According to a 2014 study conducted by Oxford Economics and SAP, two-thirds of manufacturers have made only slight or moderate progress toward meeting strategic workplace goals. This is due in part to a number of obstacles, including a shortage of workers and lack of resources to help foster better employee engagement and retention. Companies in this study, which totaled around 2,700 and spanned multiple industries and regions, also noted that engaging young people and attracting skilled employees were among the top issues they face – hardly surprising, as nearly 3.5 million positions will need to be filled by 2020.
Are there ways for manufacturers – regardless of company size, industry, or amount of revenue – to tackle these challenges head-on without compromising assets or sacrificing talent?
The following are examples of tips and tools capable of guiding you toward a healthy, sustainable pipeline of workers, which ultimately spells success for you and your company.
Engage employees… and become more productive as a result!
While time should definitely be invested in getting new, skilled workers in place, your existing workforce is just as important. Keep your employees engaged by offering them choices and opportunities to participate in operations and company decisions. Even fun activities outside of work, such as the occasional happy hour or group lunch, can boost morale, which makes employees more productive and helps generate more revenue.
Provide the right training and a gateway to development.
Employers who invest in their workers have better chances of keeping them, and offering opportunities for employees to expand their skills builds confidence and allows them to perform better overall. If your company doesn’t have training programs in-house, do some research on outside options that will help them succeed without occupying too much of their time. Investing in a company plan for business courses at a local college or university also allows for development on the professional and managerial side.
Get to know your workforce.
Whether your business sits at 50 employees or 500 employees, it’s important to be as familiar with your workforce as possible. This not only applies to day-to-day engagement, but also hard data and assessments. Less than 40 percent of manufacturers in the above study understand their workforce from a perspective of strengths and weaknesses, and getting these statistics is a great way to start thinking about long-term plans, future improvements, and ways to attract talent.
Raise awareness by acting as a manufacturing ambassador.
Young generations, such as millennials and Gen-Z, reportedly have a very negative perception of manufacturing, most of which is fueled by images of the old, dirty assembly lines of the early 20th century. However, manufacturers across the country are now seizing the chance to show what modern manufacturing has to offer through plant tours, job fairs, demonstrations, and more. Manufacturing Month, celebrated in October, is a particularly good draw, as schools, organizations, and individuals are granted access to manufacturing facilities to explore what it’s like to work in a clean, high-tech environment. This can also provide you with an opportunity to showcase the occupational benefits the sector has to offer, such as higher-than-average salaries, competitive benefits, and a stable career path.
One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. The order may change but the top cited standards typically don’t change. Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations: 501 - Fall Protection 1200 - Hazard Communication 451 - Scaffolding 134 - Respiratory Protection 147 - Lockout/Tagout 178 - Powered Industrial Trucks 1053 - Ladders 305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods 212 - Machine Guarding 303 - Electrical, General Requirements Three of the 10 sited standards are directed at the construction standard (1926) while other fall within the general industry (1910). It should be noted however that the general industry standard also has fall protection guidelines. Year after year, inspectors see the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured. By understanding these regulations you can improve your safety program and prevent injuries. Give me a call if you have any compliance doubts, or want to review OHSA regulations. Gwido Dlugopolsky at 216-391-7766 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Why does it take a NASCAR pit crew only 15 seconds to change four car tires when it takes people like you and me minutes? The answer is simple SMED. Single Minute Exchange of Dies, or SMED, is a process for reducing the time it takes to do equipment changeovers. Using the principles of SMED you should be able to perform any changeover in your facility in under 10 minutes! The SMED process is simple – convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external”, meaning they are done while your equipment is still RUNNING, while simplifying and streamlining the remaining steps. SMED is broken down into the following 3 Steps: Separate Convert Streamline We found this article to be very helping in explaining the SMED process in more detail: LEAN PRODUCTION - SMED A good first step to achieve this level of SMED efficiency would be to run a kaizen event at your facility to standardize (5S) your tools and supplies. Doing this alone will help you achieve 40% to 50% greater efficiency. Once the “low hanging fruit” is gone, you can still reduce setup times another 20% by practicing more advanced SMED principles.
The secret to closing any sale is to reduce uncertainty in the buyer and replace it with confidence in YOU, your PRODUCT/SERVICE, and your COMPANY. Step 1 – Confidence in YOU Someone buying from you wants to be able to fundamentally connect with you on a human level and feel confident that you’re an expert in what you’re selling If you’re selling paperclips, be an expert in paperclips If you’re selling design and engineering related services, be an expert in design and engineering related services Focus on addressing the problem, not the solution….MEANING you already know you have the solution, connect with the buyer by being an expert with the problem he/she is facing. Prove that you know the problem and all aspects of the problem like the back of your hand. Step 2- Confidence in the PRODUCT/SERVICE you are selling Someone buying from you needs to trust the product/service you are selling will solve their problem. It’s your responsibility to deliver a solution and the benefits associated with it. Basically you need to “Hit a Homerun” communicating this message. Tip – Use Success Stories: Share with the potential buyer examples of your product/service solving problems and delivering value for