Piecework for employees plan and collaboration

orthodent

orthodent

New Member
So I have been contemplating for quite a while implementing a piecework plan for our staff. In the recent JDT there were extensive articles describing the pros and cons and in most cases the pros out weighed the cons. We already have a system for the wirebenders after they are trained where they are compensated a % of each part bent.

I would like to push it forward with the rest of the techs and am looking for ideas. There are many different aspects in an Ortho lab but I think it can be done Effectively and I wanted to know your thoughts.

I am sure the pushback would be big but if implemented correctly and consistently I believe it could impact the lab in a very positive manner in quality and speed and the techs have more of an opportunity to increase their wage based on their performance.

Has anyone tried this process or know of other Ortho labs who have tried?
 
wwcanoer

wwcanoer

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Full Member
I read your posting with great interest, then went back and rescanned the articles in JDT. All of the articles are well written, and are very persuasive. My first question to you would be, have you ever worked in a lab that utilizes piecework for compensation? And what did you think about it regarding your earnings? But maybe most importantly, have you been a position to receive lab cases that were produced by a piecework method of compensation?

In my current position, in-house technician, I have been able to observe a variety of work that has come in from outside labs, of which three (Crown and bridge labs) compensate their employees by the piecework.

My frustrations have been:
Work is returned dirty, polishing compound on the inside margins,in attachments, etc.
Porcelain at the margin edge is bulbous
Glaze has run over margin edge

These issues have been brought to the attention of the various labs, and of the three above issues, only the first has been completely solved.

My personal belief is that when someone is compensated solely by the number of units produced, the little things can get overlooked. Different doctors have different standards of what "little things" are important to them. In my office, margin adaptation and contour is critical.

Obviously, an orthodontic lab would have different "little things" to worry about. Maintaining quality control is an absolute must!


Personally, I am not a believer in the piecework system of compensation. But, that of course doesn't mean it won't work for you and your employees. Good luck

Carol
 
N

northstarorth

New Member
Long overdue comment - We have brainstormed the piecework concept in our lab for at least 30 years! No kidding! I don't claim to be the most intelligent person on Earth, but to my thinking it can't be done. There are just so many variables - if you average out times you end up being too generous and if you ignore the little details they won't get done. If you have been able to come up with a system I'd be interested in hearing about it. We do have a system of scanning production with assigned minutes attached that works great, but as for converting that data to pay I am at a loss.
 
orthodent

orthodent

New Member
We have implemented it with some folks but it only can be done with the wirebending department. That is the one department where they only focus on one task. Usually our acrylic folks trim as well and that is where is gets dicey. As far as the bending goes, each piece that is bent is from scratch and not pre-fab here, it makes it easier to configure. Each part has a price we charge the doctor which has been determined based on technician speed vs. cost. Now we offer the tech 30% (which is what most businesses need to their labor cost to be) of each part they bend. For example, a ten dollar bow gives the tech 3 bux. Once finished it goes through a quality control check station and if they dont meet expectations, it goes back to fix, and at that point it is more advantageous to get it right the first time. They only get paid on QC passed work. It is the immediate QC check that is most critical, I think.
Thoughts???
 
Flippercentral

Flippercentral

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Full Member
So I have been contemplating for quite a while implementing a piecework plan for our staff. In the recent JDT there were extensive articles describing the pros and cons and in most cases the pros out weighed the cons. We already have a system for the wirebenders after they are trained where they are compensated a % of each part bent.

I would like to push it forward with the rest of the techs and am looking for ideas. There are many different aspects in an Ortho lab but I think it can be done Effectively and I wanted to know your thoughts.

I am sure the pushback would be big but if implemented correctly and consistently I believe it could impact the lab in a very positive manner in quality and speed and the techs have more of an opportunity to increase their wage based on their performance.

Has anyone tried this process or know of other Ortho labs who have tried?
I've always did the lab work from start to finish so I can't help you with the lab aspect, however somewhere around 30 years ago i worked at a sewing factory sewing men's underwear (i swear it's true! :) There was a line of machines set up for each part of the process with a quailty control person at the end of each line. One line sewed on the wasteband,one the leg bands, one sewed the whole thing together. They would come in bundles and we had to sign off on them. The inspector would check and they would go onto the next line. We were paid by the bundle, different prices for different sizes , anything over quota was paid extra. You'd be surprised to find out that many different brands of underwear are made by the same company, with the same materials, the only difference is the brand name tag on them. I'm talking about Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Penny's, Sears.....
 
Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson

New Member
The process is the same no matter what item you are making. I can assist you if you have some production standards established.
 
Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson

New Member
Long overdue comment - We have brainstormed the piecework concept in our lab for at least 30 years! No kidding! I don't claim to be the most intelligent person on Earth, but to my thinking it can't be done. There are just so many variables - if you average out times you end up being too generous and if you ignore the little details they won't get done. If you have been able to come up with a system I'd be interested in hearing about it. We do have a system of scanning production with assigned minutes attached that works great, but as for converting that data to pay I am at a loss.
It's easy. You shold attend my program at the NADL. It's been in such high demand that they have added a second day of advanced traing for alumni who took my first program. NADLU2, this year!
 
Flippercentral

Flippercentral

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Full Member
The process is the same no matter what item you are making. I can assist you if you have some production standards established.
The factory I worked at was in Glendale,Arizona called Spring City Knitting Co. It was a great place as far as factories went. Treated emloyees well, good pay and benefits. The next job I went to was Northcutt sewing in Roxton, Tx. It was a sweat shop, you had to raise your hand so "Betty" could let you know if you could go to the bathroom or not. "Betty" watched and badgered the employees constantly. After the fourth day there, I raised my hand and told "Betty" I quit. I walked out the door and enrolled in college :)
All of these jobs are now gone and moved to China.....
 
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Daniela

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You don't have to pay all the employees per unit. In a small crown and bridge it is OK to pay the waxer or finisher per unit and you do the rest. Many moons ago we had a waxer doing piece work for us and he was very happy to make his own schedule and work with no one looking over his shoulder ... He was very conscientious though.
 
Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson

New Member
Very busy here today. State Health Inspectors showed up. I'll try and respond after they leave...
 
S

Some tech

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What happens when your employees have so little work that they can't make a living wage?
 
JMN

JMN

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What happens when your employees have so little work that they can't make a living wage?
You would be in big trouble anyway and unable to keep going. Lack of work is lack of work no matter how you compensate your staff.
 
S

Some tech

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You would be in big trouble anyway and unable to keep going. Lack of work is lack of work no matter how you compensate your staff.

Indeed. What if it were just a summer lull?
 
JMN

JMN

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Indeed. What if it were just a summer lull?
Unless you could find enough for them to do with CE requirements, learning and cross training on other processes, cleaning the lab etc, would you be able to pay someone to stare at the wall or put them into unemployment-subject-to-recall so they can get paid something.

I don't have employees yet, but think it through. What would happen at your lab if there were 10 days of 50% of normal. 20 days, 30 days, 60 days?
 
S

Some tech

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I see other employees that can't pay their rent during the summer months, but when it is busy they are expected to be there late into the night. It doesn't seem fair to them that they should shoulder the burden of the lab's fickle business. In my day, that was for the employer to do, that's what it meant to be the business owner.
 
JMN

JMN

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Do you realize this thread is 5 years old?
I was trying to understand how it would work also, effectively, with good output. Problems the people 5 yeara ago were having. I don't do this. I was curious in it as an idea. I would really like to have the answers you seek, and was trying to think of how it would work when answering. More of a thought exercise really. How would you handle it if it's your lab when there isn't enough work?
 
S

Some tech

Member
Full Member
Do you realize this thread is 5 years old?
I was trying to understand how it would work also, effectively, with good output. Problems the people 5 yeara ago were having. I don't do this. I was curious in it as an idea. I would really like to have the answers you seek, and was trying to think of how it would work when answering. More of a thought exercise really. How would you handle it if it's your lab when there isn't enough work?
I have always been allowed to fill my time with other productive things, as you mentioned, when times were slow.
 
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