David Collins was McNeil’s Consumer Product Chairman and had a charismatic leadership personality. He never got under pressure in any situation during the crises of his product. He easily managed to avoid the blackmailer who asked him to transfer one million dollars to his account if he wanted to stop the product tempering. David Collins was chosen to handle the crises situation faced by the company due to his impressive leadership style. Collins proved that this decision of Burke to be quite right and managed to bring the company’s reputation back through meeting officials at various occasions and even meeting with the higher official in Washington on quite short notices.
James Burke was a participative type of leader. He had several qualities to lead a company which includes delegation of powers. He always tried to delegate the project related issues to appropriate individuals. He believed that crisis may be converted into national level crisis if not given concentration at early stage. He also believed that the reputation of a company should not be given at the stake at any cost. He was a corporate spokesperson. One of the quality of Burke is that he can share most of the information without any difficulty. He was offered for a reward for leading to a prosecution of a killer. He often spoke to the media personals directly He also honestly and quickly answered questions from anyone from the crowed. He always confidently gave his statements. Burk was quite a strong proponent of de-centralized decision making.
In the year 1982, seven people were reported found dead due to ingesting the Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol capsules which were extra strength capsules with cyanide lacing. About four years after these incidents, a similar situation was again faced by the company due to tempering of the product; however only one individual was found dead. All of this contributed to bad image of the Johnson & Johnson as they were making many other products which included baby lotions, face wash, body lotions, creams etc. Tylenol was only one of the products of the company with a relatively small portion of the company’s total sales. However, the bad image brought by Tylenol’s poisoning was affecting the sales of the company’s other products. This was creating a troubling situation for the company’s sales department as Tylenol was itself not a mal product but it was tempered outside the company’s perimeter by some blackmailers.
In case studies communication has played a vital rule in the success of the project. In a project and for its good management, efficient and effective communication is pre-requisites. It has been revealed from the case study that whenever there were flows in the communication process, the objectives of the project not only suffered tremendously but also have negative impact in the future growth of the project. The communication improves the trusts between the management members, consequently, improving the outcomes of the project . Good communication between the maintenance and the operations means that there is a lesser amount of confusion on prioritization, timing and making schedules on the work orders. Through the good communication process, better preparation for details of work can be done, and the better clarification on roles and responsibility of each employee or group will be performed. It has also been learnt from the case studies that there are gap between the higher and lower management of the project as for as the communication is concerned. This lack of communication has resulted in demolition of the project mission and vision statement and also effects the broader objectives and goals of the project. It has also been concluded that the activities of logical frame work cannot be carried out as per their scheduled without proper communication .
There are always some tragedies and issues in almost every project and in any running company. The fundamental objective of reading the case studies is to get benefits from it through learning the outcomes of a specific situation without actually facing such situation. Many surveys were conducted from various customers in case of adverse effects of the Tylenol in order to get better understanding of the root cause. It was decided to go for this solution due to the fact that the products are made for customers hence they would tell the company in a better way about the product. An important and quite helpful information learned through the very first survey was that about 94% of the people who were surveyed thought that Tylenol was poisonous which cleared the management’s mind that the issue with the declining product sales was residing in the image of the product. The tragedies in this case study are depicted as the lessons learnt during course of the company’s operations. In a project there are many steps or cycles till the completion of a project, accompanied with numerous mistakes. These mistakes can be used through case studies to learn the lessons from them in order to avoid such mistakes and carry out better steps in future in the similar circumstances.
The best way to plan a project when there is no readily available fully thought out plan is through going with precedents. There is always a precedent for almost every type of project and if I know that a similar project has already been implemented somewhere else then I can easily acquire generic as well as specific data from that project by contacting the relevant company. Through careful study of the precedent project I can develop my understanding the project’s basic issues and the remedial actions required to address those issues. After having a basic concept of the plans, issues and remedial actions I can easily device a basic plan and right away start with it and as the project goes by I can address the project issues through my existing knowledge as developed through studying the precedent project. I think that considering the expertise of professionals in the field while coming across some major issue also helps us to move ahead in a project without having readily available fully though out plan.
The company was severely damaged due to the extensive issues with their Tylenol Capsules. Many people died due to the poisonous effects of these capsules. The image of the company was almost demolished; however Johnson & Johnson owned the McNeils and cleared their bad image from the minds of the people through providing their expert guidance to the company. The investigation to the issues of poisoning showed that there was some tempering carried out on the products outside the company which was quite a sigh of relief for the management of the company. David Collins was chosen as Consumer Product Chairman for Tylenol to handle the crises situation faced by the company. Collins proved that this decision of Burke to be quite right and managed to bring the company’s reputation back through implementing some useful measures while avoiding the blackmailers. He also conducted several meetings with officials at various occasions and even met with the higher official in Washington on quite short notices.
The significance of this story from the author’s point of view is that the concepts of PM has great influence if an organization has well organized culture, the flow of information is highly monitored and correct and employees are made part of every decision in order to gain their trust. Company’s interest should be kept above any self-interest. The communication should be made very effective, fast, honest, open and clear so to successfully manage any critical situation faced by the company. It is the moral duty of PM Manager to build trust and maintain good relations with all stakeholders. The spokesperson should possess professional tactics to be able to communicate information about any crisis and success to stakeholders. There should be a well-organized and structured model according to which all sort of problems could be easily handled. It is the foremost responsibility of the manager to ensure acceptance of any solution to problem by all the stakeholders. There should a company manual that provides proper guidelines to handle any situation effectively and timely. A strong corporate culture is the key to manage company related issues in an impressive way .
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Kerzner, H. (2009). Project Management Case Studies. Hoboken (NJ): John wiley & Sons.
Schwalbe, K. (2010). Information Technology: Project Management. Stamford: Cengage Learning.