May 16, 2020

How to turn around an ailing manufacturing plant and reengage workers

Manufacturing Plant
Employee Engagement
People Managament
Glen White
3 min
How to optimize your manufacturing production line.
One of the largest financial burdens to manufacturing facilities is employee disengagement. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, em...

One of the largest financial burdens to manufacturing facilities is employee disengagement. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, employee turnover costs approximately 21 percent of the average employee’s salary. Considering the fact that most companies lose between 9 and 13 workers each year, cutting back on turnover could save millions.

With this in mind, Manufacturing Global gives five tips for better engaging workers to turn around an ailing manufacturing plant:

1. Undertake a company wide audit

Before you embark on a journey of improvement its important to understand what is working and what isn’t. Commission a comprehensive audit of operations and analyze the results. Be specific, rank problems in order of severity and critically, take note of successes and seek ways to leverage that work in other areas.

2. Recognise the positives from day one

You may have a lot of improvements to make; however praising the areas that are working well is critical to employee engagement. Call out the workers making a difference via email, social media, and with a personal visit. Let these employees know that, while times are tough right now, their contributions haven’t gone unnoticed. This will also set a benchmark for other workers to aim for.

3. Promote a culture of recognition

It’s important to create a culture of recognition and reward. There is no point in starting a scheme only to let it fall at the first hurdle. Develop a program, which recognizes great application and performance and measure management on how well they engage with line workers and maintain these company wide goals. Recognition should be part of quarterly and annual reviews, not a sideline consideration.

4   Set goals and manage expectations

Once you know the problems you are facing as a business, set company wide initiatives to overcome them. The challenge of righting wrongs should be seen as a positive experience, not a negative one. Get the whole company on board, share ideas for improvement, and if necessary request additional budget for overtime or incentive pay. Share your plan with the whole factory and get every member of the team on board.

5. Share the success with your team

One sure-fire way to encourage your employees to offer incentives - be explicit with your targets and then update workers on progress. In fact, make it a public contest. Give daily updates and dangle the idea of a reward for hitting goals ahead of schedule. A well-aligned team will always accomplish more.

Production is a cyclical business, yet some factories suffer from systemic issues. Don’t give up if you find yourself in that situation. Instead, audit your operations to find the bright spots and take steps to publicly recognize the great work being done now. Then, formalize the process by making employee recognition a cultural imperative. Finally, set measurable goals and allow everyone to enjoy the spoils of success. Over time, your troubled factory may emerge as a template for others to adopt.

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Jun 16, 2021

Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line

Fluentai
BSH
AI
Technology
2 min
Fluent.ai and BSH announce plans to bring speech-to-intent AI to the assembly line that will increase factory efficiency and improve worker ergonomics

Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines. 

 

According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.

 

What Sets Fluent.ai Apart? 

After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.  

 

  • Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions. 
  • Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately. 
  • Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations. 

 

How Voice Automation Works

Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production. 

 

‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’. 

 

Future Global Adoption 

In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier. 

 

Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’. 

 

 

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