By Kevin Meyer
Another day, another article that makes me want to bang my head against the wall.
Thirty people at the Stark Manufacturing plant in Paris have been laid off in what a company official described Friday as a seasonal adjustment.
"Seasonal adjustment?" Let's see what they make that is so seasonal…
Stark manufactures aluminum, steel and copper tube and tube assemblies serving automotive, aerospace, agricultural, heavy duty and military needs. It supplies the original equipment and aftermarket segments in U.S., Asian and European markets.
Ok. So there are no other markets for metal tubes that can mitigate any seasonality? Is their primary business tubes that support barbeque grills or something?
But here's the kicker:
Stenerson said the company only a month ago adopted lean manufacturing principles that have been in practice for "years and years" in the manufacturing industry.
Unlike old-style manufacturing practices, in which a plant manager or other leader dictated what the plant would do, lean manufacturing involves cross-functional teams making decisions together, Stenerson said.
Good luck with that. Besides the fact that lean isn't really about "teams" (although perhaps I should allow for the fact that the reporter is clueless, not the plant manager), launching a lean transformation by whacking a bunch of brains isn't a good start.
Perhaps they should ponder the example of a much larger company a few hundred miles away.
Toyota Motor Corp. has extended production cuts at its North American factories into early June as it struggles to deal with parts shortages caused by the earthquake that hit Japan.
Despite the disruptions, Toyota promised no layoffs and said it would be ready when parts start flowing again. The company's 25,000 workers in North America will report to work and use the time for training to make improvements at Toyota's 13 factories in North America, the company said.
Remember, there's a brain attached to that pair of hands. Value can be created even if the hands aren't being used at the moment.