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Topic Topic: Case Incident: Boeing’s Computer System Post ReplyNew Question
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Joined: 07 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
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Posted: 07 June 2007 at 4:10am | IP Logged Quote Student

This Case Study, and I need help to answer thoes 3 questions for this case study.

CASE INCIDENT: Boeing's New Computer System

In 1990 the Boeing Commercial Airline Group in Seattle was about to install in its commercial spare parts department the largest computing system it had ever developed. The department sells spare parts to commercial airlines. The purpose of the new computer system was to automate many of the department's tasks, including inventory updates, customer inquiry responses, and pricing.

Boeing managers knew that installation of the new computer system would require extensive retraining of its employees. It would impact almost all of the 700 people in the spare parts department, and not just in terms of the technical aspects of using the new computer system. For one thing, the department's offices would become virtually paperless. And perhaps even scarier to .the employees was the fact that they would have to spend much more of their day working at their computer terminals. In addition, interpersonal relationships would become more interdependent because each employee would be more reliant on information that others entered accurately onto the computer. Employees had to understand that suddenly they had many more "customers" relying on them customers who, in fact, were other spare parts department employees.

As the training coordinator put it, "We realized that providing technical training alone wouldn't be enough to insure a successful implementation." The new system's users would need tools to handle the changes they would experience when the system came online. The training group wanted to make sure that it minimized the stress and confusion that implementation could potentially create. More to the point though, it wanted to make sure that all the employees using the new system became "customer oriented" in terms of providing the information their colleagues/customers in the spare parts department required.

Given the functional diversity of the group, Boeing knew a challenge lay ahead. Half of the group worked in a warehouse and was responsible for shipping, receiving, and storing parts. The other half worked in an office thirty miles away. Furthermore, it was a diverse group in terms of educational attainment.

In deciding the nature of the training program, Boeing had a variety of options to choose from. Because there already was an entire in house training department, one option was to have it do the training. On the other hand, preparing 700 people in a very short time might require the services of a consulting, training, and development firm geared to getting a program like this up and running. The training department also had to consider the specific types of training to be used, such as seminars, video instruction, lectures, or books. One San Francisco based firm under consideration was well known for being able to quickly develop large scale training programs that were generally based around seminars which utilized written and visual material, participative exercises, examples, and lectures.

However, before deciding whether the training program would be managed internally or by a consulting firm, Boeing knew that it had to be clearer about the actual training objectives. For instance, in addition to the purely technical aspects of the training, there was the need to make the employees who used the system more customer oriented. Possibly, employee communication and assertiveness skills had to be developed so that they could make their needs known if there was particular information they wanted from the system that was not being provided by the employees who would now input that data.

Questions

1. What sort of training do you think the spare parts department employees require?

2. How would you go about determining what the specific training objectives should be?

3. Do you think it's advisable for Boeing to go to an outside consulting firm to put together this program, or would you recommend handling it internally?




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