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Chapter 9. Proposals > Authors’ Analysis of Case Study #2

Authors’ Analysis of Case Study #2

Franks’ proposal should be structured as follows:

Heading: Frank’s proposal should take the form of an extended proposal written in a memo format. The date, writer, reader, and subject should be established in the heading.

Lead: This introduction to the document should be very brief and specific, perhaps no more than three sentences. Frank should establish the reason why he is writing and the gains that will be realized by the adoption of his plan.

Current Environment: Frank might recall the details of the present lab design: the demands placed on the technicians, the inefficiency of the present situation, the results of that inadequacy. The current situation is perhaps so poor that technicians cannot complete their work during the normal business day and so overtime is paid. A thoughtful analysis of the current situation will prepare Frank’s audience to be receptive to his ideas.

Gains: Frank should now provide the major thrust of his proposal by presenting the benefits of adding additional racks to the lab. Gains such as efficiency, organization, and savings might be identified as three major benefits to the company.

Possible Problems: Frank might identify at least three possible problems in his proposal. First, there may be a work slowdown while shelves are installed. Second, a reliable supplier of the racks must be found; perhaps a number of suppliers might have to submit bids. Third, because the purchase of the racks would not directly lead to improved production, an investment in the lab might not be viewed by management as a primary concern.

Solutions: Now that Frank has acknowledged potential obstacles, he can refute them. First, he might design a plan in which a contractor could be hired to start the installation on a Friday, work through the weekend, and complete the job on Sunday. Work in the lab would then be slowed down for only one day. Second, with some research Frank might contact the supplier of the original racks to inquire about cost and warranty. Or, perhaps another division in the company—the warehouse?—has installed racks recently; if so, a supplier might be found there. Regarding the issue of cost, Frank must convince management that the time the technicians will save and the improved appearance of the lab will outweigh the cost of the shelves. In addition, the early stages of research and development, in which the lab plays an important role, would be completed more efficiently with the new lab design.

Alternatives: Admittedly, Frank might be able to find few alternatives to the redesign of the lab and the addition of shelves. Adding technicians, for example, would obviously only be a short-term solution. Therefore, Frank might use this section to reiterate his point: if the company is to stay ahead of the competition in research and design, then the lab needs additional shelves.

Cost: To a manager, this item is perhaps the most significant section of the report. Frank should have contacted two or more suppliers before writing the report, gathered information, and obtained bids. This information should be presented in tabular form. In addition, a comparison should be made between the cost of the shelves and the cost of overtime. For example, if the company is spending $15,000 a year on overtime, this cost can be easily eliminated with the purchase of the new shelves.

Summary: In a final paragraph Frank should review the major ideas of his proposal. He should stress the gains in efficiency, organization, and savings. He should cite briefly the obstacles and then show how each might be resolved. The entire cost should be re-stated, and the proposal should end with a well-phrased statement of conviction.



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