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Case Incident 1.1 The Expansion of Blue Streak
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What suggestions would you offer to Art to improve his operation?
What management skills must Art master if he is to resolve his problems and continue to grow? Which of the categories from the textbook relate to these skills?
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Case Incident 1.1
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The Expansion of Blue Streak
Arthur Benton started the Blue Streak Delivery Company five years ago. Blue Streak
initially provided commercial delivery services for all packages within the city of Unionville (population 1 million). Art started with himself, one clerk, and one driver. Within three years, Blue Streak had grown to the point of requiring 4 clerks and 16 drivers. It was then that Art decided to expand and provide statewide service. He figured this would initially require the addition of two new offices, one located at Logantown (population 500,000) in the southern part of the state, and one at Thomas City (population 250,000) in the northern part of the state. Each office was staffed with a manager, two clerks, and four drivers. Because both Logantown and Thomas City were within 150 miles of Unionville, Art was able to visit each office at least once a week and personally coordinate the operations in addition to providing general management assistance. The statewide delivery system met with immediate success and reported a healthy profit for the first year. The next year Art decided to expand and include two neighboring states. Art set up two offices in each of the two neighboring states. However, operations never seemed to go smoothly in the neighboring states. Schedules were constantly being fouled up, deliveries were lost, and customer complaints multiplied. After nine months, Art changed office managers in all four out-of-state offices. Things still did not improve. Convinced that he was the only one capable of straightening out the out-of-state offices, Art began visiting them once every two weeks. This schedule required Art to spend at least half of his time on the road traveling between offices. After four months of this activity. Art began to be tired of the constant travel; operations in the two neighboring states still had not improved. In fact, on each trip Art found himself spending all his time putting out fires that should have been handled by the office managers. Art decided to have a one-day meeting that all of his office managers would attend to discuss problems and come up with some answers. At the meeting, several issues were raised. First, all of the managers thought Art's visits were too frequent. Second, most of the managers did not seem to know exactly what Art expected them to do. Finally, each of the managers believed they should have the authority to make changes in their office procedures without checking with Art before making the change.