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EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT LINKED TO QUALITY GAINS

 /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Companies that empower employees as part of their overall total quality management (TQM) effort are twice as likely as other firms to report significant product or service improvements, according to a new joint survey by the Manufacturers' Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) and The Wyatt Company.
 Over half (52 percent) of companies reporting a well-integrated employee involvement and quality effort cite significant improvements in the overall quality of their products or services. By contrast, only about one-quarter (26 percent) of companies that say their employee involvement and quality programs are "not yet well integrated" or are "becoming better integrated" report similar quality gains.
 "In the early years of a quality program, the tendency is to focus more on production or work processes rather than on the human side of the equation," says Kenneth McLennan, president of MAPI. "Companies with mature quality programs are finding that additional gains are tied to workers at all levels taking more responsibility and initiative."
 One hundred and twenty-six MAPI member companies participated in the survey. The typical respondent was a large, multinational manufacturing company with a well-established quality improvement program.
 Companies with well-integrated employee involvement and quality programs also were more likely to report better results in a variety of financial and operational categories. Those companies cited improved profitability (52 percent vs. 41 percent for less well-integrated firms), lower internal costs (58 percent vs. 38 percent), fewer errors (65 percent vs. 51 percent), and increased employee morale (55 percent vs. 31 percent).
 Most companies surveyed have taken several steps to empower employees. For example, they have:
 -- increased the use of functional or cross-functional work teams
 (reported by 93 percent of respondents);
 -- increased decision-making at lower levels of the organization (83
 percent);
 -- redesigned jobs, functions, or work groups to meet customer needs
 (80 percent);
 -- increased employee authority to act when necessary to meet or
 exceed customer needs and expectations (78 percent); and
 -- provided more strategic information to employees (76 percent).
 More than one-half of the companies (54 percent) have implemented self-managed or autonomous work teams. "There is a clear trend toward empowering individuals, although some companies are still uncomfortable with the more advanced forms of employee involvement, like self-directed work teams," said Sam Woolford, Ph.D., a Wyatt consultant. "Such arrangements often require the elimination of management layers and the complete restructuring of an organization's hierarchy."
 In other survey findings:
 -- Among companies surveyed, quality programs save twice as much as
 they cost. Respondents estimate that their quality programs
 generate savings equal to 6 percent of sales revenue, while
 costing just 3 percent. "It is important to note, however, that
 the survey respondents generally have well-established, focused
 quality programs in place," said Woolford. "As a result, the
 survey findings are not representative of industry in general.
 Companies with less mature programs probably would not report
 such savings."
 -- Two-thirds or more of the respondent companies have done the
 following in support of their quality initiatives: adopted a
 corporate quality policy (82 percent), encouraged suppliers to
 pursue quality improvement (81 percent), performed regular
 quality audits (75 percent), or established a formal process to
 obtain customer feedback (73 percent).
 MAPI, the Manufacturers' Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, is a policy research organization with approximately 500-member companies including leading producers in heavy industry, automotive, electronics, precision instruments, telecommunications, computers, chemicals, oil and gas, aerospace, and other high-technology industries. The Wyatt Company is an international human resources consulting firm. The firm has 3,400 employees and offices in 68 cities worldwide.
 Single copies of "The Quality Process: A MAPI-Wyatt Survey on the Effects of Quality Improvement on Employee Issues in Manufacturing Organizations" are available at $20 for MAPI member company executives and $30 for all other purchasers by contacting MAPI: 1200 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-331-8430.
 -0- 7/13/93
 /CONTACT: Peggy Morrissette of MAPI, 202-331-8430, or Bob McKee of The Wyatt Company, 202-508-4848/


CO: Manufacturers' Alliance for Productivity and Innovation; The Wyatt
 Company ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


IH-KD -- DC009 -- 0322 07/12/93 10:18 EDT
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Date:Jul 12, 1993
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