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oritizing projects and eliminates the
subjective bias of management.
“It simply offers more viewpoints
than just one person’s,” he said.
“Plants and departments are
encouraged to adjust their objectives
to align with corporate’s. These then
cascade down to the plant associ-
ate level and into each individual’s
Personal Development Review (PDR)
goals,” Brown said. The Safariland
Group Operations team established
five levels of review for metrics to
include the previously mentioned
individual PDR level, the cell hourly
process board review, the departmen-
tal daily + Quality, Delivery, Inven-
tory, Productivity (QDIP) review, the
End-of-Day cross functional review
and the Quarterly Business Review.
These metrics are then used to moni-
tor results against the pre-defined
metrics and action items being imple-
mented to deliver a positive result.
According to Brown, continuous
improvement efforts resulted in a
consistent manufacturing cost im-
provement annualized at about $1.5
million per year, a variable cost of
productivity improvement of 6.5 per -
cent year -to-year and a steady flow of
new ideas at the plant level. By using
prioritization tools, the company has
ensured that resources are allocated
correctly and are in alignment with
corporate goals and objectives.
Associate engagement is critical to
The Safariland Group’s continuous
improvement journey. Associates are
encouraged to educate themselves
“using real books,” and to look for
means to implement their ideas
by “mapping their processes, find-
ing bottlenecks and using available
resources to implement change,”
When associates have a process im-
provement idea affecting cost, quality,
safety, delivery or other factors, they
submit a card detailing that suggestion
to the site’s production coordinator.
After ideas are vetted, the associates
receive written feedback and congratu-
lations. Implemented ideas are then
posted and tracked on a bulletin board,
along with a picture of the associate
who provided the suggestion.
Associates also receive quarterly
and annual recognition for a “job
well done” through the company’s
Values in Action program. Anyone
can submit the name of a fellow as-
sociate for exceptional service, and
each selected honoree receives a
plaque and a personalized shirt.
The company’s Go-Yield-Stop
safety program also encourages
associate participation. Monthly
and annual recognition is given to
associates who do something, such
as wiping up a spill that may not be
part of their job description. That
would be an example of “Go,” while
“Yield” reports on the need for main-
tenance or attention to something,
and “Stop” indicates immediate ac-
tion is needed to eliminate a hazard.
The overall improvements made in
the environmental, health and safety
areas helped The Safariland Group
win one of EH&S Today Magazine’s
Safest Companies in America Award
in 2013, an honor that was given to
a handful of elite U.S . companies.
Perhaps the most valuable associ-
ate engagement perk is The Safari-
land Group’s Skill-Based Pay pro-
gram, which rewards an employee for
learning and taking on new job skills,
particularly those most in need.
Some associates are very special-
ized in their job skills, Brown said.
However, it can leave the company
struggling if that person is out sick
or leaves the plant. As such, The Sa-
fariland Group pays associates more
for every new skill they add. For ex-
ample, the company used to struggle
to find enough sonic welders in its
Jacksonville facility. At one time, it
had only four. With this program,
The Safariland Group improved its
team of sonic welding certified asso-
ciates by tenfold and now has 40.
“After we did the first continuous im-
provement with the body armor depart-
ment, I had a team of associates admit
they never thought it would work,”
Brown said. “That was a good lesson for
me. We have to be better at explaining
and transitioning our associates to see
how change can be successful. Once
they get a taste of it, they want in. They
want to be part of the success.”
Next up, The Safariland Group’s
continuous improvement journey will
go enterprise-wide, from sales and
marketing to finance and human re-
sources. When complete, Brown said
he expects the initiative to save the
company $3.5 million annually.
“Once it’s enterprise-wide, it will
be hard for the competition to catch
us!” Brown said.
The Safariland Group will host
a tour at its Jacksonville facility
during this year’s AME Annual
The Safariland Group Operations team established levels of review for metrics, including
Quality, Delivery, Inventory, Productivity (QDP) review.
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