As activity in the global manufacturing sector continues to grow post the financial crisis of 2007-08, successful in-house operations rest on a few basic factors: keeping costs low, morale high and productivity up. The latest research shows that smart executives build a culture of communication, innovation and respect at their facilities. Learn what experts say you should be doing to help your manufacturing outfit prosper:
1. Embrace Innovation and Open Communication
Pennsylvania State University conducted a study entitled, “Review of Innovation Practices in Small Manufacturing Companies.” One of the key findings researchers Anthony Warren and Gerald Susman discovered for successful manufacturing firms was an open flow of communication between management and employees, along with interdepartmental cooperation.
PBR Pty., an automotive components manufacturer that participated in the study, is a company that excels in a highly competitive industry. Management knew that existing technology and resources may not put them in the best position to maximize profits. The company developed partnerships with other firms to handle issues that would otherwise need a dedicated development team and months of planning to accomplish in-house.
Leverage continuous process improvement and streamline as many processes as possible by establishing relationships with specialty firms. Maintenance on assembly lines is a near-daily occurrence, and it shouldn’t stall production any longer than absolutely necessary. Your parts supplier, for instance, should be able to provide parts in a matter of hours. O-ring manufacturer Apple Rubber calls this “maximizing your advantage.”
Furthermore, consider cloud-based computing solutions to facilitate data storage and security and other functions that would require IT personnel.
2. Offer Fair Wages and Benefits
Employee retention was second only to cost control as top concerns for manufacturing companies, according to a survey by MetLife. Nearly all workers said they’d be interested in more benefits as further incentive to stay on the job.
Your product will only be as good as the workers you have to produce them, and happy workers are productive and content ones. Find out the median and average wages of workers both in your region and industry. You can also find information on what benefits similar companies offer employees and how to make said options available to your employees.
A great benefits package is instantly negated if employees don’t know how to access it. The MetLife survey also found that 70 percent of employees who said HR effectively communicated benefits to them are satisfied with their packages. Contrarily, only seven percent were satisfied when communication was lacking.
The industrial manufacturing firm Armstrong International has not laid off one single employee in its 109-year history. David Armstrong, the company CEO, told Manufacturing.net that his company even prospered during those rough recession years of 2008 and 2009 while many other closed their doors. He credited one simple, yet often overlooked aspect of his company culture for its sustained success: respect.
Recognize individuals for their hard work and accomplishments. These accolades can then be repeated during company meetings and social activities to reinforce a culture of mutual respect. Provide workers with clean bathrooms, dining areas and adequate parking spaces. These little things boost morale and help workers develop pride in what you’re trying to accomplish.
In the end, the expression “the more things change, the more they stay the same” comes to mind. Despite all the technological advances and productivity improvement applications that are now prevalent, organizations are still run by people. If you want to improve your operational efficiency, then a good place to start is how you treat your people. Those with respect, trust, and a sense of belonging will pay considerable rewards to how your organization operates in the future.