Making TQM Work in a Tough Environment: British Steel Teesside Works

  • Adrian Wilkinson
  • Tom Redman
  • Ed Snape
  • Mick Marchington
Chapter
Part of the Management, Work and Organisations book series (MWO)

Abstract

British Steel is the world’s fourth largest producer of steel, producing over 12 million tonnes of crude steel in 1994. The company’s ‘Cinderella’ like transformation, from a record loss-making nationalised producer to the most profitable (in 1990) steel company in the world, has often been depicted as nothing short of an industrial miracle (for example, Heller, 1995). After years of ridicule the company has recently been described as one the UK’s few truly ‘world-class businesses’ (Johnson and Scholes, 1993: 433). Surveys of corporate reputation amongst the UK’s senior managers report British Steel as one of the most improved companies. British Steel increased its ranking from 189 in 1992 to 54 (out of 260) during 1994. This was achieved on the back of markedly higher scores for the quality of its management, products and service (Hasell, 1994). The effect of this transformation is keenly felt by the company’s managers. According to one manager:

If someone asked me in the pub ‘Who do you work for?’ I used to be embarrassed to say British Steel. I knew what was coming, the jokes and mickey-taking about losses, productivity, overmanning, quality. We used to be a laughing stock. It’s not like that anymore. I’m proud to work for British Steel. We are now a respected company.

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Copyright information

© Adrian Wilkinson, Tom Redman, Ed Snape, Mick Marchington 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian Wilkinson
  • Tom Redman
  • Ed Snape
  • Mick Marchington

There are no affiliations available

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