Original Date: 10/27/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Continuous Improvement Program
Auto-Valve, Inc. (AVI) implemented a Bucks for Betterment process to improve its Continuous Improvement Process by recognizing employee participants. This process significantly increased employee involvement to more than 90%, resulting in improvements in products, safety, and processes.
Auto-Valve, Inc. (AVI) has had a formalized Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) since 2001. In the early stages of the CIP, employees were encouraged to submit ideas that could improve an area of the workplace, but because of the lack of recognition from management (rewards or feedback), only a few employees were involved in the CIP. Changes were implemented only if they addressed a major problem or violation. In 2002, AVI identified the need to improve its CIP by recognizing employee participants, and implemented a Bucks for Betterment (B4B) process.
Employees now submit ideas on a completed B4B form to their managers. The B4B administrator enters the ideas into a database for control and tracking while the manager determines the feasibility and cost/benefit of the suggestion. The suggestions approved by managers are discussed at monthly B4B team meetings and then implemented. The team consists of five employees (department representatives) and two senior staff members. The B4B team selects noteworthy suggestions highlighted at prize drawings. Two $100.00 prize drawings are held monthly based on the number of entries and employees. A third drawing for $100.00 is held if 90% or more of the employees participate.
The B4B process has enabled AVI to significantly increase employee involvement to more than 90%, resulting in improvements in products, safety, and processes. An overwhelming number of suggestions include process improvements. Because of product improvement in manufacturability and reliability since implementation of the B4B program, customer returns have decreased by approximately 80%. The 13.5% of cross-functional suggestions has encouraged interaction between departments.
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