CLAREMORE, Okla. — Recently I attended a conference where the speaker discussed his successful history of developing plants, products and people in multiple locations around the world.
It struck me that no matter if you are running a laundry, manufacturing a product, providing business services or any other type of business, there are some very common building blocks that are a foundation for success.
Let’s review a few of these today and see how they can apply to your business.
Reliability: Keeping your equipment and processes producing at peak performance levels is key to your level of success. If you can’t produce, or your processes are not repeatable and predictable, you’re not going to service your customers at a level that will encourage them to return.
This particular topic can fill volumes with opportunities and activities, so it is important that you evaluate specific activities that apply directly to your business.
Don’t limit your “reliability” work to just maintenance activities—it applies to every process in every department and can take your operation to levels you’ve never before experienced.
Safety: Work hard at keeping your employees safe and injury-free. Work hard to teach, train and develop a safe-work and safety leadership culture among all the employees in your business.
Observing their work behavior, providing positive feedback, addressing shortfalls and continually supporting efforts to engage everyone in the workplace will pay off in spades over the short and long term.
As with reliability, this is an area that takes leadership and hard work, organization and time, so plan accordingly and staff up to cover the requirements.
Environmental Compliance: We’re all familiar with the horror stories of environmental issues caused by employees (and sometimes leaders) who take chances and make bad decisions when it comes to wastewater discharge and emissions.
Having your company name in the paper for an environmental incursion is no fun.
Make sure your team is well-trained, understands the requirements, and that reliable, safe processes are in place to prevent an issue.
Empower your employees to stop a process when they see something going awry.
Staffing/Training/Development: We’ve had columns on this topic before, but it bears repeating. Success in any operation is all about the people.
Hire right, train right, take care of them and your employees will provide a solid foundation for your business.
Ergonomics: This is an area in our industry that for many years was overlooked. The last several years have seen a focus placed on this area due to its impact on our businesses.
Poor workstation design, poor process design, and inadequate material handling processes and equipment—all lead to potentially costly injuries and job dissatisfaction.
Employees will always find workarounds in situations where there is a poor ergonomic condition, and this will lead to potential reliability issues, injuries, fires, productivity issues and tear down other building blocks you worked hard to establish.
Engaging expert assistance from those in the ergonomic field will allow you to identify areas of concern.
Building improved processes and work practices from this input will provide for smoother more productive and safer performance.
These are just a few of the primary “building blocks” that need attention in our industry. Each is a full effort but they also overlap in many areas, and it is a real journey to implement successful programs in all of them.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].