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6 tips on managing a factory



You’ve finally been promoted to management. Or perhaps you’ve just landed your dream job at a new company. Either way, you’re suddenly in charge of managing a factory and are starting to wonder how you’re going to, well, manage. It’s a big job, after all. You’re in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly, every job is completed properly and the staff on the floor are happy and productive. It can be a bit overwhelming at first.

But don’t worry, you’ll soon figure out how to do everything and remain in control at all times. You were given this job for a reason. However, if you need a little help to get you started, here are six tips on managing a factory.

Know your staff members’ names

You’re not going to get anywhere with your new staff members unless you know their names. If you were previously working on the floor, then this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you’re new to the company, you need to start learning names and quickly. You don’t want to be the manager who can’t greet a staff member on the staircase because they haven’t bothered to remember their name. In the beginning, it’s a good idea to walk around the factory and introduce yourself to everyone and familiarise yourself with what they do. Of course, if there is a large workforce, you probably won’t be able to remember everyone’s name at first. In which case it’s okay to ask for the first few weeks. But once you’ve been there a month, you should be acquainted with everyone.

Learn who works what shift

You need to be on top of things. That’s your job. You need to know what’s happening and when. And that means you should always know who is working what shift. Are there specific people who work night shift and day shift? Or do they switch according to a schedule? If so, you need to know that schedule. You need to be able to make sure that everybody is where they’re supposed to be at the time they are supposed to be there. If you don’t have this knowledge, people may take advantage of your ignorance. You may trust your staff and that’s a good thing, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check up on these things.

Keep an accurate record of leave days

You can’t just jot down people’s leave days on post-it notes and stick them on the wall of your office. That’s not going to work. You need to be far more organised than that. Sure, the finance or HR department will have this information but you need to have your own record as well. You need to know when someone is going to be away from the factory so you can make a plan if you need someone to replace them for that period of time.

Check the machines are being used correctly

Part of your job is to ensure that the machinery is in working order. And that means you have to make sure your staff members are using the machines correctly. When equipment is used incorrectly, it gets damaged over time. Which will result in your employers having to apply for additional machinery asset finance. And they will not be pleased about that in the slightest. Just like you are in charge of the workforce in the factory, you are also in charge of the machinery and equipment.

Organise a social event every now and then

If you want your staff to respect you, you have to be firm with them and ensure they are always doing their jobs correctly and to your standards. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t get to know them and encourage them to get to know each other on a social level. Once in a while, ask the company if you can organise a braai or drinks after work to encourage people to interact without the loud noise of the machines. You’ll find that internal politics and rivalries among your staff members will lessen if they start to chat informally with one another.

Review processes regularly

Efficiency is key in any factory. In fact, it’s key in any department of any business out there. It’s about getting the most work done without compromising on quality or safety. And that’s why processes are so important. Processes can make or break a factory. You need to ensure you’re doing things the best way possible while you’re managing the factory. Which means you should research the latest processes, compare them to what you’re currently doing and consider trying new methods in an effort to improve productivity and efficiency.

Well done, you got the job. Now you need to do the work. It’s time you get to know your staff, organise schedules, encourage interaction and make sure the factory is running as efficiently as possible.