Father, son write book on business success


A new book, co-authored by UNC Pembroke business professor Dr. William “Rick” Crandall, lays down rules for business success in a competitive and rapidly changing marketplace.


Rick Candall

Rick Crandall

 richard Crandall

Richard Crandall

Dr. Crandall is co-author of the newly published book “New Methods of Competing in the Global Marketplace: Critical Success Factors from Service and Manufacturing” (2008, CRC Press). It offers guideposts for success in the 21st century world of business.
According to Dr. Crandall, one important driving force for business improvement is that manufacturing companies are becoming more like service companies and service companies are acting more like manufacturing companies.

“Manufacturing companies have existed in their world by producing high quality products at low cost, and service industries have gotten good at building unique relationships with their customers,” Dr. Crandall said. “Now, successful companies act more like hybrids.

“The question this books answers is how do service companies learn from manufacturers, and how do manufacturers learn from service companies,” he said. “Take IBM as a model. Originally, IBM was a manufacturing company, but today, they look more like a service company.”

Dr. Crandall and his co-author and father, Dr. Richard E. Crandall, bring different business backgrounds to their subject while sharing a unique bond – they are father and son.

“My father was an industrial engineer, and I was trained in the service sector, mostly in restaurants,” Dr. Crandall said. “Ironically, my dad went back to graduate school at the same time I did.”

The father, Dr. Richard E. Crandall, is on the faculty of Appalachian State University, and son, UNCP’s Dr. William “Rick” Crandall, have co-authored several papers for publication, but this is their first, and probably not last, major work.

“My father is a pretty amazing guy, who teaches full-time at age 78,” Dr. Crandall said. “We get along really well, and I respect him a lot.”

Book CoverDr. William Crandall said it was his father who approached him two years ago about co-authoring a book.  We wanted to collaborate on a book that focused on what we teach in the classroom, and what draws from our own business backgrounds.

The finished product is aimed at practicing managers, Dr. Crandall said.  One of the things the book stresses is the need for organizations to change. 

“Change cannot just come about though, it has to be planned,” Dr. Crandall said.  “We focus on three elements that must be strategically planned if positive change is to occur.

  • “First, the structure of the organization may need to be altered. Today, organizations are flatter, with less levels of hierarchy than what we have seen in the past.  The result is that lower-level employees must be allowed to make decisions without a lot of managerial approval. 
  • “Second, technology must be embraced to allow for flexibility in the manufacturing and service areas. We are not just talking about putting a PC on every desk and using email, word processing, and spreadsheets. Today, technological applications have the ability to help businesses adjust to sharp fluctuations in customer demand, while at the same time, containing costs.
  • “Finally, the organizational culture must be addressed when implementing changes. Some organizations can change faster because their employees are receptive to it; in fact, they may actually embrace change. Others resist change because it breaks down the ‘comfort zone’ in which employees and management have been operating.”

With chapters on strategic planning, technology, infrastructure and management as well as on manufacturing and service techniques that cut successfully across boundaries, the book could be used as a text in the classroom.

“It is rigorous enough to be used in an upper level production management course,” Dr. Crandall said.

One successful publication has led to a contract for a second book that will focus on the supply chain aspect of business.

“We will add a third author to the mix and explore ideas related to successful supply chain management,” Dr. Crandall said.

At UNCP’s School of Business, Dr. Crandall teaches courses in organizational leadership, human resources management and business policy. He earned a Ph.D. in business from The University of Memphis, and his father earned his doctorate from the University of South Carolina.