Better information, empowered culture mold manufacturer’s future
When Maureen Steinwall, president of Steinwall Inc., bought the company from her dad in 1987, she embraced knowledge management as the way to empower employees, increase job satisfaction, prevent waste, and maintain focus on the company’s mission, vision, and goals.
Building on 15 years and more than 250 modules of self-developed, computer-based orientation and empowerment training, the company has transitioned to Web-based content. It’s available through an employee-only link on Steinwall’s Website. The maker of molds and injection-molded parts also relies on other knowledge management tools such as lunchroom message boards, cellphones, iPads, and PowerPoint-based work instructions to build a culture where workers are empowered.
PowerPoint-based Part Instruction Multimedia (PIMM) is available 24/7 via the iPads, and is revision-controlled to ensure up-to-date information. The one-stop instructional tool continuously plays at each work center and consists of about 15 slides per part number. One slide shows video of the press running, with zoom focus to bring attention to specific details. Other slides show packaging, part pictures, etc.
“The real advantage of the iPad is that the operator is able to fast-forward or back up depending on their learning need,” Steinwall reports.
To complement its training and empowerment efforts and provide employees with better business information, the company upgraded its ERP system and went live with IQMS in November 2009. Not only were shop-floor data and accounting systems transferred from multiple MRP-based programs, but new productivity-enhancing technologies such as real-time wireless data collection and bar-coding were added.
The combination of employee empowerment and more automated data collection and management helps Steinwall align performance with goals. As a result, between Sept. 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2010, the company achieved:
- 57.96% utilization (billable hours divided by available press hours, 24/5), just under its goal of 60%
- 1.03 cycle efficiency, slightly exceeding its goal of 1.00
- 99.97% on-time delivery, just shy of its 100% goal
“Doing the same things year–over-year isn’t a winning strategy,” Steinwall notes. “Creative thinking starts with sharing ideas with the PM100 companies and is award enough. However, winning a PM100 top award would be the ultimate compliment to Steinwall’s innovation efforts!”