Bottom Line: To increase employee productivity on the plant floor begins with creating a connected workforce equipped with the intelligence and insights needed to pivot production lines in real-time and still meet customer delivery dates with the highest quality products possible.
Improving employee productivity has more to do with the quality of data, information, and insights shared with them from manufacturing ERP software compared to any other factor. That’s one of the most valuable takeaways from a recent conference call with manufacturing CEOs. “Our most valuable lesson learned for having to operate remotely for the last few years is this – employee productivity soars when you work to create strong virtual and in-person teams and give them the real-time data and tools they need to do their jobs at scale,” said the CEO and founder of an aerospace products discrete manufacturer. Of course, giving employees the data they need to do their jobs electronically on the devices they’re a most expert with works. Real-time visibility and control across the shop floor is the goal all CEOs are striving towards today and they’re looking to manufacturing ERP software to provide it.
Where ERP Software Is Delivering Gains to Increase Employee Productivity
Re-configuring shop floors quickly to meet spiking demand for popular products while dialing back production volumes on less in-demand ones is a core strength manufacturers need today. Discrete and batch-processing-based manufacturers especially are grappling with this challenge. However, overcoming this challenge takes a combination of skilled employees and an ERP system that can flex from one manufacturing style to another.
When asked which ERP technologies deliver the greatest gains to employee productivity following training, CEOs revert to the human aspects first because they see how improving employees’ knowledge and skills scales fastest for their businesses. Shortening the onboarding time with more intuitive, easier-to-use manufacturing ERP software is a high priority. They want more touchscreen-based MES and Production Scheduling systems. Remote access ERP capabilities and 24/7 remote production monitoring are must-haves for all CEOs spoken with. “Remote ERP access based on Hosted Managed Services (HMS) and real-time production and process monitoring are table stakes for us; we would not have survived the last two years without those two systems,” the CEO of a custom plastics manufacturer says.
As the founder and CEO of a local plastics extrusion company that pays 100% tuition reimbursement for employees told me, “I’m convinced the more education, training, and certifications employees earn, the more they help us flex fast and stay on top; of a very turbulent market.“ He went on to say that “the cornerstone of employee productivity is embracing the concept of connected workers – and equipping them with real-time apps, tools, and systems to excel.” Every CEO I’ve spoken with on this issue brings up investing in employee training and development first, saying it’s the foundation they build to improve shop floor productivity.
Increasing employee productivity isn’t about getting people to work harder, faster, or longer hours. It’s about giving them the training, tools, and technologies to make the most use of their innate strengths and capabilities. As one wise CEO said during the conference call, “you can’t push excellence on someone, it has to come from within – it has to be their passion – and my job is to remove the roadblocks so they can excel in their work and know at the end of the day they’re making major contributions.” Well said. Manufacturing CEOs have a way of demystifying technologies down to the bare essentials. Doubling down on training to create connected teams who are experts in new technologies then giving them the tools they need is the way.