Written by: Tony Popowski
California manufacturers should have two important goals in 2013: increase sales and save on excess costs. Throughout the year, manufacturers will look for innovative ways to accomplish these goals. This may include implementing initiatives to improve operational efficiencies and becoming more lean, or growing sales through increasing exports or developing new product lines.
While improvement projects are imperative to help your company grow in 2013, it’s critical to make sure your planned changes are sustained. What’s the point of investing resources if they don’t better your company for the long-term?
A key component of ensuring the results of your improvement initiatives are sustained is securing employee buy-in. When you make technical changes to grow, it’s just as important that your team understands and embraces the importance of all the planned changes. Furthermore, employees need to have buy-in from the start of a project(s).
Companies sometimes overlook the importance of this. Management’s thinking is that they don’t want to waste their staff’s time: “The planned changes won’t impact how they do their jobs for a while… we’ll prep them at a later date. I need them to focus on sustaining production levels right now.”
While it’s understandable that management is concerned with maintaining a normal flow of production, it’s critical to address this issue early-on. If employees don’t have buy-in from the start of a project(s) or understand why it’s so important to improve, they don’t see the value in the change. This leads to less motivation for participating in projects and carrying out the changes, decreasing your chances of sustainability.
If you are transforming operations to help your company grow, there is a known communication methodology known as the ADKAR Model that can help. The model provides a guide to managers looking to improve employee buy-in:
- Awareness – Highlight to your workforce the need for improvements. Demonstrate what needs to change to make the company better so they understand “why” the plans are being formulated.
- Desire – Give your staff motivation for improvements. Make them understand how the improvements will impact them in the short-term and long-term. Connect everything back to their positions and help them see how the changes will benefit them.
- Knowledge – This involves training staff on how to make the improvements. It may include workshops or sessions to provide the necessary information for growth.
- Ability – Employees are guided into making the changes and are evaluated accordingly.
- Reinforcement – Consistent communication and ongoing support is critical to sustainability.
This concept of addressing organizational, technical and behavioral changes all in one process is often referred to as Change Management within the manufacturing community. CMTC has a special methodology on addressing these issues for manufacturers. Click here for more information.
2013 will be a pivotal year for California’s manufacturers. With American manufacturing making a comeback, now is the time to implement initiatives that will help you improve efficiencies and grow sales. If you would like more assistance, click here to see a list of our services.