Author Eduard Lecha Puig
Summary. On this article Mr. Eduard, exposes how improving the framework between frontline workers and other elements in an organization represents an all-important communication loop that allows the managers improve their decision making and helps the members of an organization executing a long-term strategy.
The Backbone of Execution
Frontline workers form the backbone of any industrial enterprise are the driving force that ensures the company’s operations run smoothly. They are the individuals who are directly involved in the day-to-day operations, carrying out essential tasks on the ground. Whether it’s assembling products, operating machinery, providing maintenance or preparing orders.
While businesses rely on complex strategies, plans, and procedures, it is the frontline workers who bring them to life. They translate the abstract concepts and instructions from the management into tangible actions and outcomes. By meticulously following protocols and applying their skills and expertise, they ensure that every step in the business process is executed with precision.
The Traditional Model
When I first worked for a big manufacturing customer, one of the main problems facing the senior management team was; productivity, motivation, product quality and what I call “finding people that take the trivial seriously”. While the company invested a lot on automating processes and building a reliable structure the shifts of the markets and the disruption on the traditional models was bringing them problems. In this case, the organization decided first, to automate the administration tasks and to build the essential automation systems to start manufacturing their products. Obviously it was not a bad strategy considering that one of the last transformations in the world was the introduction of electronics and IT systems. So when all these systems were already implemented the CEO approach basically consisted on maintaining the systems and increasing productivity so benefits can be maximized. What happened was, a constant rising of issues of lack of motivation of the frontline workers and, lack of driven individuals which as consequence led to a poor product quality.
After months without reaching the standards of quality they realized the following approach; the focusing, as usual, on high-pressure tactics to maximize short-term results were leading on a lack of product quality and motivation. Teams need to become more professional, more focused on building deep, product quality and long-lasting relationships. Increasingly, companies need to build a culture of what I call passionate drivers—people who question the traditional way of doing things, dig into complex problems and stick with them until they are solved, and have an appetite to innovate. It’s no longer good enough for an organization and its people to simply to keep executing past routines. Individuals must create an organization that is adaptable and highly responsive, with a strong vision driven by people that take the “Trivial” seriously.
Obviosuly, an industrial organization is a complex type of business because implies not only designing a product and make it functional it also requires to “Bring it to life”. That’s where the idea of starting connectvity, and visilibity of the processes started taking place and where the improvements started. Basically, introducing real-time data to the systems feeded the execution part with valuable insights. The teams now, realized the status of almost everything running in the facilities; status of the components, maintenance status, flow of the products/production and others. All of this helped managers to re-orient their decision making and start producing a loop thet feed back. That’s where I also realized the real value of the frontline workforce as the first people to engage the customers, the first to represent the brand and the first to see the products in action. Basically, empowering them means continuity to the organization.
At this point, the organization decided continue improving, integrating the now connected factory to the different business tools. All this new ways of doing, started changing the dynamics and empowering the frontline workers that everytime could see more connected with the other teams and the organization product quality started dramatically improving together with the long-term vision.