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Modern Textiles is in the business of producing garments and has an average annual turnover of Rs 3 billion. Since a large volume of its products is exported, the company has been very conscious of its quality commitment. It provides induction training to every new employee for two weeks and then on-the-job training by a supervisor for four months. This had been proving sufficient for the workers in meeting the clients’ quality expectations even while maintaining the high volume of production.

As part of its ambitious expansion programme, the company recently imported ultramodern machinery to double its production capacity. After the machinery was installed, the production volumes increased as expected, but the reject rates too rose dramatically. Consequently, the cost of production increased and the export deadlines too became very tight. The management discussed the issue at the different levels of the organization and held the machine operators’ inadequate knowledge and improper handling of the new machines as the primary reason for the unusual rejects. To remedy the situation, the HR department hurriedly organized the necessary training programmes for the employees’ handling this machine and the reject rates situation started to improve.

Meanwhile, the production manager found the HR department at fault for the crisis and blamed it for not undertaking training-needs assessment among the production department employees. However, the HR department retorted by saying that barely three months before the arrival of the new machine, a routine training-needs assessment had been made among those employees but it had revealed no pressing training requirements. On their part, the HR personnel held the production manager responsible for failing to inform them about the imminent arrival of the new machine at the time of the assessment of the training necessities. The blame game continued.

Questions for discussion

  1. From your perception, who is responsible for the whole incident resulting in high reject rates and the other associated problems?
  2. If you were the HR manager, what would you do to avert this crisis?
  3. What should be the long-term strategy of this company in terms of the training policy and process?

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