Author

Andy Hellman

Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Leadership Studies

Abstract

In the summer of 1993, I first began my relationship with Reynolds Metals Company in Richmond, Virginia. t was at that time I received an internship with the Executive Vice-President for Human Resources and External affairs, a man by the name of Don Cowles. At this time, Reynolds was under the leadership of a new CEO, Dick Holder, who had been in his position for around a year or two. Additionally, the aluminum industry at this time was very depressed due to the large quantities of raw materials that had flooded the world market after the Soviet Union collapsed. Prices were way down for aluminum and all the major aluminum companies were having problems. Reynolds sought a solution which had been tried before in other companies and had succeeded in some and had not in others--they implemented TQM, a process which seeks to empower employees to make them more productive.

In order to better define how I was to go about my task, Denise and I listed a number of different things that I should do. Among the main list of action items for my task were:

  • contact Human Resources professional organizations to gather information
  • formulate a survey to send out to companies to gather information
  • interview a number of people within Reynolds Metals Company Human Resources to assess their needs
  • talk to consultants and arrange some presentations on automation
  • talk to Reynolds Automation Center people about what can be done at Reynolds with what equipment we have now,

with three main tasks of:

  1. conduct a needs assessment at Reynolds Metals Company
  2. do a best practices survey
  3. take the first two tasks and figure out where Reynolds Metals Company should be and what needed to be done to get there.

In conclusion, at the present time it seems as if Reynolds Metals Company is pursuing a bulletin boards based approach without following the three prongs outlined here. What is clear is that Reynolds Metal Company must seek some way to update its information and communication systems. The longer the company waits the more it will cost both financially and in terms of employee empowerment.

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