Friday, June 09, 2006

In the GME, the only valuable commodity is time / World - US workers challenge value of being overworked:

And now the workers, and their lawyers confirm it.

by Patti Waldmeir in Washington
Published: June 8 2006 18:29 | Last updated: June 8 2006 22:49
"Increasingly, US workers are banding together to demand payment for all the hours they work, including unpaid overtime, work done during meals and time spent walking around on the job. Collective lawsuits involving wages and hours are growing exponentially, according to a recent study by the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, which found that mass litigation over pay and working hours outnumbered any other kind of workplace class action last year, including gender and other job discrimination lawsuits."

“Certainly this kind of suit is not as glitzy or sexy as some other kind of claims,” he says, but adds that entrepreneurial plaintiffs’ attorneys have discovered that such suits can be very lucrative. Many legal experts say plaintiffs’ attorneys are driving the rise in litigation, because they can earn large settlement fees.

But worker advocates disagree, saying that as employers try to cut labour costs, they are increasingly violating the law, while state and federal agencies charged with enforcing it are not doing so aggressively. “There’s been a decline in enforcement actions by the public agencies . . . and the private bar has stepped in and taken over the responsibility of enforcing the laws,” says Cathy Ruckelshaus of the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for low-wage workers.

“....We want people to be eager beavers, so it goes against the grain to say ‘work to rule’: but if he doesn’t sue you, somebody else might!” says Mr McCormick. The same is true of the secretary who answers phone calls on her lunch break, or reads a book while waiting for dictation.

Every day, the rules of the game change. The incentives for independent contractors working by project, rather than by hours has just increased.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Supply Chains in the GME

From the FT.. Mastering Risk - Coping with complexity and chaos:
"Achieving supply chain resilience
Because even the best-managed supply chains will hit unexpected turbulence or be affected by events that are impossible to forecast, it is critical that resilience be built into them. Resilience implies the ability of a system to return to its original or desired state after being disturbed. Resilient processes are flexible and agile and are able to change quickly. Supply chain resilience also requires at those critical points that can be adversely affected by changes in the rate of flow.Supply chain resilience depends on rapid access to information about changed conditions. Through collaborative working with partners, this information can be converted into supply chain intelligence. Because networks have become more complex, they will rapidly descend into chaos unless they can be connected through shared information and knowledge. The aim is to create a supply chain community where there is a greater visibility of upstream and downstream risk and a shared commitment to mitigate and manage those risks.Ultimately, it may be necessary for companies to re-engineer their supply chains not, as in the past, with cost minimisation in mind but to maximise their flexibility and agility. Today's changed conditions are forcing companies to question past decisions on sourcing, outsourcing and the pursuit of Clean solutions. Responsiveness and resilience must be the twin goals of supply chain design and management."

In the rush to cut costs, the risks are often overlooked. In the GME, risk management has to be an essential part of logistic excellence. It has to be faster AND better. Better means safer.