An organizational restructuring was required after a division of an international alloy manufacturing company voted out the union. Manufacturing personnel were organized into teams, with team supervisors and sectional managers, but employees complained that without the union they would have no voice in the company. In addition, the effects of a company-wide downsizing earlier in the year had created confusion in several processes, particularly the internal supply chain, causing distribution and production problems. As morale declined, worker downtime increased, as did machine shutdowns and repair issues; productivity and quality were low.
Dissatisfaction with the results of the vote might encourage unrest and a possible reintroduction of the union, which w
ould raise costs that would result in the plant closing.
To change the working culture of the plant. To create a new manufacturing supply chain with minor disruptions.
“From my experience with international unions, I understood the importance of maintaining respect for long-held traditions while replacing outmoded processes during time of change. We needed to support the client’s manufacturing staff to reinforce teamwork while addressing distribution and production problems. Rather than bring in a team of external consultants to make these changes, two MTM consultants joined the client company’s team. They proposed to senior management that we identify and train a cross-section of staff to undertake the restructuring internally. This effort would produce role models and identifiable project leaders to work with administrative, production, and manufacturing staff. Senior management attended many of the work sessions and the plant manager held weekly ’roundtable’ lunches with team leaders and employees. The team developed a new and more efficient supply chain.”
The division restructuring was achieved within both the budget and established timeframe. As the benefits became evident, morale and production improved. The success of the new supply chain inspired further changes. The importance/significance of modifying tangential systems to meet the new productivity standards became a natural progression. Team members contributed ideas, further supporting the transition process.
EMPLOYEE TEAMS ARE BEST PREPARED
TO LEAD CULTURAL CHANGE
The development of your staff is often the most powerful solution to ensure successful long-term project implementation. Working with MTM, select members of your staff will receive leadership training to manage new initiatives; teams will learn decision-making and problem solving techniques; groups will have a structured method for improving internal communications. Most importantly: the individuals you select to support the project will serve as role models for on-going cultural change.