Episode 154: Transcript

Transformational Manufacturing: The Impact of Open Dialogue Across the Plant

Speaker 0 00:00:04 Make It Right. The manufacturing podcast Welcome to make it right. I’m Janet Eastman. Last week on episode 153, manufacturing, executive Lionel Moss shared how he has transformed a number of plants by dissecting the manufacturing company’s purpose and aligning that purpose and the individuals to team goals that transform the success of the company. In part two of our conversation, we focus on the power of dialogue. Kevin Snook picks up the conversation.
Speaker 1 00:00:36 You’ve kind of got this business vision, and then you’ve got a roadmap, like let’s say a three-year roadmap to get there. You’ve got to focus on this year and then the priorities for this year. But all of the time you’re thinking about how do we build the people capability to deliver against that. And then you’ve got down into the very tech, the tactical side, which is, you know, we have these boards on the line where people can write up the issues. They’ve got the managers or the team flow to the work where necessary, where they need additional cross-department support to, to get things fixed. I think that that whole, you you’ve mapped it out very clearly for people to see the way that the operation runs forward and how dependent it is on those people. Now, where you have, I think this year has been a very unique year and there’s been a lot of challenges with COVID and other things.
Speaker 1 00:01:28 And, and you mentioned turnover, and I know that in many of the companies I’m working with, they’re seeing a higher, higher levels of turnover this year. Um, how do you then make sure that that onboarding process is smooth? So not only are we attracting the right talent, but as soon as the right talent gets in through the door, we’re able to really get them, uh, up to an effective level of contribution. Even it’s a very good question. So, so we, we, in that situation, we’ve been in that situation for a while now. Um, so it’s important to, to take a step back and, um, and, and pace the, the demand such that we can actually deliver. So commitment to the customer and being, you know, honest and open to the customer. It’s important to understand, you know, what capacity we have to deliver against. Um, we look at different shifts and we assign, you know, different technologies, different shifts, where we require a specific skill. So enhance, we ramp up the capability curve pretty fast, but I will say, um, the one thing that has helped us ahead of this pandemic has been the fact that we set basic standards for every unit of transformation on the line and within our batching processes. So it’s important to have those it’s called work instructions combined with job AIDS, hang it’s very helpful. So reorganizing
Speaker 2 00:03:00 Some, uh, flowing leadership to work, uh, and really flowing some leadership from one line to a different line, kind of mix up the skill, some. So all these are basic tactics and things to do, uh, that, you know, I’m sure there are many other ideas out there what folk are doing today, but this is what we’re doing. Um, I can assure you, I’ve seen that our third shift is not the Fiverr Fiverr anymore during this time, which one can imagine. And hence we just reorganized which lines we run when we’ve also leveraged a lot of temporary employees, which is helpful. And even the standard work authorization of, of tasks becomes really important, uh, much more time of leadership present presence on the floor. Uh, and then we’ve also implemented, uh, sort of, uh, an array of audits, uh, basic audits, which is not just, you know, a checklist, but it’s enabling the organization to, to have things in place to feel comfortable. You know, we’ve had, uh, kind of show you on some union since we’ve got the segregation by lot these welding clear curtains, just to make people feel good about it. We’ve gone into a mode as a business to take 15 minutes start and end of every shift and just invest in sanitization and people feel comfortable. So a lot of practices in view of retention and breeding, we have good results and no issue with people last for that matter. And we’ve been really fortunate, I must say. Um,
Speaker 1 00:04:38 Yeah, that’s great. I know that it has been a challenge, but I liked the fact that you’re, you’re also looking at how can we maybe simplify or, um, or rearrange the work processes to make things a little bit more simple so that people can pick it up a little bit faster and that idea around, you know, ideally we all want everybody to know what to do and to do the right things at the right time. But there are times when I think it’s a little bit more stressed that we have to allow people. I basically give them permission to take the line down, to do certain things too, to make sure that we maintain that stability.
Speaker 2 00:05:15 Yeah. And, and, you know, Kevin, the other thing is, uh, we are, it’s important that we deliver results per shift by day by week. But I can tell you, I wouldn’t say we, we took the pressure of deliverables in that manner, but, you know, it’s, we understand that there’s, there was some reduction in Quebec in the two, but, uh, we expect that. And I think it’s important not to put that pressure from the get go. It’s not all about give me the numbers. It’s we want this to study the boat number with that’s consistent and, and, you know, we want that individual to remain with the business and hopefully make a career out of it. And one day I have a really good story to tell at work and at home, you know, so
Speaker 3 00:06:02 I’m curious laterally, you you’ve used this word deliberate so many times in this conversation, and I think that’s, that’s a really great word to think about in manufacturing. Well, in, in all of our lives, you have a deliberate purpose. And I liked what you’ve said, where you, you set that goal, that three-year goal that’s out there. And then you tell people, this is where we’re going, because I have, you know, just like from crazy TV shows and whatever, you know, you have that idea about manufacturing, where people are just doing the same thing over and over again. And it’s just like, there’s, it’s, there’s nothing else there’s nothing to, to go for. Right. But what you’ve said now you’re deliberately working towards goals and everybody knows that that goal is there. So every day they come to work, they climb that little step and they are making an advancement every single day of their career. And I think that’s hugely powerful to a worker. How have you seen your employees embrace that process?
Speaker 2 00:07:08 It’s always been very, very well received. I must say. Um, it, it takes somewhat longer in some operations. If I think of, you know, my past three roles or positions I’ve had, um, anywhere between nine and two year up to two years, I’ve seen the change. So as long as two years, one would say why that long, but it just is what it is. It’s the mix of the organization, the makeup, the, the walks of life, the ending, the complexity, uh, you know, what brought that business day at the right, at which he did. So, so, you know, there’s, there’s so much change every business uniquely deals with currently one, one half to understand that, um, not to feel, you know, it’s not necessarily obstacles or resistance. People just need to understand, and it helped to understand, um, to get there. So I see it, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s, there are folk that instantaneously just want to do something different immediately and there are others in the organization.
Speaker 2 00:08:19 That’s yeah. You know, it’s tried this before and heard that before somewhat. Uh, that’s why it’s so, so important to maintain intact quantization. Um, and as I will, for example, the business, I mean now a phenomenal business growing at double digit growth rates. I mean, we building another plan just from yellow when it’s really going well. And it is just exciting and we’re giving, providing so much employment. Uh, so everyone wins, but one example yeah. Is coming in as looking at one single value stream that has a significant return on investment. Significant really good margin is taking some of these packaged some of these capabilities spending time out there, uh, actually joining up with the teams, uh, demonstrating that it actually can transform their results and people would be in a completely different place. I mean, I have one of the line leader, they, for example, on this one value stream has been with the business from the start.
Speaker 2 00:09:31 So, and, and not too far from retirement, honestly. And, and, and, and yet goes the best results, breakthrough results in no time, uh, consistent. It’s not going to be stained because we did, we piecemealed specifics to demonstrate the building blocks of what’s possible. And I mean, the buy in is, is, is, is almost instantaneous at that moment on onwards. Now what I see everywhere, and I see this too, for some reason, we put so much energy and effort behind it. And then for some reason, the results plateau some because now you have larger audience and the larger organization, people are excited. You get a lot of buy-in, um, there’s different, you know, uh, energy behind execution at that moment in time. So you plateau some, but ultimately it, it reverts, it takes up the trend again. And then honestly, um, it can go, it can grow double digit from there going forward, uh, holding that strategic approach, um, and daily, that makes sense that transforms not just, you know, the product through innovation, the process technology through investment, but the time investment in people and making sure it’s a win-win.
Speaker 2 00:10:50 And that’s what I, what I’ve seen. Yeah. In view of people accepting that change and in to, to get on with it. I mean, just doing a leadership training. Um, so months ago I’ve had leaders circle back to the insight to me, you know, some post-racial leadership training, um, that was so impactful. I, I got to explain myself to my PA and we had some breakout sessions and it was so impactful to my personal life and in business, just thank you now. And, and honestly, um, I just want to do so much more. I just, you know, that was just a start of getting leaders ready, how to lead the change, going forward, how to be there for the organization day in, day out, and what does it take? And they have to find themselves, they all add, um, you’ll be amazed how many people I interview and people I meet and talk to, and that they, that they trying to go down career path and ultimately, you know, I can figure and understand clearly the individual needs to be possibly in some, some technical path or possibly in this direction, or they’re trying to find where they contribute the most.
Speaker 2 00:12:10 And sometimes that, that dialogue and stratification, when we get that granular and open and honest and specific to, to a candidate as to what we do and what it’s all about, it’s amazing what, what results we can get one day that they fill a position where they feel they can be successful and they know they can be successful. They confident, and they’re excited about it. Um, not we’ve interviewed for a role in up in exactly that role, which is fortunate. We have so many roles with this new plant. We both think it’s possible. Uh, and it’s amazing. There’s always a move movement and I love job rotation. I think it it’s, it’s, it’s an enabler for this specific situation where, you know, folk are in one role and, you know, they don’t see how they can enhance themselves to improve themselves. And they might not, they might have different strengths to bring to the, to the table that might not be old.
Speaker 1 00:13:11 Great. When you see that the impact that getting better results has on somebody, you just mentioned that, you know, the bacon, they can accelerate the results. So now they can’t do enough. They want to be able to continue eating. And that’s because there is a vacancy, the direct results of what they’re doing every day on the impact that it’s having on the business. And I think that connection back to the real business purpose is critical.
Speaker 2 00:13:36 It is, and, and reinforcing that, you know, we’ve had all employee meetings up until, you know, before the pandemic and I cannot wait to get back and it’ll be soon enough, we’ll start sharing those messages and linkage to the organization. It is so, so important. Um, now with managers and extended leadership team connecting all the time, like this is important. And honestly, even if you can, if you guide the organization, like we’re going to another level of setting objectives, meaning we’re getting a little bit into give, some gets, you might recall some of that, but having dialogue as to what should happen between functions, um, there’s just so much, so much dialogue to have, and even one other best practice that that are started, which was really helpful to get leaders there pretty fast was just, you know, like the, the directors or the leaders of every function into a, in a room and talk about what we would like to see more, to do to be more effective just as collectively.
Speaker 2 00:14:39 And, and you’d be amazed of the feedback, open feedback and discussion that within minutes evolve within that forum where there’s feedback. And sometimes I’m thinking, okay, this discussion is going to be probably going to get hot in here, who knows, but it’s very, very respect for inventory, uh, um, collaborative because they understand this one goal now, and we’ve got to figure things out, but that, that dialogue, that sort of, you know, those few minutes, uh, carries so much weight in the, of helping functional leaders to both relationship, to actually ensure you don’t have the silo for forming. Um, over time, you know, when you,
Speaker 3 00:15:27 When, when you actually open up a dialogue that way, Lionel you actually open up an idea factory don’t you like all of a sudden you have all of these people who have all of these ideas and you have no idea what one of those ideas can possibly do for your business until given the opportunity to have those people make those contributions.
Speaker 2 00:15:50 Exactly. And I kind of find that the roles themselves, you know, it’s, uh, uh, I’ve seen engineering director talk to supply chain director and, uh, on capacity and there’s a miss. And ultimately the learning is there’s something lacking in our system, uh, that would help them guide them to actually, you know, come to a really good outcome or decision as to what the work should look like. Whereas if ahead of that, you would have the one function believing something should be different from another, another function or department. And that opens a dialogue and then suddenly to your point, ideas are created and, and, and, and flowing. And so, you know, it’s, it’s always positive, but most important for me, I see the word relationship development, there’s this task relation thing ongoing. And sometimes we are so high task because of pressure and expectations, which we should actually translate into meaningful work for people. And, um, you know, once they have the right connection peer to peer, that they can actually talk about what should work different for better results. It, it goes, well, it goes a lot better. I’ll put it that way.
Speaker 3 00:17:12 So I just want to be mindful of your time. Kevin, do you have any more questions for Lionel?
Speaker 2 00:17:17 Well, one of the things that stood out to me, you talked about the results accelerating and then plateau ring a little bit. I’ve seen that a lot. And to me, it reminds me of it’s like the kitchen drawer analogy. You know, you realize that your kitchen drawer is full of a lot of crap and you need a, you need to get it cleared out. So you have this one day where you’re clearing everything out. You’re trying to figure out exactly. What’s supposed to be in there and what’s not supposed to be in there and you just get one of everything and you’ve used up so much energy getting it right. Then you so relieved that you stepped back. And then two weeks later, it’s just got everything thrown back in there again. Right. I think the part that people miss out on, and that’s why we plateau is that we don’t put the main sentence standards in place.
Speaker 2 00:18:05 We don’t maintain what we’ve got because we’ve, we’ve spent a lot already to you already. And that, that glamorous part of improving is there, but the maintaining part gets forgotten. I think that’s so critical in some of the systems. We, we, we need to make sure that there’s the same level of energy to maintain where we’ve got it. And it’s okay if it plateaus, but we don’t want it to drop off again. Uh, and then after a period of time will be rolled out to other lines or other areas of the factory. Then we can pick it back up, Kevin that’s right on. Perfect perfectly well put. And then that is where the reward recognition system should support that energy to sustain it. And, you know, having that same level of commitment to make sure it is so obvious to me that I’ve seen it everywhere and work with it, that when I started this role, my current role actually announced within the first, within the first six months must’ve been already, then I actually announced this happens. Let’s try not circle that this should not happen. You know, and it’s, it’s, it’s inevitable. So, um, it just says that there’s some work to be done to still engineered. So maybe the capability ahead of time, wasn’t quite there to sustain it, but your point that’s the capability we need, uh, folk who can actually hold it up through that sort of cycling time. They’re very well put.
Speaker 3 00:19:32 So Lionel, usually we ask our guests to offer us a couple of key takeaways before we end our conversation. And so do you have a couple of things that you would like to share with, uh, manufacturing leaders?
Speaker 2 00:19:44 You know, I, I would just say, um, continue to identify the right capability for, for the right results for your crew business purpose. Um, you know, if we get this right, uh, um, and it’s a win for the organization as well, um, our results or your results will be sustainable. Um, really that simple.
Speaker 3 00:20:08 Okay. Lionel, I really enjoyed talking to you, Kevin. I’m sure you did too. We really appreciate having you on the show.
Speaker 2 00:20:16 Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Thanks Kevin. Thanks Janet.
Speaker 3 00:20:20 It’s our pleasure. That is Lionel Moss. He’s a manufacturing executive and he is based in the U S that’s our show. This week, you can check out our Twitter and LinkedIn feeds that are on our podcast page, subscribe and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues through iTunes, Google play, Stitcher, Spotify, and YouTube. And, um, if you’re looking for ways to transform your manufacturing business, listen and relisten to this particular podcast and checkout make it right. Five steps to your manufacturing business from the frontline to the bottom line. That’s Kevin’s book. I’m Janet Eastman. Thanks very much for listening to Make It Right.