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7 Strategies for Managing Peak Production Season

12/05/2023 Tim Furbush

Peak production season can be a stressful time. It’s the part of the year where you rely on employees to show up consistently and pull their weight. However, reality is often far removed from the ideal. If that’s the case in your plant, you should consider some strategies to build resilience into your staffing. Here are seven tips which can help ease the strain of production peaks:

Cross-train – Teach employees to perform various jobs. Cross-training not only ensures coverage when it’s needed, it boosts job satisfaction because staff members feel challenged. Have higher-level employees mentor trainees until they get up to speed.

Offer incentives – Motivate the performance you want, but don’t overuse incentives. Incentives are ideal for addressing short-term attendance issues. Spot bonuses, gift cards, parties/celebrations, and additional leave time are common incentives used. Consider incentivizing individuals who have received perfect attendance or those who have gone above and beyond their performance expectations, among others.

Hire temps – You can find good temporary help through staffing agencies. This strategy can be especially powerful if combined with cross-training. For example, full-time pickers who have been cross-trained can run machines or work in receiving while temps do picking. Work with two or three agencies so you’re not dependent on just one.

Shift into overtime, if necessary – Most employees welcome the extra income from overtime. On a limited basis, overtime may be no more costly than temporary labor when you factor in training expenses.

Seek referrals – Ask employees to refer friends and relatives. Some companies avoid hiring employees’ friends and relatives, even for temporary positions, but they can be a source of reliable help.

Tap academia – Technical colleges or universities are often a good source for supervisory help. If your peak production times are predictable, you can arrange to hire management or logistics students as interns to assist supervisors.

Employee handbook – In your handbook, stress the importance of good attendance and punctuality. Spell out that unexcused absences can result in disciplinary action or even dismissal.

Any way you look at it, effective planning for peak production saves your company money, time, hassles, and missed deadlines. You will also see the benefit of boosting employee morale and helping with the retention of key employees. These are the types of advantages that go directly to your bottom line. For any questions related to this article, please contact Tim Furbush at tfurbush@vlcpa.com or 800.887.0437.

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