Many of us have certainly heard it said that one cannot influence one’s own work or the way to do it. Alternatively, they say that development is the job of the development team. This sounds like history. To make the best possible use of us employees, companies should look for ways to involve all employees in the development of work and skills. At the same time, these are great ways to improve motivation, productivity and job satisfaction.
I have worked at Murata in production for over 17 years, and here the development of our work and skills is a real thing. Murata employees around the world are guided by our company philosophy created decades ago by our founder Akira Murata. Even the philosophy states that Murata employees should develop their skills.
Here the production worker, or the operator, gets to manufacture tiny sensors that improve the safety of cars and people’s quality of life. These sensors are used in such applications as cars’ electronic stability control systems and pacemakers, which is why quality is a critical issue for us.
The development of our work and methods is most strongly reflected in our production in the form of the so-called kaizen activities. Kaizen is about continuous improvement in small steps, i.e., quality improvement and assurance. Active operations are made possible by the fact that each employee is considered an expert in their own work area and is able to improve our production.
Most commonly, the need for kaizen arises when an operator realizes that the work could be done more easily or efficiently or with better quality. Mistakes are also great opportunities for developing new ways of working. Kaizen projects are suggestions for improvement made and implemented by teams of 1–3 people, with hundreds made every year.
Marko Mononen, Production Supervisor