No Boss, Better Results
Working as a self-directed team has enabled the Palm Beach County Graphics Group to increase its revenue, productivity and customer satisfaction.
According to research, it usually takes about five years for a self-directed team to show measurable results.
But with nearly three years successfully completed, the Palm Beach County, Fla., Graphics Performance Enterprise Program (PEP) is proving that research isn't always right.
PEP's self-directed team (SDT) sprang from the starting gate with first year revenues increasing by 26 percent, while price increases accounted for only 5 percent. The second year showed continued increases. And the end of the 1995-96 fiscal year shows a whopping 195 percent revenue increase over three years with an aggregate price increase of just 15 percent.
Productivity has nearly doubled, and waste has been reduced to below the national 2 percent level for the industry. Customer satisfaction has jumped from 29 percent in 1991 to more than 95 percent in quality and timeliness in 1996, based on comments on return receipts sent with all printed jobs.
"We put customers first. The customer is always right even when they're wrong," says Bob McKee, Printer II. "Everyone works with the customers to ensure quality and timely products."
"Customers get to deal with the people who are actually doing the job," adds Josephine Lees, copy center technician. "It's the personal touches."
But how did this team concept come about? This pilot project was a brainchild of the Director of Public Affairs Department at Palm Beach County and an enthusiastic manager.
The SDT began as a six-week trial prior to the beginning of Fiscal Year 1993-94. Instead of filling a vacated supervisory position, team members began sharing the position's responsibilities on a daily basis—and about half of the salary in quarterly distributions, based on satisfactory performance of all tasks. The other half of the position's salary and benefits—$23,527—is a savings for taxpayers each year. The manager, who does not share in the quarterly bonuses, became the coach and subsequently a "cheerleader."