Every business, regardless of industry, wants to get the most out of its workers for every hour they're on the clock, but that's often something that's far more easily said than done. In a manufacturing setting, you just can't count on workers to maximize their productivity in one very specific role for an entire work day, let alone the entirety of a week or month.
So how do you get employees to manage time more effectively? We have a few suggestions that could go a long way for your manufacturing business:
1) Make sure they take full advantage of their breaks
Obviously, it is federal law that workers have a certain number of breaks throughout the day, but in today's working world, too many are times when an employee feels they have to keep doing some of their tasks, according to Apple Rubber. The "working lunch," in particular, has become altogether common. But this is the kind of thing that can lead to burnout and, over time, actually make workers less effective. Make sure employees know they should be fully walking away from work stations and taking 15 or 30 minutes to relax and unwind from work concerns.
2) Use the 5S system
The "five S" system is vital to ensuring your workers are always doing something productive even if they're not specifically working on job tasks, according to Mitre Finch. These S-words include Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. What each one may mean under your roof can vary, but make sure your workers always have a clear understanding of what it would mean for them to do each of these five things.
That way, they're making the most of every minute they spend on the clock, without necessarily pushing themselves on any one task.
3) Make sure your efforts are on point — from the top down
Of course, when you're upholding the ideals of having workers follow the 5S system, that also requires managers to be more involved in how efficiently your operations run, Mitre Finch said. They should never take the attitude that they can "set it and forget it" when it comes to what each "S" means to each worker; everyone's role is different and therefore the idea of "sustaining" can vary widely in your facility. This is something that should change regularly so workers are always putting their best foot forward and making the most of their time.
4) Prioritize planning as part of their jobs
Finally, it's important to make sure workers know the value of that old carpenter's rule of thumb: Measure twice, cut once, according to Training Industry. In this business, obviously, that's more akin to planning what their day or week is going to look like, and checking their way down that list as time goes on. This helps them not only see through everything they need to handle, but also stay on the right course every step of the way and keep them motivated to tackle that next line item.