EMPOWERMENT AT AT&T CONSUMER MARKETS DIVISION
With operations and field personnel scattered across the country, AT&T Consumer Markets Division (CMD) needed a way to encourage individual initiative and self-directed responsibility vvithout compromising the integrity of its communication network.
CMD accomplished this delicate task through six interconnected approaches:
1. Common Bond.
2. Ask Questions.
3. Process Management Teams.
4. Quality Improvement Teams,
5. Corrective and Preventive Action System (CPAS).
There was a point in our history when, if a craft person was asked to do something and he declined because he didn't have the training, that re-sponse wouldn't have flown," says Theleman. "With the îaunching of Ask Questions, that attitude has changed. People are empowered to stop the line and not do the work if they answer any of the Ask Questions 'No.'"
Employees do this by managing their processes. " We have defined six fundamental processes at the top of the organization, which we then break down into roughly 50 subprocesses. Some of those subprocesses are fur-ther subdivided," says Theleman. "We have around 125 Process Management Teams (PMTs) in place to continuously examine our key processes, identify metrics, make sure the metrics are aligned with customer expec-tations, and do continuous improvement."
ADAC'S TEAMWORK APPROACH:
At ADAC, most vvorkers participate on highly empovvered function and/or process teams, and ali manufacturing employees are members of şelf-directed work teams. Throughout the course of a year, every ADAC em-ployee is on at least one team.
As with AT&T Consumer Markets Division, ADAC makes sure employees knovv which direction their actions should take. Methods of com-munioation include:
- The company's planning meetings, which feature discussions of all areas of the business, are öpen to all employees. Employees come to meetings that interest them. The meetings take place över four days, every quarter.
- Weekly customer quality meetings, also öpen to ali employees, include a review of large amounts of data on how things are going at ADAC's sites. "Most employees don't come every week," says Keare, "but they'11 come every other week or so."
- An operational data and performance meeting, where the focus is internal, is also öpen to employees and enjoys the same levels of participation.
- Quarterly all-employee meetings focus on the state of the company, including current financial information.
The effectiveness of ADAC's efforts to empower its employees are measurable. From 1990 to 1995, company revenues nearly tripled. Defect rates fell by 40 percent. Custorner retention rates have risen from 70 per-cent in 1990 to 93 percent in 1995.