Communicating Major Changes: how a production facility did it successfully

Jim Dillingham, Partner, Shiftwork Solutions LLC

When leaders initiate a major change that affects their employees, they want everything to proceed smoothly. They don’t want to alienate the workforce or create any long-lasting disruptions or unnecessary delays. Change that affects the personal lives of people is the most difficult and riskiest type of change. Yet that is exactly what leaders do when they modify or replace their employees’ work schedules.

The leader’s challenge is how to get their people to support the schedule change. Employees have diverse lifestyles, so you can expect their preferences for a new work schedule to be equally varied. A thing as simple as changing a shift start time can feel like a catastrophic event to an unprepared workforce. How will they get their kids to school? Their carpool won’t wait for them. They can’t take that night class they’ve been thinking about. People have a myriad of responsibilities, activities, and interests that will be affected by any change in their work schedules. Every possible conflict can be blown up into an unsolvable problem.

Here is what a semiconductor company did to successfully handle the challenge. The work site was a production facility with more than 1,200 employees. Before the change, the shift schedule had relied on “weekend warriors” to handle the weekend shifts. Full-time employees had covered Monday through Friday. The weekends had been covered by two additional crews that only worked for the company on the weekends. One of the crews worked 12-hour day shifts on Saturday and Sunday. The other crew worked 12-hour night shifts on those same days. In some instances, these weekend workers also worked during the week to add to their income.

As you might expect, this was causing several problems:

  • The weekend crews experienced a high attrition rate and high absenteeism.
  • Finding replacements for the vacant weekend positions was an on-going concern.
  • Maintaining team integrity was difficult because the weekday shifts had many weekend employees who were not part of the core crew/team.
  • Using weekend warriors required five crews instead of four crews, the common approach for a business that operates 24/7. This required 25% more personnel, and thus a 25% increase in the number of employees to communicate with.
  • Productivity would drop when the weekend crew took over as the weekenders familiarized themselves with the production changes that took place during the five days they were away. This also happened to the full-time employees after being away for two days but to a lesser extent.

The management team decided to replace the old work schedule with a compressed work week” schedule that would require employees to work twelve hours per shift instead of eight hours but reduce the number of shifts worked each week. It would also eliminate the need for weekend warriors.

On the new schedule, employees would have seventy-eight fewer workdays and ten percent more income. One might think that these two figures would be reason enough to support a schedule change. The fact is that a workforce, uninformed about what is about to happen, will choose to remain on the current schedule for no reason other than they are familiar with it.

To gain support for changing the shift schedules, the company knew they would have to find a way to involve the workforce in the change process. To do this they did three things:

  1. They increased communications regarding the current situation and explained why a change was needed. They educated people about the problems the weekend warrior approach was creating. Managers held large group meetings, posted announcements, and sent e-mails to make sure the workers completely understood the reasons a change was needed. The goal was to have the workforce join together in support of the common cause. A key component of this effort was the company’s supervisors since communication between hourly workers and the first level of management is usually the most influential. Supervisors were first educated about the need for change. Then they were used to help pass that message along to their direct reports. This had the effect of empowering supervision while giving employees ready access to someone who could answer their questions.
  2. They brought in a neutral, third party to facilitate the change process. They felt the shift workers would trust the process more if it was run by someone who was not affiliated with the company. They did not want the change in shift schedules to come across as a management ultimatum. They hired us to present an impartial view of how to solve the current situation. We explained the steps that would be taken, including how the employees’ input would be used. Not everything was up to the workforce to decide. For example, the decision had already been made to get rid of the weekend warrior schedule. But the employees could play a major role in deciding what to replace it with. Our role also included responsibility for expanding everyone’s awareness of what was possible. Most shiftwork managers and employees have limited exposure to different schedules. This makes their “box” of options appear much smaller than it actually is. A critical feature of the facilitator’s work is that it must be transparent. This means no secrets. All work performed by the third party must be accessible by everyone. All analyses and all survey results presented to management must also be made available to the workforce. This was accomplished by giving the employees a shortened version of any results and letting them know where more detailed information could be viewed if they wished to do so.
  3. They involved employees in selecting the new work schedules. This began with a Lifestyle Survey that was given to all affected employees. The survey allowed employees to give their initial feedback about the pending change. It also allowed them to express preferences with regards to shift work in general. Several weeks later, the employees were given the results from the survey. This validation of results allowed employees to see that their input was actually heard. A second survey was prepared for the workforce that offered a number of alternative schedule solutions. These schedule alternatives were developed from an analysis of the business needs and coverage requirements as well as employee schedule preferences identified in the first survey. The employees were given a clear picture of the need to change. They also were educated about the different shift schedules that would work for their facility: what types were available and what people tend to find attractive (or unattractive) about different schedules. The survey allowed people to evaluate this set of schedule options. The results of the second survey were shared with managers and workers. The results were used to narrow down the schedule options to two 12-hour schedules. Every employee understood that their input was used to help identify the final options.  

The Results

The final two shift schedule options were presented to the workforce. Over 75 percent of the night-shift employees and over 95 percent of the day-shift employees agreed on what the new schedule should be. This strong consensus is directly attributed to the leaders’ efforts to communicate with their people and to actively solicit (and use) their input.

Even employees who did not initially agree with the need to change schedules eventually grew to understand and support the initiative. Employees who did not get their first choice of shift schedule or shift assignment felt that the process was thorough and fair. This sense of fairness allowed them to accept the change even though they wanted to keep their old schedule or change to something different.

If you are planning to make a major change in your business, keep these three concepts in mind. First, make sure everyone is well informed. People should have a solid understanding of the problem and its impact on the business. Second, build credibility at every step of the process. People must believe there really is a problem, the consequences are significant, and that management does not have a hidden agenda they are trying to sneak past the workers. Third and most importantly, involve the people affected by the change in selecting the best solution. Seek input from everyone, not just the most vocal people. It is especially important for employees to see that their input is used to influence the final outcome.

Communication, a clear process for selecting a solution, and employee participation are the three keys to success. This approach certainly worked well for this company. Hopefully, you will experience the same success by following these guidelines.

Call or text us today at (415) 858-8585.

You can also complete our contact form and we will call you.

What does the New Year Bring to a Tight Labor Market?

During our 30+years of cross-industry experience we have found that once unemployment drops below 6%, companies find it hard to staff adequately to meet production demands.  At the current 3.6% unemployment rate [1] a labor shortage is the single biggest production problem many companies are facing. For as many as eleven states, unemployment falls to between 2.3% and 2.9%.[2] What this means, is that almost everyone who wants a job has a job.  No wonder, if you ask any production or human resource manager: “What was the biggest challenge last year?” they will almost certainly give some version of “It’s becoming harder and harder to find employees in this ever-increasingly tight labor market.” They are most likely fighting this battle on two fronts:

(1) Getting quality employees to join their company

(2) Keeping those employees satisfied enough to keep them from leaving.

When it comes to attracting quality employees, the beginning of the year, however, represents an opportunity to jump-start your hiring efforts to hire quality employees ― without “poaching” from the company down the street.  According to the BLS, more than 600,000 temporary jobs were added for the holidays nationwide in 2018.  Most of these new hires were let go by February of 2019.  Given this seasonal pattern for the new year, we can expect that there are going to be a lot of people looking for work this January and February.  Keep this in mind as it may be a good idea to strike while the iron is hot. 

When it comes to keeping quality employees, it is always preferred to keep them rather than trying to constantly replace them.  When you slow down turnover, you immediately take a huge burden off of your recruiting and training efforts.

How to do that? Here are some insights for a shift work environment

  • Why Your 12-hour Schedule is More Attractive than You Think?
  • What is important about work-life balance?
  • What do you need to know about overtime?
  • 12 Unexpected Insights: do you know what you don’t know?
  • Why should you consider changing your shift schedule?

Our experts at Shiftwork Solutions have looked at the reasons why employees leave companies, such as inclusiveness, work-life balance. Their workforce survey is an integral part of their solutions which leads to happier employees who feel valued and are instrumental in delivering on growth targets.

Give us a call at (415) 858-8585 and talk to an expert for free.  We can help you to succeed.

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Footnotes:

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), January 1, 2020

[2] Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) January 1, 2020

Have you Made Your Business Resolutions Yet?

If you want happier employees this year, you may consider doing some things differently than last year. Otherwise, if you do what you did, you’ll get what you got. Employee engagement, better-work life balance, and improved communication might be at the top of the wish list. But what comes after establishing these resolutions? How to execute on those? You may start collecting a set of SMART goals1 that support the resolutions the best. However, before starting to jot down your goals for the year, let us borrow James Clear’s thoughts on goal setting. Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, claims that “goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress. Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually, a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.” 2  

An example: if you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book by a certain date. Your system is the daily writing schedule you follow. Committing to writing a blog every day is a process that makes a writer confident (s)he is going to get to his/her ultimate goal of publishing the book.

It is also true for a shift work operation. Goals are useful and needed for setting a direction, but you need a system in place to make progress. Deploying a vetted, transformed shift work system is the way to achieve many of the high priority goals.  Changes in the outcome require changes in the process.

If some indicators have revealed that workforce and schedule related changes are needed for your business success, you might be ready to implement some change. A well-designed, transformed shift work system will ensure that the desired changes happen, and your resolutions come true. It will support numerous underlying goals, which include:

  1. Reduce employee turnover
  2. Improve overtime distribution policies
  3. Reduced absenteeism
  4. Increase employee involvement
  5. Improve work-life balance
  6. Eliminate unnecessary labor costs
  7. Improve communication with the workforce
  8. Adjust supervision: optimal direct-reports ratio
  9. Increase time for maintenance
  10. Fully staff all non-day shift positions
  11. Improve shift turnovers
  12. Identify workplace issues that employees find problematic
  13. Solve staffing needs for a seasonal workload
  14. Maximize productive time per line
  15. Maximize employee schedule satisfaction
  16. Build training time into the employee work schedule
  17. Implement interactive electronic employee schedule management system
  18. Increase schedule flexibility
  19. Improve technical support for non-day shift operations
  20. Increase workforce involvement in problem-solving exercises

That is how the right schedule in place can bring about happier employees. Side effects may include improved responsiveness to customer demands, an increase in revenues, a good grip on overtime, product quality improvements, and more effective communication with the workforce and within teams.  

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If you have questions or want to find out more, contact our team.  Call or text us today at (415) 858-8585 to discuss your operations and how we can help you achieve your goals. You can also complete our contact form and we will call you.

Shiftwork Solutions’ Consulting Services creates a shift operation framework that enables business operations leaders to increase production and attract a skilled workforce into a custom-designed schedule. Our experts bring in best practices from wide-ranging industries with complex operations to tailor solutions for specific operational needs. Our data-driven processes, communication centered approach and project execution bring about the changes needed to improve business operations and production output, and reduce per-unit costs, while workers feel empowered to help the organization achieve its goals.

Footnotes:

1. SMART ― specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

2. James Clear on goal setting https://jamesclear.com/goal-setting

Shiftwork Solutions Survey System

Shiftwork Solutions uses surveys to engage the workforce as well as to find out what is really going on from their perspective. This process facilitates the identification and implementation of the ideal shift schedule solution.

If you are like most successful companies, you have made Employee Engagement a top priority.  You have a participative environment that invites the workforce to share in the creation and therefore, ownership of solutions to operational issues and problems.

Then, one day along comes the need to look at your shift schedule.  Perhaps you are running too much overtime, or you are out of capacity.  Maybe your product flow is not optimized, or your employees are dissatisfied with the current schedule.  For whatever reason, you come to the point in time where there is a need to consider changing your shiftwork structure.

Many companies find that changing shift schedules generates a surprisingly visceral response from their employees.  There is a reason for this; an important reason.  Shift workers don’t judge a schedule by the hours it makes them work.  They judge a schedule by the hours it DOESN’T make them work.  In other words, their schedule tells them how they can structure their lives outside of the workplace.

If you change a schedule, you are changing the lifestyle of your employees. This makes it personal.

With a change like this, standard practices can become stretched or even non-functional.  Employee Engagement practices that worked before are now viewed through skeptical eyes.

Shiftwork Solutions has helped hundreds of companies and their employees through this time of high anxiety. We have created a solution, a Survey System, which helps overcome disruptions of this kind.  This is an Employee Engagement Tool with quantifiable results.

Edward Deming famously said, “In God we trust; all others bring data.”

The Shiftwork Solutions Survey System consists of three separate surveys; each sequential one building on the results of the previous surveys. The surveys themselves are designed to find out what the workforce is looking for with regards to a work-life balance.  How much overtime do they want?  What types of patterns do they prefer?  What is their favorite shift to work?  The surveys also find out about attitudes towards the company as well as how they are dealing with alertness and sleep issues. The data collected by the survey system allows us to drill down to the important issues as well as identify hot spots.  Results are tabulated in different ways, including (1) By shift, (2) By length of service, (3) By department and (4) By current shift assignment.

The administration of the surveys includes comprehensive communications with the workforce.  We make sure that everyone is well informed.  They will know what is going on, why things are happening, when things are happening and, most importantly, what level of input is needed from the workforce. Remember, the schedule is about their quality of life away from work.  If you want to know what that looks like, you need to ask.

Why are the surveys important?

Beyond the fact that they get the workforce involved, they allow us to create a shiftwork structure that meets their needs.  Beyond that, the surveys also help find solution best supporting your strategic business direction.

The Shiftwork Solutions Survey System, administered by our shiftwork experts, is what you need to keep your employees focused and engaged as you work through a major change in your shift schedule.

Call or text us today at (415) 858-8585 to discuss how our survey system can help you find the key to satisfying your employees’ work-life balance needs while, at the same time, achieving your business goals.

Our Clients Are Talking

Every now and then, we like to make sure that organizations not only recognize our knowledge about shift work and the change management process around it but they feel assured that we bring that high level of expertise to the table with every company we work with.

We’d like to share some quotes from past clients and take this opportunity to thank them for their kind words.

“Hiring Shiftwork Solutions was some of the best dollars we have spent. We hired them to help us go to continuous operations with buy-in from the workforce. Dan Capshaw’s exemplary operations analysis and work with our people showed how tightening our policies would be supported by the workforce and allow us to gain the additional capacity that we needed without changing schedules at this time. If you are looking for someone with sincerity and sensitivity in dealing with the whole workforce, then Dan Capshaw and Shiftwork Solutions are the ones you want to call.”  Rick Rinard, Plant Manager, Dana Corporation

“Kellogg Company has used Shiftwork Solutions to implement alternative work schedules at several manufacturing locations across the US. We are extremely satisfied with the results. Shiftwork Solutions has developed a well-defined, easy-to-understand process to engage both our management teams and our hourly employees in the evaluation of various schedules and most importantly, ownership in deciding which schedule is best for them and how to best transition to those schedules. Morale has increased significantly at each of our facilities in which Shiftwork Solutions has assisted us in transitioning to alternative work schedules.”  Mark Paschal, Senior Director, HR Practices, Kellogg Company

“Shiftwork Solutions helped us to successfully expand from 5 days a week to 7 days a week. Their expertise was instrumental in achieving employee support for this change.” Kathy Amrhein, Human Resources Manager, Pharmacia

“A shift structure change is an emotional event for an organization and Shiftwork Solutions was great in not only helping us manage that change but in helping the organization decide what change should be made.” Mike Vanhoy, Vice President of Operations, Infineon Technologies

Jim Dillingham of Shiftwork Solutions is right up there with the best among consultants and business leaders. He learned our business very quickly by studying data and briefly meeting with key people from all levels. By working with and quickly gaining the trust of our people, Jim eliminated the volatility, softened emotions, eased fears, and helped our people select an alternate schedule that best matched their lifestyles. His disarming nature, thorough knowledge of the intricacies of work schedules and how they affect associates and their families, and superb communication skills led to a very successful implementation of an alternate schedule that significantly reduced overtime and turnover. Jim’s help in writing policies and procedures not only for ongoing, day-to-day operations but also for the implementation saved us time and anguish. I knew very little would have to be tweaked as we worked with our new rules for vacation scheduling, holiday pay, overtime, pay periods, and attendance. He delivered the best results per consulting dollar I have ever seen. On top of all this, he is fun to work with. Even though we are well over a year into our new schedule, our people still ask me if I ever hear from Jim Dillingham.” John Bartman, SPHR, Vice President, Human Resources, Snyder’s of Hanover

“…As a union organization, we are acutely familiar with some of the problems associated with shift work. Trying to balance a company’s needs with the needs of its members is not an easy task. “Our members at Electric Boat Corporation successfully changed to an alternative shift schedule to meet operational demands. Dan Capshaw from Shiftwork Solutions was instrumental in helping the company find fair alternatives that met our members’ needs. If you are thinking about changing schedules, I highly recommend you give Dan a call.”  Mel Olsson, President, UAW Local 571

“Surviving in the tough business world we live in today requires three major components: satisfied shareholders, satisfied customers, and satisfied employees. Shiftwork Solutions led us through a high-quality process that proved that a win-win-win is possible, practical, and profitable. Building flexibility into our operating schedules, while meeting these three major components of our business, significantly positioned our operations for a workable long-term business equation.” Rick Halpin, Plant Manager, Polymer Group Inc.

“Shiftwork Solutions helped us focus our resources on our most productive equipment — allowing us to increase our capacity by over 10% without increasing labor costs or buying new equipment. The return on our investment in their consulting services was outstanding.”  Mike Crane, Executive Vice President, Crane Plastics Company

“When it comes to helping shiftwork operations perform at the highest level possible, the consultants at Shiftwork Solutions are the best.”  Bruce Hill, Vice President of Human Resources, The American Coal Company

“…Your obvious expertise in shift scheduling, Shiftwork Solutions’ database of schedules and survey results, and the empathy, sincerity, and sensitivity that you showed in dealing with our people were exemplary. In combination, these factors produced an on-target consulting result, which was by far the most impact delivered per consulting dollar that I have seen.”  C. David Lilly, President, SiteRock Corporation

“If anyone is looking to move to a 24/7 shift operation, Shiftwork Solutions is the greatest resource you will find.  They work with your employees throughout the entire process getting their feedback and buy-in allowing you to focus on satisfying your customer needs.  They are truly awesome to work with and are there for you during all phases of the project.” Carol Jacobson, Human Resources Manager, Menasha Packaging

“Jim Dillingham and his team at Shiftwork Solutions provided great insight and were an invaluable resource allowing us to seamlessly implement the 24/7 schedule while keeping our team members actively engaged in the process.”  Bill Berg, Regional Operations Manager, Menasha Packaging

“Jim provided invaluable insight into the many aspects of selecting our 24/7 shift system for our new plant in CA. We were looking for help and guidance in what felt like a minefield of possible outcomes. His analytical approach helped us understand and quantify many possibilities. His years of hands-on implementation knowledge and experience prepared us for the key and most important part of any proposed change, it’s the rollout. We took to heart his emphasis on getting the message right, communicating effectively and educating the affected employees on the new schedule”  Lee Jared, Vice President / General Manager, Kalle Group / Jif-Pak

”Shiftwork Solutions enabled us to schedule our facility in the best way possible to meet our growing customer demand. The experience that Jim Dillingham brought to the table prevented us from making a lot of the mistakes we would have made had we sought to implement this strategy on our own. Jim was outstanding at effectively communicating the desired changes with our employee base, and collaborating with both the company and the union, in order to obtain the information and buy-in necessary to successfully implement a shiftwork schedule. Additionally, the data Jim was able to gather from his face-to-face discussions and surveys with our associates continues to help us optimize our scheduling to best suit our company and workforce needs. I would highly recommend Shiftwork Solutions to any company considering conversion to a shiftwork schedule.” Joseph J. Buchanan, Plant Manager, Carl Buddig & Company

“Jim Dillingham of Shiftwork Solutions LLC made a very significant contribution to our getting major and beneficial scheduling changes to the contract; doing so in a collaborative, non-adversarial way. I certainly appreciate his professional and team-oriented approach.” Howard Bernstein, Partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg  (Howard represents employers throughout the U.S. in labor relations and employment law matters and employment-related litigation, with an emphasis on contract negotiations, arbitrations and injunction proceedings, NLRB election campaigns, unfair labor practice cases, and employment discrimination matters.)

“Shiftwork Solutions provided the expertise we needed to evaluate the pros and cons of the various shift arrangements that can be used for continuous operations. Jim Dillingham coached our entire organization from how the various shifts work, associate survey, policy changes, implementation, and follow-up. Highly recommend both Shiftwork Solutions and Jim Dillingham to get it done right the first time.” Tom Gilmore, Sr. HR Manager Nissin Brake

“Shiftwork Solutions LLC exceeded my expectations while facilitating an agreement between the union and management to implement a totally overhauled continuous operation work schedule for our 300 person facility. Given the long history of the plant, I was pleasantly surprised at how easily Jim Dillingham was able to get the job done. Jim’s experience not only helped us reach a quick agreement but additionally, we found a detailed solution that was well received by both sides after the contract.”  Bernie Anderson, President Miba Bearings US, LLC

We are proud to provide expertise organizations value and address the challenges they face due to fluctuating demand, specifics of labor supply or else. Through our services they have fully implemented new schedule patterns supported by team members, they have a managed transition — policies and processes in place,  engaged management and –  if needed – union negotiation during the change process. They gain additional capacity, save costs, time and anguish. They can reduce overtime, increase output and adjust to fluctuations in demand to ultimately arrive at satisfied customers, employees, and stakeholders.

 We appreciate the opportunity to think with them and work with them to achieve their highest potential.

Call Us and We Can Help

Call or text us today at (415) 858-8585 to discuss your operations and how we can help you solve your shift work problems. You can also complete our contact form and we will call you.

Don’t tell me what to do!

Plant managers and Human Resource managers that work with large groups of employees have almost certainly learned one clear truth: People don’t like to be told what to do.

Knowing this, at Shiftwork Solutions, we have developed a process of communication and participative employee involvement to help companies through our change process.

Companies typically come to us with a shiftwork issue such as “I need to start running my 5-day operation 24/7.”  They expect us to do some math, which we do.  They expect us to work out the policies and staffing numbers, which we do.  They expect us to examine product flow and create a solution that fits their entire situation, which we do.

But most of all, they expect us to bring the workforce along on the ride.

We accomplish this using the following basic steps:

  1. We make sure the reason for the change is real and understandable.  This is then communicated to the workforce.  Instead of saying, “We are changing,” we say “We need to change and this is why.”
  2. We tell the workforce what their level of involvement will be.  While some decisions are the job of upper management, many issues can, and should, be resolved using input from those most affected.  For example, the workforce can’t say, “Turn down that customer order because I want the day off.”  However, they can say, “I like this amount of overtime and I like my shifts to start at this time and I like longer shifts to give me more days off.”  All of these preferences can be managed in such a way as to have no impact on cost structures or productivity.  In short, if you can find areas to let the employees have their say, then do it.
  3. We educate the workforce.  This comes down to eliminating the fear of the unknown.  People that are unclear on what is happening tend to resist change.  They can become angry over a situation that only exists in their mind; where they filled in the blanks because no one else would.  They need to know what is possible and not possible.  For example, employees prefer you to hire additional crews to work weekends.  If you just say no, then the argument still exists.  If you say, “No and this is why,” the argument, and thus resistance fades away.

Communication and employee involvement and workforce buy-in are crucial when implementing changes in operation. Will the workforce be along on the ride when your production grows?

Call Us and to help get your workforce involved the next time you need to have your shift schedule reviewed or changed.

Call or text us today at (415) 858-8585 to discuss your operations and how we can help you solve your shift work problems. You can also complete our contact form and we will call you.

Why is changing schedules so difficult?

Companies are often surprised at how difficult changing a shift schedule can be.

There are several reasons for this but the big two are:

  1. Employees are familiar and thus comfortable with their current schedule while something else represents an unknown.  To an extent, we all fear the unknown.
  2. A schedule is very personal to those that work it.  It tells them when they can go on vacation, when they can pick up their kids and when they can coach sports.  Even a small change in the schedule feels like a company has stuck their hand into a shift worker’s private life and stirred things up.

There are other, less dominant issues as well.  Maybe two spouses are on different schedules and they have things worked out so that one is always at home and thus, no money is needed for daycare.  Maybe a shift worker is also a student and a new schedule will cause them to miss classes.  Maybe there is misinformation about the new schedule – someone that doesn’t want change is spreading the false narrative that “Overtime will go up” or “People will be laid off.”

The best way to address the resistance is a combination of education and participation.

If people knew exactly what they were getting into, the change would be easier.  If the change represented shift worker input so that it minimized unwanted disruption to their personal situations, change would be easier.  If shift workers understood the need for a change as well as how it could personally benefit them, the change would be easier.

Call Us and We Can Help

Call or text us today at (415) 858-8585 to discuss your operations and how we can help you solve your shift work problems. You can also complete our contact form and we will call you.

Preparation is part of Doing

I just saw a post on LinkedIn where a LEAN expert mentioned that 20% of implementing LEAN is having the right tools. The other 80% is the mindset. In other words, the table must be set in order for dinner to be served.

It strikes me that this is an “oft-overlooked” phase of every project.

A company we worked with was charged with writing software for an entire state’s medical insurance program. There were several hundred programmers; all of them busy all of the time. As I began my process of evaluating the workload in preparation for a schedule change I was surprised at what most of their work consisted of.

When we asked, “What do you spend your time doing every day?” The average answer came back as “I spend 80% of my time with my customers, identifying their needs. I spend the remaining 20% writing code.” Another instance of “measuring twice before cutting once”.

I recently had a deck at my house painted. It took about 20 hours. This wasn’t a large deck and I expected it to take much less time (although I wasn’t in a hurry). As I watched the painters work, I noticed that nearly all of their time was spent sanding and taping off different areas. When it comes to actually painting…that took no time at all.

Whether it’s implementing a LEAN program or writing code or painting a deck, preparation is the key to success.

In my world at Shiftwork Solutions, things are no different. Implementing a shift schedule takes preparation as well as the process. In a sense, the preparation is part of the process. Sure, you can go online and find schedules anywhere; we even put them on our website. But don’t be fooled into thinking that what you have found is the key to success – because it’s not.

My advice – Do it right the first time.

Call Us and We Can Help

Call or text us today at (415) 858-8585 to discuss your operations and how we can help you solve your shift work problems. You can also complete our contact form and we will call you.