The Grey Chronicles

2008.October.26

A Five-Day Work Week, the Effect of ISO?


GSPI have successfully hurdled Third-Party ISO 9001:2000 Certification Audit held last 20-22 October 2008. TUV-SUD conducted the three-day plant audit. I was requested to prepare the Powerpoint Presentation and also assigned as the Auditee Guide for one of the processing lines at Cold Rolling Mills, the area where the certification will be applied.

Through the energetic efforts of most local steelworkers, supervisors and managers; plus of course the token support of the management team, the certification proved to be an eye-opener for GSPI. Teamwork is a key in achieving the company’s goal of certification. Profitability is just the tip of the iceberg in the search for corporate excellence. The Managing Director wrote: " . . . through our dedication, cooperation and teamwork, we will succeed "

Even on the third day of certification audit, loose talks on a five-day work week have circulated around the plant. Although there was no confirmation or denial from managers at this time, rank-and-file personnel were wary of what was going to happen. [Remember, most of these employees were remnants of the liquidated National Steel Corporation].

Three days after the certification audit, GSPI management proposed a compensatory Vacation Leave for all overtimes rendered starting 27 October, this coming Monday. The five-day workweek will officially start on 03 November 2008. The official reason of this management move was that economic effect of the global steel slowdown brought by the recession in the U.S. is now affecting Asian steelmakers. The Steel Business Briefing says HRC world price is at in US$797/ton of a decline of 174.0 points from last month.

People were heard saying: "Ahhh . . . this is the same with NSC before. We have been 1SOnized but it still closed in 1999. " Many are afraid that what had happened before could also happen now. Another said "At least NSC, from the time it was ISO-certified on 29 January 1997, operated for two years until it declared a forced leave for its personnel. For GSPI, only three days after the certification audit!"

This is what I was afraid when I wrote my thesis, particularly "the same factors then [NSC’s era], from this study’s viewpoint, still exist in the current business environment, albeit different in intensity, focus and personalities."

Oh, well . . . I’m guessing that I should have not finished my Thesis, yet. Should I have instead waited for this scenario to come to fruition? Meanwhile, I am fervently hoping that this would not be the case with GSPI, what with those synergies, and the management initiatives in place, and the efforts made by the Indian owners to overturn what happened to NSC into a profitable company.

I’m crossing my fingers . . .

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