Improving Work Conditions in a Global Supply Chain Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Many multinational companies are trying to control the working conditions in the factories of suppliers in developing countries, through codes of conduct and monitoring to determine compliance. There is considerable debate about the merits of such an approach. As part of a larger research project on globalization and labor standards, the authors compared the two Mexican garment factories that supply Nike. Both plants (referred to as factory plants and B) were very similar to the results of the audit of the plant Nike, and the production of T-shirts for both Nike and other companies. Workers at both plants are union members. However, a closer examination reveals that the working conditions at the two plants, in some respects quite different. Compared with the workers in the factory B, the ones at the plant to make more in a week, experience greater job satisfaction, and have a greater impact in the workplace decisions. In addition, the factory overtime is voluntary and Nike kept within the week, but in plant B and forced overtime and excessive overtime happen. What factors contribute to these different conditions of work? The authors conclude that, although there are some differences between the plants, the key variable is the way each plant operated. The plant has made the transition to lean manufacturing, and in the process, the workers have been trained and are authorized to participate in more decisions on the shop floor. Quality, productivity, and wages and salaries increased by only plant A. The authors conclude that global brands can help improve working conditions in the factories of the supply chain, working with suppliers to help them implement new management systems. "Hide
by Richard M. Locke, Monica Romis Source: MIT Sloan Management Review 11 pages. Publication Date: January 1, 2007. Prod. #: SMR235-PDF-ENG

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