Too often manufacturing operations are quick to look at a technological solution or other capital investment to solve a problem, when leaders already have all they need right in front of them. An investment in human capital can make quick gains for less money.
Consider the following example. In the Midwest a manufacturing company with more than 1,500 employees worked a round-the-clock 24/7 schedule. The company manufactures a product that is sticky; it requires a high-velocity, high-volume production through one of 14 different cutting and packing machines.
Four teams worked rotating 12-hour shifts on those 14 different machines. Employee morale was consistently a problem due to the long shifts – in particular, some employees ended up working most weekends. At the time, the throughput efficiency was about 65 percent.