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Profit Ideas

Where do your ideas for cost reduction and profit improvement originate? Ideas come from your people ...often in spite of what you do or don't do to facilitate idea generation and implementation.

Here's a brief summary on idea generation methods from our executive summary on the seven primary methods in use today for cost reduction and profit improvement.(1)

Employee suggestion programs have been around for over 100 years in business.  The first suggestion box was hung on a wall in 1721 by the eighth shogun of Japan, Yoshimuni Tokugawa. Suggestion programs are included under the broader classification of employee involvement programs.  Employee involvement programs have enjoyed varying degrees of popularity since the mid-20th century.  They are based on the popular precept that people want to the right thing at work and will act on that thought.

Wide use and apparent success in Japan drove rising popularity in the West in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  Employees of companies with world-class suggestion programs such as Toyota commonly contribute 50 or more ideas per person per year with implementation of about 80% of the ideas. Employee participation is essentially 100%.  Suggestion systems are an integral part of Japanese quality and continuous improvement programs.

The story is different in the United States according to a 1992 report from the Employee Involvement Association.  Participation in formal programs is about 8% with 2.4 ideas per person per year and an implementation rate of 35%.2 Companies without formal programs don’t even do that well.

How many ideas per year do you implement from your employees: about 40 like Toyota or about 1 like most US companies? Employee suggestion programs help but they only go so far for so long and then invariably stall.

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Do you want to wait around for implement able ideas or foster their creation?  Profit Improvement Process two-day training generates about 20-30 ideas per attendee with at least one taken through the initial stages of implementation before the course is over.  It sets the stage for a continuous flow of valuable ideas from the people who know your business better than anyone else in the world.

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1. Martin, S. C. (2003). "Profit Improvement - Executive Analysis." Williamsville, NY: Business Solutions -The Positive Way: p 10-11 Get this $99 report FREE with the purchase of Achieving World-Class Profit Improvement.

2.  Savageau, J. (1996). “World class suggestion systems still work well.” The Journal for Quality and Participation 19(2):  86+.

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