Here we are already in the middle of July, the summer that seemed far away has begun, and the beautiful days should not be long in coming. This is a sign of good news! It is the arrival of the vacations, for those who are not already enjoying them. For the others, the number of operators is slowly decreasing. You will have to deal with the consequences of the summer, alone or in a reduced team. But what are the consequences of the summer on manufacturing?
Several factors impact the industry during the summer. Some of them obviously depend on your trade. Other impacts of the season are more generic and apply to everyone. But between constraints and vacations, let’s see how to have a great industrial summer.
Workforce management, additional constraints during the summer
There are (or were) two ways of looking at vacation time in a factory. The management’s point of view sees it as a constraint. On the other hand, the point of view of the person who goes on vacation, who is happy about it. Let’s be serious, although a bit of a caricature, this vision still exists in the industry. We will see here that, beyond the compulsory side, vacations are part of a whole that allows the factory to function at its best during the rest of the year.
While attendance is decreasing, can’t the same be said for your orders? Except in industries with tight schedules, such as pharmaceuticals, demand decreases during the two summer months. Even more so in August.
This year has been different again. With these difficult times, a general fatigue is felt. At all levels, but especially for operators, technicians and shop floor managers who have seen their working conditions deteriorate with the sanitary measures. It is often no longer possible to eat with colleagues without a plexiglas separating you. The compulsory wearing of masks causes communication difficulties. Breaks are delayed and social relations are affected.
These vacations, in addition to being deserved, will be an opportunity for your teams to take advantage of the window that will allow us all to enjoy. We are talking about vacations that will allow us to go back to work while being rested. A well-prepared return is a successful return. But how do you prepare for this return?
Prepare your return, the solution to spend a serene summer
One of the consequences of the summer on the industry is the slowdown of orders and therefore of machines. Several options are available to you to make good use of this time and prepare for the September restart. If your machine is not producing because the people in charge are on vacation, why not take advantage of this time to perform maintenance?
During the rest of the year, the machine load and the availability of people are two factors that postpone maintenance operations. This sometimes results in temporary solutions that remain in place for several months. The human mind gets used to this kind of problem, and does not see them as such with time. Before the vacations, you can ask the person in charge of the machine if a maintenance operation is necessary. They will probably say yes, but will they think about the countermeasure (which is still working) installed since February?
If you want to restart your production with peace of mind in the fall, don’t hesitate to take a look at your critical equipment. Ideally, you should rely on the failure history of each equipment. This way, you can check each point that has already caused a shutdown. Don’t hesitate to open the technical documentation beforehand. Often forgotten, it is rich in advice given by the manufacturer. This will allow you to take advantage of the return period to deliver all your orders on time thanks to reliable machines. But what if that’s not enough?
When your industry doesn’t stop during the summer
While some people may look at their vacation as a time for school, this can be an opportunity for you. The shop floor may not be as full, but it can still produce. And how about arriving in September with a head start on your orders? For people you trust, it is easy to work independently. This can allow you to leave a few people in production during the slow period. Often, productivity increases even during these times. With less pressure, and less disturbance, our producers can focus on value-added tasks. Be careful, however, that the reduction in the number of employees does not lead to a relaxation of the safety and quality rules.
In the largest structures, it can be complicated to leave operators in autonomy, but the question of a reduced team with a small hierarchy remains conceivable. Here again, the good sides are omnipresent. It avoids stopping the machines for too long, welds the remaining teams together and allows you to keep producing. It will be important to find some time to take care of maintenance.
Another point of vigilance: consumables. Indeed, it can be more difficult to get supplies of consumables during the summer. You will have to anticipate the needs for the remaining staff. This can be easy when you are talking about pairs of gloves or simple tools. When maintenance has dismantled a machine to check its proper functioning, and a component is missing that needs to be replaced periodically, the story will not be as simple.
This summer will be different for everyone in our industries. The most important thing to prepare for it, and to be comfortable with it, is communication. You don’t want to be disturbed while you are on vacation. You can be sure that your colleague who is still at work does not want to interrupt your peace of mind either. The best way to prevent this from happening is to get the things that need to be done done. To do this, you’ll need to prepare for this time. Sit around a table and talk about your needs and plans. An hour spent at the right time can save you several at the worst time.
All the team of TEEPTRAK wishes you a nice summer in industry for the workers, and good vacations to the others.
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