By: Fara Foster, Director of Communications & Community Engagement
“Rapid Improvement Workshop”, or RIW, is a new event for us. If you haven’t heard of them before, you certainly will from now on.
For three and a half days in early June, a team of nine people representing the various departments and geographical areas of our companies formed Continuous Improvement Team #1 and met with a safety consultant from Caterpillar Safety Services. Their primary goal was to examine and redefine our daily huddle-up meetings.
How does that get done? What goes on in an RIW?
Day 1 involves education and training. Much like starting a new job, the CI Team needed to learn about several process improvement tools, what was expected of them and how that was going to be measured. They also determined their purpose statement: “To develop and implement improvements to the existing “Huddle-Up” process that will create positive and relevant daily opportunities to discuss safety in ways that will encourage active participation and accountability by all employees.”
The first item on the agenda for Day 2 was to examine what safety truly looked like and what wasn’t working. Even though the team was diverse in roles and departments, they quickly noted several challenges common to everyone. The first issue was a lack of a cohesive process – each team had a different method for holding huddle-ups and only a few were effective.
Another commonality among the CI Team was the belief that daily safety briefings could be beneficial for all. As member Jermol Brock stated, “When you take the time to do this every day and do it right, this process works. We’ve had zero incidents at Fly Pit for a while and this is a big reason why.”
By the end of the RIW, the CI Team had designed a pilot program to be tested among their respective teams, starting with a brief, confidential survey. This survey will be used to gauge areas that need improvement as well as monitor ongoing progress. The CI Team will meet again to discuss the findings of their initial survey before they roll-out the pilot program to their teams on July 24.
The CI Team will gather again in late August to share experiences. They will make any needed adjustments and roll-out the improved Huddle-Up to everyone September 1. “Establishing a standard both helps effectiveness and eliminates possibilities to miss things,” said Bo Williamson. Team member, Kavious Boyd, added, “This process gives everyone the opportunity to actively participate because everyone will have a voice, place and value.”
Personal value is the core of our safety program. Each and every person employed by our family of companies is valuable. Our goal is for each person to end the day “Safe at home. Everyone. Every day.”