Productivity should always be high on the agenda of any business leader. It is particularly important for those that own industrial businesses to know how to maintain a high level of productivity as these are industries that can struggle. Industrial operations are often highly complex with multiple processes, large teams, and a delicate balance. This means that you need to maintain productivity to achieve high levels of business success and prevent costly downtime. So, what can you do to maintain high levels of productivity in an industrial business with complex operations? This guide will take you through some of the best strategies that should yield positive results.
Set Individual, Team, & Business Goals
Businesses in every industry will always benefit from goal setting. Goal setting keeps everyone working towards the same target. Plus, goals can be a highly effective way to keep your team motivated (more on this later). It is helpful to set individual, team, and business goals in the short, medium, and long term so that you can always keep everyone moving forward and keep people focused. Be sure to track these goals and celebrate as a team when any goal has been achieved. The key to successful goal setting is creating goals that are challenging, yet attainable, so you are pushing people but still able to reap the rewards of attaining a goal - a major morale booster.
Break Down Each Process
As mentioned in the intro, industrial businesses can struggle when it comes to productivity because operations are often so complex with many different processes. This means that the productivity of the overall operation can suffer greatly, even with just one seemingly minor bottleneck in one process. This is why it is important to take the time to break each process down and analyze each task within. You can then identify any issues and find ways to streamline your processes. You might be surprised at how even a seemingly small change can have a big impact on the overall productivity of the business. In addition to this, streamlining processes can often make work a lot easier for your team as well.
Provide Staff Training
If you want to maximize productivity, you need to ensure that your team knows how to perform their roles to a high standard. For an industrial business, the employees are the driving force and will have the biggest impact on the productivity of the operation. Therefore, you want to provide training for each staff member so that they can excel in their role and work with confidence and unsupervised each day (this then gives managers more time to focus on other areas). It is also important to encourage staff to ask questions or come forward if they are ever unsure.
Keep Employees Motivated
Leading on from this, you must also be able to keep your team motivated. It is not much help having a team of highly trained staff if they come into work each day feeling unmotivated and lethargic, so it is vital that managers can get and keep their team members motivated. In addition to goal setting, there are several effective ways to keep your team motivated:
- Positive feedback
- Employee appreciation
- Competitive pay
- Desirable benefits
- Team building
- Social events
- Career development opportunities
Improve Employee Well-Being
Closely linked to this is employee well-being. You need to have a team of employees that are happy and have a good work-life balance if you are to maintain high levels of productivity. There has been a much greater emphasis placed on employee well-being in the last few years, so you want to take steps to ensure that your employees are happy and healthy at work. Harvard Business Review found that people with strong mental health are as much as23% more productive, while those that are physically healthy are 17% more productive. Here are some of the most effective ways to improve employee well-being:
- Gym memberships/onsite fitness equipment
- Mental health days
- Health screenings
- Health, dental and vision insurance
- Paid time off
- Stress management training
- Creating a positive workplace culture
- Reasonable work hours
- Flexible work arrangements
- Healthy food and drink options at work
Business owners must also prioritize safety, and this is not just from a productivity standpoint. Industrial businesses can be dangerous with many different hazards that need to be identified and managed so that you can provide a safe work environment for your team. Accidents and injuries can be severe, life-changing, and even fatal, so you want to do everything that you can to protect your employees. In addition to the obvious ethical (and legal) importance of prioritizing safety, it will also help you to maintain high levels of productivity. This is because accidents can bring everything to a grinding halt and result in downtime. Not only this, but you will find that employee confidence and morale can drop across the entire operation following any kind of incident. It will depend on the type of operation you run, but a few of the best ways to improve safety include:
- First-aid training
- Safety policies
- Regular safety inspections
- Employee reporting of accidents and near misses
- Investigating incidents
Improve Internal Comms
Poor internal comms is often one of the main reasons that industrial businesses struggle with productivity and overall success. When you have a large workforce, it is vital that communication is simple and streamlined so that people can easily stay on the same page and work efficiently as one unit. You want to improve internal comms by encouraging open communication between all employees and this is something that can be led by example by management. In addition to this, you also want to utilize tech to improve internal comms with software and tools that can keep everyone always updated and on the same page, no matter where they are located.
Encourage Idea Sharing
A smart business owner will recognize the value of encouraging idea-sharing among employees. By encouraging staff to share ideas, you can often find new and better solutions to issues in the operation, and this can enhance productivity. In addition to bringing new viewpoints and ideas to the table, idea sharing is also valuable because it will help staff feel valued and it can break down barriers between employees and management. Make sure that it is easy for staff to share ideas and ensure that they always get credit when their idea is implemented.
It is important to put measures in place to boost productivity, but you also need to monitor your progress. This is where KPIs can be useful as you can use these to track progress and determine if any areas need to be fine-tuned to achieve greater levels of success. Therefore, you want to establish useful KPIs and then review these regularly and use data to make informed decisions that will help to boost productivity.
Utilize the Latest Tech
Technology plays a major role in industrial settings these days. It will depend on your type of business, but there are always technologies that can be implemented that can boost productivity (and bring a range of other benefits). A few technologies that are transforming industrial businesses right now include:
- Internet of Things
- Cloud computing
- Virtual and augmented reality
It can be hard to keep up with the latest tech when there are constantly new developments, so it is important to make a concerted effort to keep up with the latest tech. This will then allow you to make positive changes that can boost the business and help you to stay ahead of the curve. Crucially, avoid â€œshiny object syndromeâ€ and focus on the areas of the business that need improving first. Additionally, be patient and give staff the support that they need when implementing new tech, as it can often be disruptive and there may be a few teething issues before you start to reap the benefits.
Maintain & Clean Equipment
Most industrial businesses rely very heavily on machinery and equipment every day. This means that this equipment often goes through a lot of wear and tear, which can then lead to damage that can bring everything to a halt (and cost money to fix/repair). Therefore, you want to make the maintenance and cleaning of equipment a priority. This will help you to keep everything in the best condition and allow you to maintain high levels of productivity. Caustic tank cleaning and neutralization is a good example as this is a key task in many different industries requiring the use of sodium hydroxide. You will want to find a caustic tank cleaning specialist that can provide an integrated solution and provide all the key services required, including titration, chemical supply, waste removal, and a tank restart.
The information in this guide should prove to be useful and help you to improve productivity levels in any industrial business. In turn, this should help you to achieve higher levels of success with your business.