Johnsonville Sausage

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Johnsonville Sausage – Quality Improvement through Change
Situation
Post 1980, Ralph Stayer began to observe decline in quality due to inattention of the workers as well as ill-maintenance of the equipment in the production unit. With the help of Mr. Lee Thayer, Stayer has planned to implement a major change in the company’s philosophy. Transition from old philosophy purged Stayer’s responsibilities of decision making by decentralizing the power of decision making. The new philosophy was implemented to bring out changes in various departments of the company viz., management structure, personnel, compensation, manufacturing and also systems and controls. According to Thayer’s new philosophy, performance of the personnel and requirement of guidance to personnel to achieve their objectives were the key elements.

Management structure was broken down by hiring experienced personnel for the new superior level management to oversee finance, marketing and operations functions. Stayer emphasized people development as the core element of the new philosophy. Changes in personnel include development of list of responsibilities by the workers themselves and eliminating the performance review process. These changes in personnel function led changes in compensation with the implementation of “company performance share” program which increased individual responsibility of workers. However this transition was not in agreement among workers while some are excited about it. In terms of manufacturing changes, lead persons were installed at various departments, eliminating supervisors, to seek information and provide necessary measures to train and improve capacities of workers under designated group. Responsibilities of lead person also include development of budget planning and production requirement planning. Job switching and alternating works were practiced to enrich workers’ capabilities and enhance performance and also job satisfaction. System and controls changes...
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