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A Culture of Continuous Improvement

by Jonathan Jones

One of the most amazing cultures I have experienced is at Cambridge Engineering in Chesterfield Valley. In the heating and cooling industry, it is known for designing and manufacturing the most energy-efficient heaters for industrial application. What is really amazing is how the company does this. It continually makes its products and processes better.

It started with leaders wanting to create a culture they were proud of, and they were willing to take the risk to trust their employees. They trained their employees on the continuous improvement concept through Lean training.

The leaders are committed to the process. They gave their employees 30 minutes every day to work on a continuous improvement project on their own in their own work environment. They reinforced these efforts by sharing their improvements with the entire company every day in a meeting at the plant.
Every day they celebrate each other’s successes and video their improvements. To date, they have over 6,000 videos of continuous improvement ideas that came from their employees.

Quality has improved, costs have been removed, manufacturing time has been reduced, the work environment is safer, and the products have been improved.

The impact on employee morale is amazing. Employees come in every day knowing they are trusted and are given the opportunity to make a difference.
The leaders of the organization could never have found these improvements on their own. They achieved so much more by trusting and empowering their employees. While the heaters are great products, the most valuable outcome of this fascinating culture is better people. They go home with great pride to be better parents, better family members, better leaders and better citizens.

Jonathan Jones (Jonathan.jones@vistagechair.com or 314-608-0783) is a CEO peer group chair/coach for Vistage International.
Submitted 25 days ago
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Categories: categoryCulturecentric Leadership
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