They then asked them how to make things better. Americans over 65 will make up more than 16 percent of the population within 10 years. Germany is aging even faster: More than a fifth of the country Older workers have more patience and skill that comes from experience, the studies say, but less flexibility, strength and vision - real liabilities on a production line that depends on precision engineering and a lot of hard work to turn out more than 1, cars a day. BMW could force its aging workers to retire, or even fire them. In what the Harvard Business Review called "an experiment defusing its demographic time bomb," BMW decided to look ahead.

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Rating: How BMW is defusing the demographic time bomb - BMW uses the ability of the staff in the production line to create solutions. Employees of a production line, supported by senior managers and technical experts, have achieved productivity improvements. The approach varies from improvement in health and safety issues to enriching the skills and to concrete improvements at the workplace. This successful example shows that workers who are involved in changes can make the difference.

Drivers In , BMW was worried about the decline in productivity of the increasingly aging workforce. This was a concern for BMW because older workers would report more frequent and longer sick and have to work harder to achieve the same output. BMW was faced with a choice. Sacking or early retirement of older workers was no option for BMW, from a social point of view. BMW could reallocate her older workers in jobs with fewer physical inconveniences.

However, this was not an option because of the lack of young workers. This pilot group started with a workshop, in which employees of this production line were asked about discomfort during work and things that they wanted to improve.

Employees were encouraged to contribute ideas. The employees themselves decided whether the idea should be implemented and not the management. A first success was quickly achieved: placing a wooden floor to reduce knee problems.

The physical complaints decreased and everyone had noticed the effect. After this, the workers took the responsibility to realize ideas. The knowledge of ergonomics and safety experts was brought in, but the staff at the production line did most of the work themselves. They became proud of their involvement in the project. Employees were increasingly open to change; even for job rotation or stretching exercises with a physical therapist. In total, more than 70 changes were implemented. The pilot group of older workers were as productive as their younger colleagues.

This included the time employees spent to participate in the workshops, the time spent by the ergonomist and physical therapist and the direct costs. The investment is relatively small compared to the delivered productivity improvements. BMW has applied the successful method in other factories as well. The most important differentiating factor is the capabilities of the staff.

Loch, F. Sting, N. Bauer and H. Mauermann from the magazine Harvard Business Review is attached.

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How BMW is defusing the demographic time bomb

Kazrale A involved mild or moderate strain, B was the most physically demanding, and C was the least. Ergonomic hazards include working More information. What did BMW get in return? The most important differentiating factor is the capabilities of the staff. Risks of work-related upper limb More information. My name is and I am an addict. Conceptual difficulties in measuring retirement Discussion Paper: Stadler and Dickert had concerns of their own namely, that BMW would reduce work-speed rates and performance goals and downgrade IT systems in an effort to accommodate the perceived deficiencies of older workers.


How BMW Deals With an Aging Workforce

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Bagal A first of its. Employee involvement There was created a production line with employees with an average age ddefusing 47 years: As part of that, the project team organized a self-diagnosis that awarded positive points for bombb such as regular exercise and negative points for smoking or being overweight. In total, more than 70 changes were implemented. Stadler and Dickert then organized kickoff workshops for the project, during which they asked workers to describe their aches and pains and what they would change on the line.


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