Original Date: 07/01/1991
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Employee Involvement
Employee involvement at Kurt Manufacturing focuses on controlling the manufacturing process and continuous improvement. As the company moved toward cellular manufacturing in the mid-1980s, employee Quality Circles which had provided a firm foundation for the involvement concept and experience in problem solving evolved into less formal Task Forces. These informal groups consist of members of a cell or an ad hoc group involved in a single process. Their success in solving problems, reducing cycle times and cost, and improving productivity is due to strong top management support and encouragement, and extensive training which provides employees the necessary tools for employee involvement.
All employees receive formal SPC training. SPC is consistently used throughout Kurt Manufacturing's operations, relying heavily on operator participation to track the process and take corrective action whenever required. At Kurt, this effort involves the operator's supervisor and may also involve the cell or other ad hoc group to effect corrective action.
Kurt Manufacturing has embraced the six sigma concept and undertaken an aggressive training and implementation program. More than 175 personnel, including 150 shop floor employees and 25 staff personnel and key managers, were trained using Motorola curriculum materials. Kurt installed six sigma on a project-by-project basis.
The company has successfully adapted a proprietary program from one of its major customers. This program uses people in cells and teams to improve both quality and cycle times with resultant improvement in costs by identifying and removing non-value added effort and waste. Over recent months in one Machining Division cell, utilization of this program reduced work-in-process (WIP) by 86%, scrap by 47%, and increased productivity at bottleneck processes by 30%. In another division, the program was used to reduce overall travel distance within the plant for a major product from over a mile to less than 500 feet resulting in dramatic improvement in quality, cost, and productivity on that line.
In addition to other facets, cross training and certification of operators has aided in the successful movement to cellular manufacturing. This program requires considerable on-the-job training and allows maximum operator utilization while preventing supervision from assigning jobs to uncertified operators.
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