Quality, Wherefore Art Thou?
The Bottom Line Benefits Of Participation
The Bottom Line Benefits
Did the headline get your attention? This is what we are
all asked to 'prove' at one time or another. Whether the question is asked
subtly as when individuals resist change efforts to move the organization
toward a more participative culture or when potential attendees to an AQP
spring conference are asked: "Because of attending, how will you save
the company money or make money when you return?"
A study by IndustryWeek looked at manufacturing plant practices and plant performance. The study found that "62.9 percent of the plants with 100 percent empowered workforce and 68.2 percent of the plants with 76-99 percent empowered workforces reported productivity (dollar value of shipments per employee) of $150,000 or more. Just 44.6 percent of plants with no empowerment reported productivity of $150,000 or more." So, a correlation exists between higher productivity and higher levels of empowerment in the plants surveyed.
The survey also found that for nearly all performance metrics
tracked, the "percentage of plants achieving the best results was significantly
higher among the most empowered facilities." Naturally, achieving effective
empowerment requires training the workforce and building more skills and
capabilities. Consequently, plants with higher levels of training were more
likely to report better performance measures.
If you had invested in the stocks of the six companies that won the Baldrige Award and the parent companies of the 12 subsidiary winners, your investment would have out-performed the S&P 500 by 2.4 to 1. This means that an investment in these organizations realized a 362.3 percent return compared to a 148.3 percent return for the S&P 500. The hypothetical 'Baldrige Index' tracks the investments from the month following the announcement of the award winners to Dec. 1, 1997, according to NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which administers the Baldrige Award). It should come as no surprise that the Baldrige winners demonstrate extraordinary investments in training and building the skills of their employees and almost universally acknowledge the critical importance of employee empowerment and teaming.
And so, for those needing to document the bottom line benefits
of participation the proof is there - investments in training and creating
a participative culture yield concrete measurable results. This is reassuring,
but only takes us so far. If this data isn't compelling enough, then what
data is? Thinking that data persuades is an illusion. Depending upon which
'side' you're on, either there is not enough or not the right 'kind' or
it doesn't fit 'this' situation, and on and on.