Continuous Improvement Initiatives

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     I am a process improvement leader of a small food packing company.Currently we have a Continuous Improvement program here at this plant with 5 teams. We have about 180 floor employees in which only about 15% of the employees are involved in Continuous Improvement teams. However, the company wants to give up bonuses to the 180 employees at the end of the year base on personal CI performance.What will be a good program to implement involving ALL the employees on Continuous Improvement, so we track their performance at individual level?



    They way I have seen in the passed is via Kiazen sheets. These are a single sheet, divided into problem and solution. The originator is asked to describe or draw the problem on one half of the sheet, and to give a possible solution (or example of how they would like it to work) on the second half of the sheet. This is then passed up the chain for approval and resources etc if necessary.The biggest problem is going from the step of identifying an issue, to actually closing the problem out. You need to find a way to work around the too hard, not my problem, I don’t have time mentality.You also need to be able to empower your workers to make changes (with approval/where possible).This does not address the issue of bonuses, etc. I have mainly seen things such as awards/presentations for good improver’s, not necessarily cash bonuses. I have also seen team competitions, where the winners get to go on a business trip to visit other plants (as well as a bit of sight seeing).


    fake accrington alert

    Try  first  to  implement  the  Kaizen Blitz for  5 to  10  days,then  evaluate  the  event ,and  restart again  with  a  wide-scale  Kaizen management.
    good  luck 



    Do you stop giving a bonus or to start a bonus scheme?
    Most bonus systems I have seen generally make for an adversarial situation.
    You can get arguments about who was on the team who should get the bonus.
    If we just reward the team leader what about the team? The team does a lot of the work.
    I have seen a profit share scheme used in the past to avoid this problem.  
    The financial improvements made by all C.I. projects are distributed to all personnel.
    I have seen a competitive set up for CI team of the year. The top teams are invited to the presentation of the award and they get recognised without the conflict money can promote. This method added some competition without the conflict that monetary rewards can create.
     These are just some observations I have seen in my time as a CI team leader.


    Houston Lean Six Sigma

    I’d suggest beginning a 5S initiative in the workplace.  Everyone can be involved, you can assess baseline and improvement through an assessment and, depending on what you want to track can measure individual participation.  Two things are needed for success:  Leadership support and buyin; employees understanding that they are empowered to make change (let them know boundary conditions at the rollout).  Suggest the following reference matls if 5S is new to you:  “5S for the Office” – Fabrizio & Tapping; “Lean Sigma a Practitioner’s Guide” – Wedgwood 



    I agree that bonuses need to be conceived with care to avoid adversarial pitfalls, and to assure incentives are fair, proportional and motivating.If the 15% of participants are initiating projects that will ultimately change the way everyone does business, then everyone has a stake and a role and should be recognized in some way. Union environments can be tricky here however. Non financial rewards such as gift cards, etc. can be useful if pure financial rewards are sticky.I also like to reward effort, and not just results. CI often requires people to wear additional hats. If this is the case, they should be rewarded somehow, either financially, non financially, or both. I have seen discretionary one-on-one consideration work effectively here as a motivator. I have seen complications arise from excessive rewards given to a few BB’s when it is their full time job to be a BB. Be careful if this is where your management is headed. I have seen CFO’s undo these incentives in some large companies do to the animosity it has created.Good luck.

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