IndustryWeek's Continuous Improvement
March 20, 2012

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  Top Story

Find the Missing Pieces in Your Employee Engagement Effort

It’s not about providing motivation; it’s about providing good management.

By Lonnie Wilson, founder, Quality Consultants
When I teach engagement to a new management team, I teach that engagement has five measureable behavioral traits. An engaged worker, floor worker or manager alike:

1. Knows what to do to accomplish the task at hand. That is, they understand and can execute the major steps to their job.

2. Knows how to do the job. That is, they have the skills, techniques and talent to produce a quality product safely and efficiently.

3. Has the resources to do the job. They have not just the physical tools but the training, support and leadership as well.

Click here to continue.

  Recent Reads

Kaizen Activities and Standardized Work Should be Key Components of Your Lean Journey
Embrace these tools for successful and sustained improvements.

C-Level Executives Deploy Continuous Improvement as a Growth Strategy
Long thought to be the province of the plant floor, lean and Six Sigma have moved to the executive suite.

How General Cable Lincoln is Developing its Next Generation of Skilled Manufacturing Workers
Plant leaders came up with an interview process designed to find workers who are safety-oriented, computer-savvy, mechanically inclined and at least high-school-educated.

Eastman Chemical's Energy Efficiency Makeover
Chemical firm reorganizes and revitalizes its energy management program to pursue challenging efficiency goals.

Do Monetary Rewards Reinforce Lean Systems?
Pay systems exert very powerful effects that either reinforce or undermine lean practices.

Being Happy at Work is Nice, But Thriving is Better and More Productive
Employees who thrive have 16% better overall job performance and 125% less burnout than their peers.

2012 IndustryWeek's Best Plants Competition: Does Your Plant Excel?
Is your facility an example of operational excellence? Do your manufacturing practices drive stellar performances? If yes, then enter your plant in IndustryWeek's 2012 Best Plants competition. Applications are now available for this annual salute to outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. The IW Best Plants program recognizes manufacturing facilities that are on the leading edge of efforts to increase competitiveness, enhance customer satisfaction, and create stimulating and rewarding work environments. Don't delay. Download an application today! The deadline to return completed applications is May 10.

  Benchmarking Brief

Monetary incentives are a sometimes controversial topic when it comes to their impact on continuous improvement. On one hand are critics who proclaim monetary awards promote short-term gains rather than a sustainable culture change. On the other hand are fans of incentives, who claim precisely the opposite. The moderate view is that it all depends on the types and construction of the incentives. As the accompanying table indicates, about 75% of all IndustryWeek's Best Plants winners and finalists offer monetary awards for team or individual performance.

What monetary awards does plant offer to production employees? (% of plants):
Year Rewards for individual performance Rewards for team performance
2007 81 81
2008 65 60
2009 85 75
2010 85 75
2011 63 69
2007-2011 76 73

Source: 2011 IW Best Plants Statistical Profile
Editor's Note: Are you interested in finding our more about past IndustryWeek Best Plants winners? Click here to view a complete list of winners dating to the competition's inception in 1990. Click on the individual manufacturing plant's names for additional information. EDITOR'S NOTE: 2012 IW Best Plants application now available! May 10 is the deadline to return completed applications.

  IW Archives

Cozy Up to Customers
Employee engagement with clients fosters a sense of worker pride and ownership.

  IndustryWeek Best Plants Conference

How "C-level" Involvement Can Accelerate Your Continuous Improvement Journey
Lean and Six Sigma deployment can get you started on your continuous improvement journey, but culture change is paramount to sustain momentum and achieve longevity. How do you achieve this culture change? It starts from the top -- setting expectations, participating from day one, promoting and recognition. Executives can lead change with support, commitment and engagement from the boardroom to the shop floor. CEO of General Cable, Greg Kenny, will share his practical experience and pragmatic approaches to leading change at the IW Best Plants Conference, April 23-25 in Indianapolis. Visit for all the details.

  Online Training

The Leadership Triangle: The Spring IW Online Training Series
Your organization needs alignment, accountability, and sustainability to succeed -- and as a leader, it is your job to provide them. Each session in this three-part series will strengthen your leadership capabilities -- choose the session that focuses on the skills you want to improve, or attend all three to transform your company and your career. Led by certified Lean leadership master Wes Waldo, this training is the best investment you'll make in yourself and your team this year. Earn CEU credits too. Learn more now!

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