Moving decision making down the line
A British Steel case study

Page 1: Introduction

Today, we have moved well beyond the time when decisions were made at the top of an organisation and then passed ‘down the line’ to ground floor operatives. In modern organisations, important decisions need to be made by individual employees who are directly involved in production processes and interact face-to-face with customers. The term associated with this change is...
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Page 2: Business environment

Llanwern’s traditional products are supplied to blue chip customers in the automotive, consumer durables and construction industries. All operational activities within the plant are driven by the demanding standards of product quality and service required by these customers. This is achieved within an established Total Quality Performance (TQP) culture. TQP refers to the approach used by...
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Page 3: Improved performance

In 1993, the quality of cold mill steel was causing some commercial concerns. Significant increases in surface quality required for steel used in car body panels came from the automotive sector - mainly from Japanese car companies with production units in the UK. At the same time, the Works’ TQP philosophy was taking root and senior management was anxious that the principle of TQP should...
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Page 4: Key objectives

In creating the training programme, two objectives had to be met: To increase operators’ product/process knowledge, problem-solving and decision making skills. Operative competency was traditionally based on technical skills. It did not include the problem solving/decision making skills and product/process knowledge which would reduce time spent by operatives referring to management for...
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Page 5: Training

The programme was introduced to the Llanwern Cold Mill in August 1993. Briefing sessions were used to present the concept, objectives and practical aspects of operator training to all managers and supervisors. Senior departmental management ensured that the importance of the training programme was appreciated by all members of the department and given the appropriate priority. Manuals were used to...
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Page 6: Conclusion

The British Steel case study provides an object lesson for modern organisations faced with a competitive business environment. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. This involves leading organisations setting themselves standards to beat their previous best. Today, it is essential that all members of an organisation realise their potential, both for their own personal fulfilment...
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