In an industry increasingly defined by technology, innovation and automation, emphasizing communication in manufacturing may seem like a strange business decision. Though manufacturing workers and managers use communication skills daily, they may not realize just how much their communication impacts company success.
Whether effective or ineffective, communication can have an enormous impact on a manufacturing company’s productivity, profits and workplace attitude. Let’s take a look at why communication is important to manufacturing and how you can use effective communication in your organization.
Why Is Effective Communication Important in Manufacturing? | What Happens When a Company Relies on Poor Communication? | What Does Effective Communication Look Like? | How Can You Employ an Effective Manufacturing Communication Plan? | Get Help With Your Company’s Communication Challenges
Why Is Effective Communication Important in Manufacturing?
Communication dictates how well people throughout a manufacturing company coordinate their efforts to create a product. As a result, effective communication can benefit a manufacturing business in several ways, including:
- Reduced risk in the workplace: Effective communication plays an important role in preventing injury on the job, which becomes particularly important when employees are operating hazardous machinery. When people communicate clearly and quickly, accidents can be avoided.
- Greater efficiency in production: Clear, frequent communication helps people perform their jobs efficiently. For example, when a machine breaks down or materials run low, effective communication helps staff address the problem without confusion or repetitive action, so the company can get back to work quickly.
- Improved cohesion and engagement: One of the biggest benefits of effective communication is cohesion among multiple levels of the business. When communication flows easily in each direction, employees feel more engaged with their work, leading to better worker retention and higher overall productivity.
The manufacturing field is technical, but that doesn’t mean communication can be overlooked. In fact, an effective communication strategy can set your company above the competition.
What Happens When a Company Relies on Poor Communication?
Consistently poor communication can damage a manufacturing company. Careless and infrequent communication between management and factory floor staff can result in excessive scrap, poor product quality, late deliveries and, ultimately, dissatisfied customers.
You can probably see how improving your manufacturing company’s internal communication could pay off financially. One industry consultant even suggests that improved communication could boost a company’s bottom line by upwards of 10%.
What Does Effective Communication Look Like?
It’s clear that communication plays a vital role in a manufacturing company’s success. However, before you can begin changing your communication strategy, you need to know what effective communication looks like in the real world.
In general, an effective communicator is someone who has a clear message, delivers that message using an appropriate channel and works to ensure the message is properly received. This type of communication occurs most often at the managerial level.
When they’re communicating with a worker, a manager needs to have a clear idea of what they need to get across — for example, that an employee needs to work faster. Then, the manager needs to choose an appropriate communication channel. In this case, it makes sense for the manager to talk to the employee face-to-face during their shift, rather than over email or telephone, since the message is directly related to how they’re performing their job. Finally, the effective communicator should take care to choose words and a tone that convey the message without implying anything inaccurate or causing the employee to shut down.
In a manufacturing company, effective communication should also move in both directions — from management to staff and vice versa. Receiving meaningful feedback from employees will allow you to improve your operations and work in sync.
How Can You Employ an Effective Manufacturing Communication Plan?
Here are a few additional tips you can use to implement an effective manufacturing communication plan at your company:
- Give managers the tools they need to succeed: In manufacturing companies, managers tend to have great technical skills and extensive experience. However, they may not have the communication or leadership skills needed to direct other employees effectively. Before you place one of your best workers in a management role, provide training and support to ease the transition.
- Train new employees thoroughly: Broken communication can lead to costly and potentially dangerous mistakes during the training phase. Take the time to train new hires thoroughly, and make sure a more experienced worker is available to answer questions.
- Meet as a team regularly: To improve morale and communication at all levels of the business, make team meetings a regular occurrence. While at these gatherings, collect feedback from workers and involve everyone in company decision-making processes.
Get Help With Your Company’s Communication Challenges
Effective communication can boost productivity and help your manufacturing business succeed. If you’ve identified persistent communication challenges in your company, reach out to MANTEC for help today. As a nonprofit consulting firm, we serve manufacturing companies in South Central Pennsylvania by providing a number of operational and workforce development services at an affordable price.