Advice and Assistance for Manufacturers
In many ways, Labor Day marks the beginning of a new year. Of course school starts up again after summer recess, but September can also be a time to initiate or re-start improvement activities at work.
Most companies are reluctant to start anything new during the summer, and understandably so. Summer is a time for evening and weekend activities with family, and a time of year when many employees take at least some of their annual vacation time. The last four months of the year offer a good opportunity to focus in on extra activities. Most people do not take vacations during these four months and the holidays are well defined and affect everyone equally so they can be planned around more easily.
Several things come to mind, when thinking about how to make the most of this high productivity season. Performance improvement projects of any kind can be initiated in September and, with the proper scope and reasonable goals, can be completed by year-end.
October is one of two months that seem to be the peaks of conference activity. APICS, for example, schedules its International Conference in October and many software providers and analyst groups hold their conventions and seminars in May and October (plus or minus a month). These meetings offer good opportunities to spend your budgeted training funds profitably. In a few days, attendees can learn a lot about the state-of-the-industry, new developments in management theory and techniques, advancements in systems, software and equipment, and perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and experiences with their peers in other companies that are facing the same challenges that your company is dealing with (or will be soon).
This is also a good time to do some employee skills enhancement – on-site training and education to bring a whole group of employees up a level in their knowledge of inventory management, production control, supply chain management, and other important topics. Whether it’s classes that lead to APICS or other certification, training specific to the equipment or software that is used in your plant, or a custom-designed class to address a specific area of interest, on-site classes can be very cost-effective and can deliver a real boost to productivity and control.
While you may not want to go through the process of making “new year’s resolutions” for the Labor Day season, it would be valuable to take a few moments to think about how you can use the new season as an opportunity to make some improvements that could well deliver concrete results before the end of the calendar year and beyond.