Data-Driven Measurable Interactive Communication Hallmark of Best-Practice Manufacturers

Manufacturing organizations are producing products that often require an extraordinary amount of engineering knowledge, experience, and problem-solving.  With that single focus, namely making a great product as efficiently as possible, it is often a challenge to tell the “story of the day.”  Active content is critical to the success of all manufacturing companies.

Employees show up to work every day; customers are shipped product every day, SOPs (standard operating procedures) are developed, lean initiatives undertaken.  New customers, new employees, new products are all NEWS.

It represents a huge challenge (in an engineering manufacturing mindset in design and development of products) to think about telling the news of the company.  Every day a manufacturing plant floor manager acknowledges there is a miscommunication, or at the very least under-communication.  Those moments are the beginning of an urgent condition, which left untreated, will spell the demise of a manufacturing organization.  Gossip, fear, misunderstandings, rumors are exactly the type of communication that can plague a manufacturing enterprise.

Finding a proactive and disciplined way to communicate to (and with) employees promotes understanding and curiosity at all levels of the organization.  Operations managers, shift managers, safety and quality managers often have data-driven best-practice results with interactive communication.  Bringing information to life (rather than tucked away in a dusty binder) allows employees to be inspired and perform their best work.  Technologies (especially among younger workers who are savvy information users) must entice employees to interact and align work behavior to the organizational goals.

Because most manufacturers have a lean orientation (whether formally executed as lean, lean Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints) data is vital to prove the efficacy of any program or process.  Digital metrics are fine as long as they simplify understanding.  Dashboards are often overwhelming and confusing.  Performance metrics must be understood for everyone to guarantee continuous process improvement.

All this story-of-the-day means nothing if the messages are not being received.  Tracking what information is getting through to the manufacturing team members is critical for internal communication.  Measuring click and dwell time of interaction drives data to correlate areas of improvement and professional development skills training required.

Sharing the company information (people, products, customers, and stopping gossip) results in fully engaged employees.  A fully engaged employee results in improved performance via quantifiable and measurable data.

The best manufacturers move beyond problem-solving.  In the words of Albert Einstein, “Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”

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