Monday, February 15, 2010

Human Resource Management

I happen to visit a garment factory – purpose was to evaluate the factory – we were considering them as a Vendor. The Building and the entrance was impressive. The factory had a smartly dressed security guard. I was made to put on a visitor’s badge and then I was accompanied to a visitor’s lounge. The Manager (of course Marketing Manager) greeted me and we exchanged pleasantries in their medium sized conference room. So far so good. Looked at their range in the showroom – a limited range – not impressive. Next visited the factory – the factory floor and the finishing dept. Looked at the finished product. The first impression was lost. The product was third rate. Presentation was poor. Quality not at all acceptable.

We had to outsource production – about 8000 pcs. Our QA visited a job worker and rejected the factory. The owner of the factory was a non-garment person and the operational part of factory was taken care of by a production manager. The factory was small, not “impressive”, and didn’t have a proper layout. The factory had a cement flooring (no tiles), with floor broken at a couple of places. Location – in a small dingy lane. But with critical delivery dates, we had to do the outsourcing, and hence I visited the job worker personally. The production manager turned out to be an old acquaintance of mine. We then planned the production with this factory. Result – the goods were on time and acceptable quality. Everybody (in my organization) was surprised.

Another instance - this was related to me by an inspector of a buying agency). On the production floor, the inspector was watching a QC checking the garments quite swiftly. He had a measuring tape in hand, 2 – 3 bins around and no measurement chart. On questioning the QC, the QC responded promptly that it is his daily job and hence he remembers the specs. Not to be taken by the answer, the inspector probed further. The inspector made the QC check each and every “point of measurements” – and the result was out. The QC was not a QC, he did not know a word of Quality. When seniors are around, he would show that he is checking garments, else ………. Loiter.

I happen to interview a candidate for Production Manager. He had a long experience of over 15 years and knew good fancy terms – lean production systems, Kaizen etc.. Keeping aside his bio-data (which is normally outsourced – professionally written), I gave him two garments and made him write the operation bulletin. He could not write the operations. I then asked him approx number of machines and output per batch per shift. He was off the mark by 50%.

I know, you have a lot of thoughts on the Human Resource Management, but I would relate few instances and then leave the subject open (for answers by the industry themselves).