through dedicated machining areas scattered about various buildings. Both the environment, and other factors seem to contribute to a poorly motivated workforce. Analysis If used prescriptively, Figure 1 would suggest Detroit and its products be divested, though Wriston’s study group report suggests some products may be profitable if transferred to alternate plants. Shown in Table 2 though, the burden rate for each of these potentially ‘profitable’ groups is well above normal, apparently reflecting the complexity and variability inherent in Detroit’s assigned products. Variability, coupled with low volume, suggests the need for a flexible manufacturing system (FMS); the Detroit shop is instead closer to a flow shop configuration. This represents a productprocess mismatch. As the majority of the division’s plants are also flow shops, it seems at best uncertain whether any of Detroit’s products could be better-produced at other plants; any product transfers would almost certainly inflate the receiving plant’s burden rates. The possible exception to this is the Fremont plant which has some experience and technology dealing with lower volume runs and product variety. Unfortunately, they are close to capacity. The true value of Detroit’s products (to the division) must also be considered. Each plant is currently accounted for on a standalone basis, but Detroit’s many low-volume products are in large part supplementary (e.g. replacement parts) to other plant’s high-volume products. While these products are necessary to enable high-volume product sales, they are not necessarily sufficiently profitable to justify their standalone existence. So too, Wriston’s commitment to provide replacement parts seems indicative of the market’s valuation of such and their needed production, even if not directly profitable. Then internal performance measures and accounting
systems should allocate a portion of other plant product revenues to Detroit in recognition of their synergistic contributions to those products sale. Aside from the depressing plant state, the demoralized workforce at Detroit can be explained by their long-term underperformer attribution. This negative feedback, coupled with a lack of situational control (inefficiencies relate to process primarily) destroys their intrinsic motivation. So too, the commitment of workers to a single machine minimizes flexibility and skill variations, both otherwise motivating factors. Local workforce expectations are diminished when successful...