It seems everyone is struggling with this issue. In a growing economy, growth in jobs outstrips the supply of good labor.
In addition to getting more creative in finding and attracting new employees, an often overlooked solution is getting more value from existing staff.
Think about the term value added. Truly value added activities are those which transform a material into a product that a customer is willing to pay for. A good example is the saw operator: Value added time for that job is ONLY the time that the blade is cutting material. Everything else – everything – is non-value-added.
As soon as you finish this article, take a few minutes to watch your saw operator. Which activities are value added and which are not? How much of your saw operator’s day is spent on non-value-added activities? Next figure out how can you reduce or eliminate those non-value-added activities. Would it make sense to have a low-wage helper moving product around in your shop to allow your highly skilled and higher paid operators spend more time on value added activities? What can you do to speed up loading and unloading the saw table?
You’re paying for the good labor that you already have and spending money and time chasing new talent. How much of time and money is being wasted on non-value-added activities?
We have provided a worksheet in the Tools section to help you assess value add activities at any workstation.