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Case Study
Engstrom Auto Mirror Plant: Motivating in Good Times and Bad
Engstrom Auto Mirror Plant, in Richmond, Indiana, a privately owned company that has been in existence since 1948. Engstrom was largely successful until the late 1990’s at which time the plant struggled to make a profit. During this period the plant was updating its production lines by adding new technology. This change did not go smoothly which caused delays in production resulting in a loss of customers. The plant manager did not have the knowledge of the new technology to find solutions to the decreased production and could not communicated effectively with the worker’s union. This lead to his eventual resignation in 1998. At this time Ron Bent was hired.
Bent determined that the average productivity at 40% of expectation. Bent believed in the power of worker incentive programs and felt that the best option would be a company-wide program. Bent felt that a Scanlon Plan would be the best option. The Scanlon Plan was developed by Joseph Scanlon with the concept that employees, the employer and the union have much in common and that every employee can contribute to making improvements. These improvements would help the company’s position in the marketplace and provide increased job security and provide bonus earnings to employees for any improvements. (Hess 1976, pg.141). Bent communicated the Scanlon concept in multiple ways to the employees and engaged them in the process to develop the Scanlon Plan for Engstrom including the base ratio by which the bonus payouts would be based
Initially there was important employee by-in with the concept of the Scanlon Plan and the plan was eventually approved with an 81% vote. The inception of the Scanlon brought a decrease in tension and conflict with in the plant as well as growth, higher profits, and sustained quality standards. Employee’s suggestions…...

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