Sunday, August 17, 2008

KObe Precision Technology - The role model of Self Directed Work Team in Malaysia


KPTEC (Kobe Precision Technology Sdn Bhd), strongly believes in "Team Work". In the traditional organization structure; development of a new product, process or jigs/fixtures are normally done by the "experts". These experts will be working alone (silo) and incorporate features that are fanciful from the experts’ view. However, when these items are released to production for mass-production purposes, there is a need to fine-tune or customize again to make it practical or feasible. Therefore, we make all relevant parties to be involved in any projects from the beginning. This approach has encouraged the experts to obtain feedback/inputs from the users from the start. The experts are then able to design things that are more acceptable for mass-production purposes.

Self Directed Work Teams (SDWT) is a philosophy, process and system, which promise employee empowerment, discretionary effort and spirit at the workplace. It is also known as HPWS (High Performance Work System).


In early days of industrial revolution, people were organized to work around tasks. Pyramidal structures, inverted pyramid, hierarchical process had contributed to business success in the past – but businesses had to pay a price – in terms of delayed customer responses – decision delays and dent in business bottom line. These were useful only in the past. In today’s world where organizations are investing in training their employees, lack of knowledge is no longer a barrier that existed in the past. Even operators are getting trained and becoming knowledgeable about the industry, working methods, new products and quality.

To keep pace with the new economy and new way of managing operations and people, KPTEC has adapted the following SDWT model


* Connected to a common purpose.
* Have their responsibilities clearly defined.
* Improve Productivity and Quality.
* Perform jobs with specific focus on speed, quantity and cost and accountable for results.
* Be empowered to fulfil each one’s responsibilities.
* Know the standards and be encouraged to achieve excellence.
* Receive & give feedback openly.
* Respect each other.
* Job satisfaction.

The SDWT Journey (Snapshot)

Our journey is divided into three zones:

* Preparation – aligning the leaders and formation of the Steering Committee.
* Implementation – awareness training and formation of teams.
* Transition – working on empowerment.


* Started in March of 2003 by formation of cross functional teaming to create a platform for the employees to work together.
* The primary goal of cross functional teaming was to create teamwork.
* Two types of teams were structured.
o Firstly, the teams shall be called KIT (KPTEC Improvement Teams)
+ KIT is a problem solving team which uses the 7QC tools
o Secondly, KFT (KPTEC Football Teams).
+ KFT is a high powered task-force to immediately solve an issue or problem.
* The SDWT process started in October 2003.
* A pilot consisting of 120 (approximately 15%) employees from the total population of 780 people.
* Six (6) teams were formed, 4 from the operation, 1 from training, and 1 from technical. These 6 teams went through the following processes:

1. SDWT Awareness.
2. Team Synergy.
3. Team Communication.
4. Developing the Team Scorecard.
5. Self Governance System.
6. Developing Star Caps

* The Plant-Wide SDWT was launched in Feb 2004.

More information about SDWT and it’s implementation cycle at

Asia HRD Congress 2004 Award

2) Contribution to the Organization

Mr. Nik Saifudean, Chief Operating Officer of Kobe Precision Technology Sdn Bhd receiving the award on behalf of Mr. Shunsuke Koyama.

The award for contribution to an organization went to Mr. Shunsuke Koyama, Managing Director of Kobe Precision Technology Sdn Bhd in Penang, for establishing Self Directed Work Teams - a proven process that transformed his organization with the spirit of ownership, resulting in better quality, productivity, and results

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