What is the easiest way to reduce costs? Fire the workers, and increase the workload. Of course, the fight of man against machine has been going on for hundreds of years, as more and more machines have replaced actual workers over time, many analysts have pointed out that this demise in basic labor needs will have some long lasting negative consequences on society, nonetheless, in a world ruled by the dollar, and shareholder expectations, this isn’t an issue.
So Australia’s own (Well America’s Own) Holden has fired 600 workers. Why? Because the Elizabeth plant is far more efficient than ever before, requiring less workers to run. The efficiency has been driven by Holden’s recent $532 million investment in the Elizabeth plant.
Also as the VZ production comes to an end (yes that means a new VE Ute for all the die hard ute fans) by end of 2007, the Elizabeth plant is transitioning to only VE Commodore production, meaning production will be more streamlined. VE Commodore has also been designed by Holden engineers to be easier to manufacture than previous Commodore models.
Holden says that by keeping costs down, it can secure a long term future in Australia and maintain competitiveness as a global automotive manufacturer. Of course, if this means importing more and more vehicles from Korea and using clever advertising campaigns to tell a different story (the Holden Captiva ad with the ‘aussie built V6’ comes to mind – sounds good doesn’t it?) than so be it .
“By continually improving our operational efficiency we will ensure GM Holden remains viable in Australia and in the global marketplace,” GM Holden Executive Director, Rod Keane said.
In line with industry trends, Holden’s daily production will be gradually reduced from its current level of 620 cars to approximately 520 cars in March, and then back to maximum capacity of 620 cars per day by October 2007.
Holden Executive Manager said that news was a difficult message to deliver to Elizabeth employees but was necessary to ensure the plant operated as competitively as possible in coming years.
“By continually improving our operational efficiency we will ensure GM Holden remains viable in Australia and in the global marketplace. Holden has a strong business strategy to ensure success and security for the future.
This strategy is increasingly important as Holden moves to a business model which will see our production mix include up to 50% export vehicles. We have to make changes for a long-term future but at the same time, it’s very difficult for our employees and their families.” Mr Keane said
But I’ll be fair, these trends are not exactly unique to Holden and furthermore, if we look at the big picture, Holden does actually mean a lot to Australia with investments of around $1.8 Billion dollars in the last three year alone!
“GM Holden has invested a lot in Adelaide and will continue to do so. Our business plan guarantees we have a long-term future here.” he said
Even so, it is still a sad day for Holden Employees.