I live in a state that requires emissions inspections on all automobiles every 2 years. Every time I get the reminder letter in the mail, my gut reaction is exasperation because I know that I’m going to have to take time out of my schedule to drive to the emissions station (which is never open at convenient hours), wait in a line of cars for 20-40 minutes, and pay my hard earned money to the state for them to perform the inspection and certify that my car meets the state’s emissions standards. My reaction has nothing to do with my personal feelings on pollution or environmental care, mind you, and everything to do with my sense of frustration at the disruption that complying with the state’s emissions standards poses on my life.
My experience working in manufacturing is quite similar in many ways. Certainly all manufacturers have to comply with a set of standards, whether imposed by a governmental organization such as OSHA, an international body of experts, such as ISO or the BRC, or internally developed by your company’s own subject-matter experts. And I think it’s fair to say that many employees perceive compliance with these standards to be a hassle. Take OSHA compliance for example. I’ve never spoken to a single employee at a plant site who did not believe in the importance of workplace safety, but I’ve spoken to many who roll their eyes at the idea that they need to repeat the same safety training courses year after year.
The purpose of this article is certainly not to criticize any organization or governing body that issues these sorts of standards or suggest that companies should not take compliance seriously. What I’m trying to point out is that something needs to be done to change employee mindsets such that they don’t see compliance to standards as a bad thing but as one mechanism for improving the overall performance of the operation. Here are two recommendations.
Tags: Continuous Improvement