An automobile manufacturing company recorded losses in several business quarters leaving them no choice but to change its operations. One of the most important changes that this company had to make was improving quality and customer satisfactions along with increasing innovation.
The company took a large shift in the behaviour expectations of management by emphasizing the importance of “managing the business” as opposed to just “doing their job”.
In order to motivate and encourage salaried employees and managers to take initiative in identifying opportunities for improvement, the company steered in the directions of Simplexity Thinking which is a creative problem solving process.
In the testing process, Simplexity Thinking was initially applied at a newly modernized plant that was responsible for a major component of the company’s new front wheel drive automobiles. The plant was setting new records for quality and low cost; however, one department was very behind. Approximately one third of the department’s output met the company’s quality standards. This led to a number of employees working overtime hours to hit the quality standards.
Management within this department tried a number of quick-fix solutions but none of them were working.
In order to resolve this ongoing problem, 15 plant managers and supervisors participated in a half-day training program focusing on Simplexity Thinking. Management then spent two and a half days applying the Simplexity Thinking process to the ongoing challenges that the plant was facing.
During this training process, the team members involved were asked to complete the Basadur Profile test to identify their preference for the stages of the process. The results identified that of the 15 team members, 8 fell under the category of implementation. The other 7 members were optimizers and none of the team members leaned towards being generators or conceptualizers.
Things to consider:
The results really highlighted WHY some parts of the plant were struggling. The team was mainly made up of individuals who preferred to quickly jump to solutions rather than making the effort to carry out fact finding and problem definition. When the team discussed their results, it became clear that the team members did not take the time to identify the problem and think about long term solutions. Rather, they made countless assumptions about the plan’ts problem which led to several failed solutions.
After the two and a half day training process the management team participated in, the results were amazing. Within several months, the plant tripled its production. They found the solutions they were looking for one they implemented the innovation process!
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