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Dickeson--An Old Method Brings Success

August 2000
Jim, Peter and I have a secret. Jim is James Geinke, president of Arandell Corp. in Menomonee Falls, WI. Peter is Peter Doyle, manufacturing manager at Action Printing in Fond du Lac, WI. Our secret is an exciting old way of constantly increasing the efficiency of a printing plant. Now, you'll read this and either forget it or be unwilling to try it. Well, maybe a couple of readers will give it a go. But Jim and Peter won't keep their productivity train in the station. They're ahead and you'll have to play catch-up.

The secret is people: respect, trust and confidence in their manufacturing colleagues. Both men have the willingness to measure and the courage to be measured. They hold themselves accountable for results and they expect the same from their associates. Measuring, accountability, trust and sharing are the keys. It's in the measurements that you show trust—sharing and openly and freely discussing the numbers.

Here's the way Peter puts it: "The ability to communicate the data collected is more important than the data itself. I hold a monthly meeting with all employees to communicate results. I am currently using 'old fashioned' overheads . . . I spend a great deal of time and thought preparing for these meetings. I feel that these meetings are the most important things I do. My goal as a leader is to improve my ability to communicate production and financial data."

Arandell Corp. gained an international reputation for its web offset paper waste reduction results. Every month, Jim called a meeting of the press crews at the end of each shift. The owner, F.E. Treis, the controller, sales personnel and all press supervisors attended. Those "old fashioned" overheads were used to display the results by press shift and crew over coffee and doughnuts. Measurement, accountability, openness and trust were obvious in every session. Jim talked the talk and walked the walk and the results, in the millions of dollars, were astounding!

What Jim, Peter and I know is that "people respect what management inspects." The measurements displayed on the overhead show what management inspects. They present mutual and individual accountability. Goals, benchmarks and means of improvement are on the open, interactive discussion table. Management, as well as the roll tender, has the raw courage to share their human vulnerability without fear. We know where we've been, where we are and where we want to go.
 

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