Food Industry Article on Process. Let’s Not Forget About the People!

Food Engineering Magazine’s September 4 article makes interesting reading on the current state of food manufacturing and understandably, the focus is on process, not people.  However, consider this:
Gallup surveys reveal that 70% of American workers are not engaged in their work, citing specific performance factors that are negatively affected by low levels of engagement.  Many of which are impacting throughput, customer service,OEE and more.

Gallup’s performance outcomes include the impact employee engagement has on: customer ratings, profitability, productivity, turnover (employee retention), safety incidents, shrinkage, and product quality (defects).

Post automation requires a greater need to engage people’s minds and hearts, as a single employee now has a far greater influence — both constructive and destructive — over the flow and success of operations than they had a generation ago. That trend is set to continue as more powerful technology is applied to existing and new processes.

Engaged employees are more likely to maintain food safety measures through attention to process and procedure.

Employees who are not engaged are less inclined to pay attention to safety issues, customer interactions and product defect rates. They are also less likely to invest their ‘discretionary effort’ into their job. Discretionary effort is that ‘extra mile’ engaged employees go for customers, their fellow colleagues, and their employer. That alone can have a profound influence on productivity, as you can see in this supporting article.

A commitment to internal communications?

Lean Manufacturing requires a commitment to significantly improved internal communicationsaccording to the Lean Enterprise Institute, yet nowhere in the article was an investment in communications tools noted.

Sustainability is becoming a requirement in order to attract and retain younger generations, particularly the Millennials — those who entered the workforce post 2000 — who make decisions on where to work based on the company culture more than the pay and benefits.  Specifically, according to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report, the factors that motivated millennial employees to pursue a job opportunity, in order of importance, are:

  1. What the company specifically does, sells or produces
  2. The company’s work culture
  3. The company’s involvement with causes
  4. The company’s office environment
  5. The company’s diversity and HR awards

These are just a few of the ideas that tie back to improved performance through a focus on people rather than simply process.

Here’s hoping for the day when that line of thinking leads the way.

To Bold Moves!

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