How Lean Safety Creates a Culture Shift
Two of the most effective methods used in manufacturing today are Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma. Lean reduces waste in the manufacturing process and the Six Sigma methodology is used to lessen the variation in a process with the expectation that there are never more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Both put the spotlight on the customer and emphasize quality, reliability, timely delivery and products that exceed expectation. So what happens when these two approaches are merged together and used to enhance the safety of a workspace?
While there is a great deal of overlap to begin with, both Lean and Six Sigma address business goals from a different perspective.
Lean manufacturing hones in on removing waste in a process where a product is made to given specifications. Most often, there are opportunities to reduce waste in areas like inventory and overproduction or in transportation and movement – like in the case of travel between workstations.
Improving the Quality of Your Workplace
If your company is struggling with an overly complicated manufacturing process, perhaps it’s time to investigate whether waste is an issue. Not only does waste reduction allow you to be more sustainable, but there are production and cost savings as well. We’ve categorized some of the most common types of waste found in the manufacturing industry, according to Reliable Plant magazine.
Transporting and movement – Transferring product or stock from one location to another shouldn’t happen unless it’s necessary. Same goes for having unneeded travel between workstations or distance that makes the overall production process more inefficient. Check to ensure your manufacturing flows properly and you don’t have workers frequently in wait mode because they don’t have everything needed to complete a task. These are red flags that need to be addressed.
Get Ready for the Safety Management Revolution
Look around any public place and you’re bound to spot several people sporting wearable technology. Watches, fitness bands, fashion accessories, sunglasses and clothing now feature high-tech, fully embedded smart devices that can communicate helpful information with us. It’s a trend growing by leaps and bounds every year and is set to be a $60 billion industry by 2022, according to a report by ABI Research. But it’s not just a health and fitness trend or fashion statement. Wearable safety devices such as smartwatches, smart glasses and sophisticated personal protection equipment are making their way into our workplaces, along with safety management software to provide robust safety protocols for companies.
More than 1 in 6 workers report already using wearables on the job, and it’s creating tremendous opportunities to enhance employee experience and output, and better monitor a worker’s health and wellbeing. Research from Deloitte says smart wearable technology in the workforce is ultimately helping companies operate more efficiently. Their “Workforce superpowers: Wearables are augmenting employees’ abilities” study suggests wearables are creating more effective and productive workers, helping them overcome physical limitations and bridging skills gaps while also keeping employees safer.
Although real time information helps predict problems and provide proactive information, reporting lagging indicators is still an important safety practice. While there are literally dozens of benchmarks manufacturers could monitor to help track quality and safety in the workplace, we’ve honed in on five specific metrics that will help drive your bottomline.
Behavioral Economics Helps Companies Identify What Really Motivates Employees
Have you ever asked an employee to take on a special assignment in exchange for a cash bonus and assume you’ll see a job well done - only to be disappointed by their lack of interest or action? It’s not unusual according to the science of behavioral economics. The mind can be difficult to navigate, according to a white paper from Corvex, as the field of behavioral economics teaches us that human decision-making is often irrational and that willingness to comply is influenced by a number of heuristics and biases.
Five Fast Tips To Keep Things Moving in the Right Direction
Just over a decade ago, companies weren’t even talking about an employee value proposition (EVP). Today, however, is a different story. The acronym is a hot buzzword at businesses around the world because the workforce and competitive environment has shifted drastically. A company’s value proposition for its employees is now more important than ever though it is not something that should be etched in stone as some experts suggest transitioning to a more fluid approach. One that can change depending on employee feedback and business alignment. As a manufacturer, you should already be going beyond the basics of sharing salary and competitive benefits to better defining your culture, career opportunities and actual day-to-day work experience.
A CIO Driven Approach Helps Avoid Pitfalls
The digital age offers incredible new experiences and opportunities both internally and externally for today’s manufacturers. Technology continues to transform how companies do business by enabling more sophisticated communication with employees and customers, but it’s not always without stumbling blocks. Enterprise- or facility-wide changes should be communicated properly for an organization to experience the least amount of resistance. Employee acceptance and commitment to change is a critical piece of the puzzle. According to Techopedia, the key is to prioritize how technology facilitates a more seamless employee experience first and then showcases how it can drive toward broader business objectives.
Leveling Up To 6S a Risk Worth Taking
In a recent blog post, we addressed the 5S Lean manufacturing process – which is brilliantly simple and effective with its sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain approach. But this process can be made even more effective by the addition of a 6th S – safety. While it may seem intuitive that each stage’s adoption enables a safer workspace, re-evaluating the 5S cycle with a specific eye toward safety enables further improvements and changes on the facility floor.
According to EHS Today, advancing to a 6S organization means manufacturers would need to conduct an OSHA approved risk assessment during each of the five steps, which enables them to rank and address certain risk factors and create preventative measures. This is a systematic approach to identify significant safety hazards across the entire workspace. It assesses the likelihood and potential severity should an accident occur and provides steps for implementing control measures. A risk matrix can be used to outline the level of consequences from negligible injuries to fatalities and also to rank the likelihood of an incident happening, from highly unlikely to very likely.
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Employee Engagement Strategies for Retaining and Keeping the Next-Generation Workforce
As a manufacturing company, you’ve undoubtedly spent time focusing on how to appeal to today’s Millennials. According to an article in Forbes, this generation, which ranges between the ages of 22 and 37, currently account for 50 percent of the workforce and will comprise nearly 75 percent by 2025. Yet, there has been much conversation about how to keep Millennials on the job as they’ve also been dubbed the “Job Hopping” generation by Gallup. Three in five Millennials are open to a new job and 21 percent have changed jobs within the past year.
Part of the reason is reportedly due to low on-the-job engagement – some are simply showing up and tuning out. So, what can you do to ensure you are not just attracting but also retaining talent?