Management Involvement in Suggestion Systems The practice of soliciting suggestions from workers was first used by management about 120-130 years ago in Scotland. William Denny, a Scottish shipbuilder, asked his workers to suggest methods for building ships at low cost. 1871 – Scotland (or 1880depending on different available information). William Denny of the William Denny Ship Building Company of Dumbarton, Glasgow set up his pioneering system “Rules for the Awards Committee to guide them in rewarding the workmen for inventions and improvements”. This was the world’s first attempt to systematically solicit suggestions from employees and to promote creativity in a company.

History Early Suggestion Schemes

1872 – Germany (or 1888depending on different available information). In Germany Alfred Krupp of Krupp Steel Works in Essen was the pioneer. He is credited with establishing the first German suggestion system in 1872 when he completed his “General regulativ” describing the rights and duties of all employees. As a part of this document, Krupp outlined guidelines concerning suggestions, including submission of ideas, evaluation, non-acceptance, and revival of previously declined ideas. 1894 – USA John Patterson, the founder of National Cash Register (NCR) started a suggestion system which he called the “Hundred-Headed-Brain”. John Patterson and this first suggestion system in USA would almost singled-handed fire up enthusiasm for the suggestion system around the world.

1895 – Germany Henrich Lanz AG, Mannheim (later John Deere Works). 1898 – USA Records show that an Eastman Kodak employee received a prize of two dollars for suggesting that windows be washed to keep the workplace brighter. His supervisor, who accepted the suggestion, later became the president of Kodak. 1899 – USA Baush & Lomb, Westinghouse & Western Electric. 1900 – Switzerland Bally Schuhfabriken AG, Schoenenwird. 1904 – Netherland Stork Engineering and Manufacturing Works, Hengelo. 1905 – Japan Kanebuchi Boseki, a textile company, set up “suggestion boxes” that were reportedly an imitation of the NCR suggestion system that its management team had observed on an earlier visit to United States.

However, before 1940s, Japanese suggestion systems were generally reserved for only a handful of elite workers who had the ability and the enthusiasm to submit ideas. 1908 – South Africa – Zuid-Afrikaanse Spoorwee. 1914 – Sweden – Avesta Jernverk. 1925 – Austria – Stey-Daimler-Puch. 1927 – France -Michelin.

Update 2016. Employee Suggestions Systems havs developed a lot from anonymous suggestion boxes to sophisticated computer based electronic suggestion systems. The suggestion system is a process of two or three stages comprising mainly the suggestion making, the evaluation and implementation of the idea. For a number of years, suggestion schemes have also been called: Idea Capture Systems or Idea Management Systems. Most systems falls into one of these four categories: Centralized suggestion schemes, De-centralized suggestion schemes, Work based systems or just Informal systems.

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