your proposal at our next management meeting, don't you?'
Sure’ answered Lily Jacobavitz. 'But П1 want a decision on this one fast.'
The Kellerman process consists of electronic machines which are linked to a computer system. The sewing-machine operators key in their daily output on their own machine as soon as they've finished their batch of materials The output is displayed on a small screen opposite their target production figure. The screen shows what percentage of the target they have achieved, and also if they have produced more than their target All the information from the machines is fed into a computer, so management know exactly what 13 going on in the production process at any time.
The manufacturers claim that operators using Kellerman machines work harder. Also, because of improved production control, management can step in if there are problems like bottlenecks or high stock levels
It should make things easier for the Accounts Department as well, thought Lily Jacobaviitz. The sewing machine operators a hundred and fifty in all were paid a certain amount for each garment produced. At present, operators filled in work sheets which were attached to bundles or materials. The job of collecting and recording the information on these work tickets' was time consuming for the accounts staff. 'If we get the Kellerman system.' Lily said to herself, the operators may gel off my back about getting them a new canteen. They might even start meeting their targets for a change.'
Working in groups, like the тmanagement meeting. Each member of the group should take one of the roles which follow. The Chief Executive should асt as Chairperson.
The purpose of the meeting is:
to discuss thoroughly the proposal to introduce the Kellerman process;
to decide whether or not to buy the system.
Study your own role-card only, and prepare carefully for the meeting.
Note: Tire role of Chief Executive may be played by a male. For smaller groups, roles such as the non-union representative, the Operations Manager and. the Warehouse Manager may be omitted.
As Chan-person, you must ask for the opinions of all the members of the meeting. However, you will try to persuade everyone that the- Kellerman process should be bought. The manufacturers of the system have assured you that it will reduce costs and increase productivity. You think that, with the new system, the operators will be motivated to exceed their targets, probably by as much as 30% a 50%. If the process isn't introduced, you might have to think of hiring a more efficient Production Manager'
DiscussionWorking in groups of two or three, discuss the following statements,
using the expressions on page 23 to help you.
No person should be allowed to smoke at his/her workplace.
Production work is more satisfying than office work.
After having, worked for a company for twenty years, every person should be allowed one year's paid holiday,
Men make better mangers than women.
Nowadays, in most countries, women have as much chance of getting to the top in business as men.
Case StudyThe Kellerman process
CIAO! makes stylish clothes for teenagers and the under-twenty-fives. The company supplies the New York fashion trade, and it operates in competitive conditions. To survive, it has to react quickly to changes in consumer taste, produce goods lightning fast for clients, and keep costs low.
Life has been hard these last five years. During this time, the firm's pre-tax profits have fallen from $4.5 million to $200,000. Cheap
foreign imports have been partly to blame, but another reason is
that the management have been unable to control production properly. Because of this, stocks have built up to high levels. And"there have been bottlenecks in production, leading to cancelled
Lily Jacobavitz, Chief Executive of the company, has thought a lot about the problem of rising production costs. Now she thinks she has the answer. Recently she held a meeting to discuss her ideas -with two colleagues, Sydney Gorman, her Production Manager, and Gloria David, Personnel Director. 'I think we ought to buy the Kellerman process,' she told them. 'I've talked to Kellerman's Sales Director. He reckons we could have the electronic machines and the computer system for $ 160,000 to $200,000. What do you think?'
The leading edge
in textile technology
The two managers looked at her in surprise. Gloria David was the first to speak. 'Do you have that kind of money to throw around?'
'We have for the Kellerman system,1 Lily Jacobavitz replied, just a little coldly. 'It'll increase the productivity of our machine operators by 30%-50% and cut costs. That's what we want, isn't it?'
At this point, Sydney Gorman cut in.' I think we'd better talk about
You. are against buying the Kellerman process. In your opinion this is the wrong time to spend such a large sum of money. There is no guarantee the system will work well. Hit is introduced, the production process may become disorganised and the workers unhappy especially the older ones. Yon want more money to be spent on improving working conditions. You've been trying for months to persuade the Chief Executive to repaint the interior of the factory. Relations between you and the Chief Executive are not good at present.
You are not certain what to think about the proposal Manufacturers always say that their new process is wonderful, but do the systems always work well in practice? In your opinion, the company should get some sort of guarantee from she manufacturers. For example, if productivity did not increase by 20l!c within six months, they should lake back their equipment. You are also worried about how the older workers will react to the Kellerman system. They are generally suspicious of new technology.
UNION REPRESENTATIVE (SEWING-MACHINE OPERATORS)
You want to buy the Kellerman process. Most of the operators in your union are young. They think that, with the new system, they would be able to earn a lot more money. Some of them should be able to earn even more than their supervisors: Production will be more efficient, so the company's financial situation will improve. The process is in. so there will be no bad effects on production
REPRESENTATIVE (NON-UNION SEWING-MACHINE OPERATORS)
You are strongly against buying the Kellerman system You represent about seventy non-union operators - all older women. You and the othei workers like the present system of production. You can work at your own pace, and. whenever you like, go outside to have a cigarette or cup of coffee. The 'work ticket' procedure is easy to understand and carry out. You arc all suspicious of the Kellerman system. The management just want to squeeze more work out of you The factory is becoming more like a sweatshop every day.