Manufacturing | The importance of good workforce management

The importance of good workforce management

For many people manufacturing is still seen as something from the dark and distant past with dirty grease ridden workers glumly punching their clockcards as they file in and out at the start and finish of their shifts. In reality, for most manufacturing industries, nothing could be further from the truth.

Over the past years, many manufacturing industries have evolved into dynamic powerhouses, with technological advancements transforming them to become something almost unrecognisable from this Lowry-like image. And with this new industrial revolution manufacturing has become an increasingly complex entity, automation is widespread, and processes often require higher skilled personnel.

Customer expectations are higher and there is pressure to produce faster, better and for less.

All of this leads to the irrevocable conclusion that in manufacturing, of all industries, there is a requirement for full understanding, and fact-based management, of perhaps the most valuable asset, the workforce.

This means organisations would benefit from better alignment of attendance patterns to that of the true demand instead of a basic flat or incorrect profile, often caused by legacy inflexible shift patterns. Over recent years many manufacturing organisations have managed much required flexibility by using voluntary overtime or external resource, such as agency workers. There may have been a cost benefit to deal with demand this way, but legislation has tried to address this by necessitating like treatment for both core and agency workers. However, using this method often led to a loss of flexibility from the core workforce and a sense of “them & us” being created. Why do we have to be flexible? Just get some more agency guys!

Using agency staff may still be a useful solution, but could it be better…?

The implementation of a demand led roster system that enables your core workforce to adapt and adjust to volatility may be an improvement. Dependent on where a business pitched its standard inflexible core employment level meant an underutilisation at some times or perhaps an over reliance on the external third-party labour at others. So, as this external resource has become harder to find in recent times with Brexit, the pandemic and European wars creating a “perfect storm”, it could now be the time to consider the benefits of revised ways of working to get the most from your core people.

Using Crown’s WFM system you can understand the requirements for attendance to roster efficiently and effectively to get the right people in the right place at the right time. Having spread the load of flexible requirements and having an abundance of useful and actionable data will ensure better workforce management all round, leading to not only improved well-being and better shift planning, but helping with recruitment and retention. And it delivers added benefits to management teams, operational, financial and HR too, by delivering insights, eliminating human error, and automating day-to-day activities to make them more efficient and effective.

The modern-day manufacturing workforce may be more multifaceted

So, whether your core workforce becomes more flexible or not, the likelihood is that it will now have less traditional work structures than it used to, incorporating not only the full time employed workers but also perhaps some agency, other part-timers, more hybrid workers, contractors, freelancers and possibly some short-term project workers. All can be managed within our WFM system, ensuring the interconnectedness of skills, schedules and record keeping for the understanding of costs are maintained. Linking seamlessly alongside all major payroll, HR and ERP applications, we ensure you have a single source of truth for working time data.

Training and Certification Management

With a more highly skilled workforce there inevitably must be a deeper responsibility to ongoing training, keeping your people up to date with safety standards and industry best practice. This focus must fit with the more complex structures of your workforce. We can ensure notices for certifications are delivered in a timely manner. Training can be better planned as you have a full view of future presence and skills. Gaps can be highlighted to futureproof product delivery within legal requirements.

Real time monitoring of attendance hours ensures compliance with working time legislation, prevents fatigue and excessive workloads to individuals, especially those with a specialised, and often under represented, skill base – highlighting further training requirements.

Leave becomes easier

We can’t provide a magic wand but being in touch with requirements for attendance and having real life data for the actual plans of all your diverse range of workers means that you can avoid any scheduling conflicts with clearly communicated policies, ensuring health & safety obligations are met and confusion avoided. All in all, this improved and open leave management with employee self-service, will lead to a more content workforce, fitting the business prerequisites and enhanced productivity.

Alongside this, sickness, lateness and other absence can be fully monitored, understood and actioned appropriately – ensuring problems are dealt with before they are out of control and impacting not only on those involved but to the wider team as well.

Find out more about Crown Workforce Management

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Crown Workforce Management Systems

The UK's leading supplier of Workforce Management solutions for medium-to-large organisations in both private and public sectors. We offer HR, Time and Attendance, Scheduling/Rostering and Workforce Analytics software, enabling clients to identify areas for improvement including enhanced service levels, reduced labour costs and success in the marketplace.