"THAT'S NOT MY JOB" – LEARNING DELEGATION AT CIN-MADE
When Robert Frey purchased Cin – Made in 1984, the company was near ruin. The Cincinnati, Ohi-based manufacturer of paper packaging had not altered its product line in 20 years. Labor costs had hit the ceiling, while profits were falling through the floor. A solid quarter of the company's shipments were late and absenteeism was high. Management and workers were at each other's throats. Ten years later, Cin – Made is producing a new assortment of highly differentiated composite cans, and pre-tax profits have increased more than five times. The Cin – Made workforce is both flexible and deeply committed to the success of the company. On-time delivery of products has reached 98 percent, and absenteeism has virtually disappeared. There are even plans to form two spin – off companies to be owned and operated by Cin-Made employees. In fact, at the one day "Future of the American Workforce" conference held in July 1993, Cin-Made was recognized by President Clinton as one of the best – run companies in the United States. “How did we achieve this startling turnaround?" Mused Frey. "Employee empowerment is one part of the answer. Profit sharing is another." In the late spring of 1986, relations between management and labor had reached rock bottom. Having recently suffered a pay cut, employees at Cin- Made came to work each day, performed the duties required of their particular positions, and returned home-nothing more. Frey could see that his company was suffering. "To survive we needed to stop being worthy adversaries and start being worthy partners," he realized. Toward this end, Frey decided to call a meeting with the union. He offered to restore worker pay to its previous level by the end of the year. On top of that, he offered something no one expected: a 15 percent share of Cin-Made's pre-tax profits. " I do not choose to own a company that has an...
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