Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Excellent Performance Indicators Program
Previously, Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD) lacked a program related to team training and/or metrics that supported team productivity. In 1992, the company initially set up the Excellent Performance Indicators (EPI) program to encourage problem-solving skills and employee empowerment. The EPI program has since evolved into an employee empowerment and recognition program based on metrics that measure team performance. The program rewards team accomplishments, provides the necessary tools to monitor data-driven performance, and encourages process improvements directed at reducing costs.
The EPI program’s goals include optimizing employee and team performance; continuous improvement in product quality; and increased sensitivity to internal and external customer/supplier relationships through employee involvement. Areas of operations are organized into zones (e.g., microelectronics, circuit card assembly [CCA] fabrication, stores) where specific metrics are applied. Members of a zone include all levels of departmental job functions (e.g., technicians, engineers, inspectors, dispatchers). In addition, key performance indicators are specified based on the operations completed in each zone.
The EPI program’s metric structure is a flexible measurement system that can accommodate multiple programs and processes. This on-line, data-reporting system operates as the basis for measurement. Data is provided on a weekly basis so the company can target possible areas for improvement, and teams are formed to address manufacturing issues (e.g., improvements, savings, training, communications). The EPI program focuses on accomplishments and improvements achieved on a quarterly and yearly basis. An award ceremony is held quarterly to recognize zones that have achieved their goals as well as special acknowledgment to those which are close. Each member of a winning zone is eligible for a monetary award.
Another aspect of the EPI program is training; some of which enhance employees’ educational needs while others target skills such as problem solving, effect and manage change, team building, and communications. Northrop Grumman DSD also uses Flip Flops, modules that create training scenarios for employees such as running a production line to achieve customer satisfaction (Lego® creations); learning to comprehend the overall picture (Purple Spot); dealing with obstacles to achieve a goal (Gold of the Desert King); and identifying how lean initiatives currently relate to existing business processes (Learning to Learn). Training is a motivational factor that generates enthusiasm and provides a foundation for the success of the EPI program.
The EPI program provides Northrop Grumman DSD with tools to monitor and improve performance for all programs. The result is reduced rework and increased efficiency. For long-term programs, the company improved its efficiency from 87% (baseline) in 1992 to 99.1% in 1997. In addition, the EPI program’s training enhances employee self-esteem and motivation, empowers them to improve processes, and fosters communication with management.
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