ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - May 2001


Behind the Teams: We've provided you with the tools and resources that will help you in your fight to keep team efforts alive, to build a greater sense of community and unity in your organization.
Click here to check it out!

  In This Issue...

A Purpose And A Place
Do Upper Managers Earn Their Keep?
Pageturners: Effective Training Strategies
Proof Positive
Brief Cases

 One From Column B —
My Kingdom for a Team

Peter Block explores the durability of teams and why they remain fascinating after all these years.

  Behind the Teams:

Just What the Doctor Ordered
In Support of Teams
Cynthia Minor and Mike Levenhagen

Highlights of Winning Teams
Views For A Change
Pam Walsh's Unofficial Quality Tips

Return to NFC Index

  Special Feature: Behind the Teams


Highlights of Winning Teams

The Lucent Grease Masters Clean Up

At Lucent Technologies, teamwork is a way life. They call their site in Columbus, Ohio the workplace of the future with high-performance teams in place company-wide. There’s commitment at all levels to teamwork and participation.

  “The whole organization is very supportive of structured teams and team efforts,” says Kathy Broderick, team facilitator. “Teams are even more highly regarded here in Columbus.” Lucent has formal training for the teams in team dynamics, facilitation and leadership skills. There is a seven-step process in place for problem solving and process improvement that each group follows and a five-pointed star model is used to develop the high-performance teams. Each point on the star represents: quality, cost, delivery, human resources and environmental health and safety. The teams range in size from 10-50 members.

Energy Crisis
Even with this training and support, the teams still face their fair share of challenges. “Some teams don’t work because the individuals are not seriously committed,” says Broderick. “Or because they do not have a strong enough leader to pull them through the rocky roads of teams. Every team has its ups and downs just like a family. Without a mom or dad, a family will fall apart.”

  The biggest obstacles the teams have to face are commitment and dedication. In addition to the team efforts, the employees still have their regular jobs and these efforts take a tremendous amount of time.

  The key to staying energized? Give the teams the support and tools that they need to thrive. “The biggest thing we see is that the meetings keep them energized and enthused. When one is down the other one gets them back up,” says Broderick. “People have learned how to reach one another in different situations. They are more focused on their job and improving the workplaces. They have learned that as a team they have a lot more talent to work with and more ideas from a larger variety of great minds.”

Lucent Gets a Grease Change
A team of intuitive minds from Lucent proved themselves this past March at the National Team Competition in Chicago, sponsored by AQP. The Grease Masters team facilitated by Broderick was charged with a goal of improving factory test yields for an electronic circuit assembly process. Their objective was to increase first test yields from an unacceptable average of 60 percent to 85 percent. The team used the seven-step process that was in place to help them identify opportunity, focus, analysis, action, results, deployment and future plans. With quality in mind as the most important factor, the team spent seven months researching the problems with their process of assembling circuit packs, improving the current methods and developing a solution by changing from a thermal grease to a silicone grease. These changes reduced their failures to less than two percent and increased test yields to 92 percent.

  Once they proved themselves at home by winning Lucent’s internal competition, the team took their project on the road and brought back the silver award from the AQP competition. “The team is still together on the same line and they have been the highlight of the facility,” states Broderick.

The Bottom Line
The Grease Masters’ team project produced a cost savings of nearly $2 million, but the real significance lies in what the team learned about how teamwork and true participation improve quality and make a difference in a company. “I’ve learned that all problems can be solved with the proper associates working together towards the same goal,” says one team member. Broderick sums it up, “This team was extremely diverse in many ways: skills, education, background, job responsibilities—everything. They identified a problem that was unacceptable to their standards, solved it and verified their results. They’re a benchmark for other teams.”

Silver Winner: Grease Masters, Lucent Technologies, Columbus, Ohio

Members: Roberta Anderson, Cathy Broderick, Mark Calloway, JK Chrisley, Chris Fanelli, Vivian Fetterman, Mary Beth Fries, Dee Hopkins, Fred Keeler, Tony Ly, Becky McCoy, Jerry Preece, Tom Wiecek

Project: Improve factory test yield for an electronic circuit assembly process

Bottom line: Test yield improved from 62% to 92%, producing a cost savings of nearly $2 million.

Gold winners

Bronze winners


May 2001Homepage



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