How an Employee Suggestion Program can help improve company processes.
Many companies forget that employees who work every day on a certain task know how to do their job the best.
When a new process is launched, the employees can provide the best feedback it needs to be improved or rectified.
Although the implanter has considered all the possibilities and has carried out tests, the employees are the ones who dedicate a high number of hours to perform this task, therefore they have the capability to consider any best practice.
Of course, this feedback must be considered in objective terms, and in the case of a global application it must be a standardized change.
Once the processes are implemented and matured, that is, it has a long journey over time, the employees are the ones who know how best it works, they have dedicated many hours to this task, so they are well trained to propose improvements . Details or ideas that the managers or designers had not come up with.
The ideas that an employee can generate can be very valuable to the company, perhaps to reduce costs, increase sales, improve employee safety, improve working environment conditions, even why not, ideas on how to improve the qualities of the product or service.
In an increasingly automated and mechanized business world, employee ideas can be inestimable.
As an example, I will tell you that many of the car manufacturing companies have employee suggestion programs implemented, this allows them to save costs, a single process may not suppose a significant cost saving, but the ideas of many employees can represent a considerable savings globally.
In a company in the automotive sector, an employee performed a very simple task, when the cars finished the assembly process and were ready to go to the storage area, this employee performed the last operation that consisted of manually closing the door of the car trunk.
This simple process employed 3 workers throughout the 3 shifts that the factory had, a task to which they dedicated 100% of the time of their day.
One of the employees devised a very simple mechanical system with a very low investment cost. A device in the shape of an arm and a rubber in the shape of a hand (I do not know the technical details) the important thing is that the vehicle when it passed through the end of the line the device allowed the trunk to be gently closed without any incident.
This simple idea saved 3 full-time employees a day to perform this function. Imagine the significant savings that could be made per year.
Of course, employees were not fired but reassigned to other areas where there was a greater need for staff.
And the employee who came up with the idea was rewarded with a good prize based on the value their suggestion brought.
This may not be a great savings for such a large company, but when many employees have these types of ideas, the accumulated savings over a period of time can be substantial.
In an increasingly competitive business environment with lower margins, achieving cost savings, improving processes or ways to increase sales has a high value.
The problem is that in many companies employees are not listened to for various reasons, some of them make as little sense as telling employees that having ideas is not part of their job, it sure sounds like something to you. A great opportunity missed by management, as they could improve processes at zero or very low cost.
On many occasions, management has a wrong perception of employees, considering them just productive instruments incapable of having good ideas.
In other companies, the management gets a zero-cost advantage from the ideas of the employees, and this allows them to be competitive. This is the case of employees committed to the company and a management that listens to them and considers them a valuable asset for the company.
But employees are not always motivated to give good ideas, for that reason there are companies that implement a suggestion program with rewards. The company always has to win so the reward has a lower cost than the benefit provided by the idea. Still, everyone wins, and employees are motivated to come up with good ideas.
To implement a suggestion program the system must be motivating, transparent and easy to apply.
A suggestion review and approval team may spend a small portion of their time analyzing, evaluating, and approving them.
The requirements, the rules and who can be able to make a request for a suggestion must be established and must be very clear to all parties.
In the following example made with Excel you can see a form to manage the request for suggestions.
If you are going to implement a suggestion program, you can take this Excel model as a base.
If a company asked me how I would create a system to control requests and approvals, I would use saas software, that is, one online or in the cloud that would allow employees to write requests and a statement would reach the supervisory team to analyze and communicate the decision to the applicant.
We did something similar with the ERP ODOO but for the communication of purchase order requests.
Anyway, you can take a look at the free Excel template for requesting employee suggestions or ideas.
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