Excerpts from an email with a colleague
J - .............." It sounds like there are lots of employers that are having a hard time finding people these days."
MBM - ............ I will say that I think companies are causing some of their own hiring issues with the extensive use of temp agencies and an underwhelming effort at training new hires. Companies want to say they are having trouble finding good people, but I think they don't give new hires a fighting chance to develop into good employees. We had a person from the Harvey county economic development in the office the other day. They were wondering what kind of training they could be offering. I think my answer surprised them. I wanted general business training. Employees don't know what companies want, and suppliers don't know what companies want. J - "Well I guess it's good that Harvey County is at least trying to find out what people want. Maybe if more people would do that, it would benefit everyone. It does sound like companies aren't wanting to invest in good employees even though they are making more money now. I don't know why they're being so cheap." MBM - This is long, but it is something that has a burr under my saddle. It's a which came first the chicken or the egg situation. Are available workers that bad or are companies playing a 90 day wait and see approach and workers are just thrown in to sink or swim. My opinion is over-reliance on temp agency hiring has led to a malaise in training. It creates a tension in the work environment when you have temp workers working alongside full-time employees. Every time a temp worker walks through the company door, they know they are supposed to work just as hard as a full-time employee with none of the benefits. When the company has no real investment in the employee, then the employee ceases to become an asset to the company. It's to easy to work a person a few days and send them back to the agency. My nephew working on the line, see's this issue at AGCO all the time. I get to see it working with the company for which we cut sign blanks. The interesting part is management does these things to start eating away at accountability, and they mistakenly think it boosts the bottom line. They blame it on the available workforce. It's not much different for suppliers. Companies are instituting various supply chain, inventory, quality assurance programs. These programs are just tools in a companies tool bag to help ensure on-time quality goods and services. The programs are beneficial when applied as intended as a tool. What tends to happen, though, is the programs tend to take over the function of the company. The company loses focus on the goods or services they produce and focus on servicing the program. I have had direct experience with this on several occasions. How this affects the supplier is the company uses compliance with the program as a bludgeon to manage the supply chain. Notice I said, manage not lead. This happened to us recently with ### company. I received what I considered a negative email from them stating that we had ignored several attempts to provide a certificate of our insurance coverage and that if we did not reply within five days our business with ### could be interrupted. Now here is the thing ### considers that communication a rational discourse with it's suppliers. I find it managing the supply chain by compliance and not leading the supply chain. Managing by compliance leads to relationship issues with the supplier and, in some cases all-out hostility. In our case, I had enough and was not very nice in my reply. We supplied ### for five or six years on time with zero defects and not one price increase. But in a manage by compliance methodology, those things do not matter. Only when the top dog company is leading the supply chain does it recognize that things do not go perfectly and responds with a problem-solving methodology looking to help the supplier resolve the issue that has arisen. In manage by compliance cases, the top dog company blames the supplier when, in effect, the top dog did not communicate it's needs in an effective manner. A leadership company recognizes communication break downs and takes corrective action on it's own internal operations, a manage by compliance company continues to blame the supplier. It uses a hammer to get what it wants. The other issue suppliers face in the manage by compliance methodology is companies continue to write more and more stringent requirements for suppliers to follow as a method of weeding out suppliers. Essentially, that happened to us with the aircraft interior company. We found out one day that the services we had been providing to the company had been issued new compliance regulations. The company had never communicated to us that this was being developed, giving us no opportunity to prepare. Not that we could comply with some of the new regulations being forced down the pipe. They, in effect, lost a thirty-year supplier and all of the experience that went with it, including the willingness to run parts on a very short notice. Companies are becoming very technically adept but losing the practical ability to make use of the new technical know-how as employees and suppliers struggle to understand the needs of companies i.e. their management. In a majority of companies, management continues to entrench itself in the attitude that we can hire out compliance with the supply chain and rely on technology to solve the rest, people being the problem, not the solution. The real answer is leadership, and people willing to solve problems if given the opportunity. People near-universally reject being managed, people near-universally respond to leadership. But I digress, I am just a small company that provides zero reject parts on time, problem-solving and friendly customer service. Who wants that? MBM Addendum, When you hear the phrase crap falls downhill, many of the temptations of companies to use outside hiring agencies and supply chain compliance monitors are the direct result of government regulation complexity. While the use of outside companies has short term benefits, in the long run, it is driving a wedge between the company i.e. management, and it's line workers and suppliers. In effect, management is removing itself from direct involvement in the very company it is charged with directing. In a conversation with a building contractor about hiring the contractor stated that he had better "luck" putting a hiring sign in front of his business than using temp agencies.