I recently read the article “7 Habits of a Highly Effective Manufacturing Culture” by Jill Bellak, President of MBX Systems, and was thrilled to learn of another manufacturer recognizing the need for culture change in the manufacturing sector. I spend a great deal of time thinking about how to bring a “Silicon Valley mentality” to our facilities around the world that manufacture superabrasive grinding wheels and tools, as I always believe in the possibility of a new and/or better way.
Ms. Bellak discussed moving away from a traditional top-down organizational structure, dominated by primarily white men, towards nimble organizations inspired by startups and the mindsets of millennials.
At MBX Systems, the initiatives to achieve change included:
1. Run Fun Cross-Functional Team Exercises
2. Actively Engage Employees in Process Improvement
3. Get Creative with Your Change Campaign
4. Put Power Directly in Employees’ Hands
5. Go the Extra Training Mile
6. Communicate Loud, Clear & Often
7. Keep it Fresh
I applaud MBX for its concerted efforts to open its work culture and engage the employees of the company to drive improvements from within. At Abrasive Technology, we also utilize all seven of the initiatives mentioned above in our flat, Process Centered Organization.
Additionally, we created the LEADERS program to help leverage each other’s expertise and understand that as a team, we’re far more capable than we are on our own.
L = Learn. Be curious and ask “What if we did it this way instead?” We hope our associates suggest and support new and better ways to make diamond grinding wheels and tools, and not give up if ideas aren’t immediately accepted. We encourage asking questions, offering new solutions, taking risks, challenging assumptions, and accepting decisions.
E = Excellence. Be excellent, taking initiatives to improve skills and embrace continuous learning. At Abrasive Technology, people move to where the work is and when challenged, take a step back to evaluate the problem with a clear mind.
A = Appreciate. Have Fun and recognize that coming to work is a new experience each day to celebrate successes, try new things and explore new ideas. We blend work with learning and personal well-being, pursuing interests beyond job duties.
D = Dependable. Do what you say you will do, knowing that we are as good as our word. Our team works hard to set clear expectations at the forefront of every project to help avoid surprises and deliver what we promised.
E = intEgrity. Do the right thing when thinking about our colleagues, our customers and the environment. When armed with the proper knowledge and expertise, we encourage associates to trust their gut and go with their instincts.
R= Respect. Treat others with honesty and respect, checking personal agendas at the door and recognizing open and honest communication fosters a successful work environment. We believe it’s important to consider different viewpoints and appreciate everyone’s input, while also learning how people prefer to communicate.
S = Safety. The highest standards of safety allow us to do our best work. We put safety first with use of the proper personal protective equipment, safety training, and documented work procedures.
Abrasive Technology’s beginning, back in 1971, is rooted in believing in the goodness of people. The result? A place where associates are self-motivated and accountable. We are engineers, manufacturers, developers, researchers, salespeople, customer service professionals and more. We all believe we have a stake in the company because we ARE the company.
CEO, Abrasive Technology