Modern Machine Shop

MAY 2018

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Page 27 of 179

COMPETING IDEAS MMS MAY 2018 26 Manufacturing Management Managers Cannot Do It All Regardless of the type of business, those in man- agement positions have a lot to do. While this makes managers' jobs difficult enough, it makes them even more so when they believe that they must "do it all." This includes running day-to- day operations, hiring and training new employ- ees, handling personnel issues and "putting out the fires" that seem to arise constantly. On top of all this, managers must seek ways to make their operations better, both in the short and long term. At times, even the best managers struggle to accomplish all they need to do in a day. To be effective, they need to realize that they cannot do it all, and they must delegate cer- tain tasks to others. On the surface, delegation seems simple enough: Take some of the things managers are doing and assign them others. However, more than simple task assignment is needed if we expect a positive outcome. Expectations must be created, communicated and then frequently reviewed and evaluated (the "managing" part of management). Good management is all about expectations. A manager must be confident that the person being assigned a task is prepared to complete it. This expecation supports the need for training and education. The training part is likely the easiest to tackle. Managers have been training or overseeing employee training for centuries. It is very task-ori- ented and measurable by an employee's perfor- mance. (A task is either done right and in a timely manner, or it is not.) On the other hand, educa- tion is more concept-oriented, with the objective being to teach people to recognize and address situations that might arise. Education focuses on getting people to think—something that more companies should expect of their employees. Recognizing this, many companies are focusing more on the education component of employ- ee-skill enhance- ment. Programs such as problem solving, leadership, time management, team building, lean tools and tech- niques, Six Sigma and the now-popu- lar lean/Six Sigma program, which combines the bene- fits of both, are all geared to getting employees to think. Of course, the real benefit of any education pro- gram comes from applying learned concepts to real- world applications. Any program needs to be followed by an activity that does just that. For example, a problem-solv- ing program should be followed by a specific problem-solving task assigned to a team. This problem-solving task should culminate with corrective action and/or countermeasures that Improving employee skills through focused training will help [get things done], but educating key employees on ideas and concepts is just as important. WAYNE S. CHANESKI | COLUMNIST Equip employees with training and education.

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