Leaders take the risk
Brian, OEM/Engineering manager for a global leader in the design, manufacturer, and marketing of materials handling equipment based in Portland, OR told Session 3B of the Leadership Development Lab™ (LDL):
“While I was an OEM Engineer, I was responsible for many things including cylinder design. One of our important clients asked for a bid on a limited budget, custom, attachment design. We were literally at the stage of the project being completely cancelled because the estimated production cost was running way over target. The specifications and design requirements for the four hydraulic cylinders on each unit had become quite complex and costly.
“On what seemed like no prior notice, I along with the other design team members were called into our conference room, to give an account for the situation. This was important enough that our company president and all the technical vice presidents were at one end of the table. I along with my team members were at the other. Each of us were asked, one by one, for our cost-cutting ideas.
“I was in a cold sweat. The only design idea I had to offer had never been tried before. Most of the people I had talked to about it said, “You’re crazy! That won’t work!” Well, it was stand up and be counted time, so I stuck my neck out and proposed that we combine the use of the aluminum lift’s frame members as the hydraulic cylinders. I added that a hardened anodized surface inside the cylinder would prevent wear.
“Well, the good news is that the lift is now in production. Combining the frame member and hydraulic pressure cylinder functions lowered costs by over $100 per clamp. At the same time, by reducing the number of components in each cylinder from 24 to 10. Reducing the number of parts had the added benefit of decreasing our customer’s servicing costs.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is the importance of having the courage to take the risks required to share my product improvement ideas even when ‘everyone thinks I am crazy.’
“The action I call you to take is to step up with your product, and process improvement ideas. Don’t hold back. Your ideas have great potential.
“The benefit you will gain is the respect of others and personal satisfaction as your ideas move from possibilities to achievements.”
I have heard people brag, “I thought of that a long time ago.” If I were you, I wouldn’t admit it. It’s not what we have thought of, it’s what you have taken a stand for, what you’ve sold, what you have put into action that you can be proud of.
Information In Formation:
How to Gain the 71% Advantage
6 Steps to Tap Your True Potential
for more insight into how you can create empowered team leaders, provide greater value from the resources entrusted to your team, and be an example for others to model, creating a richer place for us all.