In the second half of June 2016, Foxconn Global Services Division (FGSD) launched a fresh project focused on improving processes step by step. The method of continuous improvement, known under the term Kaizen, has a long tradition in businesses all over the world. “What matters to us is quality and good cooperation,” says Jiří Černík, the leader of the project. The best ideas can be brought by employees, because they are the ones who face potential problems while working. That is why FGSD has decided to reward their Kaizen enthusiasts. For each Kaizen idea implemented, the employee can receive a bonus of up to 1,000 CZK.
The Kaizen principle was implemented at FGSD in the past. Why was it discontinued?
It is true that we once had a Kaizen project. My colleagues started it up, but there were setbacks and the project gradually withered away. That is why we came up with the idea of renewing the Kaizen improvement processes and working with it at the CT Park facility.
Could you explain the Kaizen principle?
Kaizen should serve as an incentive for employees to come up with ideas that would help us reach a certain goal – to improve the living and working environment, to save expenses for the employer, or to improve the working conditions for the employees themselves, so they would be able to work better and feel better.
What is good about Kaizen is that it can draw on the working experience of our employees that would otherwise be left untapped. Most of our operators have worked here for a long time. That is why we rely on them to come up with things they have noticed during their long service.
It is clear that the Kaizen ideas should help the company to improve working conditions or to save money. How do the Kaizen ideas help the employees? Are there some rewards?
Of course. If an employee comes with an idea and the management or the Kaizen team consider it beneficial and helpful for achiving a particular goal, the employee will be rewarded. The bonus for approved Kaizen is 500 CZK. If the Kaizen idea is implemented within a certain timeframe, there is another reward. For a good idea an employee can receive up to 1,000 CZK.
Every workshift supervisor is trained in what Kaizen is. We have rules that clearly state what Kaizen is and what it isn’t. For example, Kaizen is not an assignment from a superior. Other criteria are whether the idea saves the company money, or if it has a positive influence on the environment. All of the criteria are awarded points, which are then counted and the result determines the reward. The total points count also shows whether the idea is beneficial.
How do you see the future of your project? How will you ensure that it will not be put to sleep again?
We must communicate with the workshift supervisors, give them incentives and talk to them about how important it is to communicate with employees, to ask employees if everything is as they like it, or if there is anything that should be changed. Somebody might be carrying a Kaizen idea in their mind, but the step of putting it down on paper or telling it to the supervisor is still missing. That is the reason why we want them to communicate, including me and the members of the Kaizen team.
Do you have any particular expectations regarding how many Kaizen ideas you would like to receive by the end of this year or longer-term?
As a newbie in this position, I would be happy if at this stage at least ten ideas appear by the end of the year. After that, we want to announce the best ones, so that people understand that it does not end with just a one-time bonus, but that they can look forward to a half-year evaluation and more rewards, be it in the form of benefits or other things.
Author: Cristina Muntean, Interim Integrated Communications Manager, FGSD