Precision Controls

4 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Sherwood C. Frey

Sherwood C. Frey

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

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Precision Controls a leading designer of industrial valve systems has the opportunity to contract with Ashmore Chemicals with produces phenol. Ashmore is trying to improve on its safety due to terrorist activity and recent close calls at one of its plants. Ashmore wants upgrades to current valves with a time factor of nine months to completion. In return Precision Controls has the opportunity to make 100% price premium if improvements are dramatic enough and finished within the time frame. For Precision Controls this would mean a valve redesign, software development, and manufacturing issues to resolve for completion of project.



Precision Controls

Even though the hiking trip to Shenandoah National Park was intended to be a restful interlude in his work pace, Robert Ferguson, head of Marketing at Precision Controls, found his mind wandering to his recent conversation with Theresa Payne, executive vice president of Ashmore Chemicals. Contract discussions with Payne, who was responsible for worldwide corporate-safety programs at Ashmore, had taken an interesting turn. Payne had initially contacted Precision to place an order for 50 of Precision's model SV44A-10 smart-valve systems to manage the phenol flows at Ashmore's nine chemical plants worldwide. Their conversation, however, had led to the possibility of Precision's developing an improved model for Ashmore at a substantially increased price.

Payne's proposed new system would require an improvement in the flow sensing and flow control of the existing valve system to allow for real-time information processing and dynamic responses to changes in process states. In addition, the new system would require a substantial improvement in valve capability to enable quick changes in valve-gate positions. Because of the dynamic nature of the real-time information flow, the improved valve system would need to respond to instruction changes far more rapidly than the existing model.

The Ashmore Contract

Precision Controls was the leading designer and manufacturer of industrial valve systems. Much of its reputation was based on its leading-edge technology, outstanding record of product reliability, focus on cooperative customer relations, and willingness to design customized products.

. . .

Keywords: Implementing change, continuous improvement

Suggested Citation

Frey, Sherwood C., Precision Controls. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0656, Available at SSRN:

Sherwood C. Frey (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States


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