Posts By:  Dean

Capturing Employee Ideas in a Project-Based Environment thumbnail

Not long ago, the owner of a medium sized software development firm asked me a very good question. “How does a high performance idea system work in a project environment where every project is different?” We discussed that in a project-based company like his there were lots of processes that could be improved, but his question made a good point. A project environment does have unique challenges for a high  »  Read More

Celebrate Ideas

Celebrate Ideas thumbnail

In an earlier blog I wrote about how even a $5 reward can create problems with employee ideas. This does not mean that front-line ideas shouldn’t be celebrated and people’s contributions recognized. One of my favorite examples that shows some of the benefits of good celebrations come from Normand (Gene) Dunlap and Mike Terry of the Operations Excellence group at Raytheon IIS in Indianapolis, Indiana. When Gene  »  Read More

A Journey of Discovery: TWI and the Origins of Lean thumbnail

  In late winter of 1989 Alan Robinson and I were working on an article dealing with the power of front-line ideas. Alan had recently returned from Japan where he had been given exceptional access to a number of Japanese manufacturers, and had been able to study their processes in depth. His research had convinced him that part of the key to the manufacturing efficiency of these leading Japanese companies was  »  Read More

Be Careful With Rewards

Be Careful With Rewards thumbnail

Can $5 screw up an idea system? Recently we visited a company known for its creative products in order to study its idea system and innovation processes. The company is well-managed, the leader in its field in North America with every Fortune 500 company as a customer, and a significant player in several international markets. While its employee idea system was getting some good ideas, the company’s managers  »  Read More

Green Is Free?

Making Your Green Initiative Pay Big Dividends

Imagine an automobile manufacturer producing over a thousand cars a day, employing 3500 people, and putting less waste in landfills every year than an average family does every day. And imagine its green initiative is adding millions to the company’s bottom line each year. The Subaru manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana (Subaru Indiana Automotive, or SIA) is such a company. Its last waste shipment was sent to  »  Read More

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