Archive for February, 2016
Even though there has been considerable progress in labor force participation especially when it comes to women in manufacturing, I think the percentage of women drops significantly as you look higher in the manufacturing ranks. Despite concerted efforts among co-operations, overall this picture has not improved for years. It is clear that women are over-represented in among unpaid home workforce and informal sectors across the board.
In the USA for example between 1970 and 2009, women went from holding 37% of all jobs to nearly 48%. That’s almost 38 million more women in the workplace. Without them, the economy would be 25% smaller today. McKinsey & Company (2011) argue that this is equal to the combined GDP of Illinois, California and New York. It is important to remember that an expanding workforce and rising productivity are two most important factors that drive GDP growth.
According to McKinsey & Company there are factors that limit women’s rise to the top in certain corporations. These are the need for personal achievement, more money and recognition just like men. Lack of role models, exclusion from the informal networks not having a sponsor in upper management to create for them opportunities is also an obstacle. The assumption that women cannot handle certain jobs at the same time attend to family responsibilities is another limiting stereotype that managers use to deny women opportunities. Lastly women have their own limiting beliefs that hamper their development- such as waiting to attain more skills or just wanting to be asked.
Advantages on having women in the workplace
According to Zeneger Folkman, a corporation that researches on leadership, women in the workplace do rate higher than their male colleagues on 12 out of 16 characteristics required in manufacturing. Women significantly outscored men in taking initiative and being result driven. Below are additional areas showing why keeping a woman in the work place is being smart:
- Women will often chose to remain in certain jobs when efforts are made to make them feel valued professionally.
- Unlike men, women value the prospect of pouring their energies into making a difference and working closely with colleagues. They never want to give away that satisfaction for anything else.
- Women are naturally good at listening than men. This is one vital skill that is critical in managing people if managers need to optimize productivity from employees as well as keep customers. According to Dr. Susan Sherwood, this is so because women are more discussion oriented than men who more often than not just want to take action. Men tend to communicate through activities rather than conversations.
- Women are better listeners than men, and this is exactly the skill that women in manufacturing need to manage the workforce and clients. This is imperative because workers want bosses in who are willing to listen, feel and act from a knowledge point of view. This way they know that their challenges and grievances are being handled better.
- Women are also better at consensus building unlike men who are would like to give directions. The obvious male dominated commanding leader that runs from top to bottom is being phased out by women in the workplace who are willing to listen more. Female leaders are more likely to lead through influence that comes as result of building supportive relationships.
- Women being mothers are traditionally more likely to be more tolerant with their employees than men. They are less likely to jump into instantaneous conclusion or make decisions too quickly or take action too soon. When people wait they will make more informed decisions.
Bottom line – A healthy workforce is a blended workforce where the right people are placed in the right positions.
Wearable technology refers to the integration of computer and wireless technologies with jewelry, clothing, and accessories. The existence of some elementary forms of wireless technology, like the calculator wristwatch, can be traced back to the 1980s. Nonetheless, the advances in wireless tech and miniaturizing circuitry have significantly increased the current, as well as the potential applications of the wearable concept. Here, I explore the potential of the application of wearable technologies in the Manufacturing Industry.
Wearable Technologies in Manufacturing Industry
Examples of modern wearables include:
- Google Glass
The technology has widely been portrayed as a consumer trend with notable applications in the entertainment, and Health & Fitness Industry.
This head-worn device is the most popular wearable technology. It can enhance reality by displaying contextual and location-based information, as well as taking hand-free photographs and videos. Google markets the device to a consumer audience, highlighting its capability for enhancing lives.
Personally, I think wearables will soon become an integral tool in the manufacturing environment, delivering several significant benefits. I envision the technology transforming the manufacturing process, increase productivity, enhance efficiency, and even augment employee engagement.
To understand how wearables would benefit the manufacturing companies, let us examine the following situations.
In a busy factory, workers will be wearing location-aware smart wristbands when they go to work. As they enter the factory premises, the wristband automatically logs them in for the day. It also gives them respective work instructions.
For the field-based workers, the wearable device will allow them to connect to other workers for advice to solve daily problems. The use of video technology will help fast-track the job and ensure it is done perfectly.
With wearable devices, production managers and supervisors would be able to access important work-related information in real time. They will also be able to monitor other essential metrics like:
- The total amount of goods produced
- What is needed for rework
- The amount of scrap
Moreover, with just a few taps on their wearable device, a supervisor would adjust worker schedules to ensure duty allocation matches the labour demand.
Sometimes, a machine may malfunction, interrupting the output on a primary production line. With a wearable device, the manager will instantly receive an alert on his device, and with a single tap on the screen, he can reassign employees to another line until the faulty machine is fixed. They may also immediately dispatch maintenance to fix the machine. Consequently, employees would receive notification on their wearable device to move back to their working stations. This minimizes downtime and maintains productivity.
As all of these occur, the wearables track the employee’s location, detects that they have switched to another production line, generates a job transfer, allocates a new work program, and automatically begins tracking their work. Employees would not need a computer or time clock, as the wearable technology will have taken care of everything for them. They will be able to fully concentrate on their work.
Wearable technology encompasses many forms, such as watches, glasses, bracelets, and smart badges. It has a tremendous potential to transform how we get work done, how we make decisions, as well as how we engage with our customers, employees, and partners.
Personally, the technology has spared me some situations where logistics, etiquette, or even safety prevented me from using smart-phones and laptops. While consumer wearables are rapidly growing in popularity, I expect the manufacturing industry to fully embrace the technology and use it in transformative applications.
Change is coming as long as I am alive. And, change will come long after I am gone just like it was long before I was born. Manufacturing is not exempt from change, and the companies who succeed long term adapt as necessary to the ever evolving environment of their business sector.
Part of this success must come from efficient and effective employee training and development. Being aware of the ever changing business sector external environment alone is not sufficient, as project management within the internal environment is necessary to ensure your inputs, processes, and outputs meet and or exceed company goals.
A question I often ask myself is “What will become of the manufacturing industry in this country?” As I survey the landscape of today’s millennials and the varieties of directions they are heading, rarely do you hear or read about a college student gearing towards a career in manufacturing. Does this mean that the pool of currently available and soon to be available applicants for KRYTON Engineered Metals is subpar at best? No. Long gone are the days of a blacksmith as today we see technological growth in all areas of the manufacturing industry, and KRYTON Engineered Metals remains on the “cutting edge” with our “Cut It, Form It, Fab It” efficient and effective model. We are filled with the latest technology, and it shows in the quality of our work and the quality of our people.
What’s going on right now at KRYTON is simply a snapshot of a long tenured career in manufacturing, of which the majority has been with the company I helped start. Make no mistake that the applicants who have the education and or experience necessary to get “a foot in the door” with KRYTON are aplenty as todays educational landscape focuses on technological advances and constant improvements in quality assurance. Once in the door at KRYTON, one can expect proper employee training and development so that we can meet and exceed our company objectives and goals current and future, as 2016 and 2017 will be pivotal years for all involved at KRYTON with incredible growth strategies being implemented. As these growth strategies are implemented, it will be only natural that more eyes will turn towards KRYTON, and with proper planning and development now we will not be caught off guard.
With KRYTON’s implementation of its global strategy in the years to come, millennial’s can be sure that the demand for applicants who possess the necessary talents will be in demand. Equally important at KRYTON Engineered Metals is the proper employee training and development of current staff so as to keep KRYTON on the leading edge in the manufacturing sector at a domestic as well as global level. Exciting times are here in manufacturing, be a part of it!