Increasing Production Without Increasing Hiring
In 1987, manufacturing jobs made up 33% of all employment in the United States. Today, those numbers have plummeted to 8% (Pew Research Labs, July 2017).
Our Experts speak with manufacturers all around the country and we've heard the same thing from every state. The common refrain is an inability to find enough people qualified to do the work. This leads to skyrocketing salaries, overtime bloat, and the ultimate frustration of being forced to turn away work due to a lack of resources or an inability to meet the customer’s tight deadline.
So where do you find the right people to increase productivity? On your own shop floor.
You don't need to lower your standards just to bring on under-qualified Operators, you need to give your existing team everything they need to succeed with your current workforce.
Even with careers in manufacturing at an all-time low, manufacturers are finding success. In the same 30-year span, U.S. production has even increased by 166%. This means shops are finding ways to do more with less.
Advanced processes, technology, and automation have filled in the gaps left by the shrinking workforce. So, how do you keep up without adding more team members?
Start with these 3 steps:
- Fix your shop’s culture.
- Make your schedule a revenue generator.
- Find opportunities in small improvements.
Fix Your Shop’s Culture
A change in culture is the least expensive means of increasing productivity throughout your shop. Pull your team together more regularly, challenge them to hit targets and reward them when they do. The more engaged your employees are in the overall success of the organization the less likely they are to leave your company, which directly impacts your bottom line in saved training and hiring dollars.
An important question for all manufacturers looking to grow is, "How visible are your KPI’s"? When your Operators are directed toward a common goal the entire company wins. Make sure everyone knows what matters the most in your organization. Set clear, achievable goals and celebrate milestones along the way. Once you've built an expectation of success your team will find a renewed purpose in their work.
When it’s hard to find new people you must prioritize keeping your existing team intact. We all need a sense of purpose. Challenge your team and you'll see immediate results.
TIP: How do I track my KPIs?
Your MES already collects and displays the data you need to track progress toward company goals. Review past data points to understand the baseline for success and leverage projected change to set attainable goals. Learn More.
Make Your Schedule a Revenue Generator
Setting a schedule that optimizes the time of both your Operators and machines means you’re earning more on every minute you invest in production. Eliminate bottlenecks formed by holds and unexpected change orders by correcting your schedule in real-time.
Utilizing a dynamic scheduler to plan production guarantees your Operators have everything they need to get the job done at just the right time. Win more bids when you can guarantee your customers' delivery dates on every job.
Staggering machine usage and prioritizing work to maintain a steady flow throughout production requires a combination of your Scheduler (employee) and the right scheduling system to support them. Maximize the value of every resource by ensuring the right tools and materials are in the hands of the right people at exactly the right time.
TIP: How can I save on overtime costs?
When you introduce dynamic scheduling into your workflow you take total control of overtime. Keep your shop running at peak efficiency by prioritizing work and staggering jobs to keep the most important work at the front of the line.
Find Opportunities in Small Improvements
The basic economics of manufacturing are simple; focus on what makes you money, and then do it more than the work that makes you less money.
Start by identifying the common problems that result in slowdowns, holds and non-conformances and then permanently eliminate them. Guarantee your Operators are following every step of their work instructions and collect the right data on the right parts at the right time. Double production rates without increasing staff just by guaranteeing the right processes are followed.
Your company will earn more on every job and eliminate the frustrations that cause your Operators to leave just by giving them the system they need to succeed.
TIP: What ideas can you collect and implement from your Operators?
No one knows more about making your shop floor more efficient than the men and women who walk it every day. Capture tribal knowledge on every job by attaching digital memos to permanent production records.
Listen to your team; you’ll be amazed at the passion and value they bring to the table.
We live in an era where experienced team members are hard to come by. Until the workforce shifts, you need to get the most out of your existing team and give new hires the technology they need to get up to speed fast.
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