Report on Increase Productivity through a Change in Corporate Culture

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Increase productivity through a change in corporate culture

The purpose of this proposal is to provide solutions and make recommendations to increase productivity. We need to change our Corporate Culture in a positive direction to propel Lippert Enterprises, Inc. to a long term profitable juggernaut in our industry. By doing this, we will increase our productivity as well as our work ethic, pride, and image overall. Furthermore, we need to determine why the productivity has decreased or remained stagnant in several departments, even with the influx of additional labor.


Decreased departmental productivity

The dealer returns department began as a four-person team at the Caldwell, Ohio facility in 2004. It has since developed into an eleven person team. Although the number of producers has only increased from four to six, it was determined we needed five additional people to work as a support staff. We moved this department to Ashland, Ohio in 2007 because the productivity was not where we wanted it; we thought bringing the department to the corporate headquarters would increase the productivity. As indicated in Figure 1A moving the operation did increase the productivity in 2007 and 2008. Productivity increased slightly each year then it peaked in 2008. It has become evident since then that the production in the dealer returns department has declined from the peak in 2008 through today. We are currently operating below the production level of 2006, but with more than double the number of employees in this department. Please refer to Figures 1A and 1B for the statistical data.

Figure 1A                                                                    Figure 1B

The volume of lines produced peaked in 2008 which reflects the large increase in employees, even with the steady decline in 2009, 2010, and 2011 the employees were retained.

We have also experienced the same results with the shipping department. In 2004 we were operating the shipping department with three employees; today we are utilizing nine. Throughout 2004 we averaged 80 packages per day; from 2005 through 2011 we had an average annual increase of 7% per year on the number of packages we shipped per day. Our outbound shipments have increased by 60% since 2004 while our labor has increased 200% in the same time frame.

Please see Figure 2

The Percentage of employees hired far exceeds the increase in volume to

complete the equivalent amount of work.

We have also added staff in two other departments from 2004 through 2011 without justifying the need. The only department that did not increase is the office staff.

  • Inbound Receiving increased from four employees to eleven
  • Sales Tech grew from one employee to three
  • Office staff decreased from fifteen employees to ten, while increasing production

To compensate, management has thrown new labor at production shortfalls instead of looking for the root cause, which has allowed people to relax more and produce less. With management not acknowledging the problems, they have compounded. Therefore, we must determine how to change the culture and philosophy, while determining if our skill sets match our jobs.


Goal setting

Some of the shortfalls in our production and management are a direct result of not setting goals. Goal setting is an important step to increase productivity within our organization. If our line workers, mid-level managers, and upper management do not have goals and benchmarks to attain, the productivity and profitability of the organization will suffer as is evident over the past seven years. According to an article in Financial Executive, “In every case where business has increased profits, it came as a result of a process of improving labor productivity.” (Financial Executive, 2012)

Keith Ayers (2007) stated.

Many business leaders are afraid that if they allow employees to set their own goals, they purposely will set them low to make life easier for themselves. But that is not what happened at the TAC. When the management team got employees involved in discussing what need to be done to increase customer satisfaction and to set a goal they thought was achievable, they set the goal far higher than their managers thought was realistic…96% satisfaction. Not only did they achieve the goal–they exceeded it. (p. 28)

Flexible work schedule

If we incorporate some type of flexible work schedule at Lippert Enterprises, Inc. I believe that we can increase our productivity with happier employees. Studies have shown that changing corporate culture through flexible scheduling to increase employee happiness is very effective in increasing productivity in organizations. Changing from a five-day work week of eight-hour days to a four-day work week of ten-hour days has improved employee happiness and this increased their productivity. In addition, there are financial savings by not opening the doors on the fifth day.

In an article in Time regarding the four-day workweek by Bryan Walsh (2009)

After 12 months, Utah’s experiment has been deemed so successful that a new acronym could catch on: TGIT (thank God it’s Thursday). The state found that its compressed workweek resulted in a 13% reduction in energy use and estimated that employees saved as much as $6 million in gasoline costs. Altogether, the initiative will cut the state’s greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 12,000 metric tons a year. And perhaps not surprisingly, 82% of state workers say they want to keep the new schedule. “People loved it.” Those who didn’t tended to have young children and difficulty finding extended day care. The advantages of a so-called 4-10 schedule are clear: less commuting, lower utility bills.

It would be difficult for Lippert Enterprises, Inc. to use the four-day work week and may not feasible because we need to service our customers. We can still create a flexible work schedule by increasing our operating hours from 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and allow employees to work eight hours within this essential time frame. This set-up also reflects positively in relation to employee happiness. It has been in use since the 1970’s and is gaining popularity to help people balance a busy work/personal life. In an article from Claire Oldfield it was stated that “And yet studies and anecdotal evidence show how flexible-working practices improve productivity, general employee wellbeing and can even impact the bottom line.” (Oldfield, 2008)

Wages and benefits

Based on information from the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, our wage and benefits package is aligned at the top of local businesses that are roughly the same size. With this in mind we can develop incentive programs to distance ourselves from the others to improve our ability to retain good employees and attract a high quality candidate when we need to fill a position. We could also institute quarterly bonuses, use piece work in lieu of hourly wages, institute flextime, and offer in-house daycare.

Effective communication

In the past when we utilized the management style where we led by example, involved line workers in decision changes, and bottom to top communication there was a positive influence on the way the employees wanted to be involved in the organization. Discussing changes in the work place with line workers and their supervisors will also ensure that we have the right people in the right positions, based on skill level and education. We also need to re-train line workers to ensure they are confident in the current practices we use. Continuing education and training for mid-level and top management are also important aspects of business operations that we need to return to. Information I have retrieved from an article by Keith Ayers points out. (Ayers 2007) “Employees who are trusted and given more choice over how they do their jobs are more engaged, committed and productive. People who know they are being trusted to be responsible do not want to let the organization down.” (p.28)


It is evident that from 2004 through 2011 our increase in output has not matched the new hires we have added to our staff. We have alienated many of our policies and procedures that were the cornerstone of the company since its inception in 1976, namely goal setting, communication, discipline, and employee recognition. With the tendency of current management to hire new employees at any sign of decreased production or any increase in orders, thus avoid finding the root problem, we have come to a critical juncture. To maintain an efficient, profitable company, changes need to be implemented immediately. Our wage and benefit packages appear to be sufficient or better than the industry standard.  We have a solid customer base that continues to grow. Therefore, the main areas of focus need to be effective communication, training, education and employee morale. The following recommendations should give us a strong platform to build upon to advance the organization to a better functioning level of increased productivity through cooperation, high morale, and benchmark industry standards.


  1. Create detailed job descriptions and qualifications for all positions within the company
  2. Formally re-train all employees to the detailed job descriptions
  3. Create a flexible schedule by altering our hours of operation to 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, allowing employees to start between 6:00 am and 8:30 am with quitting time ranging from 2:30 pm to 5:00 p.m. (Schedule preference will be based on seniority and by department.)
  4. Set annual goals in conjunction with the employees prior to the start of the fiscal year then break them down to monthly, weekly, and daily plans of action to accomplish those goals.
  5. Set benchmarks with input from the employees that will challenge them to succeed.
  6. Give employees the respect and accolades that they have earned.
  7. Hold individuals accountable for their failures.
  8. Follow the employee handbook; utilize the progressive discipline policy of a verbal warning up to termination for habitual non-performers.


Ayers, K. (2007). Get employees to help you increase productivity & profitability. Rural


      Telecommunications, 26(5), 26-31.

Maximizing labor producivity. (2012). Financial Executive, 28(4), 21.

Oldfield, C. (2008). Flex to impress. Director (0012342), 62(1), 54-57.

Walsh, B. (2009, September 7). The four-day workweek is winning fans. Time. Retrieved