Many company owners can't make every job in their company interesting. Particularly if their product is inherently, well, boring. For example: How do you stimulate an employee who cuts 10-foot-long pieces of cable assembly all day?

That's what Randall Amon, CEO of ABL Electronics Corp., in Timonium, Md., wondered a few years ago. His solution: field trips. "By itself, our product just isn't very exciting. But if we can take employees out of the plant and show them how our products are used in a fetal monitoring device at a hospital, we can show them how their work fits into the world," says Amon.

He tries to arrange such jaunts once every six months for all his 46 employees. The trips have been surprisingly effective. "People have more pride in their work when they understand how our products are used," says Amon.

-- Ellyn E. Spragins

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