Donna Dubinsky and Apple Computer, Inc.
Report of Findings and Recommendations
Table of Contents
Background and Scope
Conclusions and Recommendations
Background and Scope
This report has been prepared for Professor XXX. This report summarizes the complete review of Donna Dubinsky’s career at Apple Computer as the Director of Distribution and Sales Administration and the proposed distribution system. In addition, Donna Dubinsky’s response and handling of the proposed distribution system will be assessed.
This review concludes that despite Donna Dubinsky’s stellar education as a Yale graduate and a Harvard MBA she completely mishandled the entire situation from beginning to end. Ms. Dubinsky’s enjoyed a rapid and well deserved career path to become Apple Computer’s Director of Distribution and Sales Administration. She was regarded as an excellent manager who “projects a lot of confidence and conviction in her beliefs.” However, when Steve Jobs was lobbying for the existing distribution system to be eliminated and replaced by a “just-in-time” method, Ms. Dubinsky reacted uncharacteristically and did not rely on the skills and techniques learned in her Ivy League education.
Several recommendations are proposed, including accepting Donna Dubinsky’s resignation, developing a feasible implementation plan, and implementing the proposed distribution system.
Donna Dubinsky was a Yale graduate and obtained a Harvard MBA prior to starting as a customer support liaison at Apple Computers, Inc. Within three (3) years her responsibilities were augmented and then she was promoted to Director of Distribution and Sales Administration. Ms. Dubinsky managed 80 employees and a $10 million budget which included six (6) distribution centers. She treated her employees skillfully, had a direct approach, and was well respected by her employees who said, “And she’ll always support a company decision even if she doesn’t agree with it.” Ms. Dubinsky “characterized herself as thick skinned and nondefensive.”
In September 1984, Donna Dubinsky and her manager, Roy Weaver, presented the 1985 business plan to the Apple executive staff. “The plan held no real surprises, but it did call for a long-term distribution strategy review to be conducted throughout the coming year, particularly concerning the development of additional distribution centers.” Steve Jobs, Apple Board of Directors Chairman, was concerned about the business plan and even questioned the cost of the existing distribution centers. It is assumed that Mr. Weaver and Ms. Dubinsky did not address Mr. Jobs questions.
Steve Jobs learned of the “just-in-time” distribution utilized by Federal Express. He could see the potential of using this distribution system and dramatically decreasing the cost of the current distribution centers. Mr. Jobs tasked Debi Colman, Director of Manufacturing, with explore the concept to determine initial feasibility and then develop the Distribution Strategy Proposal. Donna Dubinsky argued that the new plan was not feasible based on “her experience and track record with distribution.” Nevertheless, the new distribution plan was gaining support from Apple upper management.
Donna Dubinsky was not involved in the presentation of the Distribution Strategy Proposal. In fact she created a counterproposal which Roy Weaver presented at a three-day executive meeting. The result was to establish a Distribution Task Force of “neutral” individuals to review both proposals and determine the path forward. Apple executive staff agreed to accept the task force recommendations.
The task force was dysfunctional from the start. Donna Dubinsky was angry that there was a task force set up. She could not provide objective and independent judgment. Ms. Dubinsky viewed Debi Coleman’s proposal as a personal attack on her...
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