What does it take to achieve teamwork and improve performance and quality? Here is a success story:
Early this year, the Division established the requirement is that every employee must be in a work group and that all work groups must meet consistently. The focus of those meetings must be to engage the creativity of the group. The focus is on asking, not telling; problem solving, not lecture; accountability; initiative. A program to improve feedback to the work group was put in place at the same time. All this was done because the practice of regular team meetings had fallen by the wayside in many work groups. They were “too busy” to meet. Interest and initiative had suffered. Accountability had diminished.
Here's what happened. The program was fully in place in March and six months have now elapsed. Production groups have generally met daily, erection and QC meets weekly, and clerical groups meet on various schedules. Every group has a little different agenda format.
The “Ratchford Model” is an example of meeting format. This is a structured daily meeting format developed by Steve Ratchford, a production supervisor. He had used it regularly for about a year. The meetings take about 15 minutes.
How does this happen? Here is an example.
The first shift casting crew led by John Lewis got the feedback of a consistent problem of alignment in a cast-in item. It was a source of rework. He addressed this to the work group as a daily problem. The team discovered that a hole in the cast-in item needed to be changed, the form wasn't quite right, and certain casting operations needed to be changed. Jerry Kennedy, welding mechanic, changed the form. Jose Valencia in the fab shop made a change in fabrication of the cast-in.
The casting crew that initiated the problem solving identified and made changes in their procedures. John Lewis, their supervisor, coordinated the items that had to be done by other departments. The problem was solved, and this rework was eliminated. It was a team effort. I took about two days.
Small daily improvements add up to big
advances through time. Successful regular work group meetings set
goals and achieve them, demand accountability of their members, and engage
the creativity of each member. The results speak for themselves.