Employees can face long working hours and overtime for many reasons that are influenced by changing supply and demand for electronic products. We have come to understand that key influences on working hours include purchasing practices and production planning, lax enforcement of country labor law requirements, local culture, and macroeconomic pressures. The complexity of the issue requires collaborative solutions.
- Fluctuation in customer demand and lack of timely communication from customer to supplier when demand changes
- Customers’ lack of understanding of the impact of production changes, including supplier costs and remediation activities
- Challenges in workforce and human resource planning because of the fluctuating nature of production demand
- Lack of financial incentives to support corporate social responsibility (CSR) compliance
- Inconsistent supplier understanding and government enforcement of country labor requirements
- Macroeconomic factors which significantly impact supply and demand and the ability to plan effectively
Taking our analysis further, we also looked at the issue through a product life-cycle lens, analyzing products from conception to production to end-of-life to identify potential “touch points” where working hours may be affected. We then identified potential leading and lagging indicators that can be used to predict the likelihood of working hour issues. Finally, we worked to identify specific, practical tools and resources that could be used by EICC member companies to make a positive impact. These solutions include the following:
- Root Cause Analysis Tool: Enables EICC members to evaluate and analyze root causes of excessive working hours within manufacturing operations
- Performance Indicators: Offers potential indictors for tracking performance relating to working hours’ issues
- Resource Portal: Houses relevant research, information, and resources for the EICC members and their suppliers
The EICC continues to work with other industries and nongovernmental organizations to identify best practices that can be leveraged in the electronics industry. We are also focused on collecting key performance indicator (KPI) data in order to improve and simplify data collection methods and to provide members with improved methods of managing working hours within their supply chains. We are also investigating training in how to leverage best practices and KPIs to enable members to have a successful implementation of a reduced working hours initiative.
We are optimistic about the potential solutions we have identified for this multi-faceted issue and seek ways to integrate the resources into the follow-up activities for Validated Audits to further the impact of the resources for our members and the supply chain.
(Last updated July 7, 2011)
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