Monday, May 30, 2011

Policies say a lot about Honda

It is very good news that Honda expects all its North American operations to be back to full speed by August and that includes its Lincoln plant where three of its most popular vehicles are assembled.

The March earthquake and tsunami in Japan severely hampered Honda’s supply chain and ended up costing the giant automaker months of production as it faced difficult and at times insurmountable obstacles to getting supplies from Japan to North America.

Without those supplies, cars could not be built.

As time passed, the supply chain opened up a bit, and then a little more. But not too long ago Honda officials (along with other Japanese automakers) were expecting a late fall date for full production to resume.

Last week, however, the company announced it wouldn’t take that long.“Honda will increase production volume at its North America automobile plants to a rate of 100 percent original production plan in August,” a company press release announced.

Honda’s employees in Lincoln met the news with enthusiasm.

“Today we announced to our associates in plant-wide meetings that we are planning to accelerate recovery of our production. …” said Mark Morrison, a company spokesman. “When we announced that the Odyssey and Pilot would reach 100 percent of their original production plan in August, our associates greeted the news with great applause,” he said.

That kind of reaction is what you would expect from Honda employees. The 4,000 people who work in the local plant are intensely loyal and, based on the plant’s expansion since opening, also are very productive.

That loyalty and productivity have been rewarded with a unique approach to the forced slowdown in production. Rather than lay off workers, Honda allowed them to work on maintenance chores, or to take earned vacation time to keep their paychecks coming. And after the April 27 tornadoes ripped through our area, Honda allowed its employees to take two days per week to volunteer at cleanup activities while getting paid as though they were at work.

Those policies say a lot about Honda and the kind of company it is. And they say a lot about Honda’s employees and the kind of people they are.

Honda made it through this parts crisis without laying off a single employee in their North American plants, the company said. Now that they are ready to ramp up production again, those employees are available and their morale should be high, since no one had to do with a reduced paycheck during the difficult times.

The Japanese automaker obviously enjoys great economic strength to be able to weather such a crisis without cutting employee paychecks. We commend Honda for its approach, we continue to wish the company a long and prosperous future in Lincoln and the rest of its North America plants.

Source: The Daily Home - Policies say a lot about Honda

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