The New Year’s Eve Crisis

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the course

Written Analysis and Communication – I
To

Prof. Vijaya Sherry Chand Academic Associate :Nameeta Chandra

30 June 2012

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, AHMEDABAD

1

states the core problem. a report has been enclosed which analyses the situation. Connecticut. Hartford. 2 . Michael’s Homestyle Pasta. Date: 31 December 2001 Subject: Report on the analysis of issue faced by Michael’s Homestyle Pasta [ Clarity : Specific issue not pointed out ] With reference to your request for preparing a report suggesting immediate course of action to be taken regarding the Salmonella contamination at Southern Pasta Company. President. Clarity. recommendation wrongly directly at Michel instead of the organization ] Yours sincerely. the appropriate options available to you and their criteria for evaluation. [ Language. Conciseness. It is recommended that you call the clients and let them know about the contaminated batch. and final recommendation with proposed action plan.LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL To Mike Valenti. Reader Orientation and tone : Elaborate and non-uniform sentence structure.

He has to decide on a course of action which should not only solve the problem at hand. The new venture has made Mike’s company the only major player and thus it is important to keep that advantage by not losing important clients. criteria of evaluation. It is recommended that Mike should call the client restaurants as it is a step towards addressing the present issue as well as the root problem [Selection of relevant data: Problem. situational analysis. Root problem is unclear. ] Word Count [102] 3 .EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Mike Valenti has discovered that a salmonella contaminated batch has been delivered to an important client. evaluation are missing. options. Clarity: The “new venture” is wrongly used here. “acquisition of existing venture” more apt here. but also address the basic underlying problem of clash of cultures of the two companies. Immediate decision is not mentioned as the decision problem.

........................................................CONTENTS LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.................5 PROBLEM STATEMENT................................................... 4 SITUATION ANALYSIS...............................................................................................................................................................................................................8 RECOMMENDATION.......................7 OPTIONS......................................... 3 CONTENTS.........................................................................................................................................................................................10 ACTION PLAN.............................. 11 4 ...................................................................................................................7 EVALUATION OF OPTIONS........................................... 7 CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY........

Thus the customers are dependent to a large extent on these two companies. ] 5 .SITUATION ANALYSIS After knowing about delivery of Salmonella contaminated pasta to a major client of Southern Pasta Company(SPC). Language: “courses of action” should be “course of action” ] The stuffed pasta is a specialty product and with the acquisition of SPC. which is not the case here. He cannot incur heavy financial losses and trying to contain that would mean risking lives of innocent customers. Case facts have been presented but not used in deriving any inference. [ Unity: Central idea should be in the form of a topical sentence. Mike Valenti has to decide his courses of action. The customer dependency is validated by the fact that the client did not terminate contract with SPC after the May 2001 recall. Language: Punctuation is flawed. Logical Rigor: Implications of customer dependency not explored. a company acquired by Michael’s Homestlye Pasta(MHP) just three weeks ago. without offering any evidence. MHP is the only major player in the market. Concise: It could have been less wordy. [ Quality and depth of analysis : Statement presumes that there is no possibility of containing losses without risking lives of innocent people.

Mike also hasn’t been able to spend enough time at Tampa. Thus any action taken should take into account the importance of continuing this account. The employees at SPC are used to following orders. ethical or not. [ Selection of relevant data: Immediate decision is the central concern here. Thus the process of welding the culture of two companies has been affected. So whatever decision is to been taken has to solve the contaminated batch issue as well as address the basic problem of clash of the cultures. ] [Stated cultural difference cannot be the root of the current problem since the falsification of test reports and dispatch to restaurants were done under the ambit of previous management and not MHP]. The client was one of the major reasons for Mike’s interest in SPC and accounts for 14% sales. So it can be concluded that the restaurants have robust standards for cooking. while the issue at hand being just a symptom of the problem. an immediate decision cannot affect the strategic assimilation of the two companies. [Clarity: “stuffed pasta being taken off the menu” should have been more clearly worded.In spite of holding an advantage over the restaurant chain. Reader orientation and tone: MHP should be used in place of “Mike” ] There has been no food poisoning report from the restaurants after the May recall. Thus the difference in two cultures can be seen as the underlying root problem. although the quality of product supplied by SPC is suspect. This can be seen as reason why Jones came forward only after 3 weeks when he developed a little trust in the new management. and used to working under an authoritarian management. Mike has to worry about stuffed pasta being taken off the menu. 6 .

7 .PROBLEM STATEMENT What course of action would be consistent with MHP’s working culture and lead to minimum financial. legal and reputation risk for Mike Valenti and his company? [Selection of relevant data: Problem statement should mention the immediate decision to be taken] OPTIONS • • Do not call the client restaurants and trust their cooking standards Call the clients and let them know about the contamination so that the necessary cooking standards can be maintained [Selection of relevant data : Third option not mentioned ] CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION • Financial Implications o Short term : Losses for the particular batch in question o Long term : Possibility of losing the client • • • Legal implications The reputation of the company Ethical and social responsibility towards the clients as well as the final consumers.

] In case there is no outbreak.• The decision should be consistent with the culture of MHP and address the underlying problem of difference and conflict of cultures in the two entities [Quality and depth of analysis: Order of priority not mentioned. legal or reputation risk to be looked at. there are no financial. The long term loss could be losing the client. Logical rigor: The last criterion is more of an objective than a criterion of evaluation ] EVALUATION OF OPTIONS • Do not call the clients The New Year’s Eve is among the largest sales day for the restaurants. Thus the possibility of no outbreak in this situation is possible yet unlikely given the large number of restaurants serving the contaminated pasta. It would be only conservative to assume that all the dishes might not get proper cooking time in spite of robust standards. due to high traffic. If the client discovers that the Mike did 8 . [Clarity : There is ambiguity in the how much of a possibility an outbreak is. The short term financial loss implies sharing the settlement amount to be paid in case of a lawsuit. Language : “possibility of no outbreak … possible” could be better worded. Clarity: Implications not clearly defined. But in case there is an outbreak then SPC has to share the responsibility with the restaurants.

[ Logical rigor: Not all criteria of evaluation have been used. they will terminate their contract with SPC. It does mention how it wouldn’t aggrevate it. for example. • Call the clients Letting clients know about the contamination gives them a chance to make sure that they cook the food as per the required norms. But the restaurants 9 . that he was aware of the contamination. the liability can be placed upon the previous owner. It would send a signal to Jones (and others possibly aware of the situation) that Mike isn’t different from his previous employer. ethical and social responsibility has not been used for evaluation ] Quality of analysis : Unclear how it addresses the problem. say one of his managers. Also the reputation of Mike and MHP would go for a toss. Mike would never get the same appreciation from SPC’s employees as he gets from the MHP’s and thus will find it difficult to develop a similar healthy working culture. [ Selection of relevant data: Short and long term losses omit loss to inventory. Irrespective of an outbreak or not. Quality and depth of analysis: Long term loss omits loss of clients due to tarnished image ] Legally. he can have serious legal ramifications for his inaction in case of potential deaths. not informing the client would affect Mike’s effort to bring MHP’s culture into SPC.not inform them even after having the knowledge of the contamination. Mike has limited liability and if any one were to get sick. not how it addresses it. But here again if anyone was to testify against Mike.

But since they did not switch from SPC after the May 2001 recall. Mike should call the client. There is possible financial risk in both options but Mike’s ethical criteria should overcome other implications. His effort to mitigate the clash of cultures between his two companies is also best served by calling the clients. He can differentiate himself from their previous employer and start welding MHP’s culture with that of SPC’s. the FDA will have limited intervention. Most importantly it will set an example for everyone at SPC. it can be assumed that they have no other potential suppliers.may decide to not use the contaminated batch and ask for a refund for the same. but this should not do permanent damage to the restaurants and SPC’s image. By doing the ethical thing Mike will instill confidence among his managers and workers. for example . Since this is a business to business service. There wouldn’t be any legal implications in this option. There is a possibility of them taking the pasta out of their menu or looking for another supplier. Still there is possibility for local press releases. 10 . financial implications has not been used for evaluation ] RECOMMENDATION Based on the evaluation. Also they would be willing to give Mike a chance given his track record. There would however be implication for Mike’s and MHP’s reputation. which is now integrated with that of SPC. [Logical rigor: Not all criteria of evaluation have been used.

Conciseness : In some cases. • Communicate to the client how this was brought to Mike only hours ago. ] [Overall points : Logical Rigor : There are many cases in which inference deduction structure is missing. • Check for contamination in stored batches and destroy the contaminated lot. ] Word Count [1092] 11 . Also ensure him that proper checks will be installed from now on. [ Quality and depth of analysis : FDA inspection has been ruled out in both options. Since time is running out it should be made sure that all restaurants are contacted before dinner time. which is not the case here] ACTION PLAN • Call the client restaurants. punctuation and grammar throughout the text. the report is verbose and could be more crisp. Language : There are issues with diction. hence considering it in action plan is unconvincing.[Conciseness: Recommendation should be more concise. • Look for other possible causes of contamination and mechanize the process as in MHP as soon as possible to avoid complete shutdown in case of FDA inspection. Clarity: The recommendation should be directly follow from the evaluation.

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