Volume 1 / Issue 16 / October 24, 2016
The learning power of a share showcase
It’s about seeing a solution and being able to ask the innovator about the thinking!
My first Share Showcase was internal-to-the-company and held at Rockwell Automation-Allen Bradley in 1995. It was their first and it was launched with some nervousness on the part of management. The idea was to provide rarely recognized employees with the opportunity to show colleagues the innovations and improvements they had come up with over the course of the year. Thus the name ‘Share Showcase’. Folks were given $100,a table top and the rest is history! While managers expected only a small number of employees to become involved, the event exploded with some 400% more folks wanting to ‘show their stuff’ than expected. In fact, so many applied that some had to be turned down. Share Showcases are now adopted by companies of all sizes across North America to build team spirit and pride and is now used as a cultural building block for continuous improvement. Everybody wins.
More recently, they have morphed into inter-company Share Showcases such as the one being planned for Milton Ontario that will bring twenty best practices selected from fifty two companies. The CME team in Manitoba will hold Share Showcases in each of their five consortia in December. with The top one or two practices of their practices will be selected for a Kaizen event in the first quarter of the next year round out a learning experience with additional keynotes. We will share more of these in coming ATJ eLetters with details you can apply to help your won organization.
Here is one of twenty one presentations shared at the Share Showcase in Milton in 2015.
Speak Up! Risk mitigation through employee engagement
Voith supplies the technology for the largest and most powerful hydroelectric power stations on the planet. As a partner to the industry and a full-line supplier, the company develops and produces all of the components. Its Mississauga facility houses both its Canadian Service Centre as well as Voith’s globally recognized Centre of Excellence for Coil Manufacturing. It’s no surprise that such a company must have quality in its DNA considering the huge systems, equipment and people that must integrate and run flawlessly.
Here is a timely message from Milton Benn, Voith Hydro’s Quality Assurance Manager at the Mississauga facility. Milton delivered one of the 21 Best Practices to the 150 Consortium practitioners attending the eighth annual Southwestern Ontario LEAN Share Showcase in Milton, Ontario last week. Milton shared Voith Hydro Mississauga’s “Speak Up” Employee Engagement initiative dedicated to surfacing ideas or concerns to mitigate problems, potential problems as well as opportunities.
The approach they have evolved can be equally applied in any innovation-seeking environment orin any mitigation-seeking-environment to spot problems in advance. Their strategy fits perfectly with Steven covey’s The 8th Habit (a 5 star resource according to ATJ), which promotes the habit of “finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs.” Very appropriately, Voith has defined their initiative as “Speak Up!” When dealing with equipment of this size and complexity you certainly want to hear contributions from everyone that could lead to the mitigation of a serious problem or an opportunity for improvement.
What does the Speak Up process accomplish?
Milton encourages all to speak up, be heard, and be the Difference! “After all,” he added with a smile, “if you don’t Speak Up, how will we know you’re there?” He explained that Speak Up supports three very important areas of the business: 1) The reduction in incidence of accidents 2) The growth of a sustainable cultural improvement environment 3) An increase in direct Employee Engagement.
For Voith, this can lead to an immediate action arising from the identification of unrecognized risks. In addition, it builds and provides the growth of a long-term culture improvement. As for the employees, it supports the development of self-confidence through the use of a standardized process connected to the identification and mitigation of risks to people, equipment and systems. These, of course, lead to continuing opportunities to resolve such risks to the business before they occur.
What does it cost?
Milton and Voith has seen high value in the program because of its simplicity and logic and it doesn’t cost a lot. It begins with each employee completing a 2 to 3-hour departmental workshop. The results that follow are captured in the ongoing departmental continuous improvement process. From these results, the department will determine what to work on, when the work is to be done and by whom.
How does the Speak Up process work?
1. Define the standard Speak Up employee procedures
2. Define a theme, from which to conduct the workshops
3. Conduct the workshops by department
4. Output becomes input to the CI process
5. Fix easy things right away
6. Give regular feedback to employees
Some critical factors
Like any initiative designed to drive a cultural change, it is important to reinforce Speak Up at every opportunity. This means including it in daily conversations, department meetings, town hall meetings, and formal engagement. It is manager-driven at all times. This continuing approach makes it become part of the culture and almost KATA-like over time.
Why part of standard work?
How has Voith benefited?
The Speak Up process at Voith is a small part of an overall excellence & risk management focus that has led to:
Thanks go to Milton Benn, Quality Assurance Manager at Voith Hydro Mississauga who shared this success story with us at the HPS Share Showcase in 2015.