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Respect for people.

The author of our Printing Lean column, Tom Southworth, has composed a penetrating article for this issue. He writes about people, their value in the workplace, and how they are treated by management. They are as valuable, or more so, than the machines and technologies that are kept so well oiled and polished. Often they are not cared for as much as the equipment is.

I can say without hesitation that there are many label company owners in this industry who are acutely conscious of the welfare of their workers, and who make human resources (that sad term) a priority of their business life. I've seen them in action, and I have seen the employees as well.

Many years ago in this space I wrote about a talent that I discovered I possess: to be able to sense, in the atmosphere of a workplace, the aroma that defines the relationship between management and labor. On visits to converters and suppliers, I'd go on a plant tour and watch body language and facial expressions, and generally soak up the vibe in the place. For me it is easy to sense whether the workplace is upbeat and functional - people like working there - or tense, uncomfortable, dark--where eyes and faces look away when the boss comes through the place.

There are a few of the latter, and many that are between the poles. But it is a pleasure to visit a converting company and see the owner sharing a laugh with the guy who cleans the anilox rolls, a workplace in which the employees know that the boss has their backs, where the CEO knows how far and hard to push because he's right there with them in the trenches.

I know these leaders. They'll read Tom's column and understand that their respect for people has produced rewards all around.

The others ... Well, perhaps they'll ask themselves about the atmosphere in their plants, and whether maybe they should think and act a little differently.

Yes, they should. It's never too late.

Jack Kenny, Editor
COPYRIGHT 2009 Rodman Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Kenny, Jack
Publication:Label & Narrow Web
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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