Today’s manufacturing managers need to reinvent an industry backed by more than a century of tradition. Especially since the global economy has recovered from its most recent recession, plant leaders need to be more creative than ever before in how they approach and relate to the factory floor.

The Focus in on Profits.

As you ask workers to meet output targets, open the books and show them how they contribute to company profits. Gear your communications and recognition efforts so that everyone gets a share in the fruits of a job well done.

  • Launch a scaled-up rewards program. This means the benefits get better as employees and teams add more to the bottom line.
  • Make improvement a daily goal. It’s not just about the annual review anymore. Set tangible goals and measure success day by day, week by week and project by project.

Recognize Processes, Not Just Results.

Of course, results are important. But great processes often lead to even greater products, performance and profitability. Recognize employees who have fine-tuned the way they work, so they become examples to their peers.

  • Encourage individuals to team up and try new things. Productivity is a process. Allow teams to experiment ways to boost output. Set aside rewards for initiatives that move the floor closer to achieving permanent gains – even the little steps that lead toward the ultimate goal. Even small failures are worth recognizing, as long as they translate into lessons learned.
  • Allow employees to “level up.” Take a lesson from gamers, who would rather level up and be granted more power than take a break. Help floor workers to level up by regularly setting targets and honoring related accomplishments.

Manage by Walking Around.

By understanding the gaps between your plant’s true potential and current performance, you’ll develop methods to run more effectively with less waste and reduced expenses. You’ve started the year with a strong strategic plan, but it’s only as good as its implementation. Walk through your shop every day and give your performance initiatives a boost.

  • Start with the perimeter. Often, the first places where waste and extra materials appear are in corners. Point this out and drive home the need for discipline in the face of a waning 5S program. Keep your criticism realistic and constructive. When senior leaders notice waste, it helps line workers to more quickly and automatically spot future problem areas.
  • Meet regularly with team leaders. Take the time to ask each of them for updates. Listen to their responses. Find out what their barriers are and do something to eliminate them. This will energize your teams and drive further improvement.
  • Make your KPIs visual. Be sure bulletin boards and other visual scorecards are consistently up to date. Be sure every single person understands how their work fits into the bigger picture and that you care about their specific contribution.

Magellan Search & Staffing offers workforce development solutions to help you get things done differently, with an eye toward being an industry leader in 2015 and beyond. Contact us today to learn how we can share our success with you.