Suggestion Box: Employee Kaizen Ideas

This article explores the practice of Kaizen Employee Suggestions in your Suggestion Program.

While waiting for my kids’ swimming lesson to start, the kids and I waited at the only available seat at our local recreational center, which was in the corner of the building next to the men’s bathroom. As we sat down, my 2 year old started playing with something attached to the wall. And, as I motioned to tell him to please stop hitting whatever he was hitting, the title on top of the object caught me by surprise: Employee Suggestion Box

Goal of an Employee Suggestion Program

I believe that the goal of a suggestion system or employee suggestion program is the following:

To engage the maximum number of people and consider the maximum number of ideas and implement the most impacting of those ideas in the fastest amount of time with the least amount of cost.

There are, of course, times where it’s appropriate to go through an experimentation process where the most impacting ideas might not be the ones enacted upon. In this case, the process of experimenting and learning for the team and company is just as valuable as the result.

From a practical perspective, managing a suggestion system really boils down to the following questions, which can be considered at the team and department level:

  • How many incoming suggestions can we handle per week?
  • At what response time can we handle those suggestions?
  • Of those accepted, what % were implemented within 3 (enter your number here) days?
  • Of those implemented, what were the benefits for the department and company?

In my next several posts, I’ll cover the topics that allow for an effective suggestion system within a company that meets the goals I set forth in this article:

To engage the maximum number of people and consider the maximum number of ideas and implement the most impacting of those ideas in the fastest amount of time with the least amount of cost.

Namely, I’ll cover:

  1. Resources for a Suggestion Program
  2. Roles and Responsibilities of Managers, Supervisors, and Team Leads
  3. How to manage Idea Generation
  4. Structure of Suggestion Card
  5. Training in Problem Solving Fundamentals
  6. Recognition and Reward of Employees
  7. Alignment to Company Objectives

kaizen ideas, employee suggestion box

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Comments

  1. James Lawther says

    Pete,

    I like your goal

    “To engage the maximum number of people and consider the maximum number of ideas and implement the most impacting of those ideas in the fastest amount of time with the least amount of cost.”

    All organisations have a bottleneck that regulates how many ideas get implemented. Often this is simply a question of the amount of peoples time dedicated to implementing the changes. I am a big fan of GE “work out” as a mechanism to engage people in fixing their own problems.

    In this instance though, I guess the bottle neck is the fact that the suggestion box is placed by the gents bathroom.

    Probably not the best place.

    James

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