Original Date: 02/01/1991
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Total Quality Management/Employee Involvement Approaches and Lessons Learned
Human resource involvement has remained a crucial factor to Litton Guidance and Control Systems Division’s (GCSD’s) successful Total Quality Management (TQM) implementation. Since the company has actively pursued TQM since the early 1980s, they have compiled proven employee involvement (EI) approaches and lessons learned. The application of the approaches and lessons learned are the basics for the current success of EI at Litton GCSD. The following text contains a synopsis of these approaches and lessons.
To get personnel meaningfully involved, teams must be designed such as Perfect Teams, Focus Teams, Hybrid Teams, and Future State Teams to meet a diversity of problem solving opportunities. This increases the ownership of management in various directorates and meets the employee needs. Providing a menu of opportunities allows greater coverage and less resistance by employees.
Provide assessments to identify potential barriers to meaningful EI and target critical areas to address. Initiating teams is not always the answer. Assessment increases the likelihood of successful teams and reduces the waste of company resources.
Provide training and coaching to middle management on translating new TQM/ EI concepts into their agendas.
Help management become more knowledgeable and committed to TQM/employee involvement concepts by using them as trainers and facilitators, thereby helping managers build their skills and become full-time EI facilitators.
Focus training for employees on identified needs. Provide the training before the team actually applies the concepts. Ensure, however, that all employees receive an overview of TQM/employee involvement concepts.
Use TQM concepts and tools that are applicable to the particular project. Most teams achieve successful results by simply applying the basic four step problem solving method.
Emphasize internal customer satisfaction and process improvement. Internal customer satisfaction leads to external customer satisfaction.
Senior management must fully commit the necessary resources and personally participate. Be prepared for a long period before realizing a return on investment. Allow for flexibility and experimentation.
Establish a steering committee to monitor alignment with major goals of moving in different directions and reduce redundancies.
Equip teams with an understanding of the goals and business system of the company. Mix department and cross-functional teams for best results.
Rewarding TQM/employee involvement efforts of teams and individuals sends a message that the organization is serious about TQM concepts.
Allow teams to implement their solutions rather than just recommend change. Teams get discouraged if their ideas are not implemented.
Litton GCSD has developed a policy of teaming with all of its customers whenever possible. Normally implemented by a prime contractor with its subcontractors, the company has taken the teaming concept a step further and actively seeks to team with the contractors that it is the subcontractor for as well as teaming with the Government as a supplier. Litton GCSD actively seeks and promotes the concept of the certified supplier program to its customers and suppliers. The company is presently contacting all its customers and suppliers, offering to assist in setting up such a program. Litton GCSD is teamed with DOD, the local DPRO office and other prime contractors, and is a certified supplier to Grumann, Hughes, Westinghouse, General Dynamics, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Ford Aerospace and other companies.
Litton GCSD’s objectives in pursuing the teaming concept include eliminating adversarial relationships, improving processes for interface, and developing understanding and support for its customers’ requirements. Litton GCSD fosters a deep-seated belief in the team concept to deliver the best quality product possible to internal and external customers.
In teaming with the local DPRO office, Litton GCSD’s focus team was trained in teaming and leadership at Litton. The ground rules were devised to allow policy development outside of the team meeting. The process used by the team was derived from the Demming/Taguchi methods and involved flow charting the current processes, looking for non-value added operations, investigating, developing a new flow, and implementing and looking for additional improvements.
The results have led to a combined 60 hours per month savings in one process. In addition, the closeout of overhead rates was improved from a five-year backlog to current on-time status, and a missile span time evaluation cycle was reduced by five days. Litton GCSD is currently working with DPRO to qualify as an Exemplary Facility which will allow DPRO disengagement. The results of the customer teaming has been improved data reporting, improved performance to customer expectations, better communications between customers, suppliers and Litton GCSD, and improved product quality.
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