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 Packaging Line where Tim O'Sullivan made a small suggestion with huge benefits...
Name: Tim O'Sullivan
Title and Department: Packaging Supervisor
Idea: On our can line, we routinely pull samples to check that the can lids are being sealed properly. Traditionally we would stop and slow the machine to watch the cans go through so that we could identify which seamer heads the samples had come from. My Idea was to use a different color can to be able to identify the seamer head while running at full production speed.
Benefit: The benefits of the new method are we no longer stop production to obtain our QC samples and we get more accurate samples because the machine is running in its full production mode - i.e we are more efficient and can pump out more cans!