Running a business that deals with manufacturing comes with many challenges. But what about the factors that come into housing an operation concurrently with office workers and factory workers? What is the leadership style you should be taking? Harsh but fair? Or having a friendly approach? You are working to maintain an operation that needs to be working at high speeds to meet demands. So, where do you begin when running a factory?
How Much Equipment Do You Need?
There are challenges with running a startup operation that specializes in manufacturing. The first one is knowing how much equipment you will need to purchase at the start. Having a startup business is difficult in its infancy as there are many bases that need to be covered. Knowing how much equipment you need to invest in, of course, depends on what type of business you have. But also, it is dependent on some workers about the demands at the start of the manufacturing operation. Starting off in a small startup business, it is advisable to keep your outgoing costs low. So having the amount of machinery to meet the volume of staff is the most conservative approach.
Specialist equipment comes at its own more expensive costs. So, investing in something like a CO2 laser cutter for sale for material cutting will be more expensive than items that are more typical in nature.
Happy Workers = Happy Company
It’s the age-old story. If your workers are happy, their productivity will increase. So, therefore, you can meet demands, etc. It goes much deeper than that. Reinforcing a team spirit work ethic helps to merge departments. There will always be issues with cliques, which is never a good way to reinforce a “we’re all in it together” approach. So you could focus on the General Motors approach of the three C’s: Common, Common, Common. In 1984 they did a reorganization of the company. They created two car groups. Both groups focused on unique products, engineering, tooling, and processing. The result was that billions of dollars were wasted on duplicating all of the tools. In 1994, they reverted to their original approach of Common, Common, Common. What does this teach us? That having one goal, on one team, is much more intuitive than splitting up a whole into the sum of its parts.
As the entrepreneur, what is your goal with the company, to have everyone on the same page? Or to have each cog working together to (hopefully) form a working machine?
So, encourage integration. Not just from a company standpoint, but from the perspective of the people. Work social functions, mixers, parties. They all go to reinforcing the team spirit of a company.
Factories rely on the constant rotation of product creation. This may mean enforcing a policy where staff needs to work long days. 12-hour shifts can give way to burnout and health issues. Do the tried and tested method of having workers do shift patterns of working four days on and having four days off. It’s an excellent way of avoiding health problems and exhaustion.
Use The Space Well
Having an intuition for “factory feng shui” (if you will) can help in the delicate first few months of a startup operation. Again, making the most of the staff integration, there is a reason why the factory line setup works so well. It makes for a linear approach that is easy to follow. People can see the beginning, middle and end of the product creation. If there are issues that can be pinpointed in the production line, they will be easier to see.
Manufacturing also needs to factor in the delivery and shipping of the items. Putting them at the end of a production line is logical and is the last piece of the manufacturing puzzle.
Do You Want An Open Door Policy Or Not?
As a business leader, what is your approach? Being a communicative boss may win over employees to you, but you have a business to run. Having an open door policy is great for many reasons. With staff feeling they can talk to you, you will encourage more communication between workers and managers. And not forgetting that in the age of mental health awareness and stress related illness being on the rise, you need to be flexible with workers that need assistance if it is affecting their performance. You will need to ask them what they need to be able to work better. Maybe they need time away. Maybe they can work from home in an admin capacity. Whatever the issue is, it is your responsibility as their employer to help them as best as you can.
Attention To Detail Is Very Important
Factory lines from the worker’s perspective can suffer from monotony and boredom. The impact of that is a poor product stemming from poor workmanship. This is why team discipline can be so effective. Encouraging team dependency instead of a “one man, one job” ethic will work so well for unity in a factory line scenario. You need to understand that human error will occur, as it is a fact of life. But learning to minimize the risk of human error is something you can prepare for. In Japan, before starting work, staff are encouraged to exercise. Doing calisthenics has its health benefits, but is it something that can be applied to western based working practices? You can always trial it, and measure the productivity rates before and after exercise. For some, it can be the jolt in the morning they may need to get a good day’s work done. Factories can suffer from being drab or miserable. Invigorating the atmosphere with a good feeling can do wonders for an environment that requires precision, focus, and attention to detail.
As a startup, a factory has more challenges than running an office. If you are running this single-handedly at the start, there are many hats to wear and plates to spin. So making sure the staff is focused, and working with your staff to encourage openness and a cohesive business will work for you.