UL is a long established leader in safety solutions and is committed to lean management through operational excellence initiatives. To transform the philosophy of continuous improvements into daily actionable activities, UL’s CRS business division implemented ProHabits for 90 days within its operations leadership team. During the pilot program, participating UL team members demonstrated a commitment to living core values through personal growth and the excellence it produces.
UL at a glance
Founded in 1894, Underwriter Laboratories (UL) is an established safety consulting company that has an enduring history in creating a safer world. UL actively works to add to the science of safety that can be applied to prevent injury and the loss of life in workplaces worldwide. UL brings this dedication to the client, aligning its vision for the world and the services it provides everyday.
The leadership at UL is dedicated to the most effective solutions available, because of this there is a heavy focus on the principles of lean management.
The path to operational excellence is believed to operate through the execution of a strong organizational culture.
I think operational excellence is more about culture than it is about process. You can have great processes but if you don’t execute them well, the results are going to be bad
— Keith Williams, CEO and President of UL
We are honest in everything we do. We seek and speak the truth. We maintain fidelity to our Mission and the truth regardless of external political or commercial pressures. We act in ways that inspire people to trust us. We are open and transparent.Critical Behaviors:
- Initiative & Decision Making
- Analyzing & Problem Solving
- Customer focus
- Achieving business results
- Leading & Engaging
Kaizen: The shared roots of operational excellence & personal growth
Change can be an unsettling process, full of unknowns and unfamiliar challenges, but improvement is inherently a form of positive change. This makes improvement itself seem like a dangerous and difficult process - this is where Kaizen comes in.
Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that seeks to cultivate improvement by utilizing small steps. It is a philosophy built on the understanding that change is uncomfortable, but can be overcome with a gradual strategic process. Kaizen works by disarming the fears that come with positive change, freeing the practitioner to succeed.
UL came to the philosophy of Kaizen through their mindset of lean management and efforts to create and sustain the most effective system of operations. Kaizen acts as a well suited set of guiding principles consistent in UL’s focus on achieving excellence.
Often we are asked to “think big”, but Kaizen implores us to do the opposite. With Kaizen, one is only ever dealing with the small and seemingly inconsequential. While the focus with Kaizen is in humble domains, the ultimate outcome is neither small nor inconsequential. As it has been demonstrated time and again, Kaizen’s emphasis on purposeful action leads to operational excellence.
Kaizen’s impact has been most noticeable in the auto-manufacturing industry - leading to major improvements in productivity. The approach was trailblazed by Toyota, resulting in Toyota becoming the most productive manufacturer the world over.
Personal Growth at UL
Personal growth is factored in as a fundamental part of UL’s organizational structure, thus UL strives to “invest in our people and encourage our people to invest in themselves”.
UL believes that investing in their team and encouraging personal growth offers the path to Kaizen, and thus to operational excellence.