March 13, 2008
Chrysler's Closure
Posted by Gordon Smith

When Cerberus Capital Management purchased control over Chrysler Holdings LLC, we wondered how the management of the company would change. Hiring Robert Nardelli as the CEO was one immediate signal that this would not be business as usual. Today, Nardelli dropped some news on Chrysler's employees:

Dear Employee,

A willingness to try something new has proven to be an important catalyst as we transform into The New Chrysler and, in many corners of this company, new ways of doing business are firmly taking root. That's not just because of new leadership; it's also a product of an "Own It" mindset. As a private company, we all need to think like owners and do our part to accelerate Chrysler's recovery and transformation.

One idea that we have taken a fresh look at is the implementation of a two-week mandatory vacation shutdown. This year, in order to create better alignment and efficiency across organizational lines and boost productivity, Chrysler will use a corporate-wide vacation shutdown for the weeks of July 7 and July 14. While some operations will need to work during the shutdown to support business-critical activities and others may need to maintain minimal support staffs in place, most organizations should use this two-week time period to schedule employee vacations.

Employees who have already used their earned vacation days, have insufficient earned vacation for the year or are otherwise committed to noncancelable vacation plans during other time periods should work with their local management to make alternative arrangements.

We ask that you approach this idea with an open mind and a team spirit. It's going to take your cooperation and teamwork to achieve success.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and continued support.

Sincerely,

Bob

Even with an "open mind and team spirit," I would have a hard time figuring out what he is talking about. They have taken a "fresh look" at a "two-week mandatory vacation shutdown"? Was there a stale look on this idea?

Tell me again, Bob, why do you want to do this?

"To create better alignment and efficiency across organizational lines and boost productivity."

Yeah, nothing like a complete shutdown of the company to get your organization in sync and boost productivity.

Reuters is reporting that the real reason is more mundane: saving cash. But I suppose that it would not be very prudent to tell the employees, "People don't like our cars, so we don't need to make so many of them."

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