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30 January 2006

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Another one!!! I loved the story of H-D a couple weeks ago, now this. Companies, or I guess true visionary leaders (albeit knuckle-draggers), who can make a literal joke out of companies that rush to Asia or layoff to save cost are a great story. Thanks for another dose of inspiration.

Bill
("Mr. Slopehead")

Such great reading. Your articles give insight to what we are up against. So many we work for don't get it. We keep trying to implement improvements learned from sites like this. Thank you so much.

I have a friend who say the way to make money is to find a cash stream and stick your finger in to direct a little in your direction. I think this is lesson MBA and CPA types learned in school. I rarely see that type talk about how to make the stream bigger.

I agree with the general tone of your message but i'm a tad perplexed by the proselytizing of Toyota and it's hierarchal ways in one post and then praising 0 heirarchy at Sherrill and lambasting those evil swines who used managers.

"proselytize"? Now there's a word that doesn't come up in conversation every day.

Toyota may be hierarchical compared to tiny Sherrill Manufacturing but that hardly describes Toyota compared to their American competitors.

I believe you may have missed the bigger point - it is not a matter of how many management people there are. It is a matter of the level of committment to the production workers. In that regard, Toyota and Sherrill seem to have quite a bit in common.

No, no. I did see the point, hence why i mentioned the tone. I was just questioning on the specifics. I can be a detail guy sometimes. :o)

I am glad that someone else has found this story. I have watched from a distance as this tragedy has gradually developed. I was an engineer at Oneida back in the late 1980s, and until recently, a stockholder. At that time, business was great, and the company was doing very well. You mention the 500 lost jobs. When I worked there, there were 2000 jobs at the Sherrill plant! Apparently, there were significant job cuts even before the "lean initiative".

There is a cautionary tale here, but you won't read about it on the website. It is the tale of reckless outsourcing for its own sake, the pursuit of "free money" and magical profits from exotic lands.

Apparently selling off the plant was not the panacaea that Oneida management expected, because they have since entered chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and cancelled the original stock. Thanks to the nimble and adept management of Oneida, I am the proud owner of some stock certificates that are valuable only to scripophilists.

I wish Sherrill Mfg well, but no matter what happens this remains the story of the senseless loss of a once great American manufacturing company.

So, how many think they will teach THIS story in business schools?

How are they advancing in America with implementing lean manufacturing?! Shouldn't that make them more competetive?

Companies like Oneida which take a superficial approach to lean, hanging on to their old direct labor centered view of manufacturing, are failing, while companies like Sherrill which seem to understand the core principles of lean are succeeding quite well and they are becoming very competitive.

I'd like to see this issue revisited. I appreciate finaly seeing a view that gets to the truth of the matter. I worked at Oneida before and I work at Sherrill now. All us lowly non-executive types saw this happening plain as day. It boils down to corporate greed and unfair free trade practices. You really hit the mark with your description of the management. Oneida is still imploding and in my opinion trying to take us down with them. I'm open to discussion and questions because I think this stuff need to be brought into the forefront of our current economic crisis. By the way, neither Matt and Greg are knuckle draggers but they know an employee who has vital knowledge and they listen. -

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