It is a myth that managers are in the best position to come up with innovations and ideas for operations improvement in organisations.
Because they’re the ones actually doing the day-to-day work, employees are in the best position to come up with ideas for operations improvement . They know first-hand what’s working and what’s not, and they see all kinds of ways to improve performance, from simple, common-sense ideas for saving time and money, improve quality and safety, to entirely new ways of doing operations. A good start is to coach first-line managers for creating an environment within which their teams are encouraged and motivated to provide innovations and improvement ideas.
At Grain Field Chickens (GFC), who was recently awarded the PDI (Japan) and ODI (South Africa) 20 Keys International Excellence Award, the focus was on strengthening the workplace to have thinking people, with the mindset that innovations and ideas for improvement can, and should, exist at all levels of the organisation.
GFC implemented a structured approach for capturing and supporting the implementation of ideas. Wally Kok, the Key 3 Leader’s role is to support line functions and administer the suggestions tracking system. The line managers are the owners of the system and need to engage team members and stimulate them to think about their workplace, processes and activities in terms of
- productivity and
GFC received 3,065 ideas for improvement over the last year!
Implementing Key 3 is not a once-off project but a never-ending journey of strengthening the maturity where everyone in the organisation, literally every day, is thinking about operations improvement.
Below is a very good example of an idea for improvement, submitted by an employee in the IQF department of the plant – a clear understanding and engagement of staff that is evident in an organisation that enjoys a mature level of the 20 Keys system.
Author: Johan Benadie: Director at ODI, and a 20 Keys practitioner for 24 years.
To read more about Theo van Strijp’s (Managing Director at GFC) topic of discussion at last year’s one-day conference where we celebrated 30 years of operations excellence – “Grain Field Chickens: Road to Excellence Award”, click here.