The following appeared in a report presented for discussion at a meeting of the directors of a company that
manufactures parts for heavy machinery:
“The falling revenues that the company is experiencing coincide with delays in manufacturing. These delays, in turn,
are due in large part to poor planning in purchasing metals. Consider further that the manager of the department that
handles purchasing of raw materials has an excellent background in general business, psychology, and sociology,
but knows little about the properties of metals. The company should, therefore, move the purchasing manager to the
sales department and bring in a scientist from the research division to be manager of the purchasing department.”
The argument claims that the company's falling revenues is attributed to delays in manufacturing that, in turn, is due to poor planning in purchasing metals. Stated in this way the argument fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion of the argument relies on assumptions for which there is no clear evidence. Hence, the argument is unconvincing and has several flaws.
First, the argument readily assumes that the fall in revenue is due to delays in manufacturing. This statement is a stretch because the fall in revenue could be due to other factors such as the condition of the economy. For example, the demand for heavy machineries will be low during a recession as most companies' activities will be slow. The low demand for heavy machineries will lead to a decrease in demand for machinery part. As the demand for machinery parts decline, the supply or production of machinery parts will naturally decline. Therefore, the falling revenue could be an industry trend due to a recession and the argument could have been much clearer if it explicitly indicate that the falling revenue is due to the company's failure in fulfilling customers' orders
Second, the argument claims that the manufacturing managers are poor in planning the purchase of metals, leading to a decline in revenue. This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument does not demonstrate any causal relationship between poor planning in purchasing metals and decline in revenue. To illustrate, the purchasing managers might foresee that the demand for metals will decline due to a global recession, and therefore the purchasing managers have delayed the manufacturing of metals to conserve the cash for the Company and avoid unnecessary inventory build-up. If that's the case, the purchasing managers are actually doing a great job and mistakenly accused of poor in purchase planning.
Finally, the argument concludes that replacing the purchasing managers with scientists from the research division would improve planning in purchasing metals. It is not clear how would scientists do a better job than purchasing managers who are experienced in general business, psychology, and sociology. Without supporting evidence from other businesses where scientists would do a great job in procurement of metals, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence. As a result, this conclusion is not substantiated.
In conclusion, the argument is flowed for the aforementioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned all the relevant facts including the economy condition. In order to assess the merits of replacing the purchasing managers with scientists, it is essential to have full knowledge of all contributing factors.