In an effort to expand our continuous improvement strategies, ESL initiated a new employee participation program appropriately named the “Treasure Hunt.” Employee volunteers work in teams of 3 with the goal of finding quick fixes for common problems throughout our organization. Basically, do a lot with a little!
This new program allows employees to venture throughout our company putting “fresh eyes” on different areas of the business. For 4 hours, the teams consisting of both office and shop floor personnel walk around the production floor, office, and surrounding building speaking to fellow coworkers from various areas and brainstorming solutions. Some team members already have ideas for improvements going into the Treasure Hunt. Other teams discover improvement ideas while investigating various departments and workflows. The idea is to spend as little money as possible and fix discovered problems with materials on hand.
Once problems and solutions are identified, our Treasure Hunt volunteers present their recommendations to a small board of executives at ESL. Once solutions are approved, the groups are then given the green light to make the updates. At this point, the teams are contending for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes (Treasure!) based on successful implementation. Below are some examples of problems solved:
Team Problem Solvers: Discovered a few loose safety pins in the inventory racks. This resulted in a simple solution to add bolts, washers and nylok nuts to ensure the racks are more secure.
Team Goon Squad: Discovered that we can use an out of use wire stripping machine for our standard cables. Our current method of hand stripping took 25 seconds per cable. With the wire stripping machine, we can strip the same cable in 10 seconds. Overall, employees will be stripping hundreds of wires more safely and efficiently!
Team Pirates of Palisades: With an increase in production, floor space has become limited. This team suggested implementing new racks with a loft design. The idea of the loft is that it will not impede the current work space and we can now use the rack space above it to hold additional inventory.
Because of the overwhelming response and excitement generated by this event, ESL has put this program on quarterly rotation to help continuously improve our work place! What does your company do to get the team involved in continuous improvements? We’d love to hear new ideas!