Hewlett Packard Singapore
This study explores the important contribution of HP Singapore in the computer peripherals business of the company through their production proficiency and the eventual initiative of Capricom project. The project aims at developing a complete end-product for the Japanese market. With their initial experience in a joint development of various products, HP Singapore managed to establish its skills in project management and printer architecture that attracted an Asian market for printers.
HP Singapore was launched in the 1970 due to the government support and cheap labor cost. HP began with the assembling computer parts that included core memories. Within a very short time, they started manufacturing advanced technology products, which included keyboards, ICs, calculators, isolators and SSDs. They company amassed vast experience in manufacturing various products, and by 1980, Singapore showed its prowess in manufacturing high-quality products at minimal costs through adoption of effective cost engineering. Through cooperation and training with their American counterparts on ASIC design, the Singapore engineers managed to lower the production cost of calculators and ICs’ number. The effort resulted in a shift of the whole calculator production to Singapore. This influenced the establishment of CPS R&D team, responsible for building next generation keyboard. CPS engineers were to utilize the latest technology for the simulation and development purposes, and partner with other vendors and teams in order to achieving their goals (HP Computer Museum 2013).
The manufacturing of Thinkjet Printers began when the US relocated the product to Singapore. Although the printer production parts came from Asia, specialization and quality enhancement led to significant cost minimization. Later on, CPS proposed design adjustments to Vancouver Division for additional cost minimization. Through collaboration with Vancouver, the engineers succeeded to re-design the product. The major goal for Alex project was to invent a minimal cost inkjet technology printer within a span frame of eighteen months. The plan instructed CPS to work majorly on cost minimizing plans while VCD to focus on program and product tasks. Finally, the responsibility of marketing the printers was placed on Vancouver while Singapore was to manufacture it. This was accompanied with multiple delays as a result of technical errors in the product and managerial changes in Vancouver. Another issue rose from the different working styles by the teams and location of the worksites on different time zones. These problems with Alex project exposed Singapore as incapable of undertaking core business duties from Vancouver. Normally the management challenges in a joint development of a product over two areas are inescapable. The Asian working style was that of a system oriented while Americans preferred a system that was process and individual oriented. Some personal traits were associated to culture, education system and language proficiency. However, the pair had shared a common advantage in that they had complimentary skills. The management decided to transfer Alex project to Vancouver, and this attracted more costs, which led to eventual termination of the project (Santos, 2013).
Issues in the Case
The first relevant issues stressed in this study are challenges related to team working on a co-product development in different areas. This is evident in Alex project where management issues crop-up due to different working styles within the team, cultural disparities and education background. This further worsens due to the fact that the project lacked proper planning, and it made more assumptions regarding the nature of communication and working processes between the teams. There was also an issue of conflicting priorities in the product production and design engineers. The Vancouver engineers focused on ways of achieving the greatest functionality and postponing the matter concerning sourcing. The Singapore designers, on the other hand, focused on quantity production and wanted to ensure that any anticipated changes could match their vendors’ needs.
Other issues included enormous project delays, and relocation of the project to a single location, which amplified the cost of production. The worse and the least expected was the cancelation of the whole project given the overall costs that had been incurred. This shows that the product’s technical feasibility study neglected several core issues. In addition, the extreme timeframe highlighted by project Alex also overlooked on many issues. For example, the reality that Singapore and Vancouver lie in opposite time zones implies that HP would have worked around the clock in performing R&D. There always exist opportunities when groups of diverse background with complimentary set of skills work together. This is true in the HP Singapore case, where despite the challenges they went through, its teams still succeeded in reducing production costs.
One of the solution is to relocate the flow of engineering processes to a single location, that is Singapore should deal with the Asian market products while Vancouver to supply the North American market products. This will see each site upholding a total end-responsibility from designing to selling. However, each place may lack a complete resources and skills needed for such a decision. The advantages of situating a production processes in Asia will enhance the improvement and implementation of an effective manufacturing processes as well as acquire labor and materials at a considerable minimal cost as compared to US. In addition, it turns out to be logical to manufacture products for Asia in Singapore because they will better understand the cultural requirements of the Asian market than the Americans. The opportunity to penetrate into Japanese market compels Singapore to have a total responsibility on the end-products.
To balance the skills required, the company needs to create a career network that starts with recruiting diverse individuals regarding their traits, skills and then distributing them throughout the company both vertically and horizontally. This will give rise to a wide-ranging knowledge of the firm and promote a typical teamwork that other firm can covet. The company should also adopt a cooperate culture based on the reinforcement and integration of critical opposites. This will enhance and prolong its competitive advantage irrespective of the marketplace. The achievement of this dichotomy by the company will promote an environment of individualism, and at the same time, support teamwork.
HP Singapore should dare its rivals by opening the Japanese market since this will promote their revenue growth. Their venture would be certain since they have demonstrated their abilities in technology. One decision that HP Singapore should make is to leave product management, design, development and marketing to the US because of quality technology skills they possess. They only should focus on manufacturing because of their cost-advantage of production, labor and parts, but firmware development for Asian languages should remain in Singapore. The firms should manage their respective work-flows in away that maximize the utilization of individuals’ abilities in various locations. The application of technology continues to ease communications and team working across the world. The gift to maximize engineering processes and effective use of human resources and skills is an aspect that can improve the HP Singapore’s profit margins. In the recent years, various firms have been seen going global and have become more focused towards shifting production to Asia. This poses a challenge to HP Singapore.
If the company agrees with my recommendation, i.e. HP Singapore to continue with its development of the new printer for Japanese market and if successful, the firm will automatically outdo their competitors, Cannon and Epson. This will not only impact in the Japanese market, but also across the world. Caution: the Japanese customers normally shy away from buying products from companies whose future is unknown to them. Therefore, incase their product fails; it would greatly harm the firm’s revenue.
HP Computer Museum. (2013). HP Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.hpmuseum.net/divisions.php?did=24.
Santos, J. (2013). MITOpenCourseWare: Managing Global Integration: retrieved from http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/sloan-school-of-management/15-229-managing-global-integration-spring-2012/lecture-notes/MIT15_229S12_lec01.pdf.