Design007 Magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 55 of 60

56 The PCB Design Magazine • November 2014 out to be the average worker's pay for a year. Then I would hold a meeting and point out how much money we had lost, providing exam- ples of what that amount of money could buy. I got mad and started yelling that if they did not straighten up, I was going to start firing people. I actually shouted the old cliché, "Heads are go- ing to roll!" But that never really worked. You see, in Canada, if you lose your job you get 17 weeks of social payment for unemployment, and then 64 weeks of partial payments. Hell, in that part of rural Canada where the cost of living was so low, getting fired was just like getting a year off with pay. I realized that the staff did not care if they lost their jobs. That's when I decided to use bribery. First, I started an "Employee of the Month" program, with my personal parking spot as the grand prize. The employees liked that because it wasn't just that they got my parking spot; I also had to park in the worst spot in the parking lot—the one farthest from the door. They had some fun showing the winner's picture in the cafeteria, with a picture of my car in that bad spot out in the North forty. While this was going on, I heard other sug- gestions from employees. One idea was to hold a barbecue if we hit certain quality goals. That sounded good, so we tried that too. We had a few Friday lunch barbecues. We had a good time, and it also gave me the opportunity to talk about our quality improvements, so that worked out well. After we started these projects, our yields were at about 75%. Once we started the barbecues, I posted a big thermometer in the lunchroom to serve as a scoreboard so everyone could see how we were doing. I marked the thermometer with some goals. When we hit 80%, we'd get hot dogs for lunch; at 85%, steak sandwiches and beer; at 90%, one-inch steaks and beer, and at 95%, we'd hit the jackpot with two-inch steaks and lobsters flown in from Prince Edward Island along with beer and wine. And the best part was that I would barbecue them in my shorts. This was January in Canada and bloody cold. But I did it in sub-zero temperatures…I was outside cooking in my shorts! But there was one last thing to do to keep the excitement going and the employees engaged. I knew it was one thing to get to 95% yields and quite another to maintain that level of quality forever, so I came up with a bonus program. I not only applied this program to yields, but to on-time delivery as well. Payment for these bonuses was based on levels, department per- formance, and whole company performance. In this way, the employees not only had to be focused on their own performance, but also the performance of others in their departments and throughout the company. This led everyone to work more closely together to make sure that they all got their bonuses. It also led to employ- ees self-disciplining each other to ensure that no one was slacking off. And, yes, it worked. We not only maintained our 95% yields and on-time deliveries, but we often hit the 97% and 98% levels too. It was a good deal for everyone. At sales of $2 million a year and 75% yields, I was losing a half a million dollars each year. All it took was a little fun and a couple of thou- sand well-spent dollars, and the employees were a heck of a lot more engaged and the company started making a whole lot of money. All it took, as Dan would say, was a little common sense. PCBDESIGN bob and me ThE KEY TO INCREASING QuALITY: BRIBE YOuR EMPLOYEES continues Bob Tarzwell is a PCB consul- tant who has spent 50 years in the PCB industry, inventing technology and building al- most every type of PCB. he is the co-owner of DB Publishing, publisher of the PCB 101 and Quality 101 handbooks. For more informa- tion, visit Dan Beaulieu is a well-known industry consultant and co- owner of DB Publishing. his column It's Only Common Sense appears Monday morn- ings in the i-Connect 007 Daily Newsletter. he can be reached at

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Design007 Magazine - PCBD-Nov2014