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2 PLANNING Companies that implement advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) need to consider more human resource dimensions than previously, and they need to consider them simultaneously and earlier in the planning process. Therefore, the need for a comprehensive human resource plan cannot be overestimated. The more sweeping the technological change, the more important is that plan in helping the company to use the new technology to maximum competitive advantage. EARLY CONSIDERATION OF MOUNT COMITY The employment implications of introducing ANT are likely to be the primary concern of workers. Companies, therefore, should articulate their policies about employ- ment continuity before considering specific application. of AMT. If workers feel insecure about their jobs, widespread company support for any application is not likely. Every plant visited had considered protecting workers from lose of employment caused by introducing the new technology. Same companies, however, dealt with thin issue more creatively and thoroughly than others. Em- ployment continuity policies related to the introduction of new technology included: promoting and training solely from within the company (plants A and G), assigning employees to a 90-day trial at another plant with the opportunity to return to the original plant if no ~niche. is found (plant G), 17

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~8 . ~. retaining seniority rights in interplant transfers and providing moving allowances (plants L, M, and O), and 0 offering full pay and benefits while employees retrain, if they were laid off because of technological chablis (plants I, A, M, and O). Committee members cited these additional strategies used by plants that were introducing new technology: bringing subcontracted work into the plant, understaffing to reduce the likelihood of layoffs during business downturns, and slowing plant start-up to reduce the likelihood of layoffs when production reaches steady state. Same of the plants visited were investing in AMT because they were experiencing or anticipating a business upturn. In such cases, the prospects for retaining all employees are bright, even if AMT significantly increases output per worker. The plants varied in the extent to which their employment continuity policies generalized to maintaining employment during business downturns. The majority of the plants visited, however, did not guarantee continued employment during business downturns. A CRAMPION FOR ORGANIZATIONAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION A champion for the AMT project can greatly increase the chances of success. For planning as comprehensive as the committee recommends, the champion needs to support not only technological change, but organizational change as well. It is also the champion's role to clear away obstacles and, if necessary, persuade top management to make the investment. At several of the greenfield sites visited, the designated managers were the champions before the plant was built and had a clear corporate mandate. Whether the investment is at the plant or the corporate level, a true champion of organizational and technological change may need to be a line manager rather than a technologist. The line manager may be the only one with a perspective broad enough to envision both organizational and techno- logical change. Indeed, the line manager is responsible for describing to others what a comprehensive change

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19 might look like and for assuring that planning considers both organizational and technological innovation. IMPLEMENTATION TEAMS Plane for implementing AMT can be more effectively developed and carried out with the participation of a cross-section of company personnel. Such participation will ensure that the plans developed include all relevant considerations and have the support of all who will be affected. The committee found the practice used in a number of instances: The implementation teams at plants C and D included people with experience in similar efforts to transfer that experience to the new site. At plants E and F. shop-floor workers were assigned full-time to work in the development lab with manufactur- ing engineers. These workers suggested ways to design equipment so that it could be most efficiently operated on the shop floor. At several plants (I, X, M, O. and Q), skilled workers accompanied menage rat on visits to equipment vendors and made suggestions on modifying the equipment to meet local needs. Production workers at plants D and O were part of the team for developing and implementing a flexible manufacturing system. At plant B. the implementation of AMT floundered for 2 yearn until a crons-functional team was formed. COMMUNICATION OF AMT IMPLEMENTATION PLANS Even in plants that have a large degree of participa- tion in planning, those people who have the ultimate responsibility to make decisions must communicate them. Early communication of those decisions and an open relationship between decision makers and others who will be affected will make it easier to implement AMT. Specific design choices cannot always be communicated in detail at an early stage because uncertainties remain. Still, open discussion about the uncertainties involved and the general direction to be taken will go far toward reducing anxieties. Horizontal communication,

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20 _ such as between line and staff at equal levels, is also important. The plants visited used various methods to communicate with employees about the introduction of new technology; for example: An electronics equipment plant (G) showed its employees video tapes that linked automation to making employees more effective and jobs easier. The tapes stressed that, given changing worldwide competition, impending plans to automate were a natural and necessary extension of the plant's nearly 30-year history of automation. Managers described the tapes as effective in allaying fears and linking the future of the plant to automation. Another plant (a) of the same company informed employees about new technology and its implications by using video tapes, having superintendents hold ~cross- talks. with 10 to 12 people at a time, and arranging career-oriented discussions between individual super- vi~ors and employee.. The key line manager of plant Q initiated a series of informal meetings with the officers of the local union, followed by more formal meetings with managers and employees, to discuss the strategic rationale for introducing automation and its advantages for the work force. Meetings do not by themselves mean that communication has occurred. According to employees at one plant (J), managers did not tell them enough at quarterly communi- cation meetings for employees to offer useful feedback on implementation plans.