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The importance of cross-functional considerations

In the world of manufacturing, the line from production floor workers to executives and c-suite is long and not always direct. You’re tasked with driving results and keeping the peace, during a pandemic when nothing is certain and everything is on the line. Efficiency is more important than ever. 

One of the most effective ways to streamline your processes is with transparency across your supply chain, especially among your front line workers. 

Decisions are often made at the top level, but there is always a person on the production floor that’s doing the work, and it’s easy to sometimes lose sight of that. It’s important to understand the end user that’s affected by decisions that are made and products that are ultimately developed upstream. From how the product and systems are designed to how the paperwork is written—there are many factors that go into this process, and it’s common for things to get lost or misinterpreted along the way. 

Those who are tasked with physical work of building and assembling the products should have input into how these decisions are made, and transparency into the reasons why. Their input is extremely valuable and their insight is important, as they work with the products more than anyone and can determine potential risks and setbacks. 

So how can you build transparency across all levels and get your production floor employees more involved? It’s all about building a cross-functional team and process, from the CEO down to those doing the actual work. 

Connect and engage

Put yourself in their shoes, literally. Make a point to walk out onto the production floor and talk to people. Get to know them and what their day-to-day looks like. Understanding how and why they work will help you determine ways to make their jobs easier. 

Develop and promote

When you are engaging with these folks, it will become clear who has potential to do more. Find out who has got good ideas. 

Listen and learn

Having relationships across your entire organization will enable you to be more in the know. Listen to their frustrations and figure out ways to help them. Things don’t get as lost in the shuffle, and if there is a problem or issue that comes about, it won’t be out of nowhere. It’s important for it to feel like the c-suite is on their team, and not a person in an office saying “do this” or “do that.” 

Get them involved

Utilize their input and take it seriously. Create focus groups for front line workers so they can review new products, processes and systems. Their feedback will help make the entire process more efficient and effective. 

Learn more about how we help manufacturing companies like yours achieve visibility from top to bottom.