As a manager you face many challenges, like keeping the work moving, watching over the crew, handling customers and the list goes on. Sometimes we get so involved in handling the regular duties of a manager we might find ourselves in a slump. Maybe you have become so good at your job that you are operating on cruise control.
This can lead to problems and the atmosphere in the shop you run can become stagnant. You may lose focus of what made you a manager, someone that was proactive and always looking for ways to improve yourself and the company. Now, especially in these tough economic times, we need to be even more attentive to the needs of running a shop. Society and technology are continually shifting and changing, so it’s important that we challenge ourselves to keep up with new trends to not put our companies at a disadvantage.
The best way to do this is to set goals. If you want to be a productive manager you need things to reach for. Instead of taking it easy we must be prepared to work hard to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. How do we do this? Experts will tell you to first start with a plan or vision of what you would ultimately like to accomplish. As you look around your office or shop make a list. The following are a few suggestions that apply especially to our industry.
Scheduling. This is a big one. I am willing to bet scheduling consumes much of your time. It’s stressful and when stress arises it is human nature to either go to pieces or try to forget it. Can you see this happening to you? If so, this a good place to challenge yourself. Look at your employees and see what improvements can be made to shorten the lead times. You should get out into the shop and analyze, along with your employees, how things are being done. Then, talk about ways to make improvements in production to shorten lead times.
How about this for a goal? Reduce energy cost. Now that’s a challenge! When I wrote this month’s column, crude oil had just leaped up to $139/barrel. That’s going to translate not only into big fuel costs but also increased energy costs as a whole.
One way to help combat this problem is to line your templates and installs in geographical sense. Try to avoid as many trips as possible outside the shop. Perhaps it means your install crews need to spend more time at the jobsite. Careful planning is the only way you’re going to accomplish this, but the reduction in fuel costs will be worth it. We have installed GPS finders in our vehicles to help with travel planning. It’s not so much Big Brother watching you, but is a reasonable move to ensure the financial health of the company.