“Oops, We did it again – a short story of a Manufacturing team”

February 24, 2010 at 12:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Below is summary of the San Antonio Manufacturing Association Self Managed Work Team SIG
February 23, 2010

“Oops, We did it again – a short story of a Manufacturing team”
Presented by Mike McIver, VP Manufacturing, Pressure Systems International and his team

The SAMA SMWT SIG meets on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 7:30am – 8:30am at the SAMA office. We have a monthly interactive presentation and discussion.

Despite the threat of snow (yes, in San Antonio, TX!), we had a good turnout for our first SIG meeting of 2010. Mike started off by introducing his three team members – Rose Mary, Joe and Rose. Mike talked about the importance of all leaders realizing that what they may see in their organization is their perception, and that perception is not always accurate, so make sure you always are getting other viewpoints. He also encouraged us to look ourselves in the mirror and change what we might need to in ourselves as leaders first. Mike talked about the importance of how we address mistakes on our teams, which we all have had our share of them, and that although it is easy, don’t fall in to the trap of the “blame game”, figuring out “who dun it” and making excuses. He made a good statement about how the more we make an excuse, the more real it becomes! So don’t even start!

Mike shared how he recently went out and spent some time on their assembly line floor and how helpful it is. A proponent of Managing by Walking Around, he indicated that the time he spent working with his team mates was invaluable. His team mates were asked how they felt about his working on the floor and all were favorable about it, adding “it made us feel good that he took the time to come out on the floor; it made us realize that he cares”. Another team mate commented that by being on the floor, he understood better the difficulty levels of their jobs.

Mike continued on to talk about the importance of trust on a team. He stated that when a mistake happens that it is so important to inform your team members, maintain a sense of calm, and listen for input. He also stated that it is important to look for the solutions, be open to ideas and have a plan. He admitted that although perfection is not possible, a “great” team is always striving for perfection.

Mike shared a number of excellent practices that his team follows. He talked about communicating clear expectations, including “the what” or steps to complete a task, “the how” where you include any key points that might make or break a task, and “the why”, which includes the reasons to the “how”. He also shared an excellent visual of one of their Training Step Sheets which included the what, the how and the why for a particular assembly and the importance of including audits to assure that processes are being followed.

Another important issue addressed was engagement. We hear that often in today’s fast-paced, chaotic environment. Mike talked about the importance of everyone having their piece of the pie and how important that was to the whole of what is completed and for the team members to understand their importance in the whole. He mentioned that creating a team that everyone wants to be on is important – both the leader and the team members can help to develop that type of team and environment. Several of the team members commented that their team was really like a family, it was not just a job. What a great reflection of the environment they have helped create.

Mike shared a creative idea that their team uses where one team member drew a very talented picture of a bus and each team member’s picture and name was on that bus picture. If a team member does something special, then their picture is moved up a seat on the bus! The team members were enthusiastic about this activity. An encouragement was made that any activity such as this that is started is maintained and kept consistent in order to positively impact engagement.

The team at PSI also holds a morning huddle. These typically last from 5-25 minutes with the purpose of sharing feedback. They might discuss a problem and seek a solution, share a current issue or talk about something that someone has done well. Sometimes they will also include a team building exercise. Another great idea they use is to have a schedule that is posted where each team member will present something to the rest of the team! This is an excellent way for the team members to share additional information as well as improve communication skills among the team. Finally, they shared how they have a puzzle laid out on a table and how the teams will gather and work together to put the puzzle together, which adds in problem solving skills, communication, and creating a fun environment.

Mike ended by commenting that a leader just can’t appreciate their team members enough for the good work they do, and how important it is to let them know that.

Thank you Mike and your team for a very informative and inspiring presentation. We look forward to seeing everyone back next month for our March meeting.

Leslie J. Hoy
Hi-Performance Coaching & Training


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