When Jerry Mannigel arrived at Weyerhaeuser Co.'s Marshfield (Wis.) door plant five years back, the place was a "dead dog." Costs were through the roof while sales were flat, says Mannigel, the plant's manager. And morale? "You had to practically beat people with a stick to get them to come back to work every morning," he says.
To revive the dog, Mannigel looked to the Web. Despite opposition from union reps who feared job losses from automation, Mannigel installed a Net-based factory management system that has helped double production and boost on-time deliveries to 97% from 40%. To overcome workers' doubts, Mannigel organized weekly gripe sessions and offered bonuses to those who could figure out ways to better use the system. Not a bad way to open the door to the future profits.