How Mature Are You? Part 4

There are many organisations that have evolved through the first three phases of the workforce management maturity curve*, from seeing their workforce as an expense they now see them as a resource and a flexible asset.

Best-in-class organisations that have moved into the fourth phase, The Innovate Phase now view their workforce as an absolute competitive advantage. For them, their employees are their most critical asset who, when given the right tools, training and support enable these organisations to achieve great results that their customers’ value and their peers and competitors envy.

Workforce Maturity Curve 4Organisations in the Innovate phase are embracing Big Data initiatives to identify triggers that influence growth, profitability, brand reputation, and operational excellence, as well as organisational transparency and accountability.

In the Innovate phase, organisations incorporate labour metrics into their Big Data strategies, to transform their workforce into a network of individuals all working together to achieve a desired result.

The correlation of workforce data with operational measurements of inputs & outcomes can yield powerful insight into the impact of your people on business growth, brand perception and ultimately shareholder value. Big Data strategy will enable business innovation and continuous improvement. Lack of understanding of how to use analytics to improve the business is the biggest obstacle in achieving success with big data. Organisations must move the analysis from an IT function to a business operations function – combining measurements, analytics and business intelligence tools with visibility and controls for business leaders to understand and act on.

When workforce analytics is combined successfully with operational data, actionable information will lead to operational comparisons and adjustments. Initial tracking of labour metrics like absenteeism, turnover and overtime can evolve into industry-specific trends and analysis. Retail stores can see the impact in increased operating margins, profit per employee and a stronger brand reputation. Manufacturing and Contract Services organisations can achieve operational excellence lean labour principles. The Supply chain can manage in the moment in warehouses and distribution channels and Healthcare providers provide better patient care and outcomes.

When your workforce evolves from a cost of doing business into a competitive advantage, your organisation can make that leap from good to great!

If you have any questions or comments please post them and I will be happy to respond.

The workforce management maturity curve was first discussed in detail in my US Kronos colleagues’ blog It’s About Time

UK Automotive Industry Needs Lean Labour!

A recent article in the Manufacturer called for comment about whether the UK automotive industry can get leaner.

In the article, Mark Adams, VP of purchasing at Toyota insists that the UK automotive supply chain has a long way to go in respect of lean manufacturing and said that we needed to get much better at reducing waste. With Japanese automotive manufacturers being at the forefront of ‘lean philosophy’ you would expect them to know what they are talking about. However, some UK suppliers don’t agree, Dave Cameron of Johnson Controls might question Adams’ claim…. the article goes on, as only operations that actually relate directly to the production process are classed as adding value and everything else is classed as waste.

My thoughts immediately turned to how lean labour would help the argument of UK suppliers. OLE or Overall Labour Effectiveness is a real time labour productivity standard that Kronos have encouraged our manufacturing customers to adopt. Most suppliers are striving to meet production targets and are focusing on lean production – however, labour productivity is often not prioritised in the way it should be. OLE allows manufacturers to analyse the cumulative effect that three workforce factors have on productive output: availability, performance and quality. By using this labour standard manufacturers can drive superior results that have a measurable impact on productivity and the bottom line.

So, yes, I do think UK automotive suppliers could get much leaner, but my take is that Lean should, not only encompass production but that lean labour is the next big frontier that manufacturers should address.