Nummi Case Questions

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(1.) The article states that the lack of trust between management and workers at the GM plant most significantly contributed to the loss of GM’s competitive edge. NUMMI’s philosophy was to treat workers like partners and empower them with decision making capability and control over certain aspects of production. How workers should be treated was according to the article, directly responsible for the quality problems that lessened GM’s competitive advantage. The attitude of GM’s management and GM’s labor’s mistrust of management created an adversarial relationship that hampered production and reduced quality and efficiency of the facility. NUMMI’s attitude and culture with respect to workers created an environment where problems could get solved, workers were free to provide input into production and were free to stop the line or make changes where necessary. NUMMI workers felt accountable to their peers not to a perceived oppressive management. Workers depended upon one another to be on time and do the job right. Performance as a result was higher. Additionally, NUMMI understood that in addition to the concept of the way people were organized and managed, a good design and production system were vital.
(2.) (a.) NUMMI’s philosophies created an environment where both workers and management strived for the same results of Kaizen and Kanban. NUMMI built an organization based on mutual trust, stressed team performance and treated every employee as a manager. Communication and team work was strongly encouraged. (b.) NUMMI effectively reduced GM’s prevailing culture of mutual mistrust of management and labor. As a result according to the article “The Japanese system itself, with its constant follow-up on details, and ongoing improvements, helped create an environment where problems could get solved without confrontations.” (c.) NUMMI effectively did this…...

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