Excellence through Consistency + Alignment

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Excellence through Consistency + Alignment

Lea Tonkin, editor in chief

Al Gross    

Creating and sustaining high performance requires organization-wide focus on value for customers, employees, and all other stakeholders, according to Al Gross, vice president of Currier Plastics Inc.  (CPI). Gross shared suggestions for nurturing world-class performance in his keynote presentation during the recent Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Inside Excellence Conference in Dallas. CPI is a custom blow molding and injection molding operation in Auburn, NY.

Gross explained CPI’s V2 = Velocity x Value approach; it is the power of velocity multiplied by value. Although velocity (speed or a sense of urgency) is important, its impact multiplies when combined with value (what is received versus what was expected).  V2 awareness and action are reflected in CPI’s strategic planning, lean approach, talent management strategies, and systems thinking.

“You need to plan for consistency and alignment,” Gross said. “Your organizational structure should support continuous material flow.” CPI’s lean accounting practices and use of a Training Within Industry (TWI) training module support needed consistency.

All associates have access to “box scores,” enabling them to understand how well the operation performs. Box scores provide key information about overall efficiency, material costs, production profit, return on production, cost of quality, on-time delivery, production value, days of finished supply, downtime, production waste, and other factors. Associates rely on timely, accurate, meaningful, and understandable data to improve performance in new product development, breakeven analysis, customer satisfaction, profit sharing, etc.

CPI’s talent management strategies place the right people in the right places, according to Gross. The company is committed to providing a safe environment that encourages people to do what they need and want to do. “We encourage healthy behavior, providing consistent (especially positive) feedback,” Gross said. “We set reasonable expectations. We get to know people personally, rewarding them as individuals and especially as a team.”

Leadership at all levels contributes to CPI’s sustained performance improvements in profits, cost of quality, efficiency, quality of work life, and other metrics. “Leadership and all employees need to walk the talk and work the plan,” Gross said. “It takes a purpose-based strategic approach, built from the inside out. Our leadership in developing people and culture builds sustainable competitive advantage. “

Leading a cultural transformation demands consistent, persistent, perceptive, and passionate leadership, said Gross. He added that the ultimate goal is to develop leadership within everyone in the organization: self-directed, self-correcting, and self-improving.  Employee engagement develops when people are heard and respected, experience success by seeing their ideas in action, and gain a sense of purpose, mastery, and autonomy.

“Change your thinking to change behavior, which leads to changes in results,“ said Gross. “Do it as fast as you can.”

Editor’s note: Al Gross, Mike Cartner, and Patricia Craine wrote the article, “Lean Accounting: Currier Plastics Inc.’s Disciplined Approach.”