This is a continuation of a story – click here to read the beginning.
A series of spaced, repetitive learning workshops were conducted on-site. Attendees included all levels of management -- from entry-level to the president. Several topics were placed in the series to create a team atmosphere and to bring the union-management issue to the table.
Progress was evident following each workshop. The president was impressed that his leadership was putting their new learned skills into immediate action. Although the parts failure rate continued its gradual rise, production had increased at a faster rate. More money was being made -- but the quality rate indicated a greater exposure to penalties from the auto-makers.
A key breakthrough occurred in the morning of one of the sessions. An accident had occurred on the expressway near the manufacturing facility. Reporters were on the scene interviewing witnesses, including the driver of a car that was now wedged top-down against a retaining wall.
Before this session a tour of the facility added another element to the breakthrough. The president himself conducted the day’s tour. Watching parts progress along one of the production lines, the project's lead consultant asked the president a simple question – “What happens when a mistake is made?”
The owner replied, “Someone dies.”
”Someone dies?” replied the consultant inquisitively thinking the owner meant an employee would be written up. Jokingly he replied, “Isn’t killing an employee a little harsh?”
The owner, in a very firm voice said, “No, I mean someone really dies. The part will not function in an accident and someone will probably be dead.”
Somewhat stunned, the consultant said, “Do the workers know that?”
The president replied, “well they shouldn’t have to be told. It's obvious!”
What may have been obvious to the president was not so obvious to the employees. They knew they were making safety equipment, but did not realize the minor flaw in the temperature on the production line could cause the part to fail. Managers thought the Quality Control Department was being too strict, hourly workers thought management was being picky in an attempt to fire them and hire lower paid new workers, and the Production Managers felt everyone misunderstood the importance of production speed.
Based on this discovery company-wide meetings were held using an agenda with key points carefully crafted for ultimate understanding and impact. Results were impressive. The foundation was laid for a rekindled spirit of teamwork. Hourly workers were informed of the life-saving importance of their work and management learned to view the union as a partner at achieving company goals
The reject rate dropped by 52% within two months of the company-wide meetings. Although no employees were fired or laid off, the increase in production rates allowed additional savings as attrition was once again feasible.
Despite the downturn in their automotive business, the increased profitability allowed them to purchase a struggling competitor's accounts the year after the project was completed.
© Max Impact, used with permission.
Helpful article series
- 7 Deadly sins of signage.
- 5 Deadly small business mistakes.
- Top tips for using Linked In- a series of the top three best practices for using Linked In to build business.
- Top marketing mistakes- includes a humorous video of leading marketing mistakes.
- Differentiate the right way- a series of articles about best practices in attracting customers.
Business development by the numbers
- “60 Insights for Mastering Business Development”.
- “8 Pillars of Career and Business Success”.
- “5 Kick-A** Strategies Every Business Needs”: to explode sales, stun the competition, wow customers and achieve exponential growth.
- “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”: Follow them and people will follow you.
- “The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan”: How to take charge, build your team, and get immediate results