The Lima Tire Plant
The Lima Tire Plant is a manufacturing plant under the Treadway Tire Company which has a staff of close to 9000 in North America and is the leading supplier of tires. In this text, I discuss a number of issues regarding the Lima Tire Plant including but not limited to the key issues informing the case as well as power relationships at play and how they can be handled.
The high rate of job turnover at the Lima Tire Plant is a course of concern for Ashley Wall, the plant’s Human Resources Director. In the year 2007 alone, the Lima Tire Plant had registered the exit of 23 of its 50 foremen. Indeed, this is presented as the highest turnover amongst all of Treadway Tire Company’s eight manufacturing plants or divisions. There was a great need to reverse this high turnover and in this case, this is presented as one of Ashley’s main priority. Raising raw material costs as well as increased competition at a global scale were some of the other factors impacting negatively on the Lima Tire Plant and the Treadway Tire Company at large. From the word go, it is clear hence that Ashley must move with speed to reduce turnover by enhancing productivity and reducing overall costs. To do this however, there was need to establish the factors that were informing the high rate of turnover.With that in mind, a look at the issues informing the high turnover presents a myriad of factors including but not limited to serious morale issues as well as dissatisfaction within the segment of line-foremen. To address these issues, Ashley must consider as well as manage some key power relationships.
To begin with, there is a clear imbalance between responsibility and authority. According to the 2007 employee satisfaction survey, the line foremen claim that they do not have much authority to match their responsibility. This could be taken to be the case as whereas the foremen have a wide range of responsibilities including but not limited to the resolution of administrative, resource as well as personell issues, they are not involved in the resolution of grievances through the grievance committee. There is great need for Ashley to balance responsibility and authority. This would be a good start to diffuse the existing tensions between foremen and hourly workers.
Secondly, the dispute resolution and management process is not responsive enough towards addressing the foremen-worker relationship. For instance, in the 2007 satisfaction survey, foremen claim that they feel powerless because there are some instances where union individuals sitting on the grievance committee exonerate employees on punishment and this often acts as an embarrassment upon the foremen. By leaving out foremen in the disciplinary procedure including but not limited to termination and demotion decisions, the foremen-worker relationship may continue being strained. With that in mind, there is great need for Ashley to formulate a more robust dispute resolution mechanism incorporating foremen. According to Bowles (2009), ensuring that every employees concern is heard is one way of eliminating morale problem at the workplace.
It is important to note that if Ashley is to meet her main objective of reducing turnover by enhancing productivity and reducing overall costs, then concerns raised by both foremen and hourly workers should be addressed as soon as possible. His will be the first step towards eliminating the adversarial relationship between foremen and hourly workers for enhanced performance and reduced employee turnover.
Bowles, D. & Cooper, C. (2009). Employee Morale: Driving Performance in Challenging Times. Palgrave Macmillan