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Workers` Ideas Fueling LG Electronics` Innovation

Posted July. 17, 2008 08:30,   


The success secrets of Toyota Motors have spread to LG Electronics, with executives and union members of the Korean firm going to Japan to learn from the Japanese automaker.

Now Toyota is the one seeking to learn from LG, as executives of the automaker have visited the Korean company twice in a rare move.

An LG source said, “Toyota executives have visited LG Electronics since Toyota consultants who taught Toyota’s innovation techniques to LG said LG’s innovation is worth studying.’”

○ Workers’ ideas driving innovation

The set-top box production line of LG’s factory in Pyeongtaek is full of traces of innovation. Productivity has increased 3.2 times over a year thanks to a waste reduction campaign recommended by LG Electronics.

The factory has almost halved the length of the production line from 91 meters to 45 by innovating assembly processes. It has also cut the time to manufacture a unit from 20 seconds to eight.

Jeong Moon-jin, head of the TDR team and in charge of innovating manufacturing processes at the factory, said, “All improvements are from the ideas of workers on the field.” Several creative production devices made by workers are located throughout the factory.

The factory has more than 10 innovative devices. For example, a weight made from a water bottle is fixed on a device that moves along the conveyor belt. If the device moves too far, the weight puts the device back where it was without needing electricity.

The factory also makes funnels with detergent packages. Then, it puts heavy and small screws in the funnels to allow easy pickup by workers.

Jeong said, “When workers could not develop their ideas, other departments and the vice president struggled to find solutions. It was most important to find measures to improve processes without spending money for continuous improvement.”

○ Motivation for workers

The LG factory in Pyeongtaek has innovated manufacturing processes by providing motivation for workers.

When LG Vice Chairman Nam Yong visited the factory in June, he was briefed on a new device not by the factory manager but by the inventor.

The factory has also held an event to find masters in areas such as screw assembly and fixing boards. LG’s vice president presented letters of appointment to the masters.

LG workers have also been more encouraged by news that their innovations are being used in overseas LG factories, such as those in China and Indonesia.

Lee Seung-eok, head of the production team at LG’s media sector, said, “LG Electronics have created task forces to spread the Pyeongtaek factory’s innovation. The teams have worked in eight factories across the world. Productivity has improved a good 57 percent in LG’s Indonesian factory, where a task force has worked since February.”

“The goal of workers is to increase productivity six times a year later.”