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Where's Your Innovation Coming From?

The word innovation gets tossed around a lot in business, but keeping innovation in focus is difficult when you’re in the day-to-day grind of meeting customer orders. The result is that a majority of a company’s innovation comes from its suppliers, but if you’re relying on your suppliers to provide your only source of innovation, you’re missing the pearl in a bag of marbles.

A press release that came across our desks earlier this week reminded the editorial staff that many of the best innovations come from people within an organization. In the release, L A Aluminum Co. recognized one of its employees, Scott Solomon, for originating, creating and implementing a device that allows a molding operator to install multiple threaded steel inserts into a mold simultaneously. Previously, each insert was place in the mold one at a time, forcing the operator to expose himself to an 800F mold for several minutes while placing between 5 and 36 inserts. The line produces castings on fuel cells for military and commercial use, accounting for 15-20% of the company’s annual sales. The new device improved the efficiency of that line by 30%.

L A Aluminum awarded its employee with $500 and proudly sent the word out about the accomplishment.

How are you encouraging your employees to innovate?