Opening The Door To Success Access-control-equipment manufacturer emphasizes employee involvement and supplier relationships. ByTom MuddPAC International Ltd., Stockport, EnglandAt a glance
Web Exclusive Best Practices PAC International Ltd., maker of electronic access controls. By Tom Mudd Benchmarking contact: Margaret Kelsall,
[email protected], +44 161 406 3404.
Benchmarking Field Trips PAC sends employees from all levels on benchmarking tours to plants in other manufacturing sectors.
Communication All production workers get twice-yearly assessments in which they meet with managers to discuss how far they've come and where they'd like to go. That sort of communication, says Michael Price, is an essential factor in the company's continued improvement, but also it helps to maintain the small-business feel so often mentioned by PAC employees. "We always try to match our business needs to people's objectives and their career needs," he explains.
Recognition And Rewards To nurture a collegial atmosphere all employees are encouraged to submit commendations of their peers and even their bosses. Based on those commendations one person per month receives a gift certificate or other reward. The equal-opportunity approach to rewards also applies to PAC's profit-sharing plan, under which 5% of company profits are distributed to employees, with all workers getting an identical slice.
Training Cross-training is emphasized, with all employees able to see which competencies they have mastered by taking a quick peek at the skills matrix that is posted within each team's working area. At this stage 70% of workers are competent in multiple skills, but that number is rising. That training includes the use of automatic testing equipment, which is employed to assess the functionality of a percentage of the products, important to a company that offers a lifetime warranty on its finished goods. Additionally, each new employee receives an in-depth introduction to every facet of the operation.
Supplier Relations Despite heavy competition for parts from the booming mobile telephone industry, PAC has been able to maintain the flow of the microchips that are at the heart of the company's key cards and access controllers. Despite being a small company, PAC has formally certified 90% of its key suppliers, reduced leadtime on key materials by 25%, and reduced the number of suppliers from 90 three years ago to 57 today. Supplier loyalty is developed by the inclusion of key suppliers in annual activities.
Continuous Improvement PAC instituted a total quality management program in 1992 and has been intent on not letting the program stagnate. To keep the continuous-improvement culture thriving, the company refreshes its cross-functional quality improvement team.
- 92% improvement in first-pass yield over last five years for major component.
- 95.7% of purchased materials no longer requiring incoming inspection.
- 90.6% reduction in manufacturing cycle time in last five years.
- 80% reduction in leadtime in last five years.
- Certified UK Investor in People since 1994.