Original Date: 06/29/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Associate Empowerment
Wainwright believes that people are more important than any manufacturing process, and that all products can be produced as best-in-class with the right “people” approach. Further, Wainwright empowers its personnel by giving them the tools and capabilities needed to improve any process.
The first step at Wainwright in empowering its associates is based on a sincere trust and belief in its people. Training and support represent the second most important aspect, and Wainwright routinely spends up to 7% of its payroll on training. The suggestion system is the third empowerment step at Wainwright and is administered by the associates in order to properly solicit and implement ideas of the associates. The company encourages the identification and implementation of small issues directly related to the associate's job. Larger ideas then surface even if associates are concentrating on the smaller issues. The fourth step is the Internal Customer Satisfaction Index. Each internal supplier is graded quarterly on performance with an A, B, C, and D grading scale. This allows the early identification and correction of problems. Each manager at Wainwright is also graded on an A, B, C, and D grading scale by the associates on how well he/she is facilitating the associates' ability to do their jobs.
Wainwright has found that to empower the associates, middle managers must be firmly committed to the program because middle management is the key to the success or failure of change. All personnel wear the same uniform with a Team Wainwright patch, eliminating the normal management/worker distinctions. All personnel are also paid on a salary basis. These efforts have produced a strong team spirit, and the improvements have culminated in many quality awards, including the 1994 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.
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