Quick Studies

How Chrysler’s Problems Board Resolved Chronic Workplace Issues

Rather than brushing off chronic but seemingly minor problems, tracking them can empower employees to resolve issues and add up to an improved workplace.

Stemming from a (successful) attempt to empower its teams, Chrysler started a Problems Board: a whiteboard where any employee can write and prioritize workplace problems, and suggest corrective actions. As reported to Allpar, it works best:

“on low-level chronic problems. When we have a big problem in the plant, lots of people run to help; the ones we don’t really get into are the nagging day-to-day issues that never make it onto management radar screens. But low-level chronic problems can spike and become special-cost problems.”

Installing a Problems Board at Chrysler was one of the tools that helped increase jobs-per-hour from 142 to 190. This was due to three factors:

  • More autonomy. Using the board as a reference, the team sets the agenda, making meetings much more effective. Employees take ownership and feel empowered, while managers are less authoritative and more supportive.
  • Increased transparency. Everyone can see everyone’s progress and ideas for solutions, and managers can easily see the low-level, day-to-day issues. Since it’s simple to identify who suggested certain solutions, your managers (and employees) can effortlessly praise others publicly.
  • Develop better problem solving strategies. The board is the perfect tool to present solutions, not just problems, as you’re required to pitch a solution if you want to write on the problems board. And solutions can be easily built upon by others.

Source

Published February 11, 2016