Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Typically, the idea for a company to start optimizing their resources is created and evaluated by the executives of a company.  However, their change will affect the rest of the workforce below them.  Most of the time, the employees making these decisions have not stepped foot in their respective work area and do not understand the simple problems the average worker encounters during their everyday life. A TLC show, Undercover Boss, recognized this issue within the big companies around the US.  This show has the CEO pretend to be a contestant on a tv show to learn about the inner workings of their company from the ground workers perspective.  It is wonderful to watch the CEO discuss with the employees the business, ideas for better optimization, and simple tools to make the job easier and faster.  Some CEO’s were shocked about the ideas their employees had on how to make the business better. For instance, the CEO of Subway went undercover to learn that his employee Jessie had one type of sandwich she would like to see on the menu.  He later replies saying the headquarters will need to start looking at other channels to allow employees to relay information and ideas openly back to the corporate office.  As a side note, this was the first ever Subway sandwich the CEO has made. There were other companies that recognized the value of each employee, no matter where they were in the hierarchy.   For example, Starbucks has realized that each store has a slightly different problem than another, but the employees know their stores the best.  In the article, Latest Starbucks Buzzword: 'Lean' Japanese Techniques, the vice president of lean thinking, Scott Heydon, states “employees are encourage to come up their own solutions”. (Jargon, 2009) Toyota is another company that values their employees’ innovation.  They are a strong believer in the scientific method and expects each employee to create hypothesis on how to make their own particular faster, test the hypothesis and make changes where need be.  The results: Toyota is named the business with a lean processing, companies from all over flock to Toyota in hopes of learning their methods.  Unfortunately, no one is able to replicate Toyota’s success. (Spear & Bowen) Why has a taken a t.v. show to help CEO’s understand their business?  Do people become CEO’s of companies without truly understanding the products they are selling to the world?  Will there be a change in company’s methodologies as Undercover Boss expands to the international world?

Jargon, J. (2009). Latest Starbucks Buzzword: 'Lean' Japanese Techniques. Wall Street Journal, A.1.
Spear, S., & Bowen, H. K. (n.d.). Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System. Harvard Business Review.
“Subway”. Undercover Boss. TLC. November 21st, 2010.

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