Famous sci-fi author Douglas Adams once said, “human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” This statement should be taken as a warning for those working in the manufacturing sector. If you want to maximize your chances of success then you should be prepared to learn the lessons of those who’ve come before. It’s with this approach that we present the following examples from some of the world’s leading manufacturers.
Prioritizing Staff Satisfaction
There’s a shared belief among the most successful manufacturing businesses that staff should be prized above all other assets. Realising the importance of retention, such organisations provide generous compensation and benefits. They take a range of measures to maintain staff satisfaction, reaping benefits such as high productivity and quality of work.
Apple are one of the leading manufacturing organizations to have enjoyed such benefits. They managed to improve their employee retention rate from 61% to 89% in two years under the guidance of Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts. And they’ve been consistently featured in Glassdoor’s Top 100 Companies to Work For.
Apple’s commitment to staff satisfaction has involved:
- Actively communicating a shared vision and mission
- Encouraging participation and valuing the contributions of all staff members
- Ensuring the flow of information throughout the organization
- Investing in employee training and development
5 ways B2B businesses can accelerate growth with good product data
Emphasizing a Shared Purpose
Many more of the world’s most successful manufacturing businesses place an emphasis on a collective purpose. This supports the Harvard Business Review’s finding that clear communication and understanding of shared purpose results in greater levels of business growth. Other research has revealed that the active communication of purpose results in feelings of meaningfulness, with staff happiness and productivity being increased.
Toyota leads the way in the collective adoption of company culture. Applying the principle of Lean thinking, they place great value in continuous improvement and respect for people. Such focuses are based on the foundations of challenge, kaizen, respect, and teamwork. Toyota’s policy is to hire employees who are a good fit for the company culture and have proven teamworking skills. You can learn more about such principles by reading The Toyota Way.
Practicing Broad and Diverse Employment
As a specialist manufacturer, you may be tempted to hire staff who will fit in seamlessly, embrace your culture, and work in your preferred style. However, this could limit your chances of market expansion, with work continuing as usual and no questions being asked. You’ll attract employees who offer more of the same, rather than those who’ll contribute innovative ideas and perspectives. This could result in your falling behind the competition, with opportunities and clients being lost.
As the famous engineer and industrialist Soichiro Honda said, “If you hire only those people you understand, the company will never get people better than you are. Always remember that you often find outstanding people among those you don’t particularly like.” These words are reflected in the Japanese manufacturer’s hiring approach, focusing on the building of an inclusive work culture where people of various backgrounds and experiences are inspired to dream.
Focusing on Innovation
Following Honda’s example, the world’s leading manufacturers share in the commitment to innovation. They realize that innovation is key to success in today’s fast-paced world, with associated benefits such as increased productivity, efficiency, and progress. Innovative manufacturers stand to enjoy a competitive advantage, gaining rapid entry to new markets and attracting a diversity of customers. Such organizations ensure participation across all levels, encouraging risk-taking and celebrating innovative success.
Leading the way in the automotive sector, Volkswagen stand out for their positive approach to innovation. Drawing on the talents of the world’s finest engineers and scientists, they have developed game-changing innovations such as park assist, cylinder deactivation, and gesture control. The financial rewards have been immense, with the German manufacturers planning heavy investment into the research and development of electric vehicles over the coming years.
Managing Product Data
An increasing number of world-renowned manufacturers are profiting from the use of Product Information Management (PIM) systems for the organisation and presentation of product data. This is true of the American watch manufacturers, Citizen. Before switching to a product information management system they were using 11 databases for the storage of data based on product type and functional business areas. This meant that product data was neither clean nor accurate, with a great deal of duplicate and triplicate maintenance being required.
The adoption of the PIM system has eased the burden on Citizens’ employees, with product data being managed and updated via one single platform. The results have been so impressive that Citizen are now planning on managing their complete product portfolio, including 50-60,000 spare components via the PIM. Similar improvements in product data visibility and team efficiency have been realised by the lighting artizans of Quoizel.
If you want to learn more about the business benefits of PIM then we recommend that you download Perfion’s guide - 5 ways B2B businesses can accelerate growth with good product data.