Beyond Manufacturing Automation: Employee Engagement | Automation.com

Beyond Manufacturing Automation: Employee Engagement

October 032014
Beyond Manufacturing Automation: Employee Engagement

By Thomas R. Cutler

Missives from on-high (the C-Suite) will not touch a second shift factory plant floor worker.  Manufacturing leaders must encourage all workers (safety, quality, maintenance, production, and shipping) to become part of the corporate culture, listen and share ideas.  It may sound trite, but only through this consistent employee communication, can manufacturers achieve full employee engagement.  Louise Dickmeyer, President of PDP Solutions, based in Mankato, Minnesota, and a team of top-notch industrial professionals, developed a new and novel approach that utilizes sophisticated technology including plant floor kiosks, offering optimism, an interest in co-workers, and genuine employee engagement. 

In an era when manufacturing apprenticeships have all but disappeared, industrial leaders must increasingly rely on the skills, knowledge, and experience of season employees and internal communication. Dickmeyer’s firm is uniquely poised to become the worldwide leader in manufacturing professional development, industrial performance improvement, leadership communication training, and employee engagement.  She shared, “When manufacturing workers are engaged employees they produce quality products causing a direct impact on manufacturers bottom line. Increased employee engagement can be evaluated by the attention paid to customers, product quality, and cooperation among coworkers.  Engaged manufacturing employees are healthier, take fewer sick days, arrive for work on time more often, spend less time looking at the clock, and focus more on work excellence.”

Unlike service sector jobs, where training and skillsets can often be mastered in a day, perhaps a week, stepping into a new manufacturing job can be nerve-racking.  One of the most challenging tasks for new industrial workers (novices) is how to best work with senior, experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable colleagues.  The path toward developing and maintaining positive working relationships is essential in the manufacturing sector because safety is at risk, quality products are at stake, and productivity is essential with pervasively thinning margins.  It is important for manufacturing new hires to be armed with continuous messaging, tips, suggestions (from the plant floor) to acquire proficiency, competency, and relationships to support best-practices and follow SOPs (standard operating procedures.)

People Driven Performance (PDP) was founded by Denny Dotson, who served (for 35 years) as CEO of the Dotson Company, a foundry in Mankato, Minnesota. Dotson’s interest in frontline engagement grew out of observations and discussions he had over the years with Dotson Company manufacturing workers about what they needed to do their best work.

This sharing led Dotson to test a variety of processes and technologies to open channels of communication and provide meaningful information to employees on the production floor.  After extensive analysis and in-house program development, Dotson selected a suite of best-practice and most effective approaches to become the first offerings of PDP, founded in 2005.

No other firm has the manufacturing and industrial expertise and experience combined with patented employee engagement technology.  Additional patents pending create a unique place in the market to deliver innovative and disciplined internal communications solutions unlocking the potential of industrial organizations by building communities of highly engaged employees.  Dickmeyer insists that her team and customers are creating a world where people drive performance.  “Manufacturers are hungry to move beyond mechanical automation processes (the lean plant has been created.)  The next automation process manufacturers are aggressively seeking is a solution for vastly improved internal communications.”  This innovative approach and interactive design deliver an employee-centric engagement system within a manufacturing organization. The benefit of improved productivity translates to a rapid ROI (return on investment) and increased profitability.

Author Profile:

Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., (www.trcutlerinc.com.)  Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 5000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler authors more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide and can be contacted at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @ThomasRCutler.

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