Change Management at Mars Publishing House

By Gavino, Jacinto C.; Portugal, Edwin J. et al. | Journal of Case Studies, May 2014 | Go to article overview

Change Management at Mars Publishing House


Gavino, Jacinto C., Portugal, Edwin J., Briones, Daisy T., Journal of Case Studies


A New Assignment

Dennis Marasigan, the IT manager of Mars Publishing House and its affiliated companies, was given a new assignment: To lead the Enterprise Resource Planning project, also called ERP. Dennis aired his concern, "Ms. Martinez, ten months is a very aggressive timeline to develop our own ERP system. People would cause delays." Dennis recalled that the past ERP system implementation was not just a project management process but also a change management process full of people's issues. "The business has grown exponentially and we cannot afford to be in a catch-up mode for too long. Our sales dipped and receivables went up. Besides, I don't want to hear another complaint from any priority customer again. I trust you can lead this project and you have my full support!," Gina Martinez, the President of Mars, assured Dennis. He thought, "How could I manage change and empower the managers and staff to own the project and collaborate better?"

Introduction

Dennis had been with the company for several years. He understood and believed in technology and attributed Mars' fast growth to the Board's knowledge of how and when to use technology. He submitted a business case for a new ERP system. The Board immediately gave the go signal for initial business analysis to proceed and appointed him to lead the project.

In earlier computerization and IT projects, he was appointed as project coordinator. Even in the two former ERP projects, Gina led the process since she had an IT background. For family-owned businesses in the Philippines, it was not uncommon to see owner-CEOs working hands on with operational matters. Dennis was not new to scoping, requirements analysis, and Gantt Charts but one aspect that he disliked was change management. This had never been his strength and he thought that he did not have the authority nor responsibility to tell people how to improve their jobs. Dennis was torn between confidence and pessimism.

Background on the Publishing Industry and Mars Publishing House

A vision-driven family business

Mars Publishing House was an offshoot of Martinez Publishing. The Martinez Publishing in the Philippines was founded by William Y. Martinez and Joy Martinez. The husband and wife founders promoted the publication of quality instructional materials for Filipino students by Filipino authors.

It was only after fourteen years of operation that William Martinez finally gained government support in his crusade when the Department of Education issued the Department Order Number 43, Series 1972. This ordinance stated that, with the purpose of "accomplishing an integrated, nationalistic, and democracy-inspired education system in the Philippines, all schools, colleges, and universities should use, if available, only textbooks authored by Filipinos and published locally in preference to those written by foreigners and printed abroad."

Martinez Publishing was run as a family business since its founding and when Mr. Martinez passed away, his children continued the family business. Initially there was no formal Human Resources (HR) Department, no formal Accounting Department, and no formal structures. They took care of their customers and considered employees as part of the family. Staff members were loyal to the Martinez family.

Textbook Publishing

The publishing industry in the Philippines was segregated into a) textbook, b) magazine, c) newspaper and d) specialty books. In the textbook publishing sub-sector there were family corporations and large university printing presses. Most textbook publishing companies imported and distributed foreign-authored college, high school and grade school textbooks. Prohibitive tariffs made imported books cheaper than those locally printed.

Despite tough times, the Martinez siblings chose to publish original material rather than import textbooks. They believed that this was in line with their parents' vision for high quality education for and by Filipinos. …

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