What Makes an Efficient Manufacturing Supervisor

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What makes an efficient manufacturing supervisor? 

We need to look at efficiency, not necessarily production efficiency on the floor, but your efficiency as a front line leader. What is it that makes an efficient manufacturing supervisor? 

One misconception is that supervisors are most efficient when they multi-task and constantly switch from one task to another in reaction mode. 

The fact is that most efficient manufacturing supervisors will have a game plan for their day. They tend to chunk tasks to execute them effectively and efficiently.

Does Planning Hurt Efficiency? 

During one of the classes, a supervisor mentioned that he thought his planful nature hurt his efficiency. Another participant in the class said that they felt their scattered reactionary approach was more efficient. 

After a lot of discussions, we determined that, generally, the consensus was that we needed to have a game plan in a day. While making time for the fact that there would be inevitable interruptions and distractions. 

Here are a few tips for your quest to become a more efficient manufacturing supervisor.

Tip #1: Plan Your Day In Chunks

Some activities you perform as a supervisor are better done at the shift’s beginning or end. Then others can be scattered in the middle. If you chunk your time that way, you can ensure that the priority activities are allocated to the best time of day to ensure those are completed.

Tip #2: Identify Your Top Priority For The Day, Or Maybe Up To Three Priorities For The Day 

You may be wondering, why only one or three?

It is because many days will have lots of distractions and interruptions, and you might be lucky to achieve one important priority. It is essential to go into your day knowing, “Here is the one thing I want to get done.” 

Now, if you have a little more confidence that you will get beyond that number one priority, maybe expand your list to the two or three biggest priorities for the day. At least then, if you have a day that gets away from you, you can still say that you achieved your number one, number two, and number three priorities for the day.

Tip #3: Stay Flexible 

When we say to stay flexible, it is unrealistic if you take our advice and immediately try to plan every minute of your day. We have asked supervisors, “How much of your day do you have under your control, and how much of your day is spent reacting to things that happen, whether it is people not showing up for work or machines having downtime or having a shortage of materials?”

The answer, of course, will depend, but many supervisors will say that they have to keep a third to half of their day for the unexpected. If that is the case, then stay flexible and only plan for a third to half of your day to be under your control and recognize that the rest will be in reaction mode.

Continue Your Efficiency Training

Taking these three tips, you can increase your efficiency as a manufacturing supervisor, and then you will want to work on some of your other leadership attributes. 

Of course, that is where we come into play.

You have the option of having us come into your organization to train groups of people together or have enrolments in our public workshops. We also offer on-site training to deliver in-person, or you are using our state-of-the-art virtual training studio.

Another option is our Front Line Leadership “On-Demand” program. This course is a great alternative you can take at your own pace, especially good if one or two people need to increase their leadership skills.

You can find all the information on our website at uniquedevelopment.com. 

Like most of our client relationships, it all starts with a conversation, so I look forward to connecting with you to see how we can support your organization in achieving leadership excellence.