A Fighting Chance: New Strategies to Save Jobs and Reduce by Sally Klingel, Ann M. Martin

By Sally Klingel, Ann M. Martin

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Extra info for A Fighting Chance: New Strategies to Save Jobs and Reduce Costs

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Fifteen years ago, Harrison, and many other companies, built large and efficient warehouses to store and ship their products. At Harrison, the distribution center that resulted is impressive: rail cars, as many as forty, run through the center and are loaded and unloaded daily. Conveyorized carts bearing racks are directed by remote control on tracks to various locations within the center. Recently, however, the trend has shifted to minimal handling of product. Just-in-time delivery suggests that products should be shipped from a point very close to production, as, ironically, Harrison products once were.

Members of the team spent their first week in training, reviewing the problem-solving and group process skills that all employees had learned as part of Xerox's quality improvement process. They also received information from finance and operations about their department and about the outside Mexican vendor's bid. They were presented with their benchmark and some ideas about which areas of the operation could produce the largest cost savings. Because CSTs had been used several times before, systems were in place that aided the team's work.

Effects on the Company and Union Four of the five CSTs described above either met or came close to meeting their targets. Although not all of the teams' suggestions were fully implemented, millions of dollars of 30 Xerox and the ACTWU cost savings were docwnented. Furthermore, even when teams did not meet their targets, the costs associated with shutting down part of the CMO plant and shifting work to outside vendors were such that it made economic sense to accept the recommendations of the CSTs and keep the departments operating.

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