Workplace Observation: Hitachi Automotive Products
Hitachi Automotive Products, Los Angeles (HAP-LA), located in Torrance, California, is a major manufacturer of alternators, starters, mass airflow sensors, electronic control units, and other automotive electromechanical parts. HAP-LA's major customers, including Ford, GM, Subaru, Nissan, Honda, and Thermoking, along with a large score of OE and aftermarket clients, bring in over $9 million in monthly revenue for the HAP-LA facility alone. As a small part of a large conglomerate corporation, HAP-LA's climate is defined by a long, historical Japanese tradition and work ethic as well as the dynamic practices of the contemporary American management.
My current position at HAP-LA is the environmental, health and safety coordinator, with responsibilities that also include ISO-14001 administration, workman's' compensation and security. I am still relatively new at HAP-LA, with less than two years employment, so my perceptions of the organizational climate are based on a limited experience with the current structure and operations.
Communication at HAP-LA consists of emails, payroll attachments, work procedures and policies, telephone, and postings on bulletin boards throughout the facility. A majority of the emails that are sent, both internally and externally, make up the bulk of the communication that takes place. Using the Lotus Notes system, the emails also allow for the scheduling of meetings and appointments. Additional software applications used at HAP-LA use email as a main function to ensure that customer inventories are checked through an automatic inventory management system, supplies are ordered and updated for usage, and work orders are initiated based on customer demand.
Payroll attachments, mainly consisting of information regarding employee morale, benefits and payroll information, are provided for those team members that do not have regular access to the email system. These attachments are usually provided, in the case of employee events or benefit changes, at...