Here's the latest column from Jamie Flinchbaugh, focused on leadership's responsibility to create opportunities for successful factories. If you're freeing up resources, equipment or people, it's the responsibility of top management to find ways to increase sales.
Otherwise, you end up in the situation of General Motors. Many, including Jim Womack, have pointed out (correctly, I think) that the problem with the infamous Jobs Bank is that GM didn't sell enough vehicles to keep employees busy, whether that was the fault of design, quality, or whatever. That's all management's responsibility ultimately, that's why they are paid the big bucks.
I think GM's employees were freed up, not so much from GM being a “stage 3” company, as Jamie describes it. That would have been a nice problem to have, having too many employees due to productivity improvements (yes, I know the data that show GM's productivity and quality have gotten better). But the reality is they weren't selling enough cars, and that was the reason for the excess employees.
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