5 Considerations for Sustainable Manufacturing Excellence
Executing a sustainable manufacturing excellence strategy, by any name, is a major challenge for leadership. Here are a few examples of why it is so hard to build a sustainable model that can be institutionalized for the long term.
1. Education at the shop floor level: there is little chance of good execution until those responsible for execution are educated and trained. This goes for management as much as it does for hourly workers. Leaders must lead the training effort for all. When new thinking emerges, employees do not know what they don’t know, and it is management’s responsibility to eliminate the ignorance and misperceptions. Training, feedback and follow up must become a habit for all.
2. Gaining trust: supervisors and their managers must provide consistent direction without detours. No leader can expect to establish and sustain trust if the agenda favours workarounds and quick-fixes when problems reappear. Remove the obstacles. Establish and document robust processes. Walking by issues and expecting no one to notice is laughable. Your subordinates are watching you and will recognize a phony when they see one.
3. Maintaining conviction: achieving manufacturing excellence, as always, must start and be sustained from the very top of the organisation chart. Senior management should regularly communicate its support, e.g., presenting videos quarterly to all employees and standing ready to remove obstacles that are in the way at lower levels. Of course, the primary day-to-day leaders must “walk the talk” and set the right example. Always remember that you live in a fishbowl.
4. Upgrade your standard work into electronic data for access by all: future changes must be implemented in real time. This is the key to sustaining the correct behaviors from all.
5. Managing resistance: in every factory, there are workers who are not visibly engaged, who are just going through the motions and keeping their heads down. As you educate and communicate with the organization, be clear that everyone is expected to engage and make a difference with a change in mindset and behavior. Simply put, they are expected to become part of the solution. Now is the time to step up plans to remove those who still choose to resist. Once significant improvements are being delivered on both performance and culture, make it clear that any employee who is not interested in becoming part of continuous improvement will be at risk, regardless of their position. The active resisters are easy to find and weed out. Now is the time to get them “off the bus” after documenting failures with attitude, performance, culture and productivity. The passive resisters are more difficult to find, but they are always out there in the early days of a business transformation. They feign interest around company leaders but undermine the agenda in their workspace. Supervisors must be tuned in to “out” these resistors and put them on a disciplinary path to out the door. Failure to deal with these workers demonstrates to the good workers that management is not walking the talk, and committed workers become skeptical, even resentful. When this occurs, the best workers will lose their inspiration to be part of something special.
Source: Industry Week