As I sit and enjoy my lunch and the brief calm moment at my desk, I can hear the cheers and jeers of the employees playing and watching badminton in the building, a brief smile appears. By nature I am a product type guy, usually trying to build a better mouse trap or thinking about cost efficiencies, so the idea of having a bad mitten court in the building was a bit foreign! Reflecting further, I recognize the success our company has achieved and the effort that everyone is contributing, this is a great group and that I am very fortunate to be part of building a first class company, so play on.
This is a continuation of my blog titled Customer Service and the 5 Rules of Birk.
The 5 Rules of Birk manufacturing convey basic principles we feel are fundamental to doing good business. They are:
1 – Customer First
2 – Help Each Other
3 – Learn New Skills
4 – Communicate
5 – Have Fun
BIRK RULE #2 – Help Each Other
Quality of our products and processes along with an added emphasis on continuous improvement are the way of life here at Birk. Among co-workers the term “quality” is all encompassing and means delivering a degree of excellence at every step of the way. Key performance indicators play an integral part in ensuring our quality is not only acceptable but is also being constantly updated to reflect a higher gradation of superiority. Each department within Birk manufacturing is responsible for generating, tracking, maintaining and reporting departmental goals which are appropriately aligned with the overall organizational strategy of providing quality products on time at a great value.
During scheduled management reviews and quality audits the performance of each department is discussed and reviewed in great detail. If metrics show that the objective is not being met corrective action and opportunities for improvement are debated by all of management until a solid resolution is determined. When the goal is found to be easily achieved time in and time out a new goal is established that has a higher degree of excellence. Furthermore, when an issue arises that is detriment to our success the manager of the affected department will not wait until a periodic review or audit takes place and will take immediate action to resolve the issue and institute controls for future prevention.
In 2006, when Birk opened up its news 18,000 square foot addition to its existing building, it was decided that Engineering would move its offices from the front of the building to the new extension. We had chosen the middle office at the rear of the new building because it was one of the larger rooms and we needed to house between five to seven people. We were approached as to how we wanted the room arranged with regards to placement of desks, filing cabinets and shelving units, and then were asked how many cubicle walls we would need in order to separate the room. We said none.
When working with the Birk Engineering Department, you are assigned to an engineer who will oversee your application and design engineering needs in order to deliver your final product. Even though you are assigned to a particular engineer and may have only direct contact with one of us, in essence you are working with the whole team. We have an open office floor plan because we believe the only way to provide you with the optimal design for your end need is to have an open forum. In this way we can all share our ideas with each other. We always have open discussions about current projects and encourage this practice so that everyone can share their ideas and bring in past design experiences in order to solve our easiest and most difficult applications.