I have been working with one group on how to make there work more visual. Show production goals versus actual production. Make safety standards clear. Highlight any problems to help them improve.
The supervisor of the area was on person leave when I was helping the area. Upon her return, she liked what we had done. In fact, she liked the idea so much that she made a visual board for another area where she is the supervisor.
What was the problem she was trying to solve? Employees were always asking what their goal for the day was. Employees would leave their work station and abandon their work to find the supervisor just to ask what the goal was. The supervisor posted this board in the work area.
This reminds of Gwendolyn Galsworth’s book Visual Workplace Visual Thinking. One of the questions of the visual workplace is “What do I need to share?”. Goals and standards were something this supervisor needed to share with her team.
The board is simple and effective.
What have you made visual? What do you need to share?
Being in manufacturing for my whole career, I have to work with shifts around the clock. I know this is quite common in the manufacturing environment. The other common practice I have seen is 1st shift is considered the place to put the ‘A’ player supervisors and line management team. The 2nd and 3rd shifts is considered ‘B’ and ‘C’ players plus the new hires. I have seen this play out in the many manufacturing facilities I have been in.
Why is this? Why not put an even mix of ‘A’ players across the shifts?
I would think 2nd and 3rd shift would be a good spot for the best supervisors because there isn’t other management at the facilities during this time to help out. The best supervisors would be good at covering more areas. Also, it allows all the shifts to have someone that is a go to person. If they are all on 1st shift, then things just sit and wait until someone comes into work.
Most manufacturing facilities put the new hires on 3rd shift to start (after their training). Who would you want to have be there for the new hire? A supervisor everyone things is doing a great job? Or a supervisor that can barely do their own job?
I’m not saying that if they aren’t an ‘A’ supervisor to fire them. There will always be someone doing better than someone else. We should just consider spreading the best supervisors across shifts to give it a balance for learning and responsibility.
How does your organization place supervisors? Are all the best on 1st shift? Or are they equally spread across multiple shifts?