iSixSigma

Soliciting projects from hourly (union) employees

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Soliciting projects from hourly (union) employees

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #33733

    Cindy
    Participant

    My company has been really good at identifying and addressing the “large problems” ….or the low hanging fruit………10 years into a productivity improvement process we are having trouble identifying projects that  don’t require massive amounts of effort – yet returns are fairly small………I can’t help but believe there are alot of $50,000 – $150,000 projects that could be worked in 6 months or less…if we could only identify them…….how do we get hourly (union) employees , supervisors, engineers, etc to submit ideas for projects………historically it has been easy for management to see the “large low hanging fruit” – but my hypothesis is it is not possible for them to see the “small low hanging fruit”  because they are to removed from the process…..
    Has anyone implemented a program where you’ve paid for “ideas” ? 
    I’d like to hear how other companies solicit ideas from hourly as well as lower level exempt employees………….
     

    0
    #91780

    Ron
    Member

    I have experienced several pay for idea efforts..all have been disatrous. You will always have concerns about favoritism, and special consideration. The best sources for projects generation is you CFO. Utilize the finance organization to point out where the big “stinkers” are in your company.
    Also look at revenue generation as asource for projects in the marketing area, look in accounts receivable and also accounts payable.
     
    Usually you find “money lying on the floor”.  Focus you efforts on  bigger things not smaller.

    0
    #91785

    Statman
    Member

    Ron I agree,
    Project solicitation is the worst possible way to maintain a sustainable project portfolio and project pipeline.  This is just as bad if it is coming from the floor or the boardroom.
    Has the original poster been trained in Y=f(x) flowdown process for identifying projects that flow up to top level key business metrics?
    Statman

    0
    #91786

    BBelievable
    Participant

    Cindy – I agree with your approach to try to reach some of the folks at the working level… Yes, we shouldn’t trip over dollars trying to save dimes, but the idea of limiting your project generating to only the CFO, AR, Marketing, etc. is short-sighted. Six Sigma is a “change initiative” as much as it is a methodology for most companies. That means, we want everyone in the company to make Six Sigma the “way we do business”. This only happens if everyone is exposed, participates, and feels like they are contributing. This does not mean a bottoms-up approach. You will need top management support and buy-in for “change” to go after what you have in mind.
    Here’s a very simplistic approach that we use in your situation. We simply have a suggestion box for process improvements. These can be ANYTHING from go-do-its to more elaborate ideas that can be developed into Six Sigma PIPs. Ideas are solicited from all levels of the company including craftspeople. We hold a lottery monthly to reward a select few from the pool of submissions. This incentivises the suggestion making process. Then, we have other rewards (graded approach) for the submittor of ideas that are followed-up on based on the amount of savings or cost avoidance generated by the initial idea. Rewards range from logo trinkets to gift certificates, etc.
    I know it is simple, but it works OK. Don’t overlook the big bucks, but like you, I think some of the best improvement ideas come from the folks that are working the processes.
    Good Luck

    0
    #91788

    Norma. N
    Participant

         I am a former union member who is fortunate to be employed by a  company that both offers Green Belt training to all employees and encourages hourly workers’ participation in Kaizens.  What I found surprising was the small percentage of workers that participated in the events.  My local president bluntly announced that it was foolish for any union worker to assist the company without compensation.  My response was that ‘my reward’ was less wear  and tear on my body.
       I have seen work cells modified, hours of operation decline, overtime decrease and quality improve because of the joint efforts of management and manufacturing.  When my company first started the training, I eagerly joined their efforts because I wanted some control over the way I was made to do my job.  My first project  saved the company a significant amount of dollars as well as easing the job of the operator. 
          The Champion removed al lot of the roadblocks put in the way by management.  However, the majority of the negativity came from the hourly employees.
     

    0
    #91812

    GDS
    Participant

    Cindy,
                 One thing I do and encourage our managers to do, is interview the individuals (SME’s Subjuct Matter Experts).Also we view our employees as Internal Customers. I ask questions like; What in your normal process causes you pain? If you could fix just one thing here, What would it be?  I explain to them that they are working the process everyday and see things that we don’t and we value their knowledge. Our hopper of projects stays full. When the shop floor sees results from their inputs, this encourages them to continue looking for ideas and this is the beginning of the culture transformation.. I think we must remeber that Six Sigma is a culture were we want everyone involved. I have seen in the past (another company) where the mind set on the floor was ” All the company cares about is DOLLARS, they don’t care about me the shop floor operator” 

    0
    #91816

    Andrew Brody
    Participant

    If the savings are quantified at so much annually or one time, the person submitting the idea receives a percentage of those savings as a bonus once the savings have been quantified and realized.  10% of a $50K savings would get a lot of people looking if they knew the company was serious.  For instance, if an idea is submitted and Engineering or whatever determines the potential savings, an escrow account with the projected bonus amount deposited in it would be set up.  The employee would be given a statement to this effect along with a disclaimer about the variability of the savings.  The account number and savings institution would also be provided.
    Andy Brody 

    0
    #91852

    Jenny Carpenter
    Participant

    Cindy,
    You have a wonderful idea.  I work on the floor as a union employee,and have taken it upon myself to enroll in six sigma courses.  I have asked my company if, after I complete at least my green belt, could be involved in projects.  I was told no.  Six sigma in my company is for management only.  As a hourly employee I feel that I could help in saving and making money.  For some reason they just don’t want to listen.  The craziest thing is that they are paying my tutition.  I just wish that I knew a way to have them listen to my ideas.
    jenny 

    0
    #91853

    DaveG
    Participant

    After you get your degree, find a job where they appreciate you.

    0
    #91857

    Don Wilmer
    Participant

    Believe me, Ron is damn right on this one. I has hit the nail right on. I really am not able to add anything to it, except to say “listen to that piece of advice”.

    0
    #91858

    Don Wilmer
    Participant

    Dear Jenny,
     
    Theoritically, what you are saying makes sense. (Your employer’s actions don’t). But, any quality improvement should result in revenue gain. Otherwise, why bother? (I could do with a nice leather belt than a Black or Green)! But unfortunately, implementing this idea ‘d be fun! But, won’t make/save money for your company. If you read Ron’s reply on this, it would make sense to you. (It does, to me. I should know, because we already went thru this). MY advise to you: move up to that level where you can make a difference. (You don’t want me to tell you how to do that, do you?)

    0
    #91859

    muhannad al nabulsi
    Participant

    Dear Dave
       I have sent you some comprehensive articles on “change Management”.I should appreciate greatly your response and feed-back.Although my name is “muhannad”but I still desrve some feedback .    best regards

    0
    #91860

    Savage
    Participant

    This is ridiculous. Make sure they understood you correctly. There’s a big difference between being involved and running projects. If they seriously aren’t involving hourly people in their continuous improvement projects, then there is a strong likelihood their six sigma project control plans will lack the ‘teeth’ to ensure sustainable improvement.

    0
    #91861

    Don Wilmer
    Participant

    Dear Muhannad,
     
    Could you please forward these articles to me too? I ‘d appreciate that very much. ([email protected]).
     
    I think, your name is perfectly alright!

    0
    #91866

    Mikel
    Member

    2 x 4’s are sometimes effective for getting the attention of management.

    0
    #91872

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    Very often the union contract can be a big barrier to allowing union employees to use their talents.   Sometimes a creative supervisor can engage union employees in a way that doesn’t attract the attention of a shop steward, but unfortunately, any attempt to reward these folks for their hard work is strictly forbidden.
    –McD
     

    0
    #91873

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    Very often the union contract can be a big barrier to allowing union employees to use their talents.   Sometimes a creative supervisor can engage union employees in a way that doesn’t attract the attention of a shop steward, but unfortunately, any attempt to reward these folks for their hard work is strictly forbidden.
    –McD
     

    0
    #91879

    DaveG
    Participant

    Muhannad,
    I read your 3 articles very quickly, and I sent you an email with my comments.

    0
    #92300

    DrSeuss
    Participant

    Cindy,
    My experience in motivating hourly unionized employees to participate in the process improvement initiative has been to make them aware of what’s at stake.  For example, if your organization is trying to gain market share or product market superiority, then the hourly workers must understand their role in helping the company achieve its goal.  Your management team will have to figure out how to make them a partner in the initiative.  Also, make sure they understand that improving processes does not mean head count reductions.  Even if the improved process takes fewer human resources to operate, make the workers aware that those workers displaced by a process improvement will be used elsewhere in the organization.  This will also mean that your company has to have a proactive re-training and employee education function.  Finally, be prepared to reward them with money!  Remember, make it worth their wild, they will respond.  This will only work in the short term, partnering with the hourly is the only long term solution.  Hope this info helps…..

    0
    #92302

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    Finally, be prepared to reward them with money!
    Ummm … you’ve never worked in a union shop, have you?  It’s a rare contract that will permit bargained for employees to be rewarded in any way.  As part of a company wide program, with a reasonable union (oxymoron?), you may be able to negotiate some sort of program to reward participation, but that isn’t something a Black Belt is going to do for his project.
    However, for those employees who are less than enthusiastic about their union, helping them understand what is at stake can be a big help.  Just recognize that they are sticking their neck out to help you, and a little rumor to the wrong place will earn you a greivance.
    –McD
     

    0
Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)

The forum ‘General’ is closed to new topics and replies.