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While writing All You Gotta Do Is Ask, I would share thoughts and ideas with Allen. Following is one of implemented ideas that Allan recently shared with me:
BEFORE IMPROVEMENT Cotton rags are used to clean lubricant off machines, parts and operators hands. Employees collect rags in a fireproof can and periodically during week, will come to a central location in plant to count out their rags, one by one. One operator submitted and had approved an IDEA to put a small counter on his fireproof can. As he was putting rags into can, he simply toggled off how many rags went into can. When he went to drop off rags at central location, all he had to do was dump rags.
Allan was reading Quick & Easy Kaizen board, where IDEAS are posted for sharing, and read about counter idea. He then encouraged an employee to speak to person in charge of recycling program for rags and investigate why there was a need to count rags at all. It turns out that approximately 15 years prior, supplier of rags was only one keeping track of rag counts and there were discrepancies. Part of solution was to have both parties count rags for a short period of time to determine what was happening. However, counting continued from then on.
AFTER IMPROVEMENT All operators in plant have been asked to discontinue counting rags.
EFFECT Operatorís jobs are easier and from one IDEA to make an operatorís job easier by adding a counter to his can, company has uncovered over 150 hours per year to be more productive. Some people may be embarrassed that such a miscommunication would happen and feel uncomfortable sharing it. However, Allan says, "lets expose waste without pointing fingers, reap reward and learn from our mistakes as only true mistakes are those which we don't learn from".
Allen continues to lead his people to find small improvements to make their job better, large improvements will also be uncovered. He was recently promoted to Assistant Production Supervisor.
Chuck Yorke is an organizational development and performance improvement specialist, trainer, consultant and speaker. He is co-author of ďAll You Gotta Do Is Ask,Ē a book which explains how to promote large numbers of ideas from employees. Chuck may be reached at ChuckYorke@yahoo.com