Ogle, Ashton (1992, ASQC) Geauga Company, Crestline, OH
Employee involvement, employee empowerment, and participative management are crucial to the success of Total Quality. In 1989, Geauga Company changed from traditional Theory X management style to the participative style called Employee Involvement (EI). Located in Crestline, Ohio, and employing 250 people, Geauga produces injection molded and extruded products for both automotive and general industry customers. Initially, five EI teams were created, organized around specific products and activities. Early successes, including the use of a statistical tool to correct a production problem, and a significant quality change in a product, soon led to the formation new teams, the creation of a formal Employee Involvement Steering Committee, and the hiring of a part-time EI program coordinator, whose position soon required full-time commitment. By the end of the first year, the name of the EI program was changed to EI process to suggest an ongoing commitment, and team leaders began to receive formal training in communication skills, group dynamics, and problem solving. Currently, 13 teams regularly visit with suppliers and customers, and the EI process is a separate line item in the company's budget. Positive results of the process include an all-time high safety record, and better morale. Participation in the EI process is voluntary; 50 percent of the company presently is involved. A significant corporate cultural change has occurred, however, in the transition from traditional "top-down" management to employee participation in management.
Case study,Employee involvement (EI),Empowerment,Total Quality Management (TQM)