Case study of Conifer Corporation

Case study of Conifer Corporation

Conifer Corporation is a sawmill operation located in

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Oregon. The corporation started its operations three decades ago. The machines

used in the corporation was upgraded five years ago. The corporation deals with

raw logs with which they cut and plan into building grader lumbering. The

corporation has six operational departments which handle different functions.

Each department has members with diverse skills and position to improve on

quality products. This write up analyzes the problems facing the corporation. It

also discovers the symptoms in and

effectively suggest solutions.

Symptoms that something has gone wrong.

The packaging department of the corporation has some

problems that need to be addressed. The efficiency of the packaging department

has been declining over the years. The departments show a decrease in productivity.

The decrease in productivity also indirectly affects other departments that are

interlinked with the packaging department. Generally, quality issues lead to a decrease in

productivity in any business or organization that has a packaging department.

Customers have opted to buy products from other consumers due to the low

quality of packaging. The packaging department shares supervisors with the

planer and sawmill departments. The location of the packaging department away

from other departments also contribute to the problems it faces. There is also

a decline in consumer ratings, use of outdated technology

Main Cause of the Symptoms

The symptoms exhibited by the packaging department in

Conifer Corporation implies some bad management skills that need to be

addressed. The Corporation’s vision appears to be long lost. Actions taken by

the department appears to be unconscious. Even though the management team is

not in denial, rewards are not executed. Additionally, the workers are not

motivated. The packaging department also shows no cohesion. The supervisors, do

not lead by example, for example, they prefer not to visit the department

because of its location. There is also promotion of ineligible employees for

example paying the packaging department more yet they are not delivering. The

supervisors do not take responsibility. Poor management is evident in the

corporation’s management team hence the need for the executive to take measures

that will improve the business.

Executive Actions to Solve the problem

Supervisors are very important people in any business or

organization especially if it is designed to meet consumers’ needs and make

profits in return (Corbire et al., 2019). Roles of supervisors are not limited

to the following, providing links between workers and management, maintaining

direct contact with workers, providing assistance, guidance and coaching to

workers, carrying out performance evaluation on work done and providing timely,

fair and constructive feedback towards the expectations of the department they

are heading (Fernandez, 2017). In the case of the packaging department, no

supervisor solely checks on the work they do. Supervisors from other department

are assigned the duty of checking on their performance hence high chances of

the inefficiency of production. to register some improvement within the

department, there is a need for a supervisor that exclusively work in the


The employees feel isolated because no one pays attention

to them. Such isolation of employees is a breeding ground for laziness. The

employees will fail to communicate work challenges and their level of morale

will reduce. When a supervisor is around. The workers can air their grievances

and can also help in finding the solution to some of the problems the

department is facing (Astill, 2018). There is a need for more restriction

during the afternoon to ensure equally the same or more work is done to reduce

the backlog.

In the case study, it is indicated that the supervisors

seldom visit the department because of its location. Additionally, the sawmill

supervisor whose official department is further from the production department

opts not to deliver his or her mandate because of the distance. The executive should

realize that the supervisors appear overworked hence the need for an exclusive

supervisor for the packaging department.

The department should also be located in a strategic

place or where other departments are stationed to build cohesion between

workers. Work cohesion is not only required within the department but for all

workers. Once the workers are working towards achieving a common goal,

productivity in both the department’s increases (Marques-Quinteiro et al.,

2019). Team cohesion also increases motivation, improves the employee’s

satisfaction and leads to the success of the company. A strategic location of

the department will ensure close supervision and eradicate the sense of

isolation that broods’ laziness. Additionally, bringing the packaging

department closer to other departments also builds a connection with other

company employees hence accelerating motivation.

The consumer ratings are declining because of substandard

packaging done by the department. Generally, when customers start seeing the

poor quality of products displayed by them prefer dealers, they tend to shift

to other dealers (Cui et al., 2017). The executive should adopt Automated

packaging operations to subsidize the human labour already present. Manual

packaging tends to be time-consuming which is evident by the large backlog in

the department. When the executive adopts automated packaging blended by manual

labour under strict supervision, consumption of packaging materials will be

reduced and productivity will increase (Knoll et al., 2019). The executive

should also conduct a high level of packaging design review to improve the

packaging designs of their products. This can be done by examining the flaws

and rectifying them and also ensuring the efficiency of the packaging


Since the packaging department is the last department

that all the goods have to pass through before reaching the market, a lot needs

to be done. The company appears to be using outdated technology because the

last time its machinery and equipment were upgraded was five years ago. Poor

technology contributes to the poor quality of finished products. Additionally,

poor technology slows down packaging for example due to continuous breakdowns

and the inability to produce both high quality and quantity packages (McEwan et

al., 2020). The executive should consider continual updating of its machines

and equipment on a timely basis to ensure high-quality production.

According to the case study, the number of workers in the

packaging department are outnumbered by the combined products that are

channelled from sawmill and planer departments. The executive should consider

hiring more people to balance the products input for faster packaging.

Furthermore, adding more workers will only bring efficiency if the supervisory

role is elevated. The packaging department is known to extend their lunch by

ten minutes daily which is a loss of both time and money because the targeted

packaging objective is not achieved. They are also known to leave before the

official time yet no one bothers. Such behaviour needs to be addressed because

sooner it will be adopted by other workers. Effective methods need to be

outlined through the workers’ union to deduct some percentages of wages when

workers fail to adhere to the regulations of work at the company.

Employees brought from other department tends to adopt an

informal schedule of packaging department employees. The packaging department

employees extend their lunchtime and leave work before the official time. The

underlying issue that when employees from other departments are brought and

instead end up adopting the informal schedule of the packaging crew can be

stopped by strict supervision and punishments through the worker’s union in

form of salary deduction. The company should also cultivate its objectives

goals and aims to the workers to ensure they develop a drive that will be

reflected in their productivity (Alferjany et al., 2018).

In conclusion, Conifer Corporation is continuously losing

its potential customers which translates into sales. The problem appears to be

contributed majorly by the packaging department due to poor supervision,

negligence, absence of motivation, poor technology, lack of cohesion and

isolation. Furthermore, Backlog evident in the packaging department increases

inventory costs and increases the risk of damage of already finished products.

The executive has the mandate to ensure that the company gets back to shape

before all consumers shift to their competitors’ products. The company needs to

ensure fast, quality and effective packaging is done to meet the consumer

needs. The company can revive its initial operations by strengthening

supervisory role in the packaging department, improving on technology,

increasing the number of qualified workers and motivating workers


Fernandez, M. M. (2017). What Is the Relationship Between Conflict Management

and Employee Empowerment? A Message Design Logic Perspective and its Importance

for Managers and Supervisors.

Rochester Institute of Technology.

Astill, S. (2018). The importance of supervisory and

organisational awareness of the risks for an early career natural hazard

researcher with personal past-disaster experience. Emotion, space and society, 28, 46-52.

Corbire, M., Villotti, P., Dewa, C. S., Sultan-Taeb,

H., Fraccaroli, F., Zaniboni, S., … & Lecomte, T. (2019). Work

accommodations in Canadian social firms: Supervisors’ and workers’

perspectives. Canadian Journal

of Community Mental Health, 37(4),


Marques-Quinteiro, P., Rico, R., Passos, A. M., &

Curral, L. (2019). There is light and there is darkness: On the temporal

dynamics of cohesion, coordination, and performance in business teams. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 847.

Knoll, D., Neumeier, D., Prglmeier, M., & Reinhart,

  1. (2019). An automated packaging planning approach using machine learning. Procedia Corp, 81,


McEwan, A., Marchi, E., Spinelli, R., & Brink, M.

(2020). Past, present and future of industrial plantation forestry and

implication on future timber harvesting technology. Journal of Forestry Research, 31(2), 339-351.

Alferjany, A. A. M., Salama, A. A., Amuna, Y. M. A., Al

Shobaki, M. J., & Naser, S. S. A. (2018). The Relationship between

Correcting Deviations in Measuring Performance and Achieving the Objectives of

Control-The Islamic University as a Model. International Journal of Engineering and Information

Systems (IJEAIS), 2(1),


Cui, L., Wu, K. J., & Tseng, M. L. (2017). Selecting

a remanufacturing quality strategy based on consumer preferences. Journal of Cleaner Production, 161, 1308-1316.


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