As the manufacturing industry continues to undergo rapid innovation, effective and strategic workforce communication is more critical than ever for manufacturers who want to scale their operations, control the quality of their product, and remain competitive.
From cloud technology to AI and automation, there is a significant push for all facets of manufacturing to innovate and, ultimately, digitize. While this push to digitize is most often reserved for production, customer service, and quality efforts, it must also extend to how manufacturing teams communicate within their organization.
In recent years, in response to COVID, and in line with our growth initiatives, we at Hirsh Precision have put forth considerable effort to innovate how our team communicates and collaborates internally.
Moreover, as our team and capabilities have grown, we find ourselves working out of three different facilities and cities across Colorado (Boulder, Louisville, and Colorado Springs). Additionally, we are already at work to bring a fourth facility and a new location online in Frederick, Colorado.
Considering this growth, and with our team being spread across multiple locations, it was essential that we digitize our workforce communications.
Although there are numerous ways we have digitized our internal communication, there are three channels in particular that have propelled our team’s ability to communicate and collaborate across multiple facilities and cities.
3 Digital Channels that Improved our Internal Communication Efforts
Channel 1: Our Proprietary Manufacturing Software
One of the longest standing forms of digital communication that we use at Hirsh Precision is our Paperless.NET system. Not only does Paperless.NET provide a front-end view of our ERP system, it also does so much more.
In addition to granting all team members access to this front-end view into our ERP system, Paperless.NET also provides users across all our work centers with a list of what jobs to run and when, information about jobs such as cycle times, and the ability to post quantities and utilized time to our ERP database. It also allows team members to access production notes for any procedure within an operation.
Paperless.NET has been used in some form at Hirsh Precision for over 20 years, and it has undergone many updates and improvements in that time. These improvements include improved communication through logbooks and escalations, workflow tracking features, and links to many useful reports that track performance.
As far as digital channels of communication go, Paperless.NET keeps our workforce focused and aligned, helps our team prioritize work, and provides easy access to tools that employees need to complete their work. We are constantly refining and improving this digital tool, which allows us to increase our productivity, improve our communication, and enhance our collaboration year after year.
Channel 2: Our Employee Intranet
In addition to our proprietary manufacturing software, our team has also built an employee intranet site that facilitates massive amounts of internal communication and activities.
This intranet delivers company news and updates to all our employees. It is also a site for online training, tools, and resources, as well as a homebase for important human resources information, such as our employee handbook and team member scheduling.
Our intranet is also where team members can access our quality management system, the Hirsh Production System (HPS). From here, employees can learn and review our processes, standard operating procedures, and quality policies.
This tool allows every single member of the organization to have access to the latest version of important information and complete critical activities – all in one convenient, digital location that can be accessed from any device.
Channel 3: Our Digital Signage
Many manufacturers will no doubt relate to the issue of digitizing employee communications when so many of their team members do not have access to a dedicated computer that allows them to stay caught up with digital channels throughout the workday.
We have also struggled with this problem at Hirsh Precision, and one solution we found is that of a digital signage system.
Our digital signage system is comprised of various monitors that are staged across our three different facilities. We strategically placed monitors in common areas with lots of through traffic to ensure as many employees as possible were able to view them.
These monitors are then powered by software and hardware that allow our team to send company news, updates, and information from anywhere, at any time.
Our Continued Efforts to Innovate and Digitize Workforce Communications
These digital channels of communication, amongst many others, are guided by a weekly 15-30 minute strategic, internal communications meeting, which allow us to stay on top of our team’s communication needs.
Because communication, collaboration, and continuous improvement have always been – and will continue to be – critical for Hirsh Precision’s success as a precision manufacturer, digitizing our workforce communications is an important part of how we will maintain that success.
As we continue to grow and optimize our manufacturing capabilities, we will continue to test and refine other digital methods of communication. Doing so will help our team to stay on top of our growth goals, improve our lead times, remain competitive, and improve our customers’ experience.