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Manufacturing is a highly demanding industry that relies on the hard work of skilled and dedicated professionals who have their own needs and expectations for working comfortably and efficiently. Accurately addressing these needs and expectations as management can greatly improve job satisfaction, workforce engagement and employee retention — key ingredients for boosting your shop-floor productivity.
In this article, we’ll explore four keys that management should adopt to help empower their manufacturing workforce and create the ideal work environment.
Although workplace safety must be a priority in any business, it’s even more important in manufacturing because of the potentially hazardous chemicals and machinery that are commonly used in the production process. Keeping your workers safe comes with added benefits like reducing workplace injuries, preserving your company’s reputation and saving money from the direct and indirect costs associated with occupational accidents.
For your workers, attention to safety makes a difference. Safety helps build a positive work environment, which is vital in maintaining your workforce’s mental health.
Some technologies that can help improve safety on the manufacturing floor include:
Source: Blackline Safety
Organization in manufacturing is crucial. An effective manufacturing staff scheduling system makes sure your workers are in the right place at the right time and have access to the required materials and equipment.
With the aid of well-functioning manufacturing logistics, workers can feel confident that they have the resources needed to help them accomplish their tasks, and that their time and efforts will be spent effectively. As a result, they can focus on tasks without worrying about disruptions or delays and complete them quickly and efficiently, which could lead to an increase in the shop-floor’s overall productivity.
An optimized workflow reduces cycle time and increases throughput, thereby, enabling faster delivery. Lean methods, like Just-In-Time (JIT), synchronize the production process with demand to reduce inventory costs and waste.
Work optimization also focuses on continuous process improvement to eliminate non-value-adding activities through techniques such as Value-Stream Mapping (VSM), which allows manufacturers to visualize the entire production process, identify bottlenecks and eliminate any unnecessary steps.
When conducting VSM on a particular internal process or workflow, manufacturers will do a close examination of each stage to spot which steps eat up time without adding any real value. Once they’re able to identify and cut these unnecessary steps, the whole process becomes smoother and becomes more focused only on the stages that provide real value.
Lastly, cross-training enables greater flexibility:
Optimized employee scheduling forms an integral part of work optimization and helps to better align workforce deployment with management’s strategic goals.
A lack of knowledge and training in manufacturing can lead to human errors that cause serious accidents, most often involving occupational injuries and loss of productivity.
Source: Limble CMMS
While on-the-job training is irreplaceable in some areas, modern technologies provide other options to impart proper training to your workforce.
Workers need access to real-time data to make informed decisions and improve processes. Data and analytics keep them away from guesswork and being counterproductive, which can result in more confident decision-making since they can rely on data to back them up. Additionally, they don’t have to run unnecessary risks: outcomes are positive as long as the provided data is accurate and the analysis is not flawed.
Some of the technology solutions that provide these benefits are:
It is your responsibility as management to ensure your workers have the right tools to perform their tasks and duties in a safe and efficient manner. If your shop floor has access to the latest technology, it’ll surely help your workforce do their job more effectively and increase their overall job satisfaction.
In the drive to always get more done, are you also keeping in mind to always try putting the workers — the heart and soul of the manufacturing industry — in the best position to succeed? Are you truly empowering your workforce? If you get into the habit of asking yourself these questions, you’ll be sure you’re doing your part in creating a more worker-friendly and efficient manufacturing industry.