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Elizabeth Elton, Product Manager
Elizabeth Elton is a product manager for a pharmaceutical company . One of the products under her responsibility is zinc oxide ointment , which facilities the healing of rashes , cuts and abrasions. In the last several years conflict over this product has arisen between manufacturing and sales.
Although the entire company has adopted a system of total quality management (TQM) , so far it has been implemented more directly in manufacturing . The head of the unit that manufactures zinc oxide ointment proudly claims that defects have been virtually eliminated in the product. The sales director is proud of manufacturing’s accomplishments in achieving total quality. Nevertheless , he maintains that the high product quality has led to a high manufacturing cost . In turn , the high cost has made it difficult to offer substantial discounts to distributors.
The head of sales has presented convincing data that the company product lost substantial sales to house brands of zinc oxide. In retail outlets , the house brands are placed adjacent to the company brand , making it easy for the consumer to purchase by price.
Frequent mention was made in staff meetings of the struggle of having to produce a top-quality product that competes against lower-priced brands of acceptable quality. Elton stepped into the conflict by working closely with manufacturing and sales to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution to resolving the conflict . She told the two unit heads that she agreed strongly with both of them – both quality and price are important . Elton that suggested that manufacturing should strive for total quality , but at a price consumers are willing to pay . She also suggested that the sales manager should not abandon the idea that many consumers are willing to pay a slight premium for a name-brand pharmaceutical product.
1. Do you think Elizabeth Elton, as a leader gave very rational suggestion in the subject case? Could she successfully, resolve the conflict between manufacturing & sales? If you agree to Elizabeth Elton’s suggestion, why you think so? if you beg to differ, state why, giving your views.
2. Say, you are the Product Manager of this company. What suggestions you would give as a leader in this case after considering all aspects?
3. Do you think your suggestion would have been accepted by all and it would really contribute to the solution of the problem and company would be able to achieve growth also?