I was asked by a colleague to kick off the Michigan Chapter of ISPI with a 5 minute speech. I chose to talk about expanding the view of Performance Improvement beyond training and organizational development.
Phil La DukePrinciple Consultant and Author um Environmental Resources Management (ERM)
5. Heavy Truck Manufacturer Over $6.5M Net Savings At 1 Location Implementation of SafetyIMPACT! Over $ 8,000,000 in cost avoidance and $5,000,000 in Workers’ Compensation cost reduction Implementation Complete
7. Bus Manufacturer $0 $200,000 $400,000 $600,000 $800,000 $1,000,000 $1,200,000 $1,400,000 $1,600,000 Worker's Comp. Cost Lost Day Wages 2008 2009 Over $1.3M Net Savings At 1 Location
Hinweis der Redaktion
Hi, I’m Phil La Duke and I’m Director of Performance Improvement for O/E. So what is a Performance Improvement practitioner doing addressing an international Symposium on Mining Safety? Well that’s what I’m here to talk to you about…challenging our view of what we do for a living.
Whenever I talk to people and the conversation turns to “what you do?” Let’s face it, it’s a tough question to answer. When you get asked that question how many of you say, “I work in training?” How many of you say you work in “Organizational Development?” How many say “I’m a bullfighter?” Okay, just seeing who’s paying attention. The reality is it’s tough for us to provide a concise answer to that question, and that need for a neat little description of our job may limit our view of our occupation and worse yet, limit how the organization see’s us. While I have years and years of experience in training, OD, Lean Manufacturing, and process improvement, most people these days think of me as an expert in safety. There’s nothing wrong with being a safety expert, but I used to prefer that people thought of me as a change agent or an expert in organizational improvement. And then I realized, that my narrow view of my occupation was interviewing with my perception of reality; that being a safety expert is the same thing as being an expert in performance improvement. And that’s when things really started to happen.
I’ve always believed that Performance Improvement had to be more than just about waiting for the phone to ring and bring me my next assignment. You see, I like to be on the ground floor of a project while there’s still time to provide input to the design. And that’s how I got involved with Safety. I joined O/E after being recruited for my skills in culture transformations relative to performance improvement relative to worker safety.
In 2006, O/E was hired by a heavy truck manufacturer to improve its performance as measured by it’s Workers’ Compensation costs. O/E has been very successful in safety because unlike a lot of companies, we view safety as just another area for performance improvement. We strive to develop an infrastructure that allows companies not only to realize significant improvements in safety, but to sustain those improvements and continue to improve long after we are no longer on site.
Here we see one plant who’s workers’ compensation costs were climbing steeply and steadily. While all the plants had workers’ compensation costs near or above $1 million annually, this plant was at $6.5 million and was trending upwards toward $10 million. In fact, nearly one in 5 workers were injured each year at this plant. Clearly something had to be done. O/E implemented SafetyIMPACT! and immediately stopped the upward trend, lowered injuries AND reduced the severity of those injuries. In fact, the results were so dramatic that the plant injury level for three shifts working overtime fell to the level it had previously been for one shift working a standard work week. This plant saw over $8 million in cost avoidance, and $5 million in savings in the first year. When you consider the wages paid to injured workers who are off work the savings rises to over $6.5 million at one plant in one year. The other plants also saw improvements, in fact, the average savings for all plants was over $1.2 million dollars. If that’s not Performance improvement, I don’t know what would be.
With that kind of success we were brought in on other kinds of projects, in this case, it was another safety improvement project. Here we not only measured improvements in WC costs but payment to injured workers as well. This kind of repeatable, tangible, and measurable savings get’s people excited about Performance Improvement.
Safety…. Often overlooked as an area for meaningful performance improvement Can be used to drive improvements in other areas as well Represents a vast, largely untapped resource for cost reductions Is difficult to oppose
There’s an old saying that I really like, “When you sell hammers the whole world looks like a nail”. When I lead the team that built SafetyIMPACT! I was heavily emotionally invested in the idea that it would be a consultation driven solution. It took me out of my comfort zone to think of it in any other way. But through collaborating with colleagues in different areas of O/E I saw that incorporating technology (handhelds for gathering data, high-end software applications for tracking hazards, and an electronic performance support tool for increasing sustainability” didn’t replace the coach, instead by employing a suite of solutions I was able to better tailor the intervention to the specific needs of the customer. Instead of weakening the process it really enhanced it. You are in a unique position to find innovations and to bring them to bear on problems with which the customer is struggling. Everyone is preaching proactivity, but at the risk of sounding clichéd we need to be proactive, we should go to executives with solutions not questions. Don’t ask what you can do for them, go to them with a set of solutions and include the level investment that will be required, the expected amount of return on the investment and when they can expect that return. It’s important to manage the perception of Performance Improvement both inside and outside your function. We need to market Performance Improvement as an essential element of success in a changing business climate. Show and advertise tangible financial results. There is nothing wrong with reminding the executive suite of the value you routinely bring to the organization; we work hard to get results and we can be proud of them. Listen. I’ve made the mistake of ‘wanting” a solution more than your customer did and the result was predictable. I thought (and I still believe I was correct in doing so) that a solution was a perfect fix to the problem with which a COO had come to me. I loved it, but he thought it was okay. As things started to unravel I worked hard to save a solution that nobody really cared about but me.
Too often performance improvement is seen as just another term for “training” Performance Improvement should seek to further the goals of all of the SQDCM Expanding the view of Performance Improvement increases its value to the organization Questions?