Supply Chain Productivity — How to Amp up Employee Engagement and Productivity Levels
When it comes to supply chain management, especially in the midst of a pandemic, employee engagement and productivity are inseparable. Engaged employees who feel respected and valued work harder and have better outputs. A productive supply chain automates rote and low-skill tasks, allowing employees to focus on skillful tasks instead. A strategy that boosts engagement will have a positive impact on efficiency and vice versa.
The Pros of Maximizing Productivity Levels and Employee Engagement
What is supply chain productivity?
At its simplest, it is maximizing the ratio of valuable outputs to inputs. There are a variety of ways to measure output, such as improved order processing, on-time delivery, employee health and safety, delivery costs per unit, defect rate, and more.
Businesses that seek efficiency improvements realize their supply chain is one area that can deliver value to customers and stakeholders. Your supply chain is malleable. When you improve productivity, for example, you increase your bottom line and hopefully, give your customers better products. Increasing employee engagement is another way. Engaged employees are more committed to their work and drive creative solutions to problems. They’re a vital part of your supply chain’s efficiency.
Better Quality Control
By improving procurement procedures and setting minimum standards for suppliers, you save time on quality control tasks. As another benefit, quality control gets even better. By creating a set of rules to judge suppliers on, you empower your quality control team to make smart decisions. It saves them time, so they can focus on finding new vendors that meet your standards.
Reduced Overhead Costs
Warehousing and manufacturing are cost centers. There is often a need for significant room to operate, leading to higher property costs. Production consumes a lot of energy which raises utility bills. By optimizing your supply chain and increasing productivity, you can find ways to deliver just the right number of products at the right time. This strategy saves on storage and manufacturing costs as well as reducing working capital requirements.
Lower Turnover Rates
In almost any industry and field, engaged employees outperform their disengaged colleagues. They are also happier in their work and more likely to stay at the same company for longer. Teams that are invested in their jobs have 59% less staff turnover. Employee retention has all sorts of benefits in the supply chain and logistics sector. It leads to less time training and a more experienced workforce. It also minimizes the costs of finding new talent, which can range from 16% to 21% of an employee’s annual salary. Low turnover can increase productivity even further.
Communication is one of the fastest and easiest ways to solve complex issues. It might seem obvious, but when you share information, you improve employee engagement and your team feels more cohesive. When a supply chain spans a large area — even the entire country — it’s easy for information to get lost. By increasing efficiency and engagement, you build better collaboration into your workforce. Employees in warehouses and factories have clear guidelines to follow, so they can work together when needed. Management can lead staff in new directions, and learn from their team to solve problems.
Six Ways to Amp up Supply Chain Productivity
To boost supply chain productivity, you must set measurable goals and devise plans for achieving them. The more you can standardize, the more you can reduce errors and variations. Employee training, quality control, transportation, and maintenance are all ripe for enhancing efficiency. A productivity strategy that focuses on increasing staff engagement and reducing unexpected downtime will set your supply chain up for success.
1. Ensure Proper Training
A workforce that feels prepared to succeed will be more productive and engaged. When your staff knows how to handle many scenarios, it leads to better decisions and safer work environments. While training is an investment, it translates into a more knowledgeable and capable staff on the floor. You’ll get happier, more engaged employees who work together and get things done.
It’s essential to get your new hires up to speed, especially in manufacturing. Improper handling of equipment can lead to injuries and damage to machinery. Ongoing professional development to supplement initial training can also be quite valuable. Your staff will benefit from the occasional refresher. It acts as a way to communicate productivity initiatives with the entire team. As you adjust your supply chain management strategy, the way you seek to enhance and measure productivity will shift along with it. With ongoing training, you can equip your staff to meet your goals.
How do you train your team successfully? The popularity of e-learning has made factory and warehouse training even more useful. In a supply chain that employs hundreds or even thousands of people, e-learning ensures consistency. You can create video scenarios, interactive quizzes, simulations, and even gamified training.
Once you develop the coursework, all your factories and warehouses can benefit from a consistent level of high-quality training. Much online learning can be more engaging than lectures and other in-person training methods. The bottom line — you want your staff to remember and apply more information.
2. Develop Procedural Standards
Besides standardized training, having defined procedures can improve efficiency. It’s another way you can ensure employees at every level in every department make the right decisions. Consider how people with various learning styles can approach the same task. Without clear direction on conventional processes, two employees can have drastic differences in technique.
When employees have a clear set of rules to follow, you can ensure a task gets done to the same standard every time. It reduces errors and variation in outcomes. It’s vital to set standard operating procedures in every department. You can streamline quality control, receiving, shift scheduling, facilities management, and shipping with a set of articulated processes.
Once you set procedural standards, remember to reevaluate often. Process improvement is ever-evolving. As your company grows, processes that once worked well can become less effective. As technology improves, you need to set new standards. It’s critical to involve the right people as you update procedural measures. The people who carry out your directions daily may see ways to improve that you might not think about.
3. Emphasize Effective Communication
Effective communication is key. It enhances productivity throughout your supply chain and engages your entire workforce. Weekly meetings can open the lines of communication between staff and management. By dedicating time to active listening and collaborative problem-solving, you can resolve issues more efficiently. By giving your team a voice in these conversations, you also increase engagement. Employees become more dedicated to increasing productivity when they have a hand in shaping solutions.
Communication starts at the top. The first step is to set expectations and convey them to staff adequately. When everyone has the same definition of success, your team can live up to promises. Allow employees to ask questions to further understanding.
Open communication between employees and management builds trust and engagement. Your team wants to feel respected and valued. You can give your employees that regard in the way you speak and in the way you listen. Be open to feedback and encourage it as a way to streamline production. You show your team their ideas are valuable, which is vital for engagement. You also gain access to other points of view, which can lead to innovative solutions.
4. Perform Routine Equipment Maintenance
Broken equipment is a productivity killer in transportation, factories, and warehouses. By prioritizing maintenance, you can have less downtime and fewer accidents. Even when machinery doesn’t appear to have any issues, it might be running inefficiently. By making sure every truck, machine, and tool is in peak condition, you can reduce fuel waste. It’s critical to think about equipment maintenance at every level of the supply chain.
- Transportation: You need reliable transportation to and from factories, warehouses, and retail locations. Keeping your vehicles in shape is the job of fleet maintenance managers. When you work with a third party to transport goods, you need to factor their maintenance practices into your quality control. You also need to ensure your fleet service department focuses on preventive maintenance. Any equipment that maintains your goods during shipment — such as refrigerators — needs regular service.
- Production: Approaches to production maintenance fall into two camps: reactive and proactive. The former involves waiting until equipment breaks down to fix or replace it. The latter strategy predicts failures before they occur and prioritizes prevention. The more your team can be proactive, the less unexpected downtime you’ll experience. You’ll also reduce your operating costs considerably.
- Warehousing: Warehouse maintenance typically focuses on highly visible items like forklifts and other handling equipment. You also have to maintain the warehouse building itself. Simple things like broken lightbulbs, unstable shelves, and wet floors can lead to product damage or staff injuries.
5. Invest in a Reliable Strapping System
One of the best ways to increase productivity in supply chains is to automate repetitive tasks. Machines can perform low-skill chores such as strapping quicker than humans, with fewer mistakes. They don’t get tired — especially when they have the highest-quality engineering and receive regular maintenance.
Strapping itself can be key to an efficient supply chain. By properly packaging goods, you experience less damage during distribution. Strapping is more practical than other packaging methods like stretch film. It uses less material and still keeps shipments secure.
By switching from manual strapping to an automated strapping system, you save your team lots of time and money. Manual strapping usually needs the attention of a small team. With an operator-assisted strapping machine, only one person has to oversee the system and perform some routine maintenance. When you more fully automate strapping, you can redirect your workers to other areas of production. Automating your strapping also allows labor to be used more productively by bringing more attention to skilled tasks. A strapping machine also produces less material waste than hand strapping. Additionally, a strapping machine system uses only as much strapping as is needed to secure the package and makes fewer errors.
A reliable strapping system doesn’t stop with the machine. You should also consider the kind of strapping material you utilize. Depending on the types of products you intend to secure, a variety of strap dimensions and break strength are available. By using the appropriate strapping products, you can make your distribution more efficient and reduce damage to shipped goods.
Innovative Strapping Solutions From EAM-Mosca
Like you, EAM-Mosca is committed to improving productivity. That’s why we never stop evolving our strapping machines for the logistics industry. We know secure strapping is crucial to your supply chain efficiency. From reducing damage to packages and reducing material waste, our reliable strapping systems will help you improve productivity at every level of your supply chain.
Our SoniXs® Sealing Technology is a generation ahead of other strapping solutions. The SoniXs® cost-saving welding system uses less material and requires less maintenance than other banding systems. Trust us to help you boost efficiency and protect your products. We also offer custom solutions to help you maximize output, no matter your industry. Contact us to let us know what your productivity goals are, and we can find the strapping system to help you achieve them.