Levi Strauss & Co.'s Flirtation with Teams

Topics: Levi Strauss, Team, Levi Strauss & Co. Pages: 4 (1318 words) Published: August 15, 2010
Levi Strauss & co is the largest maker of brand-name clothing in the world. It has had a long history of being profitable, good to its workers, and charitable to its factory towns. Compared with other companies in the apparel industry. Levis Strauss had been known for generous wages and good working conditions. According to chairman Robert Haas, Levi’s treatment of its workers and concern for their welfare is far greater than in other companies in the industry. When the other American apparel firms moved their manufacturing offshore, Levis Strauss & co maintained a large American manufacturing base and was often ranked as one of the best companies to work for. In fact, in 1997 the company received an award from the United Nations for improving global workplace standards. Up until 1992, Levi’s employees worked on their own operating machines in which they performed a single, specific, and repetitive task, such as sewing zippers or belt loops on jeans. Pay was based on a piece rate system, in which workers were paid a set amount for each piece of work completed. A worker’s productivity and pay was highly dependent on levels of skill, speed, and stamina. By 1992, however, Levis Strauss & Company began to feel the pressure of overseas, low-cost competitors, and realized it needed to increased productivity and reduce costs to remain competitive and keep their North American plants open. The company decided that the best that the best solution was teamwork. In a memo sent to workers, Levi’s operations vice-president wrote, “This change will lead to a self-managed work environment that will reduce stress and help employees become more productive. “Teamwork was felt to be a humane, safe, and profitable solution that would be consistent with the company’s philosophy. Under the new philosophy, gone was the old system of performing a single task all the time and the piece rate system that went it. Now groups of 10 to 50 workers shared the tasks...
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