Do you ever walk around your factory floor and take a good look at the walls? Imagine working an 8 hour or even 12 hour shift looking at them. This is more time than anybody would spend in their living room, yet our living rooms are nearly always neatly decorated and adorned by ornaments and pictures that remind of the things we love.
Taking this a little further, when we buy new furniture for our living room we will often re-visit the décor and adjust to ensure everything matches and the harmony is preserved. Do we apply the same theory in our factories? Think about the last time you installed a new line, was any time spent on the surrounding areas? Coriolis has visited hundreds of businesses and we rarely observe any efforts to make such improvements. So what do we see?…..Out of date information, visuals printed before the word laser and jet even existed, documents signed by retired folk, tired and peeling posters and the infamous unused performance board! (A subject we will come back too….next month)
We then move on to the line where photocopied paperwork sheets are strewn all over the line, scraps of paper used for key information, all of which your operators are expected to complete accurately. Let’s apply the same theory in the home. When you open the cupboard is all the crockery nearly organised into sets? Mine is, this means I then empty the dishwasher and fill the cupboard up exactly the same way each time. Now what would you do if the cupboard had everything just dumped in it? Probably the same as the operators do on the line, try their best but get discouraged when they see no one else bothering.
This all costs money to fix? Yes, if you want to install automated data capture and move to a paperless factory which is the equivalent of a dishwasher that automatically warehouses your crockery. No, just a little bit of time and focus could add the same value at a fraction of the price.
Three quick ideas are below:
- New paperwork printed in colour where the layout has been considered in relation to the ease of use will drive completion and compliance. Try it – it works!
- Complete a “wall walk” to remove all out of date information and refresh all old material. You can get waterproof laminates printed for a small percentage of the historical costs including performance boards.
- Set up a visual management team – create ownership for what the place looks like, a bit like my better half does around our home.
In summary, we spend a large percentage of our lives in our working environments. If we really want to get the best from our people, consider if the state of the places we expect them to work matches our expectation of their performance.
Written by Paul Eastwood, Director
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