Treadway Tire Company really does have a problem. The bigger issue is they know they have a problem, they know what the problem is, and they apparently don’t care enough about anything but the bottom line to solve it. In 2007 the Treadway plant in Lima, Ohio lost almost 1/2 of their foremen. Any normal company would identify this as a major problem and try to do something about it. Treadway on the other hand gave only lip service to solving the issues they faced in 2007.
I can only gather from the article that the line foreman job at Treadway is a 12 hour a day nightmare. According to the article, the foremen were hired, given no training, had little authority over their workers, and were expected to meet ever rising productions numbers without question. Sounds like a good time, right? We’ve discussed at length the arbitrary increasing of sales numbers, and the danger it poses to a business. It’s my position that this causes undue stress on employees, which is exactly what we see in the Treadway case. Having challenging but achievable sales numbers is necessary, but arbitrarily increasing them without any understanding of what the market will bear is an amateurish mistake.
Another big mistake I think Treadway made was the 12 hour workday. 12 hour workdays are fine in some instances, but when you provide a 1/2 hour lunch and 2 short breaks in a 12 hour period, you are doing yourself no favors. Longer shifts create more fatigue and more mistakes tend to be made. Yes, you save some money by not having as many employees, but you end up having to pay over time. I’m not sure how much savings you really see, especially when you’re bleeding employees.
A major issue for the foreman position at Treadway is the lack of training. Apparently a cursory training program was developed but never implemented. This is ridiculous. You’re not going to keep foremen if they have to work in these conditions for prolonged periods of time with a sink or swim mentality. Why would anyone in their right mind want this job? At best it’s a stepping stone to get a decent job elsewhere. Treadway does not understand how much turnover is costing them, and apparently they don’t much care.
From my reading of the article, the Treadway Tire Company is a sweatshop. 12 hour shifts with bare minimum breaks and unreasonable production goals make this a really undesirable place to work. Anyone who would accept a foreman position in these conditions is either very desperate for a job, or is just trying to get a foot in the business with the intent of leaving to greener pastures. We don’t see what happened later, but I sincerely hope they worked out their management issues.