What motivated you come to work at Harley-Davidson?
The High Powered Work Organization concept where every worker
in each natural work group has a day-to-day say so in how the
group functions, from parts requisition all the way down to
vacation planning, educational training. We look at upcoming
projects scheduling. We try to schedule our material. The manpower
hours that it's gonna be, and whether it's a project that warrants
overtime or what have you… We come together as a group, and
we try to coordinate how we as mechanics and electricians would
go about accomplishing the task.
have a planning meeting within our group and that's held every
morning at 7 o'clock. And if there are any issues, like someone
needs to flex in their schedule to depart early or what have
you, we make it known to the group at that time and everyone
sees what the day-to-day schedule is like and if it's appropriate--if
the group consensus is do it--it's no problem. And then he can
take whatever time off he has to.
Our factory is very diverse. Being a woman is beside the point
because I'm given the opportunity to do anything within our
area, our natural work group, that I was hired in to do. I might
ship all the supplies to take care of the assembly line. I might
go to parts and accessories and work there for awhile. My skills
encompass everything that we have to do and if I'm not fully
trained in that area, it's taken care of. I've learned how to
do everything within our entire area.
There are no supervisors at Harley Kansas City. What does that
mean to you?
There's nobody over your back telling you, "Okay, you need to
be doing this. You took an extra minute on your break," or something…it's
nothing like that. You just work at your pace. You know what
you gotta do. You know you gotta do it, so you just do it. Just
a sense of freedom. It makes you feel like you're really a part
of it. Since there are no supervisors, you're running it [the
factory], so you gotta know the ins and outs of the business
in order to run it, versus the other way when the supervisors
are running it and you are just there.
What skills and perspective do you bring to your job?
Well, I feel that I bring a professional attitude and when somebody's
down and they're not working up to their par, you know, I go
and I talk to them, as a co-worker instead of a supervisor,
and this kind of eases the mode and brings them around and just
helps to bring them up. It makes the day go a lot smoother,
I feel that your skills and abilities are respected. You are
given the consideration that you are a craftsman in your field,
you have some degree of expertise in the area and you're given
the freedom to exercise that and that only motivates you to
shine on assigned projects, to perform it to the best of your
ability. So, in the traditional environment, I didn't experience
that. People followed up and double checked on whatever you
were assigned to do, but here they respect you. They give you
an assignment and they believe in you enough you know, that
you can carry it through to the best of your ability.
What do you personally get out of this way of running the plant?
For once I finally have a personal input and say-so and my voice
is heard. It's not a utopian environment. You're not gonna find
that anywhere, but your voice is heard and we come together
as a team and haggle or argue sometimes, but we can come to
a sound decision in the long run. Throughout all the plant,
the morale level is higher. I'm enthused about walking into
my workday and that's a change for me. And you never know what
to expect from day-to-day as far as the challenges are concerned.
I'm more inspired to do it because I know we're doing it as
a group. I don't have someone shoving it down my throat. We
all know what needs to be done and we all want to attain that
goal with the highest quality possible if we can for this plant.
Because it's our plant.