Manufacturing Companies will start work sometime! The Economy has to roll on. It may start in certain pockets to begin with. The Companies will find themselves in a situation where they have to work with much more Discipline!
Several Companies have varied level of Discipline in their Operations. Till now if your Employees and Leaders are not Disciplined, probably you were losing money and may be in a few cases a few Customers or Opportunities of Business!
But now if your Employees and Leaders are not Disciplined, you may have People falling sick and worse, you may have loss of Life! Companies need to drive a Change quickly and now!
If a few employees fall sick in your Company, your Company may very quickly get into a ‘Critical Situation’ !
If we compare ourselves to say Japanese, we have long way to go in terms of being Disciplined. Right now, Japanese are struggling to contain the Virus once they looked the other way. They thought they were in control. The Virus is giving them tough time.
We need to recognize the progress that we have to make and be as ready as humanly possible. The Travel that the Leaders in Indian Companies have to do is very steep and tough. But not impossible. We are capable of responding to a tough situation.
Some of the aspects of Discipline required are as follows:
01. Planning: Planning is one element that is not given its’ due in the Manufacturing Industry. We will require a lot of Planning in the new environment.
A Sales Manager needs to plan his priorities more carefully. Changing the Production Plan and rearranging the Production Plans will be much tougher in the new environment as the Procurement team may be working from homes and they will not be able to visit the Vendor Partners as frequently as they may want.
A HR Manager has to Plan the recruitment and Induction training more carefully. He has to ensure he trains all the new recruits in the ‘Heightened Safety practices’.
An Admin Manager has to Plan the staggered lunch times for employees more closely.
A Security Officer has to manage the Visitors in a better manner. Maybe he has to go for an App that asks the People wanting to visit his Company to give an advance notice!
Every Employee has to Plan his next move (Literally) in the Office / Factory so that he/she will follow the Heightened Safety Rules.
02. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for every activity: In conventional way of working, the Work is somehow done as the help is always available immediately. A Worker always has a Supervisor to call when he has a doubt. A Production Manager will always be able to call the Vendor partner if he has some problem with the parts he supplied.
But in the new situation, the Team is not going to be very close by. They will have to learn how to manage the work with less interventions and it should happen in more standard manner.
The SOPs have to be prepared and followed rigorously. Physical changes in the Office / Factories has to be made as needed. Eg. The Physical distancing marks have to be put in areas where you expect more people coming together like at Employees gate, Canteen and so on.
A fulltime team has to be employed to help the Employees to prepare the SOPs and also audit the following of them.
Employees will follow the Rules if the overall environment is that of a structured environment. Take the example of an MRT and MRT station. The whole structure of MRT station and Metro trains is very well defined. The Trains come and stop exactly at the same place. There are automatic gates controlling the movement of people. Security team nudges the Passengers to behave in a certain way while getting down and getting in. Every Person going in to the MRT Station follows the rules. You very rarely see someone violating it. Hence if overall environment is well defined and the whole system is well thought of, then the Discipline will improve in the whole area.
03. Regular Exercise and managing health: Many of working People are not very health conscious. They do not do regular exercise. They are all focused only on the Work and nothing else. Health of Employees had always been a matter for the Company too. But now it is much more so.
The Company has to encourage the Employees to take care of themselves and stay healthy and strong. The Company may introduce regular exercise activities for the Employees.
Introducing a Yoga Teacher can be a good idea for the Employees. Everyone including the CEO should participate in the Daily exercise regimen.
04. Clear KPIs for everyone: When the team is going to be away from each other and when they have less opportunity to make mistakes due to the multiple restrictions that are going to be there, it is important for employees to be clear about what they need to do and what Targets they have to achieve.
Clear KPIs and Targets can be very useful to the team to just focus on what they have to achieve and plan their activities towards that.
It would be good to break up the KPIs to the level of action required on a daily basis to achieve the Targets of the KPIs.
05. Online Training: The days of having many people in a Hotel Room for training are behind us now. At least for few more months, we cannot hope to do such training to our Employees.
We now have to train our Employees on Micro skills and the training has to happen online and more often. Probably we should ask our employees to allot a few hours for learning every week.
We need to ensure the Skill levels of Employees on all the Functional Skills are improved and they are made more effective.
We will have to address the Micro Skill / Practices that the employees have to learn in the new environment.
The Training has to be re-engineered.
06. Become slow and steady as against Fast and Furious: The normal way of working of our teams is to go all out and try to do everything in a very fast manner. The Quality takes a back seat. For example, if we are setting up a factory, we pride ourselves in saying that we have built the factory and started it in 3 months flat / 6 months flat and so on. But after starting the factory, every day the people working the factory will suffer due to Bad layouts, Bad Material handling arrangements, Badly planned Canteens and so on.
In the current situation the Companies have to find ways and means of becoming more efficient immediately. Hence, we should act after considering all angles of an issue. We may have to slow down to speed up.
07. Tech savvy: Now the Employees have to become more Tech Savvy. They need to identify the ways and means of using the Ind 4.0 Technology. For example, you may use a Video analytics app for identifying the violations of Physical distancing rules. Much better, the employees may be warned of Possible violation
It is not enough if only the IT department is thinking of Technology. The users will be able to suggest much better applications. The overall guiding factor is to become more efficient and avoid the Violation of Physical distancing rules.
Till now your company would have been only talking or thinking of Digitalization. Now the time has come to do it now! There is greater incentive for this. If you do not do it, the consequences are much worse!
08. Accepting Mistakes: Generally, the Employees may not be very open to accepting the mistakes that they would have done. This is largely based on the Culture of the Company as driven by the CEO and the senior team. Most of the Companies have this trouble.
Now the CEO and the Senior Team have to drive a culture of accepting the mistakes and improving to the next level. This is absolutely essential when you are trying to change the culture.
If you do not accept the mistakes, then you would be living in denial. Then there will be no improvement whatsoever.
09. Willingness to learn: Employees may not be focused on Learning. This is the normal situation in most of the Companies. They are busy in achieving the Targets. Learning is out of their Horizon once they have come out of their College!
Now the Employees have to be encouraged to work out a Learning agenda for themselves as they have to become more effective.
Learning can be there in Functional Skills / Leadership skills. A Company may make it mandatory for every Employee to have a Learning agenda for the coming Year.
10. Follow up Practices: In the Pre-Carona situation, you could have had the luxury of visiting Vendor Partners / Other Stake holders as required. Now, suddenly you cannot visit them at the same frequency.
You need better Follow up Practices. You cannot irritate the Vendor Partners. At the same time, you need to follow up like a Champion!
11. Regular Business Reviews: The Business Reviews are very important in any scenario. But now in the current situation when you would have Several Variables, much more than the Pre-Carona situation, you need to keep conducting regular reviews to see what is stuck and keep helping the teams to get over hurdles.
The hurdles will be many more and we should expect the Hurdles. Expecting them can help you prepare better for the hurdles.
The Purpose of the Business Reviews is to help the Employees to formulate successful ways of achieving the Targets in the new situation. The purpose of Business Reviews is not to ‘Chase’ the employees.
12. Deep Dives by Leaders: The Leaders in this situation have to be on the Shop floor / Market as needed. The new ways of working have to be formulated by the Team and the Leaders should participate in all the new ‘way of working’ to understand the problems that the teams will face.
Leaders should help the teams to solve the problems in the new way of working and establish the new ways of working.
These are some of the new ways that Leaders will have to Learn!
When are you going to start unlearning and Learning?