Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant

Ford goes soylent with its workforce

The plan at Ford is to create a sustainable workforce through environmental initiatives meant to improve the process for employees from start to finish, in a soylent cycle of care.
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Ford takes a four-pronged approach to a sustainable workforce, working to lower the environmental impact of each employee and the company as a whole by growing and maintaining a sustainable hourly employee base. By focusing on strategic hiring, training, protection and safety, and health care initiatives, the company has improved workplace safety significantly.

Factories are now retooled in simulation before actually being redesigned for work and new manufacturing facilities are planned out in cyberspace and tested for safety and quality before being built. Since the initiatives began, starting with global safety standards Ford set over a decade ago, the company has seen overall injury rates drop by 90 percent.

“Ford could not exist without all of our hard-working employees, so it’s important for us to do everything in our power to provide a safe and sustainable work environment,” said Jim Tetreault, vice president, Ford North America manufacturing. Speaking today at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars, Tetreault added,

In keeping with the times, phrases like "holistic" and "well-being" are thrown around when talking about the Sustainable Workforce. The actual nuts and bolts, though, are relatively simple: Ford has honed the hiring process for positions into a longer, tougher process that weeds out the uncommitted and generally lazy. Training this new workforce is intensive, emphasizing safety and efficiency. This is coupled with strict standards for safety on the factory floor and an emphasis on ergonomics in the workplace to reduce fatigue and injury. Finally, initiatives to encourage employees to take advantage of preventive medicine and healthcare services is relatively new, but already showing progress in improving lost productivity due to ill health.

Henry Ford, of course, is known as the man who brought the assembly line to automotive production and to bring a new attitude of worker well-being to the market. All voluntarily, on his own initiative. Just like these latest ideas from the company he built. Proving that yes, Soylent Green is people.


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