The Efficiency Expert (1992) is a socially-conscious comedy movie set in 1960s Australia. Anthony Hopkins plays Errol Wallace, an efficiency expert who is in the business of helping companies become more efficient. His preferred route towards better efficiency is downsizing and layoffs. The central plot of the movie is about Wallace’s experience with a small shoe factory (Ball Moccassin Factory) that has become a small shadow of what it once was. The company is family-run and all employees are treated like family. The company is in such a bad shape that it has made no money in many years and management has been running the company by selling off assets. Just when Wallace things he has figured out how the company can become profitable again, he learns new lessons from the workers that change his life, his outlook towards business, and the future of the company.
The movie is interesting. In an era of globalization and corporate restructuring, it reminds us of the human side of doing business. At the same time, it also raises important questions about how to manage workers, and the kind of work environment management should strive for. It would be a good movie for students to watch, except that it is slow and drags at places.