The material handling industry depends on safety, streamlined processes, and accountability. In this article, InCord’s Creative Visionary and owner, Robin Ritz, shares how a leading netting manufacturer’s business philosophy in keeping operations running smoothly while maintaining employee morale and customer relationships makes all the difference.
Principles, Practices and Rewards – Our Kaizen Journey and its Benefits.
Kaizen is a management and philosophical system that fosters continuous improvement in all areas of business. It involves every member of an organization – from assembly line workers to the leadership team. When successfully implemented, Kaizen brings about countless benefits for employees, customers, and the business. We have been on a rewarding Kaizen journey for quite some time and would like to share it with you.
With Kaizen, continuous improvement is achieved by making small, incremental changes, while honoring both the people and the process. Every voice counts. When everyone is listened to, people are encouraged to offer valuable feedback and suggestions. By making smaller changes over time, overwhelm is avoided. Of course, not every idea can be implemented. So, it’s important to explain why a particular idea won’t be. The continuous feedback works both ways. This helps team members stay engaged and encouraged.
Let’s look at a few specific examples. In one case, our team discovered something that was “hiding in plain sight”. Originally, the quality control area for our net cutting line was before the cutting line. So, after the product was cut – it would go all the way back past the beginning to be inspected. Now QC happens where it should – at the end of the line. Here’s another example. We’re always looking to increase administrative efficiency as well. In the past, we found ourselves writing certain emails over and over again. The elegant solution? We implemented Outlook signatures as a form of templating. Not only does this save time but brings the added benefit of consistency to our communications. Good for us; great for our customers. You might be wondering, how exactly is feedback solicited? There are several ways:
- Employee surveys
- Good ol’ fashioned suggestion box
- Ongoing verbal and written communication between employees and their managers
So, what’s the reward for a winning idea? We offer many tokens of appreciation, including gold stars, stickers, and pens. Better yet, employees get credited publicly, which brings on more praise and recognition amongst peers. Bigger ideas could earn a larger bonus, like extra time off. The greatest reward is that employees find themselves in a positive, nurturing environment with room for growth.
Creating an environment where people feel secure, want to stay and be successful has always been management’s goal. This was the passionate intention of Ed Ritz and Bob and Mary Martin, the company’s founders. Kaizen is how we honor their legacy.
Simply put, Kaizen is an equation where the total is far greater than the sum of its parts. Honoring the small things that add up to the big things:
- Better moral
- Lower turnover
- Fewer accidents
- More mindfulness
- Improved efficiency
- Increased product safety and quality
That last bullet is the most important one. In reality, we are more than just a netting company, we are a safety company. With a strong commitment to culture comes employee certainty. This means employees focus on the product, rather than psychological or physical distractions. The more certain everyone is – the more we are certain that we are providing high quality, safe products.
Content contributed by Robin Ritz
Creative Visionary & Owner, Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach
This blog is brought to you by InCord Custom Netting Solutions. To learn about InCord’s Industrial Safety Netting Solutions – Click here Our OSHA compliant netting solutions are custom fitted to your facility and optimized for your application. From full pallet protection to spill containment, all you need is InCord.
InCord’s Safety Netting Solutions
860.537.1414 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A leader today and tomorrow. In 2020, InCord was recognized by its employees and was awarded the Top Workplace by the Hartford Courant for the tenth consecutive year.
InCord provides custom netting solutions for Material Handling, Construction, Amusement, Sports, Theatre, Service Pits (BayNets™), Specialty, and Environmental/Ecological Restoration markets. InCord’s custom solutions meet or exceed applicable safety standards due to consistent research, testing and direct involvement with renowned safety organizations, such as ANSI, OSHA, and ASTM. InCord also offers in-house design, installation and extraordinary customer service for a complete, turn-key experience. Green Bureau Certified Platinum