The owner/president of a relatively small (50 employee) Midwestern wire former contacted us after reading several of our articles. His biggest account was a major greeting card producer, for whom he made Point-of-Purchase racks used by retailers. The greeting card producer announced it had found a low-cost supplier in a Pacific Rim country, and would be using it for its racks in the coming year.The wire former had to transform his operation so it could handle short-run, quick turnaround jobs for a wide variety of customers rather than the long-runs of similar items for the greeting card producer. This meant he was forced to cut costs and adapt operations to meet the immediate needs of these new customers. Lower operating costs and speedier deliveries were now the key to his survival. He needed employee cooperation in meeting these goals.
We were asked to help make the transition. We first developed a communications program to engage employees. The first step was a series of presentations, reviewing the requirements of customers in this new market segment. The second step was to encourage a flow of employee ideas to make the transition as quickly and effectively as possible. Not surprisingly, employees felt they were making extra efforts in their jobs, and felt they deserved additional rewards. We worked with an employee/management committee to develop a Gainsharing Plan. Its goals were to reward workers when their performance improved and supported the new business plan.
The charts show the results.