A sentence taken from an article in the Wall Street Journal:

"GM made twice as many vehicles as Chrysler's 1.5 million last year and employs 235,000 people compared with Chrysler's 54,000."

No, it’s not a misprint. And it’s the Journal, not Fox news.

Let me restate that for the purpose of comparison; GM’s 235,000 employees made 3,000,000 cars. Chrysler’s 54,000 employees made 1,500,000 cars.

In HR terms, the average GM employee (granted this includes many non-production employees) produced (12.76) let’s say 13 cars last year. The average Chrysler worker produced (27.7) cars last year. That means Chrysler workers are twice as productive as GM workers, right? Or that Chrysler’s system is twice as productive as GM, right?

Well, not for certain, but it’s safe to assume that Chrysler is using fewer resources to produce cars, on a per car basis. How they do that, is not immediately clear.

Here’s the other safe assumption, at least one of these companies is much less productive than the other. But neither is necessarily productive. Up until 2009, we the people, bankrolled that inefficiency by allowing “out of work on paper” companies Chrysler and GM to fend off reality until we could no longer afford their inefficiency and largesse.

Now, we’ll pay the price in lost jobs and economic constriction like America hasn’t seen since the 1930’s. It’s a costly fantasy, planted squarely on the shoulders of the working class.

The bleeding doesn’t stop at GM and Chrysler though, think about the pigment suppliers who sell to the Auto industry, the fastener suppliers, heck, even the office supply companies are going to feel the bite. What does this mean for procurement? It’s an interesting proposition, really. Some in procurement will feel the pain of suppliers trying to recover profitability from the customers they have left. Others will take advantage of “fire-sale” pricing for lingering inventory and leftover stock that never found its rightful home.

All because we have companies that could afford, that we bankrolled, not to be particularly productive in the first place. You think we’d have spent more wisely.
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  1. I think we should give GM more money and the government should own 100% of nothing.