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Workforce management strategies to eliminate production bottlenecks

One of the primary challenges of production line workforce management is to find and eliminate bottlenecks in production. Though you may be able to eliminate problem areas in a number of different ways, increasing productivity should always be the goal. How you handle employee problems, morale, and production goals are important factors to consider when eliminating bottlenecks. Here is some advice to help.


Do

Do review and improve your hiring practices

When you have skill gaps in your workforce, you are forced to offer additional training which is an unnecessary cost. In addition, when your employees are involved in training, they are not on the line and further slow down production. This is why it is vital to properly screen and hire workers who have the ability to operate at peak efficiency levels. Take a second look at your screening and hiring practices to ensure only top quality workers make the cut.

Do reorganize your work site's structure

While bottlenecks can occur due to subpar labor, it is important to acknowledge the existence of inherent flaws in the organizational structure of a worksite. To combat this, reorganize your workers by dividing the business process into steps or functions. Next, you can assign a minimum number of workers to each of the tasks, and then assign more workers to the tasks that are slowing down production. In regards to management, evaluate how many managers are actually required. When you do a large scale reorganization in this fashion, you will ensure management and your workers don’t feel as if they may be downsized.

Do invest in furthering your workforces potential

By investing in your employees with proper encouragement and additional training, you can help them reach their full potential in a positive manner. Stress how important it is to have every employee performing at his or her best ability to maximize productivity. Couple this with additional training that will further their skills and help develop new ones. Employees who see themselves as an important part of your organization will be more likely to operate at high performance levels and reduce the occurrence of production bottlenecks.

Do set realistic production goals

Production goals are nothing if they aren’t attainable. It is important to set proper production goals each day and require every manager to have full knowledge of what is required of his or her division. The managers must then relay the daily production goals to the employees, so that everyone from top to bottom will know exactly what is expected of them. By setting realistic production goals for a workforce that has the skills and knowledge of what is required, they will tend to work hard in meeting the expectations and stay clear of production bottlenecks.

Do acquire real-time workforce information

In order to make informed decisions, you must acquire the right information to base your decisions on. While production bottlenecks might seem simple on the surface, the problem might be much deeper than what appears. Stay on top of all workforce operations by acquiring real-time information that produces the best data to help make the most informed decision possible. Once you have all the data at your fingertips, then you will be in a position to shift, change, or swap workers who can help remedy production bottlenecks.


Don't

Do not publicly humiliate your workforce

While production bottlenecks can hurt the bottom line, publicly humiliating workers who might be the source of the problem will get you nowhere. Even further, you may find yourself in the middle of a legal situation that is good for no one. In the event of identifying a bottleneck, remain calm and work to find the source of the problem.

Do not attempt to correct bottlenecks without data

On the surface, production bottlenecks may seem simple to solve. However, without the appropriate data you can cause more harm than good. Acquire your data and make sure it is up to date for the best picture of your workforce. By having the most recent data on hand, you can now make informed decisions and have the data to back it up.

Do not let supervisors ignore warning signs

Production bottlenecks become a problem when they go unnoticed. If early actions are swiftly taken, the damage will be less severe if at all. This is why it’s vital to ensure proper training for each supervisor in order for you to be able to take early action and eliminate the bottleneck before it affects your bottom line. Remember that proper training is not just beneficial for your workforce, but also for those who supervise it.

Do not rely solely on cross-training

Cross-training has been hailed as a “silver bullet” to reduce production bottlenecks. While it’s a highly used workforce solution that commonly has no extra expense, it can not be the sole go to for your bottleneck woes. High quality workers at your facility might be versatile, but stay focused on ensuring your workers are focused on one specific job to perform at peak efficiency levels. Make sure that if you cross-train workers do float from one place to another, you have another solid solution in the mix as insurance.


Summary
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While there are numerous ways to avoid bottlenecks, it is very likely you will encounter one or two. Stay calm and know that with a clear mind and set plan, eliminating the bottleneck is not only possible but could end up better your workforce in the long run. Following these do’s and don'ts when you encounter a production bottleneck and you will find the proper way to refocus your workforce for maximum productivity.


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Louis FloryPresident

Louis Flory is the President for Effex Management Solutions, a company specializing in partnering with clients who require a large volume, contingent workforce. He began his career in the temporary staffing industry and after a short period, he ...

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