“SURESH – THE EXPERIENCED SUPERVISOR”
Regions manufacturing Ltd is a multinational company which produces high quality computer spare parts. In its corporate life span of 30 plus years the company had gained a reputation for holding on to its employees, and thus a high sense of job security prevailed. Throughout all those years, the company had never laid off any employees, even in times of great change and restructuring. In the last two years, the downturn in the industry had resulted in the closure of many manufacturing plants in the USA and Europe, as high production costs rendered the goods no longer competitive in the global market. Regions Manufacturing Ltd plant in Sri Lanka now faces a similar challenge and must seek a way to remain competitive in the market in order to survive. A sustainability analysis revealed that employee productivity is a key area highlighted for requiring major changes. The changes necessary involved not only adherence to key performance indicators, but heightening monitoring, “double-hatting”, as well as internal re-alignments. This means that old established work-teams now experience different supervisors and pressures. As expected the strong Union has initiated resistances to all changes as there is anticipation that the company will attempt to “manage out” poor performers who will most certainly be highlighted with the new systems. The Union attitude has considerably hindered and slowed down the implementation of changes. Mr. Suresh Gunaweera is a senior supervisor in charge of the production output of machine number 1. He is an efficient and hard working Supervisor. The estimated production output of this machine is 150 units per day, which can be produced by 15 employees and the tolerance for rejects is less than 2%. The current output is 100 units per day which is produced by utilizing 25 employees. The reject levels are at 6%. No systematic time and motion studies are conducted in this factory. Suresh’s relationship with the team working with machine number 1 is not healthy, in that his subordinates perceive him as too ambitious and as driving his team too hard. Suresh resorts to memos and log entries to communicate with his team in his attempt to increase the production and standard of quality. Suresh is also under very high stress and has been for many months as the management has demanded an increasing productivity of the team and in the use of the machine. Suresh being a disciplined person expects the same level of disciplines and commitment from the others. His team has 02 union members (Nimal & Kamal) who sometimes go out of the work place without informing Suresh to attend meetings with the management summoned by Mr. Ruwan Balawardane the HR Manager. Nimal and Kamal, also work in Suresh’s team in machine number 01. They have spoken to Ruwan, the HR Manager, and stated that the reasons for the low output of the team and the low quality are due to issues relating to the poor raw material and high machine down time as the engineering staff is inefficient. Ruwan had requested them to discuss these issues with Suresh and had not taken any further action. One day Suresh found that Nimal sleeping on duty at his work station. Nimal was requested to start work immediately by Suresh. At this point Nimal refuse to follow the instructions given by Suresh and proceeds to abuse Suresh by hooting and jeering. At this point Suresh assaulted Nimal by slapping him on his face and accused Nimal of sabotaging production in the presence of all employees. The union immediately initiated a protest campaign against Suresh and complained of the incident to Ruwan. After an internal inquiry conducted by HR, Suresh was suspended for 1 week by the management of misconduct. Suresh was very disappointed once he came back after punishment. He had no interest in achieving the target. He had no more desire to produce premium quality products and reported to work late a few occasion later. His performance was...
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