GM became a client as a result of our work with Caterpillar Track Type Tractors, our work with Jim DeSpain and a multi-year and multi-generation relationship with Caterpillar Corporation. Jim’s work on values spread around the world and Jim coined an important phrase that impacted my personal work and consulting with manufacturing organizations from that day forward.
Jim had a contrary view of the union. He said, “We share half of the bed with the union. Why would we not want to be intimate with them?”
If you think about it, it is the ultimate in common sense.
Why would a plant manager, or any leader for that matter, want an antagonistic relationship with a partner that shares euphemistically half the bed, half the organization, half the team, half the line, half the cell or half the shift? Wouldn’t common sense dictate that it is better to have an intimate, inclusive and win-win relationship with someone that has a significant hand in creating your success or lack thereof?
Conversely in my decades of work consulting with unions, I have never seen a strike that makes sense. It takes years and sometimes decades to earn back what the strikers gave up in lost wages, but more importantly it does horrific damage to the brand, the customers and the value chain. This scars the relationship with labor’s perspective of “management’ and simultaneously damages managers perception of “labor.”
With Jim’s work at Cat out of pure partnership and cooperation between the union, plant management and corporate leadership, the dynamic and groundbreaking results from this lead to the exportation of this process to every plant worldwide at Caterpillar but also garnered attention with the UAW’s senior leadership.
I met with a team of consultants from Blanchard with the UAW President & all the VPs at a three day executive retreat where we planned how we could create a similar process for the UAW GM that we did for UAW Cat. The only difference between GM and CAT was GM lacked the infrastructure for full-time plant/performance consultants or what we called performance coaches. What was required for us to guarantee the results of a minimum of 3-1 ROI (we averaged 13-1 on every plant implementation). We needed to have someone who worked the shifts with the Front Line Supervisors, and team leads so we put in our full-time performance consultants. They moved in, lived and worked with the UAW and GM leadership at the plant full-time. Most of our implementations were 2-4 years where we built a self-directed high-performing team. We built lean cells, we built bench strength, we built recognition and consequence management systems and then we built self-reliance and then exited.
The full time coaches took people from style 1 directing to style 2 coaching to style 3 supporting to style 4 delegating to where front line individual union contributors were delivering financial reports at the stand-up meetings.
Similar to every other P3 implementation where we have learned and what common sense dictates is when people do not have information they cannot act with empowerment. However, when people own the numbers and are in volved in understanding how they impact the numbers people are compelled to act.
As we have highlighted in other case studies and has been true in every organization around the world in each P3 implementation what we have learned is the front line teams set much higher, more stretch goals than management or leadership ever did.
Most importantly, common sense and our experience has proven the level of accountability for the goals, for the behaviors to achieve those goals I s a factor of 10x higher when it is owned by the team vs inspected in by leadership or management.
Because of our success we could not handle all the requests for GM plants in our coaching and HPT process. WE ended dup working with 15 GM plants over the course of about 11-12 years.
Even though we were producing multi-million and 10M of ROI with each implementation it unfortunately ended when a UAW president found out our performance coaches made a similar amount of $ they did. Unfortunately, the union cut our funding, but interesting UAW Delphi took advantage of this and immediately brought us into Delphi plants that were having performance problems and challenged to have enough product to fill the supply chain.
We adapted our HPT process for Delphi to have a focus on value tree management. We taught every team how to work the 5Ss and to assess how they can contribute to eliminating waste or adding value to the customer by developing metrics standards and CI processes.
The success of the Delphi implementations was even more dramatic than or work at GM as we learned how to accelerate change, use recognition and one page management as an accelerant to the change process.
We implemented about the same number of Delphi plans as GM in less than half the time with 40% more productivity gains and 50% more impact on the bottom line.
Between GM and Delphi our implementation and performances coaches worked and lived in 25 different cities, 30 different plants and created almost 1b of cumulative productivity gains or reductions in scrap and waste.
These numbers were certified both by union and management eldership and had to be signed off before we were paid our performance bonuses. I. E. We did not get paid until each plant returned a minimum of 300% of what they invested in the process.
The most productive GM plant had an ROI of 33,200%. All the Delphi plants had ROIs of 1500%.
Each plant went through a similar process with leadership and productivity cascade. Each impregnation process started with an executive leadership session where we developed their skill send create the critical few metrics the productivity improvement process would sit around.
We then cascaded the HPT Process to all leadership dev to all leaders and in every line/cell team down to the front line contributors.
We then went to work with our performance coaches and FLS, the 5S process, the value tree and had weekly report-outs done by leaders and individual contributors. These would roll up and were tracked into the recognition and consequence management syte through the use of visual management and company-wide recognition.
Individuals and teams were recognized for ideas, for productivity improvement, cost reduction (scrap reduction) in addition to safety performance and attendance of which most plants achieved 100% perfection as it relates to attendance and safety after being self-directed. 8 years each.