At end of the day, the question you should ask yourself “What value did I add to my organization today?” If you are not sure and maybe you didn’t, tomorrow is an another opportunity to have a good day. I have listed several quick ways to get you going in solving issues in your organization. This is a way to show that you are not just drawing a paycheck but helping the organization become for efficient and more profitable. Here we go!

  1. Solve an obvious problem.

Have you heard of the term “Low Hanging Fruit?” The obvious issues in your department or organization are the ones you can see as you walk the floor. It is those that stick out like a sore thumb. Examples of obvious issues include idle time of your operator, excess material staging, excessive walks to get parts, supervisor not in the area, etc. Pick one this issue and begin solving it. In some cases, all it takes is setting clear expectations but in others, you may have to dig a little deeper to find the root cause.

  1. Control breaks and lunch times

This is a quick one you can fix and the most impactful. You will not be the most liked but you will be saving the company money in the end. Let’s take an example, say you have 10 employees that always take their time arriving late from their 10-minute break. All take an extra 2 minutes every time they go to break. “What is the harm in that?” they may ask.  Take 10 employees X 2 minutes late = 20 minutes x twice a shift = 40 minutes a day x 5 days a week = 200 minutes x 50 working weeks a year = 10,000 minutes / 60 minutes = 166 hours of lost productivity because people are taking an extra two minutes to start to work.  You can break that down in smaller increments and do the math with the culprits.

  1. Decrease the use of overtime.

First, you have to determine why you are running overtime. Whatever the reason could be, you have to challenge your coordination and planning skills to attempt to add that work to your normal workweek. Even if you decrease your overtime by 10%, you are saving the company that much more money.  In many cases, the reasons for overtime could include rework, excessive backlog, increased in volume, and/lack of labor hours. All these issues are avoidable and can be resolved during the normal workweek.

  1. Use an agenda for your team meeting

Have you left a meeting feeling that it was a waste of time and nothing was accomplished? Either if you run a meeting or attend a meeting, having a clear agenda that is action driven can decrease the meeting time by 40% and everyone leaves the meeting feeling focused and ready to take on the day.  Create a simple agenda, stay on track, stop side conversation and “one-offs”, take long discussions offline, assign actions with dates, and at the end review all actions with dates.

  1. Have a Daily Review Meeting with an agenda and cut your meeting times by 30%

As a supervisor, it is important that you meet with your subordinate leaders to ensure they are on right track to meet the daily goals. Scheduling a daily review meeting at the early part of the shift is a sure way to plan the day and anticipate any barriers. Be sure to have an agenda and stay on schedule. A daily review meeting should be focused on the results of yesterday, the plan for today, and the barriers that may prevent the team from reaching the plan. It should be quick and to the point.  Be careful not to be sidetracked by conversations and “one-offs”. If you feel that you need to discuss a subject further, have the discussion during your tour of the area. The daily review meeting will also allow you to assess if your team leader is addressing the right issues.

  1. Starting counting something

What I mean is begin to learn the data of your department. Ask either your Manager, Tech Support, someone that can give you all the data related to your department. You can begin sorting the data (using excel) and determine what is important and what is not. On the other hand, if you have some difficulty getting data have your people start counting something.

  1. Set clear expectations

When assigning work it is important to use the S.M.A.R.T. method. You may be rushed to get things done or to correct a specific issue however by taking the time and making a conscious effort to use the S.M.A.R.T. method will create fewer issues because your team will be focused and know what good and bad looks like.  It is to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

  1. Start a training plan

If your team does not have a current training plan, that is O.K.  In a previous post, we show you have to create a training plan in less than 15 minutes. The key component to the training plan is to determine the levels of training and how many trained people you need for each activity. But if your organization already has a training plan I would still suggest you read our post and determine would many people you need to be trained in each activity and then determine the gap in all the training.

  1. Create a policy

A policy is an organizational document that guides decisions. The intent of a policy is to avoid a negative effect or a positive outcome.  If you notice a behavior or activity that does not seem right, ask the employee, your boss, or even your HR representative. This may also include methods of managing departmental activities such as purchases, escalations, security, etc. Once the policy is approved it remains in the organization as a permanent fixture that “YOU” created to reduce an inefficient process.

  1. Create a procedure

A procedure is a standard by which an activity is to be conducted. Procedures in the workplace could include work instructions which detail all the steps in performing a task, method of delivery of product, how to scrap product, etc. Every activity in your department should have a standard procedure. Another benefit of having standard procedures is a consistent training method.

  1. Establish roles and responsibilities

I would challenge you to ask each of your team members what their role and responsibility within the organization. What you will discover different points of view from what you expected. This is a great opportunity to realign your team and clearly defined each person’s role and responsibility. This could be the greatest impact you can have in your organization if done correctly.

  1. Create a weekly plan for your team

A plan is derived from the forecast from your organization. You will have to get a copy of the forecast from your organization and then determine how much of that does your team have to produce. Once you determine that number, create a simple excel sheet and start plugging the numbers for the week. The data should include date, daily volume, and the number of labor hours you need. The reason why you need a plan is to control the total amount of labor that you need and it will show you if you are using too many labor hours. Labor hours is the cost that you can control and save the organization money by planning correctly and staying on plan.

  1. Create specific job assignments[

Each employee in your department needs specific job assignments and backup assignments. “Well, they do the same job every day and they know what needs to get done” is the common answer for the lack of job assignment sheet.  What happens if an employee is absent? Or even better what happens if “you” are absent? Whoever fills in has to scramble to figure our assignments and verify the correct assignments. The purpose of creating assignments is to set consistent and clear expectations which reinforces their role and responsibility. Also, assignments are based on their skill level. This is tied into your training plan and filling the gap in your training plan.

  1. Increase your follow-up rate by 50%

Your fundamental role as s supervisor is to follow up on your employee during the day. The more frequent you follow up, the more proactive you become in resolving their issues. Now, some employees may feel that you trust them less in getting their job done when you follow up more frequently. If each person understands their role and responsibility and they understand yours, it should not be an issue (see how all this ties in?). The conversation when following up should not be vague but specific in meeting their hourly goals. This should include their current plan, their actual, and why they are doing well or why they are falling behind. This will allow you to recognize them for a good job or determine the barriers of any gaps.

  1. Post the score

Do you know the score when watching a football game or basketball game? Why? Because the score is always posted. Does your team know the score of their department? One simple method is to post scores in high traffic areas in your department. Scores include capacity graphs, trend charts, huddle meeting agendas, action plans, lost time paretos, and daily/weekly operating reports and others. The more your team knows about the score, the more questions they will ask, and the more engagement they will get. Once you post the scores, take the time to explain the scores. Take one chart a day until all are explained then take one per week for a progress of the score.


Now that you have a good list of ways you can immediately add value in your organization, which one will you apply today?


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