There are many ways to get more productivity out of your process. One such way is using measurements. Simply put, if you don’t give your team a target, then how can you expect them to know what you want them to do?
At FlowVision, we like to measure something called flowrate, and we often show that as an hourly target. On a transplant line, for example, the flowrate would be the hourly target that the line should be producing to meet your customer’s demand. If you need to product 800 flats per day, and you work 8 hours per day, then your target is simply 100 flats per hour.
On sticking and transplanting lines, we would typically set up boards for each line. Whether electronic or manual, we want to measure the hourly rate per day. In harvesting and shipping implementations, we would have different boards to measure the harvesting crew, the processing of the plants, shopping/picking in the supermarket, truck loading and sometimes prepping of tags, UPCs, etc. These boards show the planned output, per person (as shown in the picture above) or per team, respectively, per hour.
Real-time Performance Tracking
The flowrate boards also serve another purpose. Not only do we give the employees a target, but we also measure them against that target. Every hour, someone is responsible for recording how many units were completed in that hour compared to the target. This gives everyone, employees and management, a great view into how well their processes are performing. Most importantly, it allows the employees to be involved in managing their processes. In the end, flowrate boards serve two main purposes: to motivate the employees and to give management a quick and easy view into how well the teams are performing. It is real-time information, as opposed to waiting until the end of the day to see how the team did.
Give People a Target
Most employees want to do right by their employers. If you give them a target, most will work hard to achieve that target. As a management tool, if you can see that an area is behind early in the day you have time to react. You are a manufacturing facility, so “things” happen. Reacting to these issues as they occur will allow the team to successfully achieve their goal. If you wait until the end of the day to see that you didn’t meet the output you wanted, then overtime, late orders, etc. are the only solutions you have left.