My name is CHIA Yew Heng.
I am a freelance WIT (Work Improvement Teams) consultant residing in Singapore, sometimes Malaysia.
It all started in 1981. Some twenty-seven years ago a department in the Singapore Government Ministry for Labour was hived off to form the National Productivity Board. The NPB took on the task to start what became the National Productivity Movement in Singapore.
The aim of the National Productivity Movement was to improve the level of quality of goods and services of all industries in Singapore.
Their strategy was to get all company to start their respective ‘Productivity Improvement Schemes’. To create the awareness of productivity issues and the benefits of improving productivity, the NPB invited and encouraged Chief Executive Officers and their senior management to act. Besides incentives, organised forums and provision of guidance and consultancy to companies in Singapore, the PSB also initiated several productivity improvements schemes. One of them was called the ‘Work Improvement Teams’ or WITs.
Under the WIT scheme, company grouped their employees into teams according to work scope. These teams gather regularly to find ways to make improvements to their common work processes. From better work processes, the result is better quality of products and services for the company as a whole.
To better coordinate the Productivity Movement, each year, the NPB create themes and slogans to promote productivity. Here are some of the original posters for those early years….
Government agencies, Government-linked organisations as well as many private enterprises, adopted and initiated their own Productivity and Quality Movements.
Many organisations even tailored specialised productivity improvement schemes according to their own requirements. For instance, some manufacturing plants focus their attention on line-balancing, waste and inventory reduction, minimising defect rates, safety indicators, inspection and quality assurance systems, better use of factory space through improving plant layout. Meanwhile service organisations focus on streamlining workflow, speeding up order and delivery processes, improve traceability of deliveries, zero defect, etc.
By the early 1990s, many organisations have more than 50% of their employees belonging to some productivity improvement teams. The name of these teams found in the Civil Service sector are called Work Improvement Teams (WITS).
Policies and guidelines were drafted up by these companies to ensure that their WIT Teams are alocated time and resources for working on their productivity improvement focused projects. The results were staggering. Annually, millions of dollars of savings were reported.
Team-based (TB) Problem Solving.
Solving problem by a team is very different from solving problem individually.
Whenever people come together, there will be different opinions and views. If these differences are not managed and resolved, they will lead to friction; and if left unresolved for too time, they turn into ugly conflicts.
The nature of problems taken up by teams are also very different from those taken up by individuals. Here are two main reasons:
(i) TB problems are broader in scope – TB problems affect many people in the company
(ii) TB problems are more complex – TB problems usually has an impact on the systems
Good News. However, because of its broader nature, and its links to other systems, once an effective solution is found by the team, the benefits of the solution will permeate throughout the entire systems, multiplying itself many times over, raising the overall performance of many individuals, the entire department, and sometimes the organisation as a whole.
250,000 involved. The philosophy of TB problem solving caught on feverishly in the 1980s. Teams were given different names like QCC (Quality Control Circle), WIT (Work Improvement Team), QAT (Quality Action Team), BIT (Business Improvement Teams), QC (Quality Circles), IQC (Innovation and Quality Circle), etc.
By the mid 1990s, it was estimated that there are more than 250,000 people were involved in various TB problem solving activities.
Achievement Was Measured. Each year many thousands of projects are successfully completed, generating benefits as well as savings for their companies. At the same time, each participating team member also benefited from gaining more knowledge and skills in solving problems, learning how to be a team player. Besides self-improvement, most companies do not hasitate to recognise their achievements.
Recognition came easily and naturally because productivity improvement is measured in every project. Some team members found that they were able and ready to lead. Many members were able to move upwards in the company soon after successfully completing the projects. Very naturally, many were also more self-motivated and their respective self-esteem grew. With strengthened self-confidence, they come forth to take on greater responsibilities. The result is a win-win situation for all!
My Blog. This blog is created mainly to share my past 27+ years of experience and knowledge that I have gained either through coaching WIT services to management, team leaders and members and conducting formal training, workshops, giving talks on this subject.
The scope and methodology of teambased problem solving is not complicated, but the application of it is not so straightforward. Implementation of WITS will differ in different organisations and for different types of problems. In this blog, I hope to discuss the critical success factors for implementing team-based problem solving schemes in organisations.
3 Pillars of WITs. The 3-Pillars of WITS refer to the three critical areas for ensuring the successful implementation of the WIT Scheme in companies. It will mainly focus on the issues faced by management as well as things to avoid when implementing company-wide productivity improvement schemes.
Meanwhile, I have also started another blog
This blog will share with you some successful WIT projects of the past. In that blog, I will identify their critical success factors from the team leaders’ and ‘team members’ perspective.
In essence, the problemsolvingfire blog provides the micro-view, while 3-Pillars of WITS the macro-view of things. Some sections of the blog are meant for my project
I will also be ready to discuss with anyone interested to initiate the team-based problem solving scheme for their organisation.
CHIA Yew Heng.
HP: +65 97 804 201
email : firstname.lastname@example.org