Achieving Quality through Employees Granite Rock, a California-based mining and construction company, was founded in 1900, but its journey toward...
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Can you help with this, please Granite Rock Company: Achieving Quality through Employees 

Granite Rock, a California-based mining and construction company, was founded in 1900, but its journey toward improved quality did not start until many decades later. The managers at Granite Rock knew that a resulting decline in customer satisfaction was inevitable and responded to this self-assessment by deciding it needed to become more customer-focused. At Granite Rock, this meant not only learning more about the customer but also providing its employees the training and skills necessary to properly implement the company's new philosophy.

At first, this focus on HR  management was emphasized through employee training. As explained by CEO Bruce Wool pert, you can't have employees out telling customers "yes" unless everyone else in the company knows how to follow up on "yes." As a result, an aggressive training program was implemented involving on-the-job training and classroom time for the majority of the firm's employees. A program called IPDP (Individual Personal Development Plan) was created to help each employee take responsibility for his or her own training program. As the program gained momentum, remarkable things started to happen. One employee indicated that he wanted to learn to read better. As a result of that request, the company initiated a reading program that has helped a number of Granite Rock's employees improve their reading skills. As part of the company's effort to reduce process variability and increase product reliability, many employees were trained in statistical process control, root-cause analysis, and other quality-minded competencies. Today, Granite Rock spends up to $1,600 per year for training of each employee, which is more than 10 times the average for the mining and construction industries. 

An equally important step in equipping its employees to contribute to the firm's efforts was establishing an atmosphere of trust between management and the rank-and-file employees. That effort has been pursued in a number of ways, and the trust developed throughout the company has resulted in the effective implementation of employee empowerment and teamwork. In addition, the company has done away with its conventional performance appraisal system (feeling that it was ineffective) and has incorporated performance appraisal into each employee's IPDP. As part of this plan, at least once a year, each employee meets with his or her supervisor to discuss job responsibilities, review accomplishments, assess skills and set skill and career development goals. Although the IPDP is not mandatory for the company's unionized workers, overall participation stands at 83%. Because the IPDP approach to training and appraisal prepares employees to assume greater responsibilities, Granite Rock promotes heavily from within. Granite Rock, having won the Malcolm Baldrige Award and one of Fortune magazine's best 100 companies to work for, is aggressively pursuing its quality initiatives, with the cooperation of its 700 employees.


QUESTIONS


  1. Rather than focusing on human resource management (HRM) as a means of supporting its quality initiatives, Granite Rock could have chosen another area as its focal point (e.g., marketing, operations, information systems, and so on). How does a focus on HRM support a company's quality initiatives?
  2. Discuss the different components of Granite Rock's HRM initiatives. How can each of these components support the company's quality efforts?    
  3. Discuss CEO Woolpert's feelings about communication with the customers (in paragraph 2 above). What happens when others in the company don't know what has been promised to the customer? How can quality management help to overcome this situation

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