By: Alex Peyroux, QA/QC Laboratory Technician Published:
Last October, our friends at Web Industries, a fellow ESOP company, invited a group of Harpooners to come to their facility in Dayville, CT to attend their annual Ownership Month celebration and activities. Their “Ideas system,” a program for harnessing ideas for improving company performance from each and every employee, made a huge impact on us. The reason behind the "Ideas System" made a lot of sense: every employee naturally has ideas every day about how to make his or her job easier, better, more efficient.
When we saw the "Ideas System" in action, we saw employees who were engaged, excited, and enthusiastic. It was obvious from these meetings just how much power there is in having every employee in the company striving for its improvement. And we knew then that this program was something we had to do at Harpoon.
At Harpoon, work teams have always met frequently and shared ideas for improving performance and making employees’ jobs easier, better, more streamlined. Since becoming employee-owned we formalized this system to make the most of those ideas and celebrate the contributions of our fellow owners. Ideas that get put into practice are showcased on the Ideas Wall in the brewery. This month's employee owner feature comes from the Cellar where Alex Peyroux made a small suggestion with huge benefits...
Name: Alex Peyroux
Title and Department: Formally Cellarman, currently QA/QC Laboratory Technician and Barrel Tsar
Idea: Hose Length Audit
Benefit: Speeds up processes and removes a simple hassle we all had
Favorite Beer: Harpoon Take 5 Session IPA
While working in the Cellar, on a slow day near the end of the production week, my manager at the time came to speak with me. He had a goal for me that most people at most jobs can rattle off without prompt: identify 5 things that annoyed me with my day-to-day work.
At first blush, it does sound like an odd request from your manager - to whine and complain to the person who could actually do something about the things you disliked? There is no such thing as a free lunch. There was a catch, he explained to me, that he was implementing an Idea's Program where the goal was for us to create a shared list of problems and solutions for everyday issues we all faced. So, it was still whining and complaining except with a productive result that basically helps everybody.
Immediately, I knew my first major gripe. Our assorted hoses that we use around the brewery for cleaning tanks and transferring beer resembled a never-ending Gordian Knot. Well, maybe comparing our collection of hoses to a legendarily unsolvable knot that only Alexander the Great could solve is a bit of hyperbole, but I was wasting time and energy trying to find the right length of hose. If I needed a short hose for cleaning tanks, I'd inevitably grab the longest hose first, pull the whole hose out, realize that it wasn't the hose I needed, drop that hose, grab a new hose, find out it was second longest hose we had, cry quietly and grab another hose. We desperately needed a solution.
According to legend, it took Alexander the Great the entire winter of 333 B.C. to solve the knot by slicing it with his sword and creating the ends he needed to unravel it. Historians refer to the act as the (unimaginative) "Alexandrian Solution." Well, my solution took about 20 minutes and all I used was a tape measure and a Sharpie. I measured each length of hose, recorded the length on both ends, and basked in the warm glow of accomplishment that Alexander the Great must have felt that spring of 332 B.C. I decided that my solution was to be called the "Better, Smarter, and More Handsome Alexandrian Solution."
Since then, I have contributed more ideas to the program, came up with more solutions with even better names, and have NOT wasted my time tugging on the wrong hoses!
By: Harpoon Brewery Published:
We’ve got all sorts of opportunities for you to love beer and love life with us this year. So we put together a 2016 Harpoon Calendar so you can start saving the dates on things like festivals, races, and more! If your New Year’s resolution was to do more of the things you love, like drink great beer, be active, and have fun with friends, we got you.