Ford Motor Co. management reportedly is trying to stop the company's financial outlook from going down the toilet.
The Detroit News reported Thursday that management at the company's Michigan Truck plant in Wayne, Mich., issued a memo in which it said too many of the factory's 3,500 hourly workers are spending more than the 48 minutes allotted per shift to use the bathroom.
The extra-long breaks are slowing production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicles that are built there, the company said.
Unless there is a widespread epidemic of workers camping on the throne, I'm skeptical about how much of a difference this is going to make.
So are some experts:
Some efficiency consultants told the paper that Ford will gain little from monitoring bathroom breaks.
"It's a giant throwback to the bad old days of the '70's and '80's, when you squeezed the guy at the bottom of the heap any way you could," Sandy Munro of Munro & Associates told the News. "That only causes lots of discontent."
Ever heard the term "micromanage"?
To be fair, I'm sure there are some who abuse the trips to the john...but the time, money, and effort to monitor this will return little in the way of results. I've seen government organizations do this sort of thing a lot, and it rarely produces any real results...it just becomes an annoyance and a joke.
Workers interviewed by the paper said that management is trying to divert attention from broader problems at the nation's No. 2 automaker, including soft sales of the large SUV's made at the plant following this year's run-up on gasoline prices.
If Ford really wanted to improve, they might consider dumping the gas-hog SUV's this plant produces in favor of high fuel efficiency cars and hybrids. That might boost sales, given that gas guzzlers are not such a good idea with gas prices in the stratosphere.