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With a strong emphasis on continued education, this manufacturer of high optical and high strength glass offers employee training opportunities ranging from hands-on production to associate degrees and management education. When management and supervisory staff completed Precision Leadership (PL) training, they realized they could use PL to reinforce participation in the continued education programs. From there, the PL process expanded to become the driver for all initiatives from production, to engineering design, to quality, to safety. The results of PL implementation were soon directly linked to big savings and a significant rise in gross profits.
As one of the world’s primary producers of television face panels, high strength glass, and widescreen and high definition television (HDTV) products, this 50-year-old Japanese-owned manufacturing facility leads the specialty glass industry. However, the demands of producing over 10 million flawless glass units per year, plus the continued evolution of the technology, forced the executive team to ask “How do we retain and expand our market leadership in the television glass industry while continuing to provide a high quality product at competitive prices?” Competing in a fast-paced high tech industry was difficult enough, but the facility also had decades of negative management history to overcome with its largely union employee staff.
The management team adopted PL’s positive, employee-driven methods to revamp the gainsharing system, structuring it to be contingent on employee behaviors that brought return on investment to the company. Performance improvement teams focused on interdepartmental communications, process redesign, operator discretionary effort, safety, quality and productivity. The facility also developed a computerized performance data collection system for operators paired with graphed feedback and ongoing recognition and celebration. The design engineering group alone attributed a cost savings of $58,000 per quarter to the use of PL performance improvement initiatives. Long-standing hard feelings between work groups dissipated and employees began voluntarily using the PL methods to improve customer relations and supplier performance.
“Previously unheard of levels of improvement over prior periods have occurred and played a prominent role in the plant’s ability to supply product to customers in a tight market.”
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