Well, after a short diversion from Supply Chain I have returned to the subject, indirectly so. In the recent past there have been several statements made publicly that companies and or recruiters can not find qualified supply chain experts. In this short essay I will hope to show you that these experts are right in these companies backyards - if they look carefully.
In studying the seven wastes - inappropriate processing, waste of overproduction, waste of transportation, waste of motion, waste of waiting, waste of unnecessary inventory, waste of defects - in a manufacturing environment we constantly disregard or give short change the ‘waste of talent’.
If your employees are a company’s most valuable asset to ensure that the business runs smoothly, efficiently and constantly improves then why do we continuously fail to put people to good use?
Without the total involvement and loyalty of employees any company will fail to compete efficiently in this global marketplace. In today’s global market with all of its uncertainty companies need every advantage that they can get to maintain, sustain and improve the business.
The primary cost of waste for talent within any firm is found in time wasted to make improvements and meeting customer requirements. Improvements will be much slower to take affect if your reliance is solely on the “experts” as opposed to engaging the engineers, supervisors and managers. Though they may be small in numbers they are highly skilled people. If improvements are not steady your competitors will eventually outpace you, move ahead of you and lead the way in margin and market gains. Your competitors will capture the business from you as they will offer enhanced service and lower costs.
Your employee’s creativity and talent is wasted due to due to a number of reasons but the central one is: having the wrong culture that fails to recognize the strengths and contributions that are made. Many companies are not that type – they have managers who manage and employees who follow instructions.
There are a few companies that try to recognize employee contributions but too often it fails. The failure is based in the lack of time and resources allocated to employees to enable them to meet and make improvements. Company policies are inappropriate to meet employee recognition and too often stifle improvements due to layers of bureaucracy. Part of this stems from fear: if their employees are well trained and overly involved they will expect higher salaries and or move to other companies.
The remedy for this type of waste is a simple prescription; but one that many companies fail to embrace. Team working, training and leadership are all that is required to involve all of the employees with your companies. Follow these three and the drive towards perfection and continuous improvement will result. Performance measures and compensation packages should reflect the companies need for people to work together. Encourage your employees to take ownership of their areas, processes and products. This will promote an “air” of pride and involvement. Your people are your biggest asset, use them wisely and you will reap the rewards.