How Chrysler's Problems Board Resolved Chronic Workplace Issues
Stemming from a (successful) attempt to empower its teams, Chrysler started a Problems Board: a whiteboard where any employee can write and prioritize workplace problems, and suggest corrective actions. As reported to Allpar, it works best:
“on low-level chronic problems. When we have a big problem in the plant, lots of people run to help; the ones we don’t really get into are the nagging day-to-day issues that never make it onto management radar screens. But low-level chronic problems can spike and become special-cost problems.”
Installing a Problems Board at Chrysler was one of the tools that helped increase jobs-per-hour from 142 to 190. This was due to three factors:
- More autonomy. Using the board as a reference, the team sets the agenda, making meetings much more effective. Employees take ownership and feel empowered, while managers are less authoritative and more supportive.
- Increased transparency. Everyone can see everyone’s progress and ideas for solutions, and managers can easily see the low-level, day-to-day issues. Since it’s simple to identify who suggested certain solutions, your managers (and employees) can effortlessly praise others publicly.
- Develop better problem solving strategies. The board is the perfect tool to present solutions, not just problems, as you’re required to pitch a solution if you want to write on the problems board. And solutions can be easily built upon by others.
Takeaway: Rather than brushing off chronic but seemingly minor problems, tracking them can empower employees to resolve issues and add up to an improved workplace.