4 Key Skills to Develop and Manage Production Efficiently and Effectively

This article is primarily intended for manufacturing managers, but these skills are also essential for performing in other industries. In addition to suggesting ways to improve your skills as a manager, we share some tips for developing them in your everyday work. 

Change management 

In the modern era, where technology is evolving at a very fast pace, managers are increasingly exposed to change. Some integrate new assets such as machinery and equipment or new work methods, labor and optimized or better adapted processes into the organization. Manufacturing companies must operate through a jostled, regulated industry with several gradual and radical changes. Corporate organizational culture has also undergone several changes in recent years. There is no choice but to manage change to keep the business competitive. 

You must: 

  • Anticipate, understand, manage concerns and fears;
  • Knowing how to communicate the change and the human, organizational and technical impacts it can bring;
  • Involve the employees concerned and create a relationship of trust.

How to perfect this aptitude? 

  • Get out of your comfort zone both personally and professionally;
  • Read books about change management. For example, DavidAutissier’sMethod of Change Management book proposes a structured approach to driving change through a very interesting business model. 
  • Take training courses or attend conferences such as the third edition of theUsine4.0 Conference in Montreal. http://www.lesaffaires.com/evenements/conferences/usine-40/600981 

Interpersonal communication 

Communication is essential in the plant to secure all operations, meet deadlines, meet objectives and ensure resource efficiency. The supervisor or factory manager acts as a conductor. He must set the tempo (speed of execution), guide and coordinate the work of the employees. 

You must: 

  • Communicate, negotiate and maintain relationships of trust with different stakeholders;
  • Be attentive and available;
  • Manageconflicts; 

How to perfect this aptitude? 

  • Think about asking questions when uncertain and demonstrate your listening skills;
  • Take examples from leaders you admire and pay attention to their speeches;
  • Get out of your comfort zone and start discussions with people you are not used to talking about;
  • Undergo corporate communication training for managers.

Leadership 

Factory supervisors need leadership to mobilize their team towards achieving goals and to implement changes in the business successfully. Motivating employees and creating a sense of belonging is key to boosting performance. In some large manufacturing companies, employees feel like little cogs or numbers and it is often this way of dealing with the workforce that creates a high turnover rate. That’s why it’s essential to make them feel like great team players and push them to excel. To be a good leader, one must also be able to show the benefits that all can derive if goals are achieved. 

You must: 

  • Delegate and assign tasks according to the strengths of each;
  • Create the best conditions to encourage initiatives;
  • Create a motivating and collaborative work environment that will be conducive to performance;
  • Provide training, development and continuing education;
  • Implement a structure to measure and improve operations.

How to perfect this aptitude? 

  • Practice your speech, intonation and gestures. Enthusiasm and dynamism are very important to motivate employees in the factory. They need to be made to understand that it is nice to work and take on challenges;
  • Be humble and recognize your mistakes;
  • Analyze the mistakes you made to not repeat them;
  • Establish contact with more experienced leaders, a coach or mentor and learn from their best practices.

Problem solving 

As a manager, you must be able to recognize and solve problems of different natures in a stable or emergency state. To achieve this, the human side of problem solving is essential. You have every interest in involving some people in solving a problem. 

You must: 

  • Create a climate of constructive exchanges;
  • Have a good sense of observation: pay attention to all stages of the process;
  • Identify, evaluate and prioritize risks;
  • Check the usefulness and relevance of the information;
  • Really understand the situation in all its facets beforeacting;
  • Regularly clean up the information collected and set aside unnecessary data;
  • Be an agent of change and a promoter of continuous improvement.

How to perfect this aptitude? 

  • Learn and observe daily key performance, security and compliance elements. Ensure the writing of reports to measure these elements;
  • Develop a continuous improvement approach and learn about industry best practices;
  • Make a list of all the problems encountered in the past. You will be more alert if a problem resurfaces;
  • Prepare meetings to identify the problem to be solved and to find solutions.

For some, managing the production or the entire plant may be easier and for others it is a big challenge. At GCC, we believe that some skills are developing, and that skills development is possible. However, when the manager does not have the knowledge, the time or the resources needed to carry out a project, he can call on specialized external professionals. Groupe Clermont Conseil has a team of engineers in industrial engineering and project managers who specialize in the following areas: 

  • Operational excellence
  • Supply
  • Industrialization 4.0
  • The amelioration keeps going

Do not hesitate to contact us for an evaluation of your needs. 

Sources: 

Lise FreveHow to solve problems in business? Transcontinental Publishing inc. and The Editions of the Fondation de l’entrepreneurship, Canada, 2006, 218 pages 

Business. 3rd edition of the Plant 4.0 conference. Montreal. http://www.lesaffaires.com/evenements/conferences/usine-40/600981