Tips to Improve the Hand Off Between Shifts

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More and more, production facilities operate across multiple shifts. This requires good coordination to ensure a smooth transition from one shift to the next.

Many companies will use written shift notes to communicate key highlights from the previous shift. The shift notes are inadequate for one major reason — most supervisors don’t spend much time sitting at their desk because they’re constantly on the move.

So much happens during an eight to twelve hour production shift that it is far more likely for the supervisor to remember highlights if the shift hand off includes a walk-through of the department with their relief supervisor.

View your shift hand off as a relay race with the goal being for your relief supervisor to run into fewer surprises during his or her shift.

One of our clients had a relay race mindset when they scheduled the relief supervisor to run the last hour of production for the previous shift. They found it reduced the frantic element of the shift hand off and made it less likely that unexpected surprises would derail the next production shift.

Here are three tips to improve the hand off between shifts in your production operation:

#1 Set up the next shift for success

Each production supervisor should view his or her goal to set up the next shift for success by making sure that the production areas are clean, the inventory is stocked up and the next shift can start up production smoothly.

#2 Arrive early

After a long production shift, most supervisors will be eager to get home; therefore, the relief supervisor should plan to show up fifteen to thirty minutes ahead of schedule.

Showing up at the last minute is putting too much pressure on the departing supervisor to stay late and it will likely cause a delay in starting production.

Your team members will also appreciate you as the leader having everything organized so they can get to work.

#3 Do a walk-through

Take the time to walk the department together with a supervisor from the previous shift. Make notes on any observations that will help you avoid any negative surprises, including any absenteeism call-ins, tooling or maintenance issues, materials issues, or production schedule changes.

Avoid the temptation to make negative comments about problems left by the previous production shift, until you’ve made sure that your shift leaves the next one set up for success.

Ensuring a smooth inter-shift hand off will help you be more successful as a supervisor.

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