If production and quality problems are holding your manufacturing business back, you aren’t alone. Quality issues have taken hold of production lines even at the highest levels in recent years, and large, successful companies like Apple are taking measures to regain control that include bringing manufacturing operations back to the US from overseas.
Your business may already be locally based, or you may not have the resources to bring your facilities home, but there are still some key steps you can take to motivate your work force and challenge your team members to raise the bar. Keep these considerations in mind.
1. Focus on rewarding excellence and expertise instead of punishing failure. This will keep your most talented and innovative employees on your team instead of pushing them toward your competition. Each time you elevate the expected level of performance, try to turn this higher standard into a new normal.
2. The quest for safety should be just as important—if not more important—than the quest for high productivity. Errors and safety protocol breaches are not only dangerous, they’re also expensive. A small rise in productivity isn’t worth a single safety risk or corner cutting attempt.
3. Keep success metrics clear and measurable. Consider rewarding individual employees and teams for a specific number of days without a safety violation, or offer a reward or bonus for a benchmark level of proposed new ideas each month. Meanwhile, individual performance should always be measured against standards that are numerical, concise, measurable and concrete, (for example, the average number of units processed per hour).
4. Encourage idea sharing and innovation, regardless of the outcome. Encourage employees to share their recommendations and proposals to increase efficiency, whether or not these ideas can be successfully implemented.
5. Emphasize role models, mentoring, and peer success stories. Your most talented employees are your best asset. Leverage their help and encourage them to train and guide newer workers. Promote them as role models for employees who struggle with specific productivity problems.
6. Get to know your employees on an individual level. Spend time walking the floor and watching employees as they work on the line. Recognize each employee’s unique area of talent, weakness, and strength.
For more information on training and retaining your best employees, and for tools and resources that can help you hire only the strongest employees in the first place, reach out to the Little Rock staffing experts at CSS.