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  Back to the Floor: Six top bosses spend a week a the bottom of the career ladderNew York Central ParkBurger KingCarnival CruisesHeathrowWomen's PrisonWedgwood
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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 isn't suffering.

"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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