True to his reputation, Patterson is unapologetic about staff cuts
and his use of technology. "I have to make some very tough
decisions," he explains. "If I take the easy option, we
may well go under." He wants to maintain the company's international
reputation for high quality, collectible ceramics, but to eliminate
the more repetitive, less skilled jobs at Wedgwood's manufacturing
facilities. On Patterson's recommendations, Wedgwood has invested
millions of dollars into automation and technology. Patterson will
assess, up close, how those investments are performing.
Patterson has no clue of the class friction awaiting him on the
factory floor. Although he jokingly suggests, "They're probably
waiting with questions and ripe tomatoes and things like that,"
he also believes Wedgwood's workers are fairly happy and that morale
"When I walk around our factories, as I meet people, there
are smiles on their faces," Patterson says.
But one worker at the factory Patterson visits comments, "A
lot of the top management don't know what's going on the shop floor
anyway." It seems Patterson may encounter more grimaces than
grins during his week as a factory worker.
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