Take care of your people inside, and you’re bound to make an impact outside
Many companies associate words such as “coveted” and “earned” with industry or association awards they receive. At Ace Metal Crafts Company, we like to use the word “symptomatic.” Because we think receiving an honor is symptomatic of underlying behaviors within our plant that our customers see every day.
Recently, the American Psychological Association told us that our leadership team and our associates are doing a good job inside our company. They honored Ace with its “2015 Psychologically Healthy Workplace” Illinois Award, and we’re very thankful. The APA annually evaluates companies on their efforts in the areas of employee involvement, work-life balance, employee growth and development, health and safety, and employee recognition.
Ace customers are the direct beneficiaries of how we take care of our associates. Every day our leadership teams work to inspire all associates and connect with them, to help them make decisions that bring positive outcomes for our customers, and to unleash remarkable potential.
Yet what has surprised us is how even the smallest changes – the ones that come with no capital or expense – have a significant impact on an organization and customers. Our recent work with the Toyota Production System (TPS) showed how making small changes to a manufacturing process yield big results for our customers. As Toyota made us understand, it starts with respect – each employee is part of the team and as such commands respect. Because associates feel respected, they feel valued and responsible for creating processes that improve; they then perform individually and grow collectively to achieve success.
“Ace has developed a positive, productive culture. What TPS taught us is that when your employees feel a part of improvement, they show a level of productivity and sense of purpose that energizes your culture,” says Ace CEO Jean Pitzo. “TPS doesn’t just make a difference in a company’s processes and procedures; it also makes a difference in the lives of our associates. We now know that meaningful process change can only happen when you have an underlying healthy culture. That’s how you transform your value to your customers.”
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” Chinese proverb