Manufacturers Discover Employee Experience Drives Operational Efficiency

Operational efficiency can be achieved by better team management, work processes and information distribution. By using digitisation companies can move away from paper-based and outdated technological solutions and in so doing improve efficiency while simultaneously improving the employee experience.

Long viewed as the holy grail of manufacturing, operational efficiency is generally viewed as a variety of tactics and approaches employed in pursuit of delivering quality products to clients in the most cost-effective and timely manner. For manufacturers, this frequently entails optimising equipment, product processes, and employee output to create the largest volume of high-quality items with the least amount of time and money invested.

Employee Experience Drives Operational Efficiency and Contributes to Sustainability

Manufacturers frequently conduct exercises to increase operational efficiency in order to discover inefficient production stages and eliminate any non-revenue-generating activities or work phases. Achieving efficient manufacturing allows companies to increase their profit margins on sales, assures the end consumer receives excellent value and adds to overall business sustainability.

Employee Engagement Pivotal to Operational Efficiency

Globally the manufacturing sector ranks as one of the industries with the highest levels of employee disengagement as reflected below:

  • 34% of employees are engaged
  • 38% are disengaged
  • 27% are actively disengaged

Manufacturers pursuing increased operational efficiencies, therefore, need to carefully consider how streamlining and accelerating production processes will be received by their employees. The impact of technological changes will be particularly acute in those environments where manufacturers are still relying on human input via paper-based processes or other outmoded approaches for information gathering.

Instead of seeing this as a significant obstacle, companies should view this as an opportunity to improve employee experience through the introduction of digitisation in the workplace.

Old School Approaches are Out of Touch

Business leaders are often not aware that many of the internal activities and processes that underpin operational activities have become outdated. Some important points to consider in this respect are:

  1. Schedule management – posting printed shift schedules on walls for visibility in the hope that the affected parties will read and review the schedule.
  2. Shift changes – requesting employees to report for duty without assessing the need for specific skills required during a shift.
  3. Human resources processes – paper-driven processes are vulnerable to unclear handwriting and sometimes employees are prone to the use of production acronyms that are not always understood in human resources units.
  4. Team management – managing and assessing team performance in environments where outmoded systems do not facilitate easy analysis affects overall performance and efficiency.
  5. Health & safety reporting – workplace hazards cannot be quickly reported or addressed with paper-based systems.
  6. Internal messaging and communications – in a rapidly changing workplace communication mediums cannot be static and unable to promote collaboration.
  7. Training – ongoing advances in technology mean employees need to be exposed to new ways of working on a regular basis, face-to-face training and workshops don’t reflect the reality of workplace challenges employees confront.

Moving from these outmoded approaches to digital solutions will provide companies with operational efficiency improvements.

Hard to Ignore

Moving to digital systems brings a number of powerful benefits:

  • Exponential improvements in data processing capacity.
  • Potential increases in productivity of up to 50%.
  • Immediate access to decision-critical data.
  • Reduction of storage space cost by up to 80%.
  • Improved compliance with government-mandated regulations.
  • Data entry (in automated environments) accuracy rate of 99.959% to 99.99%.

These are all elements that can provide an almost immediate impact on a company’s bottom line and promote sustainability. It can also contribute to improving workflow for employees.

Practical Implications for Employee Experience

Our involvement with the introduction and implementation of digitisation systems has shown us that employee experience increases in the following ways:

  1. Improved schedule management – employees can quickly check their shift schedules and standby rosters online, ensuring that they always know when they are expected to work and changes can be communicated within seconds.
  2. Beneficial shift changes – in the event of changing production needs team leaders can identify which team members are able to assist and whether they are in possession of the necessary skills to alleviate production pressures or assist with an operational challenge.
  3. Efficient human resources processes – paper-based systems are replaced with systems that provide employees with instant access to a variety of administrative and human resources information, making the administrative task less challenging.
  4. Effective team management – allows team leaders to create customised work groups, provide instructions to team members on the completion of certain tasks, and keep track of work progress.
  5. Rapid health & safety reporting – it provides employees access to critical safety information helping to foster a strong safety culture. It can also enable employees to quickly escalate risks and safety incidents.
  6. Meaningful internal messaging and communications – powerful multi-channel communication channels can be established that allow for two-way communication and the speedy dissemination of key messages.
  7. Impactful training – In sectors where manufacturers rely on specialised skill sets that might take years to perfect, digital learning solutions can provide a significant competitive edge. Multimedia learning material may also be customised to allow for on-the-go learning while also enabling employees to submit feedback on the quality of their learning experience.

Adopting digital solutions will improve the overall employee experience and helps both employees, team leaders and executives. When employees’ digital interactions make their duties easier, they are happier and more productive, additionally, these systems can keep them informed of the company’s overall progress and assist in keeping them engaged as the company pursues improved operational efficiency.


To remain competitive in the manufacturing sector, businesses will increasingly need to implement digital initiatives. They will need to reinvent many of the processes that support their operations and leverage the benefits of digitisation to not only enhance operational efficiency but also transform the employee experience in a way that contributes to improved levels of engagement.

To learn more about how we can help your company achieve its digitisation goals to improve employee engagement, talk to an expert today.