A successful manufacturing culture is a flexible one. It should be nimble enough to improve problem-solving, fulfill the ongoing need to work more efficiently and effectively, and propel business growth. These characteristics help to increase employee engagement and productivity. They also attract and retain the best talent.
Working to develop and sustain a successful manufacturing culture takes time and planning. The following actions can contribute to the creation of this type of culture.
Model these four habits to work toward the creation of a successful manufacturing culture.
1. Emphasize Communication
Prioritize communication between management and employees.
- Ongoing communication increases employee engagement and productivity.
- Encourage managers to share information, discuss issues, and recognize employee contributions.
- Promote daily standup meetings on the plant floor, daily one-on-ones, and weekly team meetings.
- Encourage managers to share company performance metrics.
- Facilitate discussions where employees can ask questions and address concerns.
- Hold quarterly company meetings where department heads share major individual or team contributions and results.
2. Promote Fresh Ideas
Encourage employees to share, develop, and implement innovative ideas that benefit the organization.
- One company launched a profit-building campaign that requested employee input to make budget cuts.
- The campaign created over $700,000 in savings and a 23% increase in net profits over the following 12 months.
- Part of the campaign included the creation of a video training library for new production employees that eliminated an estimated 280 hours of human training annually.
- The campaign also created a new demand planning process that significantly increased early pay discounts and vendor rebates for system components.
3. Give Employees Limited Control
Empower employees with a limited amount of control within the organization.
- One company lets individual builders and assembly technicians add comments and suggest improvements to work instructions on the visual build documents created for each custom-engineered hardware platform by documentation technicians.
- These documents show each component location, cable turn, screw torque level, and other information to facilitate the proper assembly.
- Each change is tracked to ensure it can be traced back to the source.
- Empowering members of the production team to recommend these changes shows confidence in their abilities.
- Providing control encourages collaboration, increases efficiency, and decreases errors.
4. Offer Regular Training
Build up talent from the inside through regular training and cross-training.
- Train employees to move among workstations or to other roles.
- Have employees cover for absent team members.
- Minimize skill gaps.
- Avoid bottlenecks.
- Increase your talent pool and employee retention.
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