Suggestions for Suggestion Systems - CI (Continuous Improvement)

B

Bob_M

#1
Suggestion systems

CarolX said:
EMPLOYEE SUGGESTION BOX - actually used
Carol can you share how you got people to use the box? We technically have a "box" as well as Continuous Improvovement Suggestion Forms (we place suggestions under the CI umbrella which could include anything).

We happen to be very low in numbers (employees) at the moment, and most of them have been here many years, and have seen very few of their past suggestions "come to life". I'm currently running "Encouragement" drawings monthly where every (realistic) suggestion is given one "ticket" in the drawing for a small $$ amount. We don't get very many, but some people feel they are NOT PAID TO THINK, just make parts... *shrug* *sigh*
 
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#2
Re: Re: Thoughts on PA

Bob_M said:
We don't get very many, but some people feel they are NOT PAID TO THINK, just make parts... *shrug* *sigh*
Hi Bob,

OK... That's the symptom. What about the cause(s)?

The fact that few of their suggestions in the past have "come to life" must be considered. Most people in that situation reacts in exactly the same way: They sulk, and quit making suggestions.

Now, the important question: Why have their suggestions been stillborn? I can think of several potential reasons, but I would like to get your opinion before we continue. What do you think?

And Carol: Could you enlighten us: What made your suggestion box work?

/Claes
 
B

Bob_M

#3
Re: Re: Re: Thoughts on PA

Claes Gefvenberg said:
Hi Bob,
OK... That's the symptom. What about the cause(s)?
The fact that few of their suggestions in the past have "come to life" must be considered. Most people in that situation reacts in exactly the same way: They sulk, and quit making suggestions.
Now, the important question: Why have their suggestions been stillborn? I can think of several potential reasons, but I would like to get your opinion before we continue. What do you think?
And Carol: Could you enlighten us: What made your suggestion box work?
/Claes
PAST causes/problems were lack of $$, downsizing, unrealistic suggestions, suggestions submitted in an "angry" way not in a postive way, management may not really have been interested in opinions just wanted CI suggestions history for ISO 1994?, realistically some people had trouble seperating "bitching about a problem" from making a "good" suggestion.

Our past $$ problems, downsizing, and reduction of certain benifits has left alot of the old timers bitter. Thats not something that is easy to fix. Empowerment doesnot always work. *shrug*

Basically I'm left with alot of attitute. Thankfully the attitude towards quality has improved with a system in place for a few years now. :D
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#4
Not trying to steal Carol's limelight...just my own observations

The first division I worked for had a suggestion box. They got all the employees (by shift/area)together twice a year, bought them dinner, plied them with booze and then the managers pulled out all the suggestions and made fun of the suggestions and the people who submitted them.

The second division started a suggestion box after I started there (needless to say, it scared the #&!! out of me :eek: ) But, the management there was very progressive. Each month at one of our staff/quality meetings, we read all the suggestions, figured out if they were something we COULD look into, assigned a champion from management staff and went to work on them. Occasionally we would get some lame stuff, but we made sure that one of us followed up on EVERY suggestion, even if it was to go back to the person and explain why we were not going to act, or possibly why we were going to wait. One of the suggestions was to build a patio and furnish it with a picnic table. It came in the midst of a bad downswing and my original thought was, yeah, like that's gonna happen. The managers met with the office staff and told them that if they could reduce the amount of money they spent on office stuff, through implementation of paperless processes and better supplier control, etc., by a certain amount in six months, and then sustain their cost cuts, they could have a patio and picnic bench.

The patio was built, and the patio furniture bought, the company did not even cheap out, got really nice stuff. Moral went way up and soon emplyees were coming up with even more suggestions, not for "gimmes" but for real efficiency/effectiveness improvements.

Guess it just goes to show how far a little respect goes. Treat your employees suggestions like they are stupid, the program dies. Treat your employees suggestions as though they all have merit, people start to make really great business improvements.
 

CarolX

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#5
Re: Thoughts on Preventive Action (PA)

SteelMaiden said:
Not trying to steal Carol's limelight...just my own observations
Steel,
Don't worry, you never could....we each shine in our own way!!!!

To the group,

First, I must say that I had NO part in the employee suggestion box. This was a program that upper management set-up years ago, and they still use it to this day. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for them to get around to it, but it is used by all. I have always said that we have a suggestion program that actually works, but that is because upper management uses it as an improvement tool.

Thanks all for your feedback...as always...you guys and gals are the best!!!!

CarolX
 
T

tschones

#6
A couple of thoughts on suggestion programs

Here's somes things to think about regarding suggestion programs:

1) At our company, the CEO/president established a "suggestion program" here and labeled it "Continuous Improvement". The expectations are that CI is everyone's responsibility. The Management Team walks around the plant once per month at predetermined times to here a 5-minute from every group or area in the plant (one month they hit the production areas, the opposite month they hit the "office" areas). Participation is nearly 100% and last year we had an average of 3 suggestions "accepted" per associate. These are not trivial ideas, each idea has to be reviewed by each group's members in order to be accepted. (Groups don't want to show a list of trivial improvements or changes to Mgmt.) Bottom line: The key to success to this whole program is that Mgmt comes around once per month listening to a summary (with metrics of # ideas accepted and implemented) and to listen to a short story of how a recently implemented idea has helped the area. There's usually a few questions asked after each little presentation. No incentives or rewards are given to individuals per se. However, to increase awareness of what all other groups have accomplished, we have recently instituted a program where every 6 months, each group assembles a short story board about their best implemented idea, and we vote on the best idea for quality/customer satisfaction, safety, and cost reduction. The group with the top vote getting idea in each category wins a pizza lunch.

2) Organizations using incentives or rewards to get people to participate in such CI programs seems to go against Deming's philosophies on continuous improvement and psychology. Anyone have some other thoughts about this?

Tom
 
C

Craig H.

#7
Re: A couple of thoughts on suggestion programs

tschones said:
2) Organizations using incentives or rewards to get people to participate in such CI programs seems to go against Deming's philosophies on continuous improvement and psychology. Anyone have some other thoughts about this?

Tom

Tom:

I would be wary of the vote being seen as just a popularity contest. Does the same area seem to win more often than the others?

I kind of like Crosby's ZD Day approach that we have molded to fit us. Every 1 1/2 years or so, we have a big dinner (steak last time) and all employees and their spouses are invited. Our President speaks for a few minutes, and the QA Manager (me) gets to put everyone to sleep after they have eaten a big dinner. These speeches are about where the company has been and where its going. Oh, and I throw lots of quality stuff in, as well. We also have a drawing for door prizes, which is very popular.

If your company is too big, why not rotate the groups for lunch, and make sure a senior manager or 6 are there to share the pizza and spend some casual time with the troops?

Of course if what you have now is working for you, fantastic!

Craig
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#8
Re: A couple of thoughts on suggestion programs

tschones said:
Here's somes things to think about regarding suggestion programs:

2) Organizations using incentives or rewards to get people to participate in such CI programs seems to go against Deming's philosophies on continuous improvement and psychology. Anyone have some other thoughts about this?

Tom
Tom, I think that to limit our thinking to following one man's philosophies and only those is self limiting. We all have our "price", some of us come cheaper than others.:p
 

Cari Spears

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
One thing that I did at my last job to revive a stagnant Employee Suggestion program was to involve shop personnel first hand. I had to sell it to my boss - but I convinced him to let me take over the Employee Suggestion Committee (such as it was) and revamp it. The first thing I did was ask for volunteers from a Supervisory Level.

I headed the Committee and my boss also sat in whenever he could. Then there were two permanent members that were Department Supervisors, representing mid-management. Then the other two members were randomly chosen shop guys, different guys each month.

We went through every suggestion - got rid of the "Fire so and so's" and others that were obviously not valid/serious. Then we reviewed the valid ones. Having the shop guys in on the review meant that they could see first hand that each and every suggestion was indeed given consideration. They told their buddies - and after a few months I was inundated with requests/volunteers for the reviews. I considered taking volunteers, then I decided to stick with the random choosing instead.

Whether the suggestion was implemented or not - each submission was given a written response unless they chose to remain anonymous.
 
#10
Re: Re: Re: Re: Thoughts on PA

Bob_M said:
Basically I'm left with alot of attitute. Thankfully the attitude towards quality has improved with a system in place for a few years now. :D
As you must have realized, I had good reason for asking: Our situation is similar to yours, and I feel that we are miles away from exploiting our suggestions system to it's full potential. It's not a bad system as systems go, but we could get a lot more out of it. I wanted hints.

So, did I get hints? Of course I did! You Covers never let me down... :agree: Good posts from all over the place and I particularly liked Steels tale. That's the way to get cooperation.

/Claes
 
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