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Production results - making it happen: setting the stage, knowing where you are, communicating, involving employees and recognizing achievements constitute the five steps that keep production up and costs down.

Production Results--Making It Happen Making it happen - No excuses! In today's turbulent world it is easy to come up with dozens of reasons why the results aren't there. Something always seems to change, putting a roadblock in the way of meeting goals. Successful men and women in leadership positions who get results overcome substantial obstacles time and time again by following a few simple action principles.

What does it take to make it happen? We've heard about planning, delegating, time management, tracking results, etc., but none of these directly affect the results themselves. What directly impacts the results is personal attention to: 1)setting the stage, 2)knowing where you are, 3)communicating, 4)involving employees and 5)recognizing achievements. Each of these actions can be viewed as links in a chain. The stronger the links, the better the chain of results.

Setting the Stage

It is the leader's responsibility to impress upon the organization a value system of the highest order, clearly communicate the organization's purpose and insure that employees understand the company's philosophy. This provides the employees with a known environment in which to work and guides them in their day-to-day efforts. More specifically, everyone should know the organization's values, purpose and philosophy as they relate to quality, production, safety and teamwork. Insuring the stage is set in these areas establishes the first link in the chain of good results.

Today, the consumer is more educated and has higher quality product expectations. Therefore, everyone in the organization should clearly understand the quality standards and work in partnership with management to achieve these standards. By personally paying attention to quality you firmly establish its importance. Insure everyone in the organization understands what the customer wants in the way of quality--and make sure the organization delivers what the customer wants.

Production results are generally the most visible numbers and generate the most enthusiasm. The leader should comment daily on the production results as compared to goal pace and/or business needs. However, be careful not to make increased production the only focus since production results have to fit with the rest of the business needs of inventory, batch sizes, use of capital and flexibility.

Safety results are too often ignored, but it has been my experience they figure heavily into the overall results in terms of lost production time and skills, employee morale and additional money spent for higher insurance premiums. The high speed equipment used for nonwovens and diaper production presents its own special danger that can be deadly if not managed safely. Expectations concerning safety start at the top. Treat safety as a priority in word and deed.

Teamwork gets to the heart of success in manufacturing. Groups of employees working together as teams produce superior results! Establish the expectation that teams are to work together and then reward good performance.

Knowing Where You Are

To be most productive you have to know where you are ... daily! After setting objectives and establishing goals, develop a set of measurable factors that can act as indicators of performance. For example, indicators of performance in diaper production could be percent efficiency and scrap, customer complaints, lost work injuries and methods savings. Monitor these indicators daily, use them to set priorities and take action as required.

Sitting in the office looking at the numbers won't tell the whole story. Spend time out on the production floor and make your own personal observations in each of the key results areas of quality, production, safety and teamwork. This activity provides invaluable information for knowing where you are and helps to develop a better "feel" for the operation.

Use the information gathered through hard number analysis and observations to determine if the organization is on track and check it against the stage that has been set. Do people know the company's mission? Are quality standards being followed? Is safety a priority? Does the organization act as a team? Once you know where you are, get the word out by communicating directly to the employees.


When out on the floor consciously use the time to reinforce values and matters of importance. "Touch" as many people in the operation as possible by using the time to set a standard, recognize an achievement, answer a "simple" question, pass a compliment and/or communicate general company information.

As another means of communication, I prefer to walk through the plant briskly and with a confident "air," knowing employees take note of their leader's behavior and tend to mirror it. If the management acts confidently and establishes a sense of urgency, so will the employees. It has been said, "How the leader goes, so goes the operation."

All these actions set the tone day-in and day-out and can accomplish the following:

*Communicate the right message

*Provide opportunities for employees to ask questions

*Break down the management/hourly barriers

*Create an environment for giving and receiving feedback

Involving Employees

Recognizing the need to get employees involved is easy. However, I rarely see it done effectively since many people do not realize it takes a thoroughly planned training effort to develop a variety of necessary skills such as listening, decision-making, priority setting and meeting leadership. And it is not a one day exercise. Bringing groups of employees into a room and throwing a lot of information at them periodically doesn't get them involved. It just breeds frustration and develops a bad taste for the notion of employee involvement. Unless properly trained, the employees do not know how to use the data to better themselves or their operation.

Using a task force made up of a diaper machine operator, line production control person and a first line manager can be very rewarding and I recommend it highly. However, unless the appropriate time is spent training and developing the task force members, the results will be disappointing.

Recognizing Achievement

Consistently recognizing good results keeps the organization energized. It positively reinforces the standards and goals while fulfulling a basic human need. It is the critical link in the chain of making results happen. Recognizing achievement is a positive act. It can be the act of patting someone on the back, giving praise, presenting an award, granting a pay raise, awarding a day off or simply buying a cup of coffee.

Our tendency is not to do much in the way of recognizing achievement until there is a significant improvement or the goal is finally reached. If we wait for the end result we miss a number of opportunities to accelerate the process. Provide timely feedback so smaller course corrections can be made. Doing so avoids large deviations and improves morale so people can build confidence in their results. It also telegraphs to the organization that their work is important enough for the "boss" to notice. The better people feel about themselves the better they will perform out on the production floor.

Recognizing achievement is the last link in the chain of making it happen and is the most gratifying. Providing positive reinforcement for good results does as much for the provider of the feedback as it does for the recipient. It sets a positive tone for the organization, indicates you know where you are, is an excellent communication vehicle and involves people.

Making It Happen - No Excuses

It takes personal involvement to make results happen. There is no substitute. As the leader of the organization you have to set the stage by letting people know what the standards are. People in all organizations look to the leader for his/her guidance on how things should be. Once the standards are set you have to monitor the results to see where you are.

Using indicators of performance is an effective way to keep tabs on current trends. Personally communicating to the organization keeps the messages consistent, upbeat and factual. People pay attention to what the leader says. Properly training and developing employees for effective involvement provides one of the best levers to catapult your organization into the next level of results. The effective use of many creative minds is far better than the use of only the staff. Finally, linking it all together by recognizing achievement gives you a powerful set of simple action principles to make it happen.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Rodman Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Ducote, Richard
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:column
Date:Jul 1, 1989
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