A company’s culture is the values, practices, and beliefs held by its team members. Culture is demonstrated in the words, actions, and decisions made by each member of an organization. Some companies may have a culture of teamwork and open communication while others have a culture of competition and hierarchy.
At Powerblanket, we’ve worked hard to analyze and clearly define our company’s values and beliefs. We’ve taken time to consider our business’ focus, the organization of our business, the “why” behind what we do, and, finally, we’ve determined what our most important values are. Doing so has brought out the creativity, critical thinking, and passion within each of our team members and fostered an environment of motivation and collaboration.
The Shingo Model
The Shingo Model is a business organization method that keeps company culture at the center. It provides organizations with guiding principles to use as they fine-tune their current systems and tools to achieve desired results. This model recognizes that a business is made up of people and that a company should be organized with them in mind. We’ve utilized the Shingo Model at Powerblanket with great success.
The following are the guiding principles of the Shingo method that we’ve used to refine the systems and tools we have in place.
- Cultural Enablers- Lead with humility, respect every individual
- Continuous Improvement-Seek Perfection, Embrace Scientific Thinking, Focus on Process, Assure Quality at the Source, Flow & Pull Value
- Enterprise alignment- Think Systemically Create Constancy of Purpose
- Results- Create Value for the Customer
(You can get more info on the Shingo Model and Shingo Guiding Principles here)
Systems and Tools
At our company, we’ve established the following systems and tools that achieve our desired results while keeping our organization’s culture a top priority:
- Pull System- our products are made as our customers need them
- Standard Work- We have established best practices for each manufacturing process
- Cross-training chart- we use skill charts to identify any areas of improvement for our staff
- Problem solving/brainstorming tools- when an issue arises, we work together to refine our system
- Value streams- we map out each step necessary to create our product so we can eliminate any wase and ensure the highest value
- Quality programs- we utilize programs that help us monitor the quality of our work.
The results we’ve achieved by following guiding principles and utilizing our tools and systems are remarkable. Our sales have increased by 19% year over year. Our cost of goods sold as a percent of sales has decreased by 4.6, and our direct labor as a percent of sales has decreased by 0.7%. We reduced our OH by 9% and RMA from 0.75% down to 0.25%.Our success has earned us the Utah Manufacturer of the Year as well as the 2017 AME Manufacturing Excellence Award.
Focusing On the Why
A powerful tool to help fuel a strong company culture is to focus on the “why.” At surface level, Powerblanket is a small company making heated blankets to keep things from freezing. Not too exciting, huh? It’s when we dig into the “why,” however, that we really give our employees something to get passionate about. At Powerblanket, we help save jobs! We help our people discover, develop, and share their strengths! When we focus on this and not just heated blankets, we give everyone at our operation a familiar idea to rally around.
Focusing on Culture
Company culture starts with leadership. An organization’s leader can talk the talk, but if he or she doesn’t walk the walk, others will follow suit.
Frequently, values define a company’s culture. At Powerblanket, our top three values, clarity, trust, and passion, drive each of our decisions and help us create goals and plans that move us forward.
Powerblanket’s Top Three Values
“Clarity is power- the more clear you are about exactly what it is you want; the more your brain knows how to get it” (anonymous). We strive for clear communication among team members. We take time to define our goals and plans and to ensure that everyone is on the same page. By clearly communicating and reviewing our goals and expectations, we are better able to meet them and enjoy shred success.
At Powerblanket, we foster an environment of vulnerable trust. We want each of our team members to feel comfortable asking questions, admitting when they’ve made a mistake, and asking for help. Each person recognizes the value of help from others. We realize that we can accomplish much more together than we could individually.
We go out of our way to hire passionate people and believe that everyone can be a high performer. Everyone can be a creative, critical thinker. If one of our team members is struggling to find their passion, we encourage and help them.
“We are changing from the year of customer service to the year of the employees. If you have happy employees, you then will have happier customers. “ Forbes
Our values, “why,” and “True North”(desired destination) influence every decision we make at Powerblanket. They are apparent in the actions of each of our employees and move us in the right direction. By making strenuous and deliberate efforts, we’ve created a business culture that inspires greatness within each of our team members and allows us to enjoy shared success every day.
Working to develop a company culture that inspires passion and critical thinking is not an easy process. Here are just a few lessons we’ve learned along the way:
- Everyone in the company needs to be incentivized; financially and with exciting activities.
- It’s important to work out your performance problems immediately.
- Management has two jobs: set the vision and remove obstacles (and then get out of the way!)
- You have to “hire” your culture.