Effective Shop Floor Management (SFM) is a critical success factor for any production plant as well as in indirect areas e.g., the development department. SFM is not just a continuous improvement tool, but a leadership method that focuses on direct interaction between managers and employees. It thus not only put focus on optimizing processes to improve product quality, increase efficiency and reduce operating costs. It also considers the relationship between manager and employee. Thereby, the manager acts as a coach/mentor and should motivate, inform as well as qualify the employees further.
In this blog post, we will discuss the six key leadership tasks in Shop Floor Management that facilitates effective SFM practices.
1. Key performance indicators & Visualization
To track progress on the Shop Floor it is important to define and visualize key performance indicators. These metrics, also known as key performance indicators (KPIs), can measure various aspects of production, such as production rate, scrap rate, downtime, and more.
By visualizing the KPIs, management and the team on the Shop Floor can see quickly where things are going well and where there is a need for improvement. Visualization tools such as analog SFM boards, information boards, and digital Shop Floor Dashboards are effective ways to make the progress and status of production transparent to everyone involved.
2. Daily recurring communication in the cascade
Communication is an essential element of effective Shop Floor Management. Daily recurring communication allows information to be shared quickly and efficiently with the areas and people involved. This can be done through daily Shop Floor meetings.
Cascade communication allows information to be disseminated from management down to the Shop Floor level, while also providing feedback and information from the Shop Floor level back up. This promotes open and transparent communication throughout the organization.
3. Prioritization of top topics
Leaders must be able to identify and prioritize the most important issues. This includes, among other things, understanding the impact of issues on productivity, quality, and safety, and selecting the issues that have the greatest impact on organizational performance.
Here, prioritization plays a critical role in using resources effectively and ensuring that critical issues are addressed first. It also enables focused problem solving and promotes continuous improvement.
4. Go & See (leading on-site)
The practice of "Go & See" is an important leadership task in Shop Floor Management. It involves regularly being at the point of value creation to see and understand processes firsthand. This provides the opportunity to interact with team members on site, understand their challenges and work together to find solutions.
Leading on-site also fosters the relationship between the leader and the employees. It also creates a sense of belonging and mutual understanding.
Problems and error conditions are inevitable in any production process. Therefore, the ability to solve problems in a structured and sustainable way is a key competence in Shop Floor Management. This can be achieved by using proven problem-solving methods such as PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) and the A3 Report.
The A3 Report is a method that originated in the Toyota Production System. It is an effective tool for problem solving and communication. Named after the A3 paper size on which the entire process is presented, the A3 Report involves identifying as well as defining the problem, analyzing the current situation, developing and implementing solutions, verifying the results and standardizing the successfully implemented improvements.
Structured problem-solving makes it possible to identify the causes of problems, develop solutions and verify their effectiveness. It also fosters a culture of continuous improvement in which every team member is involved in the problem-solving process and acquires problem-solving skills.
6. Process confirmation
Process confirmation ensures that the defined processes and standards are adhered to. The aim is, to regularly check whether work is being carried out in accordance with the defined procedures and guidelines. This helps to identify deviations at an early stage and initiate corrective measures before they lead to major problems.
Process confirmation can be achieved by using T-Cards, regular audits, reviews and observations. It promotes both compliance with standards and continuous process improvement.
Conclusion: The six leadership tasks in Shop Floor Management provide a systematic approach to increasing productivity and efficiency. By applying them consistently, organizations can improve the quality of their products, reduce operating costs, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.