Recognition programs are nothing new at manufacturing companies. While hard numbers aren't easy to come by, anecdotal evidence indicate that many manufacturers have means and methods by which employees can acknowledge actions taken by their coworkers that qualify as "above and beyond" the call of duty, or are extra helpful in some way.

Many manufacturing firms also have developed a set of company values, typically in tandem with mission statements, that are posted in a variety of locations and which may or may not be remembered by employees.

Klein Steel Service, a 2011 IndustryWeek's Best Plants winner located in Rochester, N.Y., has developed a recognition program that is slightly different, and it speaks volumes about the importance the company places on employees actively practicing the company values.

The program is called Values in Action. It recognizes individuals or groups that exhibit company values. Those values are integral to everything Klein Steel does, explains COO Todd Zyra, and are so important that they are re-examined and refined every year. While the values themselves typically don't change, their definitions are continually being honed to reflect the company's commitment.

The values are:

Accountability: We believe in delegation of responsibilities and taking ownership of our actions.
Candor: We value the positive contributions of every team member and welcome open and honest discussions of questions and concerns.
Customer Satisfaction: We move mountains to meet our commitments -- "We do it right the first time."
Dependability: We are prompt, on time, and keep our promises.
Dignity and Respect: We honor and take care of one another.
Discipline: "We do the harder right rather than the easier wrong."
Integrity: Integrity is non-negotiable -- "We always do the right thing."
Safety: Great companies do not have accidents. -- "No one gets injured on my shift!"
Sharing of Information: We continually learn and empower each other with open communication -- "Who else needs to know?"
Teamwork: "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."