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Four Action Items to Increase Productivity in Manufacturing

Four Action Items to Increase Productivity in Manufacturing

Employee productivity has always been a major concern among businesses across virtually every industry, including manufacturing. Lower levels of efficiency and less productive outputs from employees can affect any manufacturer, and even put its survival at risk. It’s vital for an organization to look for ways to increase productivity in manufacturing to survive this competitive market.

However, it’s important to note that low levels of productivity can’t be blamed entirely on employees. Often, it has something to do with the workplace environment and work conditions, along with a variety of factors that define the culture of the organization. Employee talent is a critical asset for any company, and it has to be maximized by ensuring employees are motivated to work and deliver great results they are capable of and qualified for.

Therefore, employers and companies must implement some changes in the setup and integrate some tools to enhance the productivity and efficiency of their workforce.

A very successful plant manager once stated that one of the keys to a thriving manufacturing is to do simple things remarkably well. This means that great results can actually come from mastering simple techniques and applying them consistently.

Here are four powerful ways to use this idea to increase productivity in manufacturing:

1. Give employees easy access to systems they need to do their job well

As a company leader in your manufacturing business, you are often faced with difficult choices. When it comes to improving your off-site or non-desk workers, you can either just watch your competitors become more efficient or give your staff the means to work effectively from any location.

Giving your workers access to systems they need to perform well is one of the secrets to increase productivity in manufacturing. This can be done by integrating cloud services or mobile solutions to enhance their efficiency from outside the workplace. This makes information remotely accessible for them, enhancing their work-life balance.

The most successful manufacturing companies across all industries leverage technology to give their workers easy access to communications, collaboration, and information even when they are off-site. This leads to higher outputs, while arming employees with resources they need to do their job well.

Remote workers can update information in real time. This gives them mobility, which empowers them to get more done in a shorter amount of time. This will also ease workload, reduce time-wasting actions, and amplify productivity. See how Seaboard Foods manufacturing did it.

2. Have a mobile internal communication strategy in place

Internal mobile communication can do more than just managing and distributing information. Quality internal communication strategies can cultivate the development of a community between the workers and employers that will foster a relationship of trust, which is vital to a team working towards achieving a goal.

As the manufacturing industry enters a period of rapid growth in technological advancement, businesses in the industry must embrace a digital approach. With the integration of a mobile internal communication strategy, organizations can streamline workflows, improving their overall productivity and efficiency.

Internal communication strategies are a vital component of any business, especially for employees on the frontlines. Just as mobile devices transformed the way we operate in our personal lives, business mobility can also be revolutionary. Rather than carrying overflowing folders, any system can be made accessible through a simple app. Workers can communicate off-site with similar levels of efficiency they get inside the office. This also allows team members, departments, and production workers to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

Therefore, the use of internal communications and employee engagement app is something that manufacturing companies should consider. There are products that also integrate with existing operational systems, so employees can have all their tools in one simple interface. Since most don’t non-desk workers don’t have access to email, these apps provide a solution for them to keep in regular contact with the whole company.

3. Invest in continued worker education

Workers appreciate the opportunity to enhance their skills and get access to professional advancement provided by the employer. The machining, cutting, and manufacturing industries are constantly changing. New technologies arise, promising these industries to become more efficient than ever. Advancements in technology also require change or development of skills needed for a particular task. With this, workers will need access to education and regular trainings to keep up with what the industry needs and with more advanced skills.

Manufacturing is also a unique industry where employees can just be as efficient and productive as their tools. To get ahead, it is also important for businesses to invest in smarter tools that employees can take full advantage of.

4. Always encourage collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration are vital for a manufacturing business, especially since there are so many safety hazards. The company becomes more safe and productive when everyone works together towards achieving a similar goal with minimal conflict and confusion which are substantial time wasters. While it is important to focus on the work being accomplished, it is also crucial to make sure that every worker feels comfortable as part of the team.

Indeed, effective collaboration is easy when you share a work location or office. However, with non-desk employees working on different production lines, encouraging collaboration may be a challenge.

This is where the implementation of a quality mobile solution comes in. Effective collaboration results in greater growth and innovation without incurring additional expenses. Your manufacturing company can integrate a system that features collaborative elements that will change the way teams work together.

Just increasing your workers’ salary will not always make them truly satisfied. It is important to keep them motivated by integrating innovative tools and implementing strategies and systems that will create meaning and keep them motivated. By giving them access to systems they need to function and perform well, having a mobile internal communication strategy in place, investing in continued worker education, and always encouraging collaboration, you can effectively increase productivity in manufacturing and have a satisfied workforce.

To learn how Beekeeper’s mobile communication app can increase productivity on your manufacturing company, fill out the form to schedule a demo with one of our app experts.
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Motivate factory workers and run your production line like a well-oiled machine

As team leaders, production managers have the essential responsibility of motivating factory workers. There are many ways to do this in an office setting, but motivating factory workers is a different story. It’s much more difficult to maintain a relationship when they’re on the production line and not sitting next to you at a desk.

The management style you use can make or break the success of your company. Your style should depend on your business goals, employees, and personality type. Different worker segments need different leadership styles—a Navy Seal team requires a much different style than a yoga studio.

If you manage factory workers, it’s key to understand they don’t come into work simply because they want to work for you. They have their own goals, ambitions, and reasons for coming to work that won’t always align with yours. Your job is to learn what motivates them to suit up for work every day. Gaining new perspectives will unlock key insights to improve engagement and ultimately the bottom line. Non-desk employees need extra support and when they’re provided with the necessary training and resources, they become much more motivated to put in a productive shift.

Here are four ways to motivate your factory workers and get your production line running like a well-oiled machine:

1. Add meaning to their work.

Every factory worker has different needs. We can use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a guide to see what employees need to reach their full potential. Most employers simply cover the two tiers of basic needs, never trying to reach the higher levels people need both at work and at home.

During a company retreat, Chip Conley, Head of Hospitality at Airbnb, asked groups of housekeepers what would happen if someone from Mars landed on Earth and asked them, “What should we call you?” They came up with some pretty interesting names like, “The Serenity Sisters”, and “The Clutter Busters.” In a study done surrounding hourly workers, three core values arose: meaning, dignity, and self-determination.

Meaning: Every job has a meaning and is important no matter the function. Ditch-digger, fry makers, stable cleaners, you name it. Just because they don’t require higher education doesn’t mean their contribution isn’t valuable. If nobody did these jobs, no one could do their jobs.
Dignity: Dignity comes with how an employee is treated at work. Belittling, neglect, or other unprofessional behavior can drastically reduce productivity, health, and collaboration in any environment.
Self-determination: Self-determination is defined as an employee’s freedom within some boundaries to choose what, when, and how a task is accomplished. Giving employees a sense of control and ownership provides an elevated level of satisfaction, which leads to our next point…

2. Give factory workers more control over what they produce.

Giving factory workers the ability to make their own decisions and see direct result will give them more skin in the game to do their job well. Talk about adding meaning to their work!

In a study done on San Francisco garbage collectors, workers rated themselves very high on job happiness. This was due in large part to being able to choose their own routes and the amount of time spent on each route. Showing you trust your workers by giving them freedom to manage their workflow shows you respect their ideas and, in turn, they’ll want to keep bringing you value.

3. Incorporate bottom-up communication.

Most companies only have a top-down internal communication strategy, meaning management can send information to employees, but not the other way around. By using an internal communication system that allows bottom-up communication, you not only improve internal communication in your factory, you also give workers the floor to express their ideas and instill a sense of belonging. The more you make employees feel like they’re part of the bigger picture, the more they’ll give back.

Allowing bottom-up communication is especially important with distributed workforces. See how Seaboard Foods, a manufacturing with more than 5,000 employees across six states, has improved their internal communications and operations with Beekeeper which facilitates two-way communication.

4. Treat factory workers with dignity, regardless of role.

In the book Life on the Line, the author Solange de Santis recounts the year and a half she spent working in a General Motors plant. She chronicled her experience, through the tough working conditions and disputes between workers and management.

Her biggest takeaway from the experience was how hard-working, skilled, and innovative the factory workers really were. The stereotypical view of factory workers as wage slaves was put aside. De Santis showed these workers make a real difference for the company’s bottom line when they are treated with respect, given room to be creative, and have open dialogues across different levels of the business.

For factory managers looking for some key points to remember when brainstorming motivational ideas, these four factors should be met:

· Goal must be clearly understood
· Progress must be measurable
· Have control over achieving the goal
· A reward system when goals are met

Simply paying workers more won’t give employees more job satisfaction. Creating meaning and motivation must go hand in hand to engage correctly. Working with non-desk employees to develop clear intrinsic goals and acting as a model for them through open dialogue will create a more motivating and fulfilling factory floor.

Want to learn more about how to motivate your production workers and help your bottom line? Sign up for a free personal demo below to see how Beekeeper will help you reach, connect, and motivate your entire manufacturing team. You can also download the Seaboard Food case study to see how Beekeeper has transformed their manufacturing operations.
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