How To Increase Manufacturing Operating Performance Through Your Front Line Leaders

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How do you increase your manufacturing operating performance through your frontline leaders? 

A common myth is that your frontline leaders should already know how to extract maximum operating performance through their team members. The reality is that they have not really thought through how to get results from people. They have not had the proper training.

Increasing Manufacturing Operating Performance

Remember that your frontline leaders interact with 80% of your workforce, but they only get a small fraction of the development time and energy that you invest in your leadership team.  You need to look at the ways you could focus on to increase manufacturing operating performance.

Suggestion #1: Make Sure That Everyone Understands What “Winning” Looks Like

We assume that everyone knows what success is going to be each day. By reviewing your KPIs and metrics, you can see the amount of green, yellow, and red indicators as to whether you are hitting your targets, but do your people really understand what winning is? If they do not, they are going to assume that just by putting in their 8,10 or 12 hours in a shift that it is equal to winning. Unfortunately, that is not really what the metric is to achieve that. Increasing operating performance also means that people need to know what that looks like.

One of our clients  had a piece of equipment that was rated to go at 13 units per minute, but it was only running at 10. It is important to remember that sometimes people run equipment at a certain rate because that seems to be the rate that works well. It does not create many problems. But why is there a 30% gap between what the machine is running at now and what it is technically capable of? 

In this case they pointed out to the team members that the 30% gap was there, and then the machine started to run at 30% more. Productivity increased almost immediately! It may sound absurd, but sometimes people are running the equipment below its capability and nobody is even pointing it out to them. It might be an easy win.
Increasing operating performance also means that people need to know what that looks like. Click To Tweet

Suggestion #2: Collaborate Instead Of Compete

One of the things that changed is how we now measure growth, by using metrics and KPIs. The problem is that if we do not build a context of understanding around it, then your team will assume they are to compare this metric to another metric. Almost as though it must be a competition. It is only then that you find that different departments will compete against each other. In some cases, managers, because they may be more competitive themselves, think that by pitting these teams against each other it will drive up results. 

With the exception of a small number of very competitive people, most of the time your team members would prefer to collaborate instead of compete. 

The best approach is to make sure that if you are using those metrics, that you are using them to find out:

Try and make sure that the different shifts actually embrace those same success principles and put them into action. It is only then you will find that collaboration generates better operating performance.

Suggestion #3: Invest In Training

We do not just mean external training like what we would provide to your team when you bring us in. We mean investing in the training of your team members on how they can do their jobs more effectively.

Many workplaces have been running short of people, either because of absenteeism caused by COVID or just having trouble filling vacancies. That has gotten us away from investing in the training and development of our teams on how to do their jobs well. 

Finding any way in your organization to put the people with the right trainers, to teach them the job competencies that they need, should have an immediate positive impact on your operating performance. 

Remember, putting someone with an experienced operator may not be the recipe for success, if that person tends to use their negative attitudes while they are training them up on the job. Select your trainers carefully, then invest in the training of your people, and watch their capabilities grow.
Putting someone with an experienced operator may not be the recipe for success, if that person tends to use their negative attitudes while they are training them up on the job. Click To Tweet

How You Can Continue Winning

Once you have incorporated those three suggestions for improving your manufacturing operating performance, defining what winning looks like, collaborating instead of competing, and then investing in training, you are going to want to increase the skillsets of your leaders in many other ways. 

That is where our Front Line Leadership program comes in. We have six great core topics that will help improve the capability, the confidence and the consistency of your frontline supervisors, team leaders, and managers. You can review all those great topics on our website at uniquedevelopment.com. 

If you do not see something that is an exact fit but you like our philosophy and our method of teaching, then please reach out and have a conversation with us to see how we could find a solution to meet the specific needs of your organization.

My team and I really look forward to working with you on increasing the capability, the confidence and the consistency in your frontline leaders.