True to form, Tom Coronado - manager of employee relations for Huse Manufacturing Company - pulled into his reserved company parking space early. It was 7:30 Monday morning - usually the most hectic day of week, with more than its share of problems. But the first good news: Friday had been payday. Now the bad news: Monday of every week turned up Friday's payroll errors. With new hires, overtime work, and different wage-rate categories, there always seemed to be mistakes in figuring wages and paychecks.
To make matters worse, in recent weeks, these errors had been on the increase. Reason: a new computerized payroll system. Long live progress, Tom thought. He was also thinking, with concern, about a 10 o'clock meeting scheduled with the executive vice-president on this very subject. Tom would have to report on how the new system was working out. Right now, though, he needed to find at least an hour of quiet to get his report together.
Fortunately, his office was quiet, and Tom was able to review a couple of computer printouts. But shortly after 8 o'clock the phone began to ring. His secretary wasn't in yet, so Tom had to take six calls personally in 20 minutes. The first five were about errors in the payroll checks; two calls were from shop supervisors, one was from a worker on the night shift, one from the production superintendent, and one from the local union president. This last one was the most sweat; the union leader's parting shot was, "When in blazes are you going to straighten out this payroll mess?" The sixth call was from Tom's secretary. She wouldn't be in today.
Over the next hour, Tom was able to correct most of the payroll errors - with a little help from his friends. These included payroll clerks, the production superintendent, a junior systems analyst, and one hourly paid worker. By 9:30, Tom thought he was ready to stick his phone in a filing cabinet and sit down with his materials for a last review before the...