Below, we summarize the success of Mini's internally built Employee Suggestion Scheme. We did not build their system, and we can't guarantee that you'll have the same success. But, with the right encouragement, and Vetter's help, you could see similar success.
When management at Mini’s giant Cowley factory in England launched its Employee Suggestion Program, the effect extended beyond monetary gains, it boosted team-work and changed manager-worker dynamics.
Dr. Tony Heiss, the plant's managing director explained "We have moved away from a strongly directive management style to a much more autonomous team working approach.” Has this approach paid off? Yes, according to Dr. Heiss: "This places the achievement of plant improvement targets directly into the hands of our employees, and it has made a real difference". The plant’s Head of Change Management, Ms. Nicola Scott added that “the principle behind the scheme was demonstrating to staff that everyone at the plant could make a contribution to the business”.
In just a 24 month period, over 14,000 suggestions were submitted, with a staggering 11,000 of the suggestions being taken forward by management. The suggestions ranged from the simple/obvious “turn off unused lights”, saving unnecessary use of paper and to more complex engineering solutions. The net impact? $15 mn in savings resulting from the suggestion program for Mini’s owner - BMW.
By management order, every employee at Mini’s Cowley plant must submit at least 3 suggestions per year. To boost this innovative directive, the production lines are stopped for 90 minutes to allow staff to review suggestions submitted into the program.
2011 saw the Mini brand break its sales records, with global sales climbing to a record 285,060 vehicles. Management at Mini are obviously confident in the brand’s future, announcing plans in late 2011 to double its model range.