Failure on the part of manufacturing leaders to create opportunities leads to discontent in the work place

In recent times I have been examining the attitude and performance of Senior managers in manufacturing organizations particularly those of multinational companies and as is disappointed in what I have come across.

You have companies in Jamaica with a Managing Director for over 15 years,other members of the management team in place  in excess of ten years and persons at the technical levels in the same position for most of their working lives. In these organization there is absolutely no personal development growth path for those at the lower levels and the scope for promotion are virtually non-existent.

The local company however has at its disposal a high technical team  at its parent company as well as access to the very senior managers at the various headquarters around the globe.

Many local managers are so self focused, they have failed to utilize the resource at their disposal to improve the skill level of the people at their organization or when the few have in fact done so, they have failed to create opportunities for these people to grow.  How often have you seen a company who is seeking to do a particular upgrade, bring in people from other satellite facilities  (not HQ) to do many of these upgrades.

What this means is the managers of those overseas facilities , similar to those in Jamaica, have taken the time out to provide training and development for these folks, as well a growth path, which allow these folks to be sent overseas (eg Jamaica) to perform upgrades, which further adds to their development. This now creates a oportunity at that satellite facility to promote someone to the position just vacated by this persons who is now a travelling individual.
I have seen very skilled technical persons in plants in Jamaica, who posses 10x the skills level of those being sent to Jamaica to perform upgrades and have asked the question ” why a person of your calibre not doing the same thing”. The  answer as always been ” bowy mi neva even know say dat possible”.

I am suggesting that more of  local entities of foreign holdings needs change their approach, especially when it come unto creating opportunities for those without a voice or would have been hidden from Senior management from the head quarters attention. I say this because persons in management position often get the opportunity to be transferred overseas due to their visibility, the problem is it stops their, they fail to provide similar opportunity for their very skilled persons at the technical level.

This will create more opportunities here in Jamaica for those persons sitting around seeking employment opportunities, which could place a small dent on the unemployment rate. The other thing it does is to create hope as well as motivation in the local organization that there is scope for growth and development vs ” bwoy nuttin nah gwan fi we, we just deh so”.

Our managers in the manufacturing sector must become interested in the development of the people within the organization, create more opportunities for these folks rather become so focused on themselves and what they can make from the company. In so doing they would have created even more opportunities for themselves as when people are motivated they tend to produce at an even higher level, making your job that much easier leading to greater recognition for your performance from those at your headquarters.

The very poor performance by many manager in the manufacturing sector is to be partially blamed for the very poor productivity rate of the Jamaican employees.

Want further proof, take a unproductive guy who wants to work but is not motivated to do so and send him overseas. Almost immediately his productivity rates doubles and before you know, he is promoted and continues to be promoted.

In a country where what you drive as a manager determines how much “respect” you get and the size of the house you live in determine the type of crowd you can mingle in, drives many managers to lose focus and run many companies to a wrecks, leaving  the parent company with very little options to relocate elsewhere.

We must demand a shift in paradigm, the union does not escape my attention either, because their failure to focus on the right set of issues  have pushed our productivity rates lower and lower, while they continue to demand higher wages for workers.

Union must change their ways and now begin to focus on the following:

  1. Increased wages must be tied to increased productivity levels.
  2. Push management to seek new markets for products, because once your productivity levels increases you could end up with a situation where a plant may have to close for a day or two having exceed its production numbers. By having access to more market it keeps the plant going and the workers having a chance of earning more.
  3. Push for training and relocation possibilities for highly effective workers, which then creates more promotional opportunities for those remaining in the  organization. This is not a contradiction, what it does to create that “incentive” for other workers, which says if you highly effective in your role, you too can be promoted.
  4. Push for managers to perform plant upgrades vs car park upgrades, where there is evidence to suggest that low productivity levels are linked  old equipment which have outlived their useful lives and are also energy hogs and contributes to high energy bills.

I will have more as I shift focus to the manufacturing sector in Jamaica and how they must be held accountable for some of the ills of the Jamaican society.

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