I have recently been reaquainted with the pursuit of Quality, and enjoying working with the team to solve problems at the root cause.
This reminded me of one of my visits on my 2012 Japan tour where we had the pleausure of hearing some of the quality and process improvements made by the teams.
The Shingo principle, assure quality at the source is characterised by the behavioural benchmark, taking ownership of our work and quality. What we seek is regular improvement activities where the team assure the quality of their work hits the standard.
As such, an ideal behaviour is where the team take time to understand quality goals and take personal responsibility to improve their process.
The pictures below were the team at an automotive supplier showing us some of their problem solving stories, featuring improvements made. This team saw improvement as part of their work and set aside time in their roster to allow individuals to get improved in structured improvement which is built into their goals to continully raise the bar.
The team ran a quarterly challenge and made identifying and solving problems a positive thing, with teams and individuals recognised for identifying problems with quality or performance. It also seemed a happy place to work, there was enormous pride in what they had achieved, and the presentations were lively and very visual.
Telling the problem solving story in a visual way makes it easy and engaging for the team as well to the audience giving further recognition and engenders pride to the whole team.
The structure here was a simple Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle and kept as a flip chart presentation, used to share with their leaders and fellow co-workers alike. The rule is not to make it too complicated and they assured me it was just an simple method that they could follow without too much trouble.
Keep it simple, make it a habit and reap the benefits of the combined wisdom of employee led improvement!