By Kevin Meyer
So let me get this straight… tens of thousands of years of
manufacturing knowledge are being disposed of in Evansville and Fort
Smith, huge hiring and training costs in Clyde, Mason, and Amana to
bring workers up to a few weeks of manufacturing knowledge, it's "too
expensive to retool" the Evansville plant but easy to swallow a hundred
million bucks of severance charges.
A few bucks an hour savings in Mexico is worth a much longer
multinational supply chain that requires more oversight, longer
transportation of thousands of heavy objects a day, far more training
expenditure to handle a foreign language in an area notorious for
extremely high turnover, and the resulting quality problems from such a
lack of long-term manufacturing knowledge.
That is some wacky accounting. Actually it is traditional
accounting, and it makes sense to a traditional accountant. But not
from a real-world perspective, does it? Experienced employee knowledge
and creativity doesn't show up on the balance sheet.
So it was with some amusement that I read where Whirlpool is now looking for trained people a short distance from the operations they recently closed. Trained people with lean manufacturing experience no less.
Whirlpool is seeking candidates with a minimum of an associate degree
in business or related field (or near degree completion), experience in
leading people and Lean manufacturing experience.
Ok… so exactly who needs the lean experience? Perhaps they should start with the executives… before they destroy any more livelihoods.