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Manufacturing Productivity Related to Management Style

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Walter Hay

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Sep 13, 2014
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Let me recount my experience during the late 60s to mid 80s in visiting factories where my product was being used. I saw extreme opposites in the same industry.

One was a small, low capitalized operation that churned out a massive amount of high quality product on ancient equipment in a tumble-down building.

The second one was a huge business with apparently endless capital and a huge staff to go with their state of the art equipment in a spotless factory. Their production was much less in total than the smaller business. Why???

The small business had hands-on management and an air of camaraderie, in which the owner often had lunch with the workers. The factory manager actually labored beside his workers. Ideas from the workers were often implemented, making everything function brilliantly. For the nearly 20 years that I called on them, I noticed very little staff turnover. I enjoyed visiting that dirty factory.

The large business had extremely formal management, with the upper echelons rarely seen. Work processes were so regulated that they were akin to rituals. Workers were not permitted to think. They were human robots. In my role as a manufacturing trouble-shooter I recommended a small procedural change and my recommendation was greeted with alarm by the supervisor. Oh well, they bought a lot of my product and paid promptly.....until they went bankrupt.

Walter
 
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