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Over the years, quite a large volume of maintenance and minor project work had been done by contractors. In the reporting system, the headcount of those doing maintenance work such as tank repairs was averaged over the year and added to the maintenance strength. This nearly doubled the equivalent manpower numbers. Small projects required a significant number of 'equivalent' people as well.

The MD's plan was to use the new department to carry out small projects or significant maintenance work traditionally done by contractors, thereby displacing a portion of the 'equivalent' numbers that had to be added on earlier. Thus, instead of firing many of the company employees, we could issue less contract work.

Implementation Challenges

Many of the surplus staff had skills, but these were not necessarily suited to doing project work. Old habits die hard, and the MD realized that if they were allowed to mingle freely with the maintenance crews, they would gradually be re-absorbed, as people began to find work for them. Then there was the question of morale. People could feel rejected and, hence, dejected. Poor morale and safety don't go together; sooner or later we could expect accidents.

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