Increasing Productivity in Manufacturing & Engineering Firms: TIP 1

Increasing Productivity in Manufacturing & Engineering Firms.  

Increasing Productivity Manufacturing Engineering

Increasing Productivity in Manufacturing & Engineering Firms


to put it another way

GET MORE, OUT ON TIME with the same resources & the same numbers of people.

Why are we focussing on the company productivity & not individuals?

Surely we just optimise the output of each individual, give them performance targets; add in some training and off you go?

NO not if you want:


Your first step in attaining this?  Read our tips for


Increasing Productivity in Manufacturing & Engineering Firms - TIP #1

This is the first in a series of TIPS on Increasing Productivity in Manufacturing and Engineering Firms. 

It works in under an HOUR a week! One Hour of your time, per week to improve productivity across your business, across all your teams and staff. 




These TIPS are always based on our own extensive experience.

This knowhow has helped firms achieve 25%-50% more output with the same staff!

Experience that draws on

  • 50+ years of experience in diverse types of Engineering and Manufacturing,
  • from chilled foods which need processing from raw material to product out in 24 hours,
  • through to complex machines which take 12-16 weeks to pass through the organisation.

You won't be surprised to learn that in each Efficiency and Productivity tip we'll try and focus on a Lean Management technique that WE KNOW WILL improve efficiency & productivity in engineering and manufacturing factories.   

You can  focus on increasing your productivity by 5, 10, 15%, think you can do 5,10,15% more right now?

OR you can focus on helping the 30, 75, 105+ people in your organisation to increase productivity by 5,10% - What would that mean for your firm, your factory? 


Increasing Productivity in Manufacturing & Engineering Firms - TIP #1

The most engaged workforces have a Productivity measure that is 21% higher than those in less engaged workplaces.


think about that, with engaged workforces companies can get out in Mon-Thurs (4  DAYS) the same output that you take Mon-Fri (5 Days)to deliver.

According to Gallup the most important element of Employee Engagement is that employees can answer the following question positively

"Do I know what is expected of me at work?"

It may seem simple, maybe you're thinking staff have

  • annual reviews
  • job descriptions
  • KPIs etc

"They should know what is required of them" but how often is this really reviewed? monthly? bi-monthly? six monthly?

How well do these large goals translate into getting your orders out on time every day thus achieving ON TIME IN FULL (OTIF) delivery to clients - surely your No1 objective?


Your business is shifting, constantly changing; there are always

  • new priorities, late information or deliveries from suppliers, 
  • new clients, new orders, changes to existing orders
  • part revisions, new products to be introduced, new software versions,
  • planning and schedule changes
  • staff take holidays, training is required etc..etc...

Your focus is often in the near future; ensuring customer orders (work) are completed today, this week, this month. 

WHY? it's what your clients demand. You are manufacturing today what you can get paid for; manufacturing today should pay the bills for the next month.

How do you ensure staff know, every day,  what is expected of them at work? ensure all the vital factors are ready that mean your firm is best able to deliver your product / services and get paid.


Lean Management Tip #1 

Host a Daily Meeting / Daily Huddle

  • Host a Daily Meeting, sometimes called a Daily Huddle - EVERY DAY AT THE SAME TIME. 
  • Who should attend?
    • Senior Manufacturing Team Members (Directors, Cell Leaders etc)
    • Procurement, Purchasing staff
    • R&D staff, design staff if you have them
    • Other may wish to join regularly but not every day.
  • Each attendee talks for 30-60 seconds on their or their team performance. They should be encouraged to share their plan for today and tomorrow; bring any issues that are NOT going as planned or that they need HELP with, as soon as possible.
    • Teams that often support Operations listen to the issues being raised. 
    • Too make this work you'll need to have some form of understanding what the target should be for progress in the team - a form of Capacity and Scheduling Planning Tools.
  • 30-60 seconds will feel like a long time to fill, most people will be able to fill them with meaningful insights into their priorities across for today & tomorrow. As the manager, LISTEN, WATCH FOR BODY LANGUAGE.


  • Think about what you want to know from staff;
    • How well are they doing against plan?
    • What is stopping them from delivering? What are their frustrations (Improving Productivity TIP #  )
    • Have they got enough staff, the right skills, enough parts, the right information
    • Download our meeting template here

CALL NEIL HARVEY NOW ON 07931 529300 or email


  • Record their performance (The NUMBERS)  if you need to.
    • Always make a note of the issues the teams are facing. Recording the issues on an A3 sheet, we're all getting older and A4 often isn't big enough for us to read on a noticeboard. 


  • PUBLISH the notes from the meeting so everyone, in the business knows what the priorities are. Put them up in at least 3 areas;
    • Entrance to your manufacturing areas
    • Entrance to canteen areas
    • Clocking on areas
  • This meeting shows everyone that you are listening to them.


  • DON'T SOLVE PROBLEMS - this meeting is too highlight them. Input from teams is limited to 30-60 seconds to prevent problem solving in the meeting. If your input is required or you need to know more do this after the meeting.


  • FOLLOW UP straight after the daily meeting. Keep your time immediately after the meeting free to follow up on issues raised. Allowing time to re-visit the issues not resolved from yesterday.  Go to the area where the problems are happening and view them. We call it going to the GEMBA, then you can see the real examples, often in a visual way.
  • As a manager you only prepare your priorities, the plan, the schedule and any issues you wish to discuss. The team bring their performance and what help they require. If they don't bring the right stuff, then you know there are training and development needs. 


  • SHARE SUCCESS! use the meeting to give feedback and praise, share successes; new contract wins, customer feedback, improvements etc.

 Each day you might also add a different topic to the agenda;

e.g. Friday might review the overall plan and schedule for the next week;  a Monday may have a Health & Safety focus or theme for the next week.


What do you get as a manager, a leader?  OWNERSHIP!

You'll soon realise that people have to start looking forward as to what they have to achieve. 

You can't influence what has happened , you can only learn from it and adjust your plans, your schedule to deliver what is required.

If your priorities and those of staff are different then you find out quickly.

In a factory working days you are checking in with progress across your plant every 8 hours or so and ensure everyone is still on track.  Every morning you are checking whether any changes have occurred, make adjustments and ensure the right priorities are being followed, before it's TOO LATE.

In our experience there are plenty of times where staff can deliver the business priorities and take ownership of how they will use the resources they have to best achieve these priorities. 

IMAGINE THAT for a moment; staff turn up and tell you what they are planning to do and what they need help with to deliver to the customers.

Instead of trying to think about the 40, 75, 130+ staff or the 14 production bays you have or the 23 orders to be delivered today.

You can focus only on those areas that actually need your help; the areas at risk of not delivering , safe in the knowledge everyone else is thinking forward and delivering the desired outcomes for your customers.


[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]


Host a meeting every day and it's difficult for someone to keep coming back with the same issues or hiding things from you.

You get the chance to listen to the issues that are holding up work, stopping your staff from delivering to clients & customers, stopping you from being paid.

Added to this you get eye to eye contact; no emails, no noticeboards, no texts or forums, no instant messaging, no hiding when it comes to performance!

What does that mean?

You are telling staff; "you are important, I'm giving you my attention, the most important thing I can do is help you to deliver"

For 10 minutes every day you get feedback from staff that they are driving towards the same goal as you!

They get 10 minutes of your time when they can share performance and get the chance to ask for HELP!


Does this work?

EVERYTIME.  It is the most simple meeting to put in place and helps drive performance.

We've had clients drive up On Time In Full performance (OTIF) by 50% by holding such a meeting - it ensures everyone is heading to the same destination at the right pace.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.