Advanced Steel Designs (ASD) was a company providing supremely robust high-technology machines for material handling in forges, foundries, steelworks and garbage handling for energy conversion. The defective parts management was a particularly troublesome issue and could negatively impact production levels. The operators complained that they could not make the decision to accept or reject the pieces themselves and this ultimately entailed long delays, unpaid overtime, and failure to achieve the desired production levels and premiums. In this context, they decided to call for a one-day strike. In a last attempt to prevent the closure of the plant for one day, the factory director met with the representatives of the operators and they requested, as an initial condition for suspending the strike, to directly decide whether to accept or reject defective parts.
The factory director accepted the operators’ conditions. One month later, incidents for review and replacement of faulty parts had been reduced by 60 percent and production levels had risen by 20 percent, although operators felt that there was still room for improvement. In a further meeting with the director of the factory, they proposed to take care of the defective parts that they could repair themselves.
The factory director decided to give the operators another opportunity, trying the new arrangement for one week. A month later, the incidents of revision and replacement of defective parts were reduced by 90 percent and for the first time in a long period, projected levels of production were met and established premiums were earned. However, six months later, the factory director decided to return to the old system, due to the enormous pressure he was receiving from other areas of the company.