There isn’t much that can kill an operation faster than complacency. Customer service or products that are “good enough” isn’t exactly great for repeat business. Even great products can be improved. That is why Matrix has developed a scientific program to ensure that we “Do It Better” each and every day.
Keeping It Simple
The foundation of DIB is based on our employees looking at what they do every day and finding ways that it could be improved. Improvements only take seconds to record, using a scoring spreadsheet and answering a series of yes/no questions. The questions are designed to help our employees think through the problem to find the root cause and document the solution. According to our Operations Excellence Manager, Karl Dahlman, the number one mission of the DIB program is to make everyone in the shop and office more effective problem solvers.
DIBS on Points
The program is points driven. The goal is to have a minimum of 1.5 points logged in by each employee each month. Supervisors complete a yes/no questionnaire to evaluate the overall impact of each improvement. This evaluation results in a point value for that DIB. Points range from 1 to 3, with 1 for lower impact DIBs and 3 for higher impact DIBs. For example, does the improvement effect only one individual, a whole department or is it more wide spread, effecting a vendor or customer? Does it effect safety or ergonomics? Does it save time or money?
An example of a one-point DIB might be something like rearranging your own toolbox for easier access. These instant corrections are nicknamed FiFi (Found it-Fixed it). For more complicated improvements that involve time or resources to resolve, employees must complete a root cause analysis form to see if the improvement truly solves the problem.
Feedback and Discussion
Communication is a vital part of the process. Once an employee completes an improvement, fills out a root cause analysis form and turns it into their manager, the manager scores and assigns a point value for that DIB. But the process doesn’t end there. Managers then print out their evaluation and discuss the results with the person who made the improvement. The feedback can create a discussion that strengthens the improvement or leads to further investigation into the problem. Sometimes the solution has no real connection to the problem or leads to another situation that needs to be resolved first. Every effort is educational and valuable, even if the improvement itself isn’t feasible at the time for a variety of reasons.
What Did We Do Better?
Last year we received over 500 DIBs. Just a few examples of those implemented solutions include:
- Stop circuit breakers from blowing by using a heat gun to determine proper spacing
- Institute a full cost analysis before beginning engineering drawings
- Purchase of software to facilitate job estimates
- Design a way to clean safety glasses right in the shop
- Recycle scrapped pieces into other projects
A Learning Process
Each quarter, an “all employee” meeting is held to hand out prizes based on DIB participation. We also have monthly emails to inform everyone of how we are doing as a company, by department and by individual. Only our second year into the program, we’re still learning what works best; even the DIB program is subject to continuous improvement. Our goal is widespread participation, working to improve the 1.5 points/per person per month. But we’ve already put some great ideas into operation and the mindset of the company is shifting to “Don’t complain about it – DIB it!”