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7 Strategies for Improving Manufacturing Workforce Engagement 

Around the world, worker engagement has been suffering. In the U.S., just 32% of employees are engaged, whereas globally, just 23% are.

A recent report from Innovation Research Interchange, Improving Workforce Morale and Motivation, offers strategies manufacturers and other industry companies can put to use. Companies that deploy connected workforce solutions can amplify these gains by creating a dynamic flywheel of engagement and process improvement.

Worker-centric solutions help end the us-versus-them top-down era of digital transformation initiatives. Instead of pushing new processes and tools on staff, such tools awaken frontline workers’ initiative, collaboration, and friendly competition, enabling teams to realize their full potential.

The report offers four strategies to put to work.

  1. Managers can listen and learn from workers: When managers are connected to teams, they learn about production problems first-hand, see workers’ struggles, and can pitch in with ideas and resources when they need support.

    “With QAD Redzone, when I go out on the floor, I already have the information I need about the challenges our teams are experiencing. I can communicate with them anywhere and anytime, at my desk, on the floor, and at home, using the mobile app,” says Meg Post, CEO, Haviland Enterprises, Inc.
  2. Empower mid-level managers to communicate effectively: Not everyone is a natural communicator. QAD Redzone helps by providing structure to daily huddles and making communication informal – over chats and updates on the app.

3. Encouraging innovation: Workers want to contribute to their company’s growth by proposing new ideas and seeing them put to work. Even the simplest ideas can add value.

Jason Hetcher, a production team member of ASR Group Yonkers, a sugar refinery, has contributed winning ideas, including rearranging work steps to increase efficiency and adding a valve to the dust collector to prevent spillage when it is emptied. This one fix saved an hour of cleanup and line downtime per line. 

4. Engaging the whole organization in innovation: Everyone can contribute to making processes better and, by so doing, lift organizational performance.

Nissin Foods USA, which makes Japanese noodles for the US market, deployed QAD Redzone to troubleshoot bottlenecks across multiple production lines. Using overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) to evaluate production across lines consistently, hiring and cross-training staff, and making process fixes, Nissin Foods increased production capacity by 30% without making Capex investments.

Strategies not covered in the report but ones we believe are essential are:

  1. Providing defined career paths: Frontline workers want to progress their careers. More than 70% have applied for promotions. QAD Redzone surfaces opportunities and creates them. Workers can use digital skills matrices to develop skills their companies need and lead initiatives, such as deploying the QAD Redzone Productivity, Compliance, Reliability, and Learning modules.

2. Promoting from within: Managers can use QAD Redzone to help identify the most engaged and innovative staff. Promoting from within also provides teams with role models, motivation, and assurance that there is a place for them at the company long-term. 

Jessica Hernandez, who started as a temporary worker at Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels, a leading snack company, is now a training lead. She has created hundreds of training documents, PMs, standards, and plays in QAD Redzone, helping her teammates learn equipment and processes and solve common problems. As just one example, Dot’s was building displays and sleeves incorrectly for large retail customers, creating hours of rework and costing thousands of dollars. Now, the team has 80 standards to guide their work.

3. Create a culture of celebration: Workers can feel misused when they aren’t recognized or celebrated for their accomplishments. QAD Redzone provides an easy way for managers to recognize good ideas or when employees out-deliver. Managers can offer a digital high-five or a good catch. They can also offer recognition and rewards at meetings, like quarterly town halls, motivating employees to stay engaged.

Make your manufacturing company one that engages and retains workers.

When you deploy QAD Redzone, you’ll see employee creativity and problem-solving soar.

Learn more about QAD Redzone.

2023 Productivity Benchmark Report

1,000 Factories’ Productivity Data: The Largest Dataset of Its Kind ...

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