Michael McBride

In manufacturing, overtime is problematic. It is typically used to cover short term gaps in manpower and training. It usually covers the gap created between production expansion, hiring to the increased demand, and completion of skills training for the new hires. Often the duration of the overtime is calculable, and its negative effects limited.

It is problematic nonetheless. Labor costs rise by a factor of up to, or over, fifty per cent. Workers can become fatigued and their individual productivity may diminish. During extended periods demanding overtime, this often results in the combined negative impact of both higher labor costs and lower productivity. Eventually, costs outstrip margins, and overtime may not be solving the gaps in labor.

Compounding the business costs are the human costs. Aside from fatigue and weariness, workers' morale can suffer immeasurably from a perceived lack of management concern, manifested by the lack of management driven, long-term solutions. Soon the extra monies earned by overtime are viewed as uneven when compared to the sacrifices made in terms of reduced time off, increased productivity loads, fatigue, and the general loss of control of one's schedule.

Eventually demanding more, produces less.

As is will be with today's announcement by the Army that they will be extending tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army leadership is failing to manage its part of the war, as today's announcement, coupled with rocketing re-enlistment costs, highlight. It is the abject responsibility of Pentagon leaders to develop an overall strategy for manning their service in such a way that promotes not only accomplishing the near-term mission, but the sustaining of that mission over time.

It has been clear for a while that our presence in Iraq would be required well out into the future. Our Commander-in-Chief has repeatedly reemphasized our commitment to the mission and to the people of Iraq. Manning the Army with re-enlistment bonuses and gross tour extensions, hints that Army leadership either never grasped this concept, or if they did, were derelict by not implementing long-term corrective actions…the types of corrective actions that would fairly rotate our troops into the combat zones and with adequate rest and recuperative time between tours.

Michael McBride

Michael E. McBride retired as a Major from the Marine Corps and blogs at http://www.mysandmen.blogspot.com.

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