COVID-19 hit DENSO hard. Our profit plummeted and plans for the year were put on hold. Many wondered – where do we go from here?
We come together.
More than 100 people, 26 teams, and hundreds of ideas. Reform teams took action to eliminate muda (waste), create new ways of working, digitize and improve efficiency of systems and processes.
At DENSO International America (DIAM), teams first looked at budget reductions to help with the company’s stability. But, it became clear there was so much more to consider beyond budget cuts.
In true DENSO fashion, teams were using their creativity to look at all angles to help one another and DENSO survive. Departments were looking at both tangible and intangible ideas – everything from building and equipment costs and efficiency, to rewriting policies and processes, building associate knowledge and powershifting associates across the company, where their talents are needed most.
“At the time, we were really in uncharted waters. We didn’t know what was going to happen. Our budget situation was tough. But, as we talked to teams, it was clear there was a strong dedication, and determination to improve DENSO. Leaders were all in, ready to listen, support, dig in and make change happen,” said Pat Bassett, senior vice president of Engineering.
“We quickly formed cross-functional reform teams to look at how we could transform different areas of our business in fiscal year 2020 to help us get to our break-even point. And now teams have expanded beyond that, looking at how we can sustain changes in 2021 to help us thrive and be an even stronger company in the future,” said Pat.
It was important to leadership that this didn’t become just another top-down activity. They wanted ideas from team members of all levels. They especially wanted to involve direct managers.
“We have a lot of leaders who are champions of change. But we wanted to engage different people as we dug into Reborn 21 reform. We need diverse ideas and perspectives if we want to do things differently. We especially wanted to involve people who lead teams. They are in a unique position that we rarely tap into – they directly engage with their team members, empower and inspire associates, and they know the true situation, the real challenges and opportunities in daily work,” said Pat.
Each reform team is led by a direct manager, and includes team members from different functions, promoting strong collaboration, different viewpoints, knowledge and expertise, and growth opportunities.
Pat noted, “Breaking out of silos was critical to the success of these efforts, and to date, we have identified approximately $4-$6 million in savings and cost avoidance. We could not have done that without associates coming together and sharing ideas.”
To date, some of the reform activities include:
“This is DENSO Spirit in action,” said Scott Maeda, DENSO’s North American CEO and DIAM president. “Collaboration and creativity are key to helping DENSO transform for the future, and the associates who are part of these Reform Teams are laying a solid foundation for our ongoing success.”
And, the change continues. Click here to see all the reform teams working to create a stronger DIAM and DENSO in North America. Teams continue to share their activities and progress with North America Leadership and one another to keep collaboration and efficiency top of mind. Stay tuned as we share updates on DIAM Reform Team progress in months to come.
The DIAM Reform Teams welcome your ideas and input! If you have an idea or want to learn more about any of the reform activities, feel free to reach out to the reform team leader listed here.
DENSO globally introduced Reborn 21, an initiative to help guide all of our efforts on actions that will help the company survive and thrive this year and beyond. Learn more about Reborn 21 and how teams are rebuilding quality and changing the way we work, here (password: denso2020). All associates play an important role in helping the company survive and thrive – to share your story or ideas, email Communications@na.denso.com.