The story of UNITE: Innovation in our organization

Already the third blog in our series about the UNITE vision. If you haven’t read the other two blogs about Unite and Nurture yet, you can find them in our blog overview. This week we’ll talk about the letter I, which stands for Innovation. The letter that is literally and figuratively at the center of what UNITE means. For us innovation is not only about the effort we put into inventing new or improved products but it is also about the growth of our organization. And with growth I mean the development of our mindset that involves everything, everybody, everywhere. It is a mindset of “tomorrow we want to do better than today”.

 

How to do better tomorrow?

Asking yourself this question every day again involves being creative, as well as being effective. It involves technology as well as people. It is not about bringing a new product to the market now and then. It is much larger than that. It is about adapting to new ideas in every sense. It involves all processes and all stakeholders from customer to supplier. It is ultimate people business; it is, literally, the core of unite. 

We aim to innovate our products by coming up with new solutions to questions from various markets. But also within our team we aim for organizational innovation. The structure of democratic decision making is something we started working with in 2009. Back then this was rather innovative and it still is today. With our co-builders we make the decisions for the company. It is not the MT making all the big decisions, it’s the people involved in executing the work resulting from the decision, which makes a lot more sense if you think about it. In our Webinar On Demand this is discussed in more detail.

 

Helping others innovate

Besides aiming for innovation at our own business we also aim to help others innovate and solve problems. Over a decade ago our help was wanted at Husqvarna, division chainsaws. They were experiencing frequent maintenance requests for a rubber-steel connection on the chainsaws. Their own research lead to the hose clamp they were using. The type of clamp used was a DIN3017-2 with fastening lugs. A typical problem occurs when the clamp is tightened: the fastening lugs will bend towards the center, creating stress on the screw. The screw-stress combined with the high vibration frequencies of the chainsaw engine lead to multiple clamp failures in the field, hence the maintenance requests.

During a meeting with their engineering team we proposed to work with the MPC superclamp principle: round full trunnions instead of fastening lugs, making sure that screw-stress would reduce to zero in non-axial directions. They needed less than 10 minutes to get convinced that this would work and solve their problem. The challenge however was to adapt this principle on a micro version of the MPC superclamp. With a bandwidth of 7mm and an M3 screw, everything is rather small, but difficult does not mean impossible.

 

S060

MPC engineering went to work and designed the clamp. Prototypes were made and tested. First tests at the customer were also very promising. In the end it lead to a 100% reduction of maintenance requests concerning this problem.

In a nutshell: we sat down with the Husqvarna engineering team, listened to their problem, shared information and put our knowledge to work. We now run this product in 2 bandwidths (7mm with M3 screw and 9mm with M4 screw) and we succeeded in helping more customers with smaller engine applications. For those interested, read our case on our business with Husqvarna on our website.

 

 

To us, innovation in every sense channels positive energy towards a preset goal. It is the ultimate uniting experience with people partnering up with people with one goal only: doing better than yesterday! It is not big on a day to day basis, but it does seem huge on year to year basis. 

This was already the third UNITE letter that we share our in-depth view about. In the next blog we’ll dive into the T of Transfer Knowledge. Curious? Keep an eye on our blog to be the first to read it!

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