The Grey Chronicles


Workforce analysis: Replacing management by fad with management certainty

Kamph (2008) wrote an article used as the title for this post in the January 2008 issue of Power Magazine. Being a member of the Education and Training pillar for TPM, I shared the same article to the other members last April 2008 and provided annotations to that article. During the previous meeting of this TPM pillar, the group discussed the impact of then recent resignations to the workforce technical skills. Although there were discussed plan of actions on how to go about a study of its impact to GSPI, there were no definitive guide on how to proceed.

Chancing upon this article during one of my midnight read, my annotations included the note that although the article dealt with the American scenario, particularly power industry, I believe it is applicable to GSPI’s.

“Those big in-house crews are now gone, replaced by just enough people to oversee the work of outsourcing contractors. Inventories have shrunk, too. As a result, utilities and plants now operate in thrall to productivity, dominated by short-term planning.”

Annotations (Apr 2008): This is also practically true to GSPI’s Corrective Maintenance, as well as spares inventory; thus effectively GSPI is BIG on short-term planning–might be the cause why more experience hands are quitting?

“Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma techniques may work for General Electric, but not for smaller firms with limited resources.”

Annotations (Apr 2008): Is this one way of asking whether Lean Manufacturing, characterized by JIT, and also Six Sigma are classified as management by fad?

Annotations (Nov 2008): Refer to New Technologies

“Engineers know that you can’t control what you can’t measure. Developing future business strategies is pointless without an accurate assessment of the current business environment.”

Annotations (Apr 2008): At GSPI, we are flooded with business strategies . . . action plans . . . road maps . . . but the company as a whole have not had an accurate assessment of the current business environment? Case in point: Business Plans are only known to most of us when we are required to do variance analysis versus the actual performance; thus there is a greater discrepancy between the plan and actual results?

“A workforce analysis leverages strategic and tactical tools for isolating the existing skills of an organization and measuring the depth of knowledge within it. The analysis then relates specific skills to the business reasons for each performance requirement of a job position. A workforce analysis also provides the following information:

  • The strengths and weaknesses of a workforce.
  • Trends in attrition numbers, and their impact on mission-critical business skills.
  • Key areas in need of training, process improvement, and knowledge capture.
  • The depth of knowledge within each job class, and the importance of each task performed by workers to achieving business goals.
  • The organizational learning rate—a measure of a firm’s ability to boost its productivity through experience and to transfer knowledge between locations.
  • A map of the strategic skills and knowledge gaps that have the biggest impact on accomplishing the organization’s mission.

A workforce analysis delivers exactly what management needs to act with certainty and precision.”

Annotations (Nov 2008): This article came to my mind recently when management delve into the analysis of its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Unfortunately, since April to the present, or almost a six-month duration, the Education and Training TPM Pillar did not tackle the same issue on attrition nor any workforce analysis by HRD had been commissioned. Furthermore, during my recent lecture on SWOT, the participants acknowledge that GSPI’s personnel have the skills and knowledge to accomplish its mission, as its Strength, but lacks the financial capability to do something about it, a Weakness.

“Over the past two decades, fad after fad has infected the business world. Concepts such as large-scale downsizing, Y2K, Total Quality Management, ISO 2000, Quality Circles, and e-business have swept across the organizational landscape. Sometimes
these movements brought necessary changes in some sectors. But few found broad interest and long-term use.”

Annotations (Nov 2008): Oh, well . . . GSPI is on to ISO 2001 certification, another exercise of futility? Hoping that this one is done for the right reasons!


Kamph, Brad (2008). Workforce analysis: Replacing management by fad with management certainty. USA: Power Magazine, 2008 back to text


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