After yesterday’s post, our company President, Bob Walker, and I were talking, and he mentioned how our style of manufacturing contributes to the stability of families, and he is absolutely correct. I had hoped to develop the “level manufacturing” discussion later in the blog, but it really does belong in any that discusses employees . . . so, here goes:
Because our product is seasonal (riding lawn mower), popular manufacturing and employment practices would call for seasonal help, temporary work and extended layoffs when demand has suppressed. We have chosen to work as a level manufacturer where we try to make the same number of machines each day throughout the year. To be sure, this is a considerable monetary investment (risk), because at a high inventory part of the year, we may have millions of dollars in equipment on our racks ready to meet the spring demand, but it is an investment that allows our people the stability of year-round employment. Our employees have “full-time” lives, so they need “full-time” work.
Another benefit of full-time employees is consistent quality of work. When thousands of manufacturing processes are being completed each week, the value of consistent employees cannot be overlooked. Some companies use temporary work to increase production, but we have chosen to offer our employees an overtime hours schedule (within a set time period) to meet our high season demand. This extra expense is put into the pockets of our employees–the ones that are doing the job with excellence all year long.
As a final note, we also work only one shift. We believe this single day shift allows our employees to be a consistent part of their families and other interests they may have.
We will develop the reason for this style of manufacturing a little bit more as we go through some of the other principles . . . stay tuned.
November 1st, 2010 at 2:58 pm
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Gaye Lynn – LED 501
November 27th, 2010 at 7:32 pm
The principles this company discusses in this post are a true example of treating their employees fairly. The employees who do the work to make the products or provide the services a company sells to make their profit are the foundation on which the company is built.
They are trading their time – which is literally a portion of their life – to provide for their families. It is so important that they have the time to spend with the family so that the next generation will be fathered, raised with values and become productive members of the society.
Beyond this – if we are walking the talk, we need to be treating employees with the respect and care that shows the love of Christ.
November 28th, 2010 at 11:46 pm
I find this post very interesting because I am a manager in a processing plant that by nature is the exact opposite of what you describe. It is a dairy so the product being produced will be consumed in the next month. Also, we are 24/7 365ish (we try to take off Christmas and Thanksgiving. Lately our employees have had a ton of forced overtime with the increase in demand for the holidays. Many are going on 40 plus days straight. It is becoming increasingly challenging keeping the employees motivated in these extreme conditions. What I find is best is to remind them that it is temporary and their work is appreciated. In this craziness all of the managers are also working extra days. I believe those employees that take note of that appreciate that we are all sacrificing together.
February 11th, 2011 at 8:48 pm
Unethical business conduct appears to be increasing, why?
The old mighty dollar and greed will keep unethical business behavior on the rise. Even those who may have made some bad judgment, unethical decisions, for the greater good, end up having to continue to deceive, hoping they can get things back under control before the next quarter. While others, may be co horsed to continue the unethical behavior by someone who may have been part of the original deception for monitory or personal gain. However, they all eventually get caught, either by the checks and balances in place or by self identification, guilt–they turn themselves in.
Is this the result of Albert Z. Carr’s “Poker player” analogy?
I don’t believe so, the standards of ethics expected form a Poker player is greatly different from the senior leaders (CEOs) of a large corporation, who are held to the ethical standards, such as perseverance, public-spiritedness, integrity, truthfulness, fidelity, benevolence, and humility (Velasquez, 1992), with his/her actions and information sharing. A poker player is expected to bluff, its part of that industries standards. And, although investing in a large cooperation and the investment of that large corporation may be risky, the outcome must always be reported correctly. Bluffing the outcomes of business decisions will not be tolerated from business leaders; even a poker player caught cheating, different from bluffing, will be banned from the game.
Are there more Enron’s out there?
I believe that there will always be Enron’s out there. As long as businesses are managed by humans; the human factor that’s tied into ethical behavior(s), impacted by life experiences, seems to always fail when faced with decisions that deal with personal gain or loss.
Can we trust corporate leaders to be honest and ethical in the 21st Century?
They will try to be, especially with the new regulations and legislations that were enacted to expand the accuracy of financial reporting for public companies. One piece of legislation, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, expanded repercussions for destroying, altering, or fabricating records in federal investigations or for attempting to defraud shareholders. The act also increased the accountability of auditing firms to remain unbiased and independent of their clients. This should have them thinking twice before considering unethical behavior/decisions–they are now held accountable.
February 11th, 2011 at 9:09 pm
I think it’s great to find out that there are still companies out there that maintain their ethical standards and leadership still considers its employees when making business decisions. Your company is one of the few that I mentioned in my class threaded discussion response in regards to reflexive learning and the law of sacrifice. I recently started working for a small company (BTAS), main office in Ohio. I support a contract out in Southern California, and they hold the same beliefs, people first.
How has leadership in the last decade demonstrated this law, if at all?
The law of sacrifice, “A Leader Must Give up to Go Up”, was not in the minds of the majority of the leaders for the past decade. They became leaders or were leaders during a decade that started off very prosperous. Big corporation leaders were making big money; they spent big money and were not going to give it up for anyone. And, when times got tough they were ready to bail, not only with their money, but with the money of others. This is not to say that there were no leaders that sacrificed, I’m sure there were, but with all the attention focused on companies like ENRON, stories that impacted millions, which dominated the new, the sacrificers received little or no attention. I’m sure even a story like Lee Iacocca’s would not have been front page news.
Provide examples of service leadership contrasted with “Golden Parachute” Leadership. Which do you believe is more effective, and why?
Service Leadership, The Quest for Competitive Advantage (2006), defines Service Leadership as a culture that empowers the organization to strategize its promises, design its processes, and engage its people in a proactive quest for competitive advantage. When an entire organization has a service leadership mind-set, every employee-customer encounter is considered to be an invaluable opportunity to improve customer service and engender customer loyalty. Under these conditions, every individual takes responsibility and pride in creating or protecting the organizations leading position in service quality or in designated markets by carefully observing and communicating customer needs through the organization.
Golden Parachute is defined on the Business Directory.com site as huge bonus and /or a lucrative contract offered to a director or key employee to compensate for loss of office after a takeover or merger. It may also include a stockholding (shareholding) in the new set-up.
So, based on these two definitions I feel the Service Leadership style, normally seen in company’s like Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe’s, is the better more collaborative, everyone has something to gain style of leadership then the Golden Parachute, which could be found in large corporation like Enron–need I say more.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” I Timothy 6:10, NIV.
February 13th, 2011 at 4:10 am
It is great to see a company that is driven to be a one shift type of company. Most of the companies, depending on the business, are a 365 24/7 business. As businesses are driven by profit and not driven to help their employees to be the best that they can be.