JOBS AND WORK AND R.R DONNELLEY
Changes in many industries are occurring, with a common thrust being efforts to increase productivity. Re-designing jobs, integrating information technology and increasing HR training efforts are all critical. One example illustrates what happens when jobs and work are changed.
R.R Donnelley is the leading commercial printing firm in the U.S. One of its primary facilities is in Roanoke, Virginia, where 3.5 million books a month are produced with about 300 employees. To improve productivity and profitability, Donnelley focused on lowering costs, improving workplace safety, and reducing errors. Because making numerous changes was likely to increase employees’ concerns, significant time and effort were spent communicating with employees about the need for change, improvement in quality and higher productivity. Training for all employees on quality and workflow changes were conducted that focused on specialized methods such as Six Sigma and other process improvement means. In addition, greater use was made of digital technology to receive and make printing film and plates, which changed numerous jobs at the plant and required employees to learn a number of new methods and technologies.
The payoff of these changes is seen in a number of ways. The production time for printing four-color books has been cut by 50% or more. Productivity is up 20% in the past three years. In fact, the increase in productivity has been great enough that Donnelley did not have to set up another production line, savings millions of dollars. For Donnelly employees, their fears that the Roanoke plant might close have been eliminated. They have been trained in new technology, have changed jobs and work in a highly successful plant.
1. Discuss why Donnelley had to coordinate HR activities with the changes in jobs and work.
2. Identify examples of how technology has changed jobs at workplace.