Operational Excellence: Hiring and Retaining Top Employees

The economy is booming, and this presents challenges for manufacturing organizations. Your top-performing employees are prime targets for competitors that are not only willing to offer a higher wage but can also offer a more attractive work environment and career growth path.

Before I dive into a strategic approach to hire top talent and retain your best employees, we need to understand the dynamics of manufacturing and labor statistics. The unemployment rate in the manufacturing industry is at its lowest in the last 15 years (Figure 1). This presents a challenge for companies to find qualified employees to fill job openings. Highly skilled employees with a strong work history are in high demand.
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Figure 1: Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) St. Louis Fed, “Unemployment Rate: Manufacturing Industry, Private Wage, and Salary Workers,” December 6, 2019.

The Big Challenge for the Next Decade
As we look forward, economists expect a slow-down in the next few years, but the demand for skilled employees will continue to be strong. One of the expected challenges is the skill gap being created. According to one study, the gap between available jobs and the number of skilled workers is growing. The study estimates that there may be up to 2.4 million jobs unfilled in the next decade in the United States, with the possibility that certain skilled and managerial positions will become almost three times harder to fill than they are now. In preparation for this challenge, leading companies are taking mitigation steps to retain their top employees and creating a company culture that is attractive to draw prospective employees into the organization.
 
Hire the Right Talent, Not the Best Talent
The natural inclination is to always hire the best available talent for a given role. This approach makes the most sense in theory but may not yield the expected results in practice.
 
This column originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine. Click here to continue reading or download the PDF of this magazine to your digital library for future reference.
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2020

Operational Excellence: Hiring and Retaining Top Employees

02-12-2020

The economy is booming, and this presents challenges for manufacturing organizations. Your top-performing employees are prime targets for competitors that are not only willing to offer a higher wage but can also offer a more attractive work environment and career growth path. Alfred Macha shares a strategic approach to hire top talent and retain your best employees.

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Operational Excellence: Take Your CAPA to the Next Level With 8D

01-29-2020

Quality professionals understand that the strength of an organization’s quality system can be determined by reviewing the corrective and preventive action (CAPA) system that has been established. ISO auditors and regulatory inspectors will assess an organization’s CAPA to evaluate the effectiveness of the quality system. Customers often use the mechanism of a corrective action request (CAR), which is part of the CAPA system, as the mechanism to request for a supplier to address a recurring quality issue. Alfred Macha explains.

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2019

Operational Excellence: Are CMs Ready to Embrace Project Management?

11-29-2019

Project management does not have to be complex, nor costly; on the contrary, project management can help create a culture of operational efficiency, enhanced customer engagement, and employee self-accountability and enable data-driven decision-making. Alfred Macha introduces a recommended approach to project management in a contract manufacturing environment.

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Operational Excellence: Transform Your Operations With Nadcap

09-11-2019

Obtaining Nadcap certification can be an overwhelming endeavor for suppliers that don’t have proper guidance. In this column, Alfred Macha provides guidelines that companies have used in the past to successfully achieve Nadcap accreditation.

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Operational Excellence: Becoming the Preferred Supplier, Phase 3—Re-engineer Your Quality System

08-26-2019

The final phase of becoming a preferred supplier is to apply a business process re-engineer approach to your quality system. Before you start with this phase, the company should have implemented Phase 1 and Phase 2, which are focused on changing its leadership mentality to embrace LEAN Six Sigma and the pillars of operational excellence. It’s paramount to have the right mindset before you re-engineer your quality system.

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Operational Excellence: Becoming the Preferred Supplier, Phase 3—Re-engineer Your Quality System

08-05-2019

The final phase of becoming a preferred supplier is to apply a business process re-engineer approach to your quality system. Before you start with this phase, the company should have implemented Phase 1 and Phase 2, which are focused on changing its leadership mentality to embrace LEAN Six Sigma and the pillars of operational excellence. It's paramount to have the right mindset before you re-engineer your quality system.

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Operational Excellence: Becoming the Preferred Supplier, Phase 2—The Six Pillars

07-26-2019

Your Lean Six Sigma program needs to be rightly sized to your organization’s structure for it to be sustainable. The second phase involves establishing the six pillars of operational effectiveness. Attaining quality systems certification to a base standard of ISO 9001 or industry specific QMS standard for medical devices, automotive, telecommunications, or aerospace will provide you a solid foundation to your operations.

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Operational Excellence: Becoming the Preferred Supplier, Phase 1—Transform Your Company's Culture With Lean Sigma

06-25-2019

In the first part of this column series about becoming a preferred supplier to your customers, Alfred Macha provides the fundamental concepts to transform your company's culture with Lean Sigma. The approach introduced in this column can be adopted by any manufacturing organization. Read on.

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Process Validation Can Lead to Higher Performance Levels

05-21-2019

In this first column from Alfred Macha, which appears in the May issue of SMT007 Magazine, the author provides a practical guideline on how to effectively implement a sustainable process validation program for contract manufacturers.

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