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Expert System

Introduction, Situation Analysis, Instructions, Technical Background

Case 5 The Demanding Customer

Setting: Semi-Conductor Manufacturing; Your Position: CEO

You are CEO of a company that produces systems for the semi-conductor industry. The company has existed for ten years. Its major product, which is protected by three patents, has been on the market for eight years and has a reputation for being the best system available. The company sells its product to end-users and to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).

The company employs a hundred people, and the managing body consists of yourself and four vice presidents. The vice presidents are engineers who have vast technical knowledge and have been with the company since the start. Management works as a team and consults with one another frequently. Most decisions are made as a result of discussions among the managing body. However, there are some decisions that you believe should be made by the CEO alone. This group is highly committed to the company's goals and values. You believe that you have earned their respect, and they have supported all of your decisions up until now.

For some time you have been concerned about the vulnerability of a single-product company such as yours in a volatile industry. Recently, the leading semi-conductor company, a principal customer, has expressed interest in signing a long-term contract. This contract has now been in negotiation for the last three months. Your product is an essential part of their system, and by signing this contract not only will your company be the sole supplier but you will also be able to provide them with replacement parts long into the future.

The contract is very important to the company. However, on the day before the contract was to be signed, the customer came up with a new demand. They want you to disclose and provide the plans and blueprints for the manufacturing of the product in order to guarantee their supply in the event you were unable to meet their needs. They explained that they do not want to steal the product but merely want to secure their supply chain.

You feel that you know the customer very well and can appreciate the rationale for their request. Your background in law also gives you an understanding of the legal implications of existing patents.

Your answer: Decide

Decision SignificanceHow important is the "quality" of the decision, i.e. to what extent does the decision have material, strategic impact on your clients or beneficiaries inside or outside of the organization. (click for details)   Group ExpertiseDoes the group collectively have the necessary knowledge to solve the problem and or make this decision? (click for details)
Importance of CommitmentTo what degree will the implementation of the decision require the support and cooperation of the group to be effective? (click for details)   Interaction ConstraintAre there time or geographic constraints which would prevent you from bringing the team together (physically or by telecom) to make the decision? (click for details)
Leader ExpertiseTo what extent do you, the leader, have the necessary knowledge to solve the problem or make this decision? (click for details)   Team Competence How competent is the group at working together as a team in solving problems or making decisions. The issue is not their factual or analytical technical knowledge, but rather their ability to work together synergistically. (click for details)
Likelihood of Commitment How likely is it that the group would accept your decision as the best course of action even though not included in the decision making process itself. (click for details)   Time/Dvpt PreferenceChoose the importance of time and development individually or use the values specified by either the Time or Development Driven model.(click for details)
Goal AlignmentTo what degree are the members of the group committed to the achievement of the oganization goals which are at stake in this decision? (click for details)      Value of TimeThe value of time varies with the number and intensity of other activities confronting you and your group. Considering your current workload, rate the value of time. (click for details)
Likelihood of DisagreementHow controversial is this decision likely to be among the members of the group? (click for details)      Value of DevelopmentHow important is it to you to develop the capabilities of your group or team, i.e. increasing their knowledge, their commitment to the organization, and their effectiveness in working together? (click for details)
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