Original Date: 02/09/1998
Revision Date: 04/22/2003
Best Practice : Action Centers
Action centers are a unique team concept being effectively used at UE to involve the workforce in making improvements and solving problems. Action centers arise spontaneously whenever the need occurs. An action center can be initiated by anyone in the company. Applications include general improvements, problem resolution, problem avoidance, testing new ideas, corrective action, or coordination of projects.
When an opportunity for improvement or a problem resolution arises, an employee can call for the creation of an action center. The initiating employee is responsible for getting the appropriate people together to form the team, as well as organizing and scheduling the team’s activities. Action centers are formally established as teams, assigned an action center number, and tracked by the Resource Center’s staff. All employees have been trained in group decision-making techniques and continuous improvement methods. Tools (e.g., Cause and Effect Diagram with the Addition of Cards) are applied to find root causes and develop solutions. When a team completes its action, all members of the team must sign off on the Action Center Report, indicating agreement with the resolution. Participants are recognized and rewarded though UE’s Valued Employee Program.
An average of 100 action centers are formed each year at UE. In 1997, 141 employees participated in at least one action center. The action center concept provides an environment that empowers employees to implement their ideas without any hindrance from management. It is a way to get the right group of people together to focus on solving a problem without finger pointing or blame. Action centers work, and have fueled the engine for change and continuous improvement. They give employees an opportunity to make UE a better and more productive place to work.
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