Even in the 21st century when automation and digital disruption are all the rage, manufacturing productivity is still a people business. It’s not just about software, management theories, or even logic — people are a hybrid of reason and emotion and managing to optimize productivity and other metrics is as much about how people feel, as it is about what and how they think.
On the heels of the global pandemic comes yet another challenge for manufacturers to face: The coming of the “smart factory”. The factory that requires you to upskill your workers just to stay afloat and will leave you and your employees behind if you don’t start planning now. Right now.
This is an original article from JFF’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning.
What Is Work-Based Learning?
Work-based learning refers to meaningful training that takes place at work, usually under the direction of employer coaches and managers, and has been shown to produce high value for both companies and workers.
2020 highlighted the resiliency and significance of our manufacturers. Illinois manufacturers have been on the forefront as heroes during challenging times, contributing to efforts to become leaders in global competitiveness. Manufacturing leaders understand that in times of uncertainty, it is much better to navigate the unknown together with other forward-thinking leaders who are finding innovative ways to solve current challenges and build a stronger future.
Dedicated to cultivating ideas and sharing knowledge that can help Illinois manufacturers solve challenges and thrive through uncertainty, IMEC launched Manufacturing Leader Buzz Sessions over the summer. Buzz
Written by Chicago Commons.
As workplaces continue to evolve during this unprecedented public health crisis, IMEC continues to help with strategies and creative systems to solve the challenges businesses face.
To that end, one of the unique challenges that many employers and employees face in this moment is childcare options. With so many parents trying to balance working remotely with facilitating their children’s virtual schooling and other developmental needs, it can feel like an endless struggle to find the right path forward.
Lean manufacturing uses many lean tools to improve production and efficiency by getting the most out of each resource. The goal of lean manufacturing is to find better ways to do things – requiring less effort, less time, and fewer resources.
This is an original article by Ken Voytek, Chief Economist at NIST MEP.
I’ve made it my personal crusade to keep a focus on the fundamental importance of productivity to manufacturers, to the MEP Program, to the MEP Centers that do the daily work of helping small manufacturers boost their performance. It may seem strange to read a post about productivity given the current environment, but it remains important to both national economic and business success. Indeed, productivity will be even more critical as we recover from the current health and economic crisis. Currently, there is significant excess capacity of both capital and labor that we can reengage to help the economy grow faster and return to full employment and capacity utilization of plants as equipment is more fully used. In his 2004 book The Power of Productivity, William Lewis argues the real solution is not necessarily more capital or working smarter (although these things certainly help), but rather how a company organizes and deploys its capital and labor.
What is the post-Covid 19 workplace going to look like? How will companies thrive? In some ways, it could be a very different world from as recently as 2019; or it could be more of the same as the past decade or two. Or the past century. The march of productivity has been going on for a very long time.
In times of uncertainty, it is best to focus on the things we can control. So as organizations face a slowdown in incoming orders or employee absenteeism, now is the time to address those nagging equipment issues. Companies can stay productive and have confidence that when things get back to normal, they will be ready since they’ve used this time to complete equipment overhauls / preventative maintenance projects. As with any project, following a structured procedure is key. Follow the steps below to ensure an efficient and productive project.