There are many different ways to boost staff morale, and if you do a google search like this https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=how+to+boost+factory+staff+morale you will get 1000’s of ideas, but we want to cover 4 really important ones that are less easily found on google. These ideas are not ground-breaking, but they can have a profound impact on your staff morale, factory output and productivity.
The 4 ideas in this blog are proven to boost staff morale and keep the pace up. They are not just ideas that we have heard of, but ideas that we have seen very successfully in action and are proven to work!
Factory staff are often working relatively long hours on repetitive tasks that quickly become mind numbing and boring. As the boredom sets in, the pace unintentionally slows and very quickly the production output can settle to a pace that is a lot less efficient and effective than it could be. Also, when staff are bored and only half concentrating on the job at hand, mistakes start to happen, which can then result in product defects or health and safety issues etc.
The 4 Solutions:
- Reduce The Walking
It a basic lean principal to reduce motion in a work cell and production area to save wasted time in walking/moving. However, there is a further significance to reducing the walking that is not often talked about, and this is the fact that it also reduces unnecessary socialising. When staff have to walk off from the production area to get something, pass a few other staff members on the way and have a quick chat, before you know it 5 wasted minutes have passed. If there is one of these chats every 50 minutes that is reducing your productivity by 10%! I know it sounds too simple and obvious to put in a blog, but just try it, look at all the areas a production worker has to walk to during the day and try to reduce the walking to a minimum. You will reduce the chats and make significant productivity increases.
- Daily Improvements And Suggestions
Employee engagement is always a buzzword, and building an ownership mentality amongst all staff reaps dividends in building staff morale and productivity. How do you do this though? There is one simple method that yields large results and that is to ask all of your staff to make daily improvements or improvement suggestions. Don’t limit them to their own work area, let them make suggestions and improvements anywhere in the business; you will be amazed at what ideas come out of these sessions and how much this builds employee engagement! Ideally you need to include this in your morning huddle or start of shift stand up meeting. Simply ask all members of the team to say what improvement they made yesterday or what suggestions they have for improvements. Try and encourage staff to name something simple every day but don’t hound them if they miss a day or two. What you will find is that staff start taking ownership of improving the business and driving better results, they get motivation from seeing their improvements work and enjoy seeing management taking up their suggestions. The boost in culture from one 3 minute extra addition to your daily huddle will yield great results! This also works in the office environment as well; here at Granta we have a whole team huddle every day and some of the suggestions that have come out of these sessions are incredible!
- Scoreboards Tracking A Directly Influenceable Target
Everyone loves to know if they are winning or not! If you watch kids playing football on the village green you can easily tell if they are keeping score or not just by how much energy is going into the game. Maybe you haven’t related your production line and workers to kids playing football on the village green before but in reality there is not much difference: your staff will be far more motivated with a live scoreboard than without one. There is one really important thing about the score that is being counted though and this is that the score has to be directly influenceable by the team players. If the score is not achievable, and not directly influenceable by them, it won’t have the same motivation. For example; if you had a factory with 100 staff and you had a dashboard showing total production output, although this is great and staff would be interested, it is not a good score to count. If one of those staff members works harder, or even a small team of 10 works harder, the score is not going to move much, if at all, and they can’t influence it enough. To drive real results you would need to have an individual score per person or small team so that when they put the extra effort in they get immediate results showing on the scoreboard. As the score goes up and they can see their success on the scoreboard, the pace speeds up and production increases. It is also important to make sure that your staff are involved with setting the targets. If they set their own targets they then take ownership and drive themselves. If the targets are forced on them then there won’t be the same buy-in or motivation to meet targets.
- Pacing Your Staff With Automation
This is a very simple concept, if staff can work at their own pace, the pace will by default vary and will most likely slow down throughout the day. This is not intentional, it is just a fact of human nature, but it does not mean that staff are unable to work at a faster pace either. The simple solution for this is to put an automated process in the production line which will then set the pace for the workers. This could be as simple as a slow moving conveyor that moves products past staff at a set pace. The other option is to automate a part of the process that can be automated very simply and cheaply, e.g. feeding product, labelling, vision inspection, applying glue or almost anything in the production process that can be used to set the pace required. Once the pace is set by the automated process, staff happily pace themselves to the automation. This technique alone can easily increase production throughput by 20%+.
Try any or all of these 4 ideas and they will have a profound impact on staff morale and production throughput. Don’t just trust us, try it for yourself, the ideas are simple and easy to implement. If you want any further help and advice on implementing automated palletising, get in touch and we will be glad to help.