This method uses quality management system to avoid wastage in the following production areas, flow production, cellular production, and batch production. The main purpose of this system is to ensure that the customers get what they want from the organization. This is achieved through the contribution of new ideas by the employees at every stage. The just in time production is one of the methods used in Portakabin methods of production. The method aims at reducing the costs of holding stock. Through this method, raw materials and finished goods are kept at low levels by ensuring that stocks are only produced when needed. When stocks are held for a long time, the costs of the organization increases in a number of ways as shown below;
- Defects in large quantities of stock cases costs of rework,
- Customers’ needs and regulations may change rendering current stocks unusable,
- Cash is tied up in held stocks instead of generating working capital
- The organization has to pay for storage space
Another production methodology of Portakabin process is reducing waste. The lean production process has encouraged waste reduction through cutting out waste from the manufacturing system. It has been achieved through re-use of the materials, changing the materials used, clever designing of the modules, and use of steel beams to cut to the precise length that is needed and using pre-sized boards for the floor. There has also been recycling of wastes in the lean production process. 65% off-site manufacturing is reused. It has been achieved through formation of waste management teams, training the employees on how to think about recycling and recycling of pallets used in transporting Portakabin products. The financial benefits of the Portakabin production method are that the organization predicts the construction costs and time, the speed of construction is high compared to the traditional method and there is quality control. The environmental benefits of this methodology are that the method uses ozone-friendly materials resulting in better thermal performance, reduced noise and pollution and the recycling of the materials. Apart from the two advantages covered above, the process has also social benefits including less noise pollution and improved health and safety. This process can be said to be of help to the organization in that it helps them manage their changing accommodation requirements (Portakabin 125-128).
Organization learning and communities of practice
Although working, learning and innovation have been thought to be conflicting elements, the three are closely related. Work practice has been viewed to be conservative and resistant to change and learning is distinct from working and problematic in the face of change. On the other hand, innovation has been said to be the disruptive, but necessary imposition of change on working and learning. The opposition that has been witnessed concerns the three factors drawn from precepts and practice. The description of the work differs according to the organization’s training programs, manuals and the actual work practices performed by the employees. The claim in this theory is that reliance on espoused practices may blind the organizations core to the actual valuable practices of its employees. The actual practices, however, determine the success of the organization. This paper also argues that learning through practice is best represented by the composite of ‘learning-in-working’. Learning is therefore, the bridge between working and innovating; where innovative is a change in a community’s way of seeing things. When the three theories and merged together, it can be argued that their constant adaptation to changing membership and circumstances, evolving communities-of-practice are significant sites of innovating. In working, three practices have been brought about namely canonical, non-canonical and central features of work practice. In canonical practices, the practices of service technicians in training and work in large corporations shows clearly the divergence between espoused and actual practices, how this divergence develops and the troubles it can cause. The advantage of this approach is that it distinguishes the modus operandi from opus operatum, that is, how a task looks to someone working on it as it unfolds over time while most of the dilemmas and options remain unsolved, as opposed to the how it appears with hindsight on completion. The finished view, opus operatum, sees the operation in terms of the task alone, and doesn’t see the process of doing tasks structured through constant change of work conditions and the world. In non-canonical practice, there is narration of the problems between the technicians and trainers so as to enable them get to the bottom of the issue. Central features practice involves overlapping categories, narration, collaboration and social construction to get to the heart of what the reps do, but yet, have no place in the organization (Brown and Duguid 40-55).
Managers and leaders
The traditional ideal manager is a person that possesses the following qualities persistence, toughness, and tolerance, smart and be analytical. The problem in finding a person that has all these qualities can be very hard sometimes. Due to these difficulties, Zaleznik (3) proposed that the traditional view of a manager omitted essential leadership elements- human passion, inspiration and vision, which are critical, to a successful organization. As much as organizations need managers and leaders to excel, these two are very different people. Managers seek control, order, and rapid solutions to problems that face the organization. On the other hand, leaders lack structure and tolerate chaos, keep answers in suspense and prevent premature closure on important issues. Some of the areas that managers and leaders differ include attitudes towards goals, conceptions of work, and relations with others and sense of self. For example, in attitudes towards goals, managers take an impersonal, passive outlook at goals and for them, goals arise out of necessity. For leaders, they take a personal and active outlook at goals and change how people think about what is desirable and possible. They help in setting the direction of the company (Zaleznik 8). Leaders can be developed by avoiding overreliance on peer-learning situations and cultivating one-to-one relationships between mentors and apprentices. It encourages intense emotional interchange, tolerance of competitive impulses and eagerness to challenge ideas. As much as the one-to-one method is good for training purposes, sometimes it takes a great deal of emotional tolerance especially where there is formal and recognition in the difference of the power of players. Sometimes, the chief executives will be threatened by the ideas and challenges that are developed by their juniors. To face such issues, one has to be able to confront the concerned employees. It also means that they are able to tolerate aggressive interchange that has both the effect of stripping away the veils of ambiguity, signaling characteristics of managerial cultures and also encourages the emotional relationships that leaders need to help them survive.
It is clear that some level of training is a need in all the three management approaches. In the management and leaders approach, for an individual to qualify as a good manager or leaders, some one-to-one moment should be spent with the peers and other leaders and managers to help the individual learn and develop some management and leadership skills. They are able to be successful leaders and managers, a combination that help them lead the organization to success. In the Portakabin practice, staff needs to be trained on ways that they can use their skills to come up with better ways of making the production process better quality and less cost. In this methodology, they are also trained on ways through which they can be able to upgrade wastage of resources and recycling of waste materials. From the communities of practice, we find training that mostly includes learning process bridging the gap between working and innovating. With training, employees or representatives are able to come up with better ideas of upgrading their machinery and the tools that they use at work. The connections that they also share among employees and their trainers of leaders is like the one-to-one method that is used in managers and leaders, and through this method, they are able to share ideas of experiences with the machines. They are able to develop solutions on how to handle the broken machines.
The difference with these management methods is that each method tackles different departments of the organization. The Portakabin methodology is all about management, but it deals with management concerning the production process. Through this methodology, the costs of stocks are lowered and also the organization comes up with ways of managing their waste materials through recycling methods. On the other hand, communities of practice theory tackle management through a number of processes, which include how employees relate to each other, and how people view the tasks done within the organization. In some of the practices, the just consider the end product of a task that has been done while, in others, they focus on the methods or the process that the employees went through to complete the task. The other practice is also different from the above two in that it focuses solely on the qualities that people in the management should possess. It looks at the traditional ideologies of a manager and the qualities that should be an advantage for a manager to be good, leadership skills. Through the development of leadership skills in a good manager, one can be excellent and help the organization attain its goals.
Brown John Seely and Paul Duguid. “Organizational Learning and Communities-of-Practice:
Toward a Unified View of Working Learning, and Innovation.” Organization Science,
2.1 (1991): 40-55. Print.
Portakabin. “Lean production at Portakabin.” The times 100, 125-128. Print.
Zaleznik, Abraham. "Managers and Leaders." Harvard Business review 11.7 (1992): 1-12. Print.