Mishawaka, Ind.— The footprint of Daman Products Co.’s quality system stretches from the production floor and distributor services to purchasing, maintenance and information technology. Even human resources and administrative service areas bear responsibility for ensuring quality—of the company’s products, as well as the way the company provides value-added service to its customers.
The collaborative quality system has evolved over nearly 15 years of building and nurturing a culture of continuous improvement.
“We focus on managing and improving systems, not managing people,” said Larry Davis, president. “Our servant leadership model is based on a culture of continuous improvement and trust where people are challenged, accountable, responsible and generally work without supervision.”
Davis believes that mastery, autonomy and purpose create the heart of a company culture that excels in productivity and satisfaction—with its customers as well as its employees.
“We have created an environment that has melted away typical departmental territorialism and conflict,” he said. “People are more knowledgeable, have more authority, are trusted to do the right things, and accomplish more than we could have imagined. They also enjoy their work life more than when they were lorded over and treated like children.”
Quality control is totally integrated into the manufacturing process at Daman. People who do the actual work are entrusted to determine the quality of their operations. And they are empowered to identify and implement ways to improve quality issues as they arise.
“We’ve created a Quality Team with representatives from every aspect of our company,” Davis said. “That gives us a broad perspective on every issue.”
Everyone on the team embraces an attitude of continuous improvement. That state of mind includes asking hard questions until good answers emerge. They also know that “problems can only be solved where they live,” a leading tenant of continuous improvement.
Addressing the issue in context of where the work is performed engages employees and pulls forward their best abilities, explained Davis. Other quality team members help with problem-solving by maintaining a continuing dialogue, support and encouragement.