"The focus has been on jobs coming back. It's really a process and a culture story."
GE Appliances is proving once again that the balance of process and people, aligned with a clearly articulated and understood purpose and vision, is the source of improved performance and capability development. With leadership engagement and support, this system will thrive
- There was a fishbone diagram of the production flow
- A cardboard mockup of the factory layout which also showed how the equipment would look.
- At 7:45 a.m. each day leaders met, then at 8:00 a.m. everyone met to review the prior day, and what they would do that day.
- Then at 4:15 p.m. everyone met again to review what they'd done.
The water heater that resulted was a new design, with better performance: 20% fewer parts and 50% less labor.
Inventory was reduced 60%, labor efficiency improved 30%, time-to-produce was reduced 68%, and space required for the line came down by 80%.
The development team was extremely cohesive. But the problem was, the culture needed to change outside the "Big Room" and very few cultural change efforts had been made since 1994.
As the leadership began to introduce a new way of working together it had to solidify trust in the workforce and instill a level of confidence that continuous improvement was not just another initiative that would pass. This would be a journey.