Where next for manufacturing?

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Where next for manufacturing?

Are you thinking strategically enough to succeed in hard times?

The latest Purchasing Managers Index shows a surprise growth in manufacturing orders according to the BBC (3rd October), but with job losses continuing and future growth uncertain, what now for our beleaguered manufacturers?

We have commented before that the risk of restructuring incorrectly runs the risk of cutting talent and resources that are critical to long term business success. But how many organisations are thinking this strategically?  Do you really know the future capabilities of your team?   Is your organisation truly effective?  Are you wasting people resources?  After all, people are one of your biggest costs but they should also be your greatest asset!   Too often clients come to organisations such as Ramsey Hall and ask us to assist in replacing key talent.   Bad planning can lead to lasting damage when the team that remain within the organisation are unfit for the new economy and challenges ahead.  Hard times do not necessarily mean sacrificing your best talent.

Before attempting to restructure we recommend an objective and independent review of your people capabilities in terms of the critical soft people and leadership skills which will drive growth in your business.   To achieve this you need to analyse real life performance data and assessment against future predicted requirements using an assessment centre or one on one assessment techniques.  The organisational structure should also be reviewed in the light of this process to ensure costly duplication/ hierarchical layers, outdated role profiles and underperforming teams are identified.  This way you look beyond what currently looks good, or indeed barely adequate, to predict future potential and fit as well as current capability.  It could be said that this process looks beyond lean (which most manufacturers have implemented) to embrace organisational excellence, thus achieving transformational change to a much greater degree than lean processes once did.

You can also use this opportunity to implement learning & development and succession planning since the data obtained is extremely useful for this purpose.   Indeed, participants will expect this in return for their cooperation.   The cost of these activities need not be very high as self directed learning is the best form of development.  It is proven to be beneficial within just a short space of time.

So in terms of business benefits the payback is immediate.  The alternative is to cut your workforce without proper consideration of who your best people are and the company’s organisational needs and wreck years of progress in building organisational capability.

So ask yourself, is my organisation fit for purpose? Or don’t I really know?

Matthew Davis is an experienced People & Change Consultant and can be contacted on 02380 236944 or 0161 848 0048


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