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Industry Insight: Crisis on Asimov
Analysis & Commentary by Dr. Sheila Ronis

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What made it all work was the ability to tap into something called the Quality Network process, GMs historic quality process with the United Auto Workers where union and management worked together to solve problems. The Quality Network became the process that enabled IBM to manage the new global business. It was perfect to merge the cultures of the three companies, solving problems along the way.

Although it surprised many people, the Quality Network Process survived over the years because it was timeless. It had been developed jointly by General Motors management and the UAW, based on a set of beliefs and values that stood the test of time. The beliefs and values had been the result of an extensive study in which the question was posed, "How should people be treated in the company?" It was a wrinkle of the "Golden Rule," and those fundamentals culminated in a vision of "Customer satisfaction through people, teamwork and continuous improvement."

There was even discussion that the name should be changed, but those discussions gradually evaporated as the phrase "Quality Network" became a common term throughout the system. Its ideals were universally accepted.

In the year 2005 the leadership of the UAW thought the role that they were playing was diminishing along with their membership numbers. As corporations became global, the UAW realized it needed to seek new members in the emerging nations of the world. The emphasis on North America changed to a global view. In the process, they targeted all global automotive OEMs and their tier suppliers. The original union values to improve the human rights of workers and remove oppressive conditions were the cornerstone of the UAW's global strategy.

Countries from Kazakstan to Saipan became the domain of the UAW. And in 2015, Mathew Tanaka, International President of the UAW, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in ending the war between the workers in Turkmenistan and their Russian corporate leaders. The workers in this central Asian nation armed themselves against their Russian employers who were treating them as slaves. Dr. Tanaka was able to eliminate the oppression and end all the violence toward the workers.



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