The author inherited the Semco company when he was 19. Soon it was on the brink of bankruptcy, but during a period of savage recession in Brazil it was transformed by a dramatic conversion to successful management by worker-participation. This is Semler's account of the company's transformation.
Ricardo Semler inherited his family company, Semco - manufacturer of marine pumps, industrial dishwashers and mixing equipment - when he was 19. Soon, by 1980, it was on the brink of bankruptcy, but a decade later, during a period of savage recession in Brazil, it had been transformed into a rapidly-growing company with profits of 10% on sales of $37 million. This was achieved by throwing out the rule-book and getting rid of all manuals and written procedures. Workers make the decisions previously made by their bosses; assembly workers can come and go as they please, and set their own production schedules; corporate decisions are put to the vote; managerial staff set their own salaries and bonuses; everyone has access to the company books; and there is a minimum of meetings, memos and approvals. All this was achieved through a series of 30 programmes designed to change the entire working environment, and in this book Semler presents an account of his company's revolution.
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