You’re well on your way to becoming a lean manufacturer. You’ve been transparent with your employees and communicated your goals. You’ve helped the organization develop great habits and behaviors. Heck, you’ve even selected new software that will help to increase productivity and efficiency in the plant. You’re on top of the world.
Well, until you’re not.
You realize that even though you know this software will improve the plant, no one else seems to really get it. They’re not even using it.
It’s a frustrating scenario, and yet, this is likely a scenario many, many manufacturers have experienced before. So, what do you do when you’re in this situation? How do you get people engaged with and actively using the software?
It can be quite the challenge, but with the right plan in place, you can get your people on board.
The 3 W’s and Responding to Data Entry
How you get people engaged in the company, let alone with manufacturing software, starts with respect. It’s imperative that you have respect for your people and understand why they would be motivated to use software like SensrTrx in the first place. It goes back to the idea of the 3 W’s or “What’s in it for me?”
At this point, we probably sound like a broken record, but the very first step is getting your employees to understand what’s in it for them. It goes back to the 3 W’s Allison Greco frequently talks about. Yes, you’ve probably already done this step once before, but it never hurts to do it again. And again. And again.
1. Why are we making a change?
2. Why now?
3. What’s in it for me?
Employees really, really need to understand the purpose of this software and how they will benefit.
Then, once they’re on board and understand the benefit of the system, the next step is getting them to enter the data you need into the system. Easier said than done, right?
We get it. It’s not always easy to get people to enter data, but hey, it’s a hell of a lot harder to maintain an Excel spreadsheet or a clipboard (and it’s definitely not lean). At least this way, all of the data is accurately maintained and stored in the software. It’s in your best interest to really push the importance of entering data into the system.
If you’re talking about operators working on the lines and machines, you have to get them to understand why it’s important to enter this information, all of which circles back to the 3 W’s. No surprise there, right?
Once they start doing that, the way you keep that group engaged is by reacting to the data entered. If they’re adding in comments and putting in downtime, but they feel like supervisors or really anyone in management isn’t looking at this data, and actually working to help them and fix things, they’re going to get discouraged. They’re going to become unengaged. Employee experiences matter and this is one example of encouraging good experiences.
Acknowledging and responding to data entered by your front-line workers is vital.
You have to use the data that they’re collecting, and they have to understand and see that you’re actually using it. You have to react to it. This is the magical formula to keeping people engaged.
Context is Important
The other important thing in getting employees engaged with software like SensrTrx is that you have to provide information that is meaningful to them.
For example, if you just throw up an OEE number in front of an operator, it isn’t very meaningful because there isn’t any context. What does OEE indicate? Give them something they can use and understand to tell them how they’re doing today, right at the moment. This will also keep people engaged and interacting with the system because it directly affects their performance.
There has to be something in it for them (hey, this is another reference to those 3 W’s). Front-line employees want and need to understand if they’re going to complete work on time or if they’re having a good or bad day. They want to know when they should be asking for help.
They want to be engaged with the system once they understand the benefit.
A good example is if someone is 30 minutes behind. If they didn’t have a software system in front of them with contextualized data, they wouldn’t really be aware of the fact that they were behind schedule. But, if they’re actively engaged with a system like SensrTrx, numbers that provide meaningful context will tell the operator it’s time to raise their hand and ask for help or point out a problem on the line. If they know they’re going to be late and it’s going to affect someone downstream, it’s important to know this and acknowledge it.
Then, help is provided to increase performance or problems are solved in time to meet the production deadline.
Knowing where you stand at any given time is important.
Get insight into what’s happening in the plant with SensrTrx.
Make the Data Visual
The final piece of the puzzle relies on visual management. To drive home the idea of contextualized data that provides input to the operators and is both acknowledged and reacted to by management, visual tools commonly found in a visual factory are incredibly beneficial.
You need to make the data visual.
Scoreboards are a great asset. They show the data everywhere there is a scoreboard, whether that’s on the floor or in a breakroom. People know you’re looking at the data when it’s easy for everyone to see.
Then, you should use the data in daily standup meetings. This is just another way of proving you’re not only using the data but learning from what’s happening on the floor. Plus, daily production meetings provide immense benefit in keeping employees engaged in the organization as a whole, actively contributing to a healthy culture.
Further up the chain, the data collected has to provide valuable information, too. At the top of the ladder, the C-suite people need to see that this system is being used. And not only is it being used, but it’s encouraging engagement with employees in addition to providing valuable insight into potential areas for improvement. This not only provides them with the ability to lead the organization effectively but to also use the data at every step of the way, from the sensor to the boardroom.
Essentially, it has to be useful, otherwise, no one is going to quote “engage” with it.
Encourage the Plant to Engage and Use SensrTrx
This methodology of engagement incorporating the 3 W’s, contextualized data, and visual data management applies at every level of the organization, from the operators to the production supervisors to the C-suite. It’s all very similar in structure because, at the end of the day, it ties back to the 3 W’s and making sure data is used and reacted to.
That’s really it. It’s that simple.
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SensrTrx Manufacturing Productivity Software
SensrTrx is manufacturing productivity and analytics software that provides real-time visibility on the factory floor to help reduce downtime, improve on-time delivery, and increase profitability of manufacturing companies