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Shop Management 101: The Tactical Use of Time

(February/March 2018) posted on Tue Mar 13, 2018

What if your team had more hours in a day to concentrate on their roles in getting quality products out the door?

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By Marshall Atkinson

You would be shocked at the number of companies that don’t plan for what to do down the road. They buy equipment or hire an employee without thinking about what they are going to do with them, like a kid with a shiny new toy. Great companies are forward minded. They’re proactive, which means anticipating both the good and the bad consequences headed their way.

They know how they are going to react when business slows down or speeds up. When they buy an automatic press, they know they will have people who have been trained to operate it effectively. They know how many more screens they’ll need to make to keep up with the increase in productivity. Before they bought the press, they wrote a business plan to make sure they could feed the press work on a continual basis.

If you want better use of time during your day, start by planning for what’s around the corner.

Eliminate Distractions and Problems
We are constantly being bombarded with distractions throughout the day – emails, phone calls, questions, and all manner of things that don’t really matter. You know the symptoms. Employees on the shop floor using their cell phones or scrolling through their music lists. Meetings to review information that could have been handled in an email. Staff members that move like zombies on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons.

Whatever is going on, put a plan in place to eliminate or at least minimize these distractions. We’re all social creatures. A business should have a good culture that is fun and team oriented. If you rule the company with an iron fist, you’ll have employees who don’t want to work there. But you can set the tone and help eliminate distractions.

In any printing or manufacturing setting, there will always be problems. Challenges pop up and we have to deal with them. However, when you find yourself solving the same problems repeatedly, it means you have a time suck that needs to be obliterated.


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