How Is Your Manufacturing Organization’s Culture?

Your manufacturing company’s culture impacts every aspect of the business. Among the most important issues are employee engagement, productivity, job satisfaction, and retention. All of these issues impact your bottom line.

Your company should be continuously finding ways to improve its culture. The more flexible your culture, the more attractive it is to millennials and Gen Z, who make up the majority of the workforce. Increased flexibility also results in greater efficiency and effectiveness in business operations. Plus, it elevates collaboration, problem-solving, and business growth.

Choose among these four methods to improve your manufacturing company’s culture.

1. Coordinate Cross-Functional Team Exercises

Connect employees from different areas of your manufacturing company to promote creativity and teamwork.

  • Organize teams from different departments to play problem-solving games on a bimonthly basis.
  • One game might involve constructing the tallest standing skyscraper using spaghetti and tape.
  • These exercises foster collaboration among employees with different responsibilities.
  • The exercises break down functional silos to promote change.
  • Employees build problem-solving skills that can benefit the manufacturing environment.

2. Engage Employees in Process Improvement

Actively encourage employees to share ideas to improve operations.

  • Hold weekly, biweekly, and monthly meetings with different manufacturing teams.
  • Promote open discussion to develop and implement the ideas that can provide the most effective technical advances.
  • Aim to increase both job satisfaction and the bottom line.
  • One company developed a proprietary shop floor system that strengthened scheduling, workload distribution, and quality procedures.
  • The same company implemented a project that enabled a single operator to concurrently manage software imaging, testing, and a final configuration of over 600 custom hardware systems.

3. Innovate Your Change Campaign

Ask employees to suggest strategies to reduce costs as part of a profit-building campaign.

  • One company generated over $700,000 in savings and a 23% increase in net profits over the following 12 months.
  • The company created a video training library for new production employees that eliminated an estimated 280 hours of human training annually.
  • The same company created a new demand planning process that significantly increased early pay discounts and vendor rebates for system components.

4. Give Employees Control

Provide employees with limited control over certain aspects of the business.

  • One company encourages individual builders and assembly technicians to provide comments and suggest improvements for work instructions on the visual build documents developed 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 correct assembly.
  • Each change is tracked to ensure it can be traced back to the source.
  • Letting production team members recommend these changes shows confidence in employees’ abilities.
  • The process promotes a collaborative culture, increased efficiency, and reduced assembly errors.

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