When you’re a part of the food manufacturing industry, even seemingly small changes can have big impacts on your business. Those in the ranks of the organization are always on the lookout for a competitive advantage. Good communication is it, which invariably is going to increase safety and productivity on the plant floor.
The recently released 2020 Global Food Manufacturing Report forecasts strong growth through 2026. This is welcome news for any organization that’s able to reposition itself for growth with product reformulations or market expansion. Every worker on the floor, from a new-hire to a long-standing employee, can benefit from improved communication. Wireless headsets can help.
PROMOTE HANDS-ON TRAINING
When we’re in learning mode, on-the-job training with guided instruction accelerates retention. Classroom learning can offer the basics, preparing new-hires with an overview and basic safety, but nothing takes the place of focused training and dedicated supervisors that are there with immediate input when needed.
It’s actually a neurological thing: Clear and timely feedback reinforces neural pathways in our brain. When we’re able to hear what others are saying as we’re practicing new skills, we understand more. Training employees with wireless headsets keeps trainers and trainees connected at all times.
KEEP THE FLOOR INFORMED
Anyone that’s been a part of making changes to production lines in support of a new product launch knows that even the best laid plans are subject to trial and error. New machinery or workstations may introduce issues that’ll require some attention to optimize.
Front-line workers are your experts here, and the perfect go-between for engineering and technicians. To keep the flow of information up-to-date, consider assigning a point person that would partner with engineering and others involved to offer up the voice of the worker. In turn, this liaison will be able to keep the production team up to speed. Ramp-up is quicker and issues get resolved on-the-spot.
For effective team interaction, you need to be able to block out noise from loud tools and equipment, but still be aware of what’s going on around you. Look for headsets that have Listen-Through technology, making it possible to have the right mix of hearing protection and situational awareness.
IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY AND SAFETY
When employees are able to share ideas and issues easily, team unity results. Everyone’s more aware and engaged with their environment. And you know what? Morale improves, too. Humans are naturally interactive. When working together, hearing and talking is a normal part of the job. We develop better ways of working. We look out for each other. Wireless headsets make it possible to stay connected, even at a distance. Look for hands-free gear that allows for talking and hearing without having to push a button.
DOWNTIME IS LOST TIME
During line meetings or product change-overs, an experienced crew can make the switch with relative ease. But even if there’s only a little yelling (“What was that?”), it can result in confusion and a brief delay. Just a few minutes per line adds up across multiple lines and shifts per day. What’s the opportunity cost of those hours in output?
And it’s not just about line-down situations. It’s about maintaining cycle times while the line is up. Adjustments and repairs that take place throughout the shift can slow the flow and impact your daily count if not coordinated correctly.
An assembly line converting to a different beverage had this experience: Employees were working together on the label machine, threading new ones in. One employee thought the other had finished his task and started up the machine, resulting in the substation releasing unmarked product. Fingers got pinched. The reported incident was tied to a lack of proper communication.
Teams that are able to interact with each other clearly – even when it’s loud – remove uncertainty and guesswork. Operators will know when a task is completed and they’ll be ready to step up. And, leveraging headsets with a 24-hour battery designed for ease of use means you put it on and talk. The equipment should take care of the rest.
Learn more about how Sonetics wireless headsets can help improve your team’s productivity and safety.