Brad Kuvin Brad Kuvin
Editorial Director

Money Talks

May 1, 2012

“When you have a strong gain-sharing program, the best policemen you have are right there out on the shop floor.” 

Words of wisdom from Ray Leathers, president of Roll Forming Corp. (RFC), a company recognized in this issue of MetalForming as a Pioneer Metalformer for its commitment to workforce development and continuous improvement. I told you a little about RFC’s continuous-improvement process in the March issue. Here, beginning on page 28, you’ll find the proverbial “rest of the story.”

To the point, Leathers has created a gain-sharing program that delivers hefty quarterly company-wide bonuses based on measurable returns from continuous-improvement initiatives. The bonuses aren’t small—we’re talking several hundred dollars per employee per quarter—and neither is the commitment to CI, at every level of the company. I know these types of programs are gaining favor throughout our industry—and in other corners of the manufacturing community. And I certainly do not want to diminish all of the other reasons employees at RFC and other companies commit themselves to excellence and to CI. But clearly, money motivates. 

While a former colleague of mine used to preach around the office that “Fear is a Great Motivator” (or FIAGMO, as we called his catchphrase), it’s tough to beat money as the greatest motivator of them all. It surely motivates me—why else would I agree to have my automobile-insurance company install a “big-brother” sensor in my car that allows them (whomever “them” is) to monitor my driving habits? 

Maybe you’ve heard of this—agree to a several-month period of backseat driving by your insurance company (some might say “Big Brother”) and you can earn a reduction in your insurance premium. That is, as long as you don’t speed, brake hard or corner like Mario Andretti. And I’m not talking a small premium reduction—I’ll save hundreds of dollars per year just by proving to Big Brother that I’m a careful, attentive driver. (Did you hear that, Mom?)

Want to turn this long-time passing-lane occupier into a Sunday driver? Just show me the money. And likewise, want to turn your group of production employees—white collar and blue collar alike—into a well-oiled continuous-improvement profit-generating machine? Just show them the money.

Well, that’s exactly what Leathers and his management team is doing at RFC. And my how the money talks. Using an algorithm to compute gain-sharing bonuses based on CI contributions from measurables such as scrap and cycle-time reduction and throughput gains, RFC is delivering companywide quarterly bonuses that have increased by 95 percent since the program launched in 2003. And, it expects to double the bonus figure in the next three years.

As noted in my article, when CI projects generate additional revenue for the company, or result in savings, RFC’s operators can make a direct correlation between the CI projects they create and the size of their quarterly bonus. 

I hope you enjoy reading about RFC and our other Pioneer Metalformers described in this issue—Oberg Industries and GR Spring & Stamping—and that perhaps you can take a a few ideas from the articles to apply in your own facilities.
Industry-Related Terms: Corner, Forming, Point, Roll Forming, Scrap
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Management, Quality Control


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