More on Honda. Interesting strategy here. Where most companies try to be cheap and hire the lowest-cost employees possible, Honda is looking to do the opposite, in a way:
“David Cole, president of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., said the plant likely will be located in a rural area–where Honda has many of its North American operations–so that Honda will not have to compete with high-paying urban businesses, he said. “They want to be the highest-paying employer in the region, which enables them to cherry-pick the work force,” Cole said.”
Toyota does the same thing, locating in rural areas. But think about the efficiency that must come from having the cream of the crop employees in an area? Maybe there is an alternative to this “race to the bottom” of low wages?
Most manufacturers think of “labor” as a generic “resource”, where you want the cheapest ones possible. That's dehumanizing. That's an example of how you might say “Mass Production does not respect people.” (as opposed to the mistaken idea that lean doesn't respect people).
The lean mindset teaches us to value “respect for people.” Look at Honda's approach or how super selective Toyota is when hiring. They don't want the cheapest people. They want people who can be part of a team and people who can help improve things. They're hiring people for their brains, that shows respect. I'm sure their plant will be more successful as a result.
Honda won't be ready to jump and move next year to a state, or country, with cheaper labor. Good for them.
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