Planning and Organizing

Planning and Organizing

The assignment is to develop a planning and organizational structure for a small printing firm located in Baltimore, Md.
The key to planning is developing a resume of where the firm is (perhaps using SWOT analysis)and where they want to go.
The key to organizing is determining what structure is most appropriate for the firm to utilize to accomplish its objectives.



The company is a small printing firm located in Baltimore. The firm has been in business approximately 50 years, and is currently run by the son of the original founder. Primary markets are universities and hospitals in the greater Baltimore area. They produce business cards, letterheads, and envelopes, which are considered to be commodity products in this industry, generally low priced and bought in large volume. In addition, the firm has expanded to design and produce more complicated printing materials such as books, newsletters, brochures, and annual reports for local firms. They also operate a mailing service, in which they offer product design, mailing list compilation, and actual mailing of materials. This is a growing part of the business, and although small, promises to be an important source of revenue and profit in the future. The firm recently began to market a line of apparel customized for industrial firms with printed company and personal identification. In this field they compete with direct sellers (those who make the finished product in house) and thus their markups and volume potential is limited. (as distributors, and not manufacturers, they need to add a markup percentage to their operating costs, thus making their prices higher than direct manufacturers.The firm operates under a several year lease in a modern building located in an industrial park.

Sales have been in the range of $4 million dollars, and in the past two years they have operated at a loss. Prior to the recession, the firm recorded volume close to $5 million dollars, however, volume was reduced to $3 million as a result of the recession. Recently sales have begun to increase, and minimal profits are being earned. The company has a gross operating margin average of 40%, and an inflated overhead of approximately $80 thousand dollars per month.

Staff consists of 35 employees of whom several are family members. The President is reluctant to delegate decision making authority to his employees (including two vice presidents) because he is concerned about their ability and knowledge of the printing industry, even though both have been employed for more than 5 years. The firm makes little use of e-commerce, although they do have a website. ( Office staff consists of 4 customer service representatives, several clerks, an estimator, a part time accountant, and a designer. Sales staff includes 4 representatives, one acting as sales manager. Sales reps are paid on salary plus commission. The rest are factory employees covering positions such as supervision, machine operators, bindery operators, technical support personnel, and a shipping/delivery department of 2 persons. There is no company wide training program for any staff members. There are several incidents of conflict among the CSRs who feel they are underpaid, and sales reps who feel they are over worked. The basic structural pattern is one of non cooperation and mis trust among employees and management.

Long term plans are to turn the firm around by aggressive cost cutting and energetic customer contact to improve sales. The firm is trying to expand both its products and markets, and is having some success, particularly in the areas of specialty products. The near term outlook, however, is clouded by persistent losses and a depressed economic climate.