A friend invites you over for dinner. You accept eagerly because you have heard their beef pot roast is to die for. As you step into the kitchen to greet them you notice that the kitchen is dirty. The appliances are covered in a thin film of gunk and the stench they are omitting is almost unbearable. When your friend opens the oven door to retrieve the dish, you notice a layer of black sludge and grime covering its door and grates.
Chances are, you may lose some enthusiasm towards eating the meal.
Ask yourself: What impression do customers & employees get from your shop?
It is important to remember that a salesperson’s smile and charm can only take your company’s products so far. Your customer’s and employee’s impressions of your shop can make a big difference in how your company is perceived and the productivity of your employees. As you juggle a busy work schedule to meet product demands, it can be easy to forget about the importance of regular cleaning, maintenance, and organizing at your shop.
Consider adopting a holistic approach to cleaning:
Do the simple things: Wiping down the exterior of your machines, de-cluttering walkways, sweeping & scrubbing floors, and maintaining an organized toolset. Review your shop; speak with employees and you may find additional simple things that are easy to implement and will impress your customers and help your employees be more productive.
Review your most organized & productive employees’ workspace to determine ways to improve your organization. Developing standards & tasks to improve the overall appearance of your shop will improve the quality of your employee’s work & work-life. While change is difficult, it can also be beneficial.
Organizing tools: Train your staff on the importance of organizing their tools. An organized toolbox allows your staff to know where each tool is when they need it. The last thing a company needs is to assign an employee a task and have the person search for the required tools. After an employee finishes a task, train them to verify the tools are ready for their next job and returned to their proper place.
Maintaining Tools: Develop a process for maintaining or replacing tools that are broken beyond repair with your staff. Properly maintaining tools allows your staff to be confident the tools are ready to do their job. Instruct employees to verify tools are in good repair before putting the tool away after use. Employees do not want to be assigned a task to learn the tools required are either broken or not working properly.
The Right Tool: Having a tool to do a job is one thing. Having the right tool will save the company money. The right tool does the job faster, better, and safer. Take the necessary steps to evaluate the right tool for each job. Many times, an employee will use their own time to find the right tool to make their job easier. The right tool can make the dirtiest job easier. Management should employ a process for employees to submit a request for “The Right Tool”. Empowering employees to find the right tool can help the company save money by allowing the employee to do their job faster, better, smarter, and safer.
Holding employees accountable for the workspace: Most employees are more productive when their workspace is clean and organized. Taking 10 or 15 minutes at the end of each shift to clean up and organize for the next day will have a strong ROI, as the cost associated with the wasted time looking for a tool is hidden from management. A well-organized & clean work area will reduce the possibility of injuries, making it easier for your employees to focus on their work and increase their productivity.
Why it matters:
While we often hope our products can speak for themselves, it is important to consider the environment in which your products are produced. By keeping to a regular cleaning and organizing schedule, investing in the health and safety of your employees and machinery, you will reap the benefits of happier employees and a safer, more productive workspace.
While customers & employees may not explicitly thank you for your cleanliness, your efforts will be noticed.