasing steadily within the presented three years. This means that the company has become less attractive in terms of financial position. The current assets have been declining within the same period.

For example, the assets for 1999 amounted to around $24,297,000 and around $24,159,000 in the year 2001 (“Barton case study,” n.d.). This information supports the fact that this company is not performing positively. For the two engine types, it is evident that only the 5HP has been able to record increased sales and production units. The outcome for the 10HP engine is quite the opposite since it has been resulting in increased losses. The outcome is that Barton Engine Works has continued to lose revenues from its second engine type.

From these analyses, it would be appropriate for this company to consider evidence-based measures that will improve the current or recorded financial situation. Firstly, there is a need to consider the major reasons why there is a decline in performance. This knowledge will inform a superior model for addressing the existing gaps and focusing on the demands of all customers. The best approach towards improving organizational profitability is adding value to the targeted clients.

Secondly, a new organizational culture is essential since it will overcome most of the issues that disorient productivity and discourage different partners to do business with Barton Engine Works (“Barton case study,” n.d.). The existing disagreements or poor decision-making processes at this company have been making it impossible for it to turn its financial performance around. The consideration of these issues will ensure that better performance is recorded.

Thirdly, the introduction and implementation of the concept of lean manufacturing will transform the current situation by minimizing the level of wastes, streamlining production, and increasing the number of engines delivered to the clients. This model has been adopted elsewhere to improve performance continuously and maximize profitability. Fourthly, unnecessary operations and products that might result in losses should be reconsidered.

A detailed study can be completed to identify new approaches for producing or doing away with them completely (“Barton case study,” n.d.). This is the case since engines that do not increase this company’s profitability are unnecessary. When these recommendations are considered, chances are high that the challenges affecting financial performance will be identified and promote a new change that can take Barton Engine Works to the next level.

Barton’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Within the past few years, Barton Engine Works has been performing positively and delivering high-quality engines to the targeted customers and firms. Specific strengths have continued to support these achievements recorded at this organization. The first one is the presence of competent employees and engine designers who have continued to deliver quality products to the clients. These professionals have been working at this company for many years.

A good example is Mannheim who has been operating as a file worker (“Barton case study,” n.d.). The second one is the presence of high-quality engines that are associated with this company. The 5HP and 10HP engines have continued to meet the changing demands of the customers (“Barton case study,” n.d.). Many people have been keen to purchase compressors and other machines that are fitted with engines produced by Barton Engine Works. These products have competed with those from other competitors and foreign companies.

The third strength is the presence of a powerful business model that continues to support organizational performance. The current strategy is designed in such a way that raw materials are acquired and utilized to develop superior engines. Such products are then marketed using an effective chain that targets both direct customers and companies that produce a wide range of machines. They fit them with the acquired engines to meet the demands of their customers (“Barton case study,” n.d.). The fourth one is the existing organizational structure. Over the past years, Barton has been keen to empower his employees, promising them permanent jobs, and solve emerging problems. This structure is what supports performance and ensures that the needs of all clients are met.

There specific weaknesses that have been making it impossible for this company to record positive financial results. Firstly, the case reveals that its owner was dismissive and employed an autocratic leadership model that did not consider the views of his juniors, including his son (“Barton case study,” n.d.). This kind of malpractice was making it impossible for him to understand the challenges affecting performance. He also failed to consider new approaches for maximizing performance.

Secondly, the company was reluctant to support R&D and additional innovations that could make this company more competitive. For instance, the recommendations by Barton III were ignored since they were viewed as unrealistic and incapable of addressing the perceived challenges. The company had failed to introduce new systems that could produce superior engines by the changing demands of the customers and clients. This weakness was affecting the company’s ability to compete with emerging players.

Thirdly, the established culture has some gaps that discourage different workers from pursuing their goals. For instance, the appointment of Ms. Payne has been met with opposition from different workers (“Barton case study,” n.d.). This kind of malpractice is capable of demoralizing different individuals and making it impossible for them to focus on the most appropriate outcomes. Fourthly, the company has failed to implement a superior policy for hiring employees with diverse backgrounds and introducing appropriate guidelines to empower them. This challenge explains why a lawsuit has been filed that has the potential to affect this company’s profitability and performance.

Fifthly, the organization has not considered a superior model for analyzing the existing procedures to minimize wastes and ensure that challenges are addressed immediately. The existence of these weaknesses means that the company might take long before increasing its revenues and adding value to the targeted customers.

Several suggestions are worth considering regarding the nature of the outlined strengths and weaknesses. To begin with, the presence of a competent team at this company is a good starting point to turn things around and make them more profitable. This means that a new form of leadership will be required to encourage these professionals to focus on their common goals, solve emerging differences, and learn to respect one another. This kind of practice will ensure that all workers are willing to transform the existing culture and improve productivity. It will eventually make sure that this company is in the right direction and continue to deliver its high-quality and efficient engines.

However, the competition experienced from Japanese products means that this company can consider the importance of R&D and innovation (“Barton case study,” n.d.). This initiative will become a new opportunity for monitoring the major challenges that might make its engines less attractive to the customers. The R&D department will be involved in identifying emerging technologies and applying them to produce superior or high-quality engines.

The current business model can be expanded by introducing the concept or idea of lean. This model will streamline processes by identifying the leading causes or sources of wastes and address them immediately. Such an approach will ensure that the true nature and profitability of every 10HP engine are understood (“Barton case study,” n.d.). The acquired information will become a new opportunity for introducing superior procedures that minimize wastes while at the same time maximizing profitability.

The idea of continuous market analysis is critical for this company. It is agreeable that successful corporations are the ones that engage their potential customers to understand their unique expectations and challenges. This knowledge is what informs the most appropriate strategies or processes for adding value to them and addressing emerging problems. These efforts will make it easier for all employees to collaborate and complete their activities promptly.

From this analysis, it is evident that the current strengths should be pursued as the best tools for overcoming the existing weaknesses. After the introduction of a new change, all participants will have to be involved and encourage to focus on the major sources of wastes and reduced performance. Individuals will be encouraged to present their timely inputs and concepts that have the potential to take this company to the next level. Continuous analysis of challenges affecting performance will ensure that Barton Engine Works becomes profitable in the industry and meets the needs and expectations of all stakeholders (“Barton case study,” n.d.).

It will also have to consider the importance of identifying new markets in different parts of the world. When there are more customers, this company will ensure that every produced engine is purchased. The result is that this organization will increase its revenues and eventually become more profitable.

Conclusion

The situations and challenges at Barton Engine Works do not mean that the future will be dull. The comments received from different employees should not discourage anyone from doing what is right and tackling all issues from an informed perspective. When a new leadership model is put in place, chances are high that all workers will be willing to pursue evidence-based approaches that can deliver positive results. Since the current engines associated with this company are admirable in the market, a new effort aimed at improving them will attract more clients and meet the demands of the greatest number of customers.

With effective managerial approaches, this company will be able to compete with all players in the industry, overcome the challenges affecting performance, and support the establishment of a better organizational culture characterized by superior problem-solving and decision-making processes.

Reference

Barton case study. (n.d.). CIMBA Program, 1, 139-147.

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