Virginia Roberson is part of our INDUSTRIAL team on a fact-finding mission to surface the technologies and trends impacting manufacturers and to share what we discover along the way.
As industrials, we live and die by metrics. “Did we hit our production KPIs this week? What was our rate of returns and defects last month? How can we reduce unit costs and increase uptime next month?”
If these are the only metrics you’re focusing on, your company will never fulfill its mission or vision, according to Greg Kelly, CEO of Heartland Steel Products. Kelly dropped this and other operational truth bombs during his recent interview with IndustryWeek contributor Jamie Flinchbaugh of JFlinch.
In their video discussion, IndustryWeek’s first installment of a series dubbed, “Factory Talk: Secrets of Effective Plant Leaders,” Kelly says that people metrics are key to determining successful outcomes.
“Enabling your team to do great things, that flows into how you treat customers and how you become profitable,” he says. “If you don't have the hearts and minds of your employees, then you're just another company.”
Kelly is a lean manufacturing veteran, much like his father who was a shop steward for nearly 40 years. His father taught him that the way we treat everyone who actually does the work is an indicator of how we will treat everybody else — the customers.
Using a Kaizen approach, Kelly focuses on people metrics, that are driven by operational indicators:
- How we treat our people: How are we measuring up to OSHA and our safety standards? Is attendance down? Why?
- How our customers are feeling: Why are we seeing more returns? Are we making our delivery deadlines?
- How we meet shareholders expectations: Why are our profitability statements underperforming? Where is the disconnect between expectations and fulfillment?
Happy employees, delighted customers, happy shareholders… Kelly says focusing on these key metrics can help industrial leaders more effectively Kaizen and continuously improve.
“I believe that the only reason why operations people like me exist, is the trust of people they deal with every day,” he says.
Mic drop! We’re looking forward to more industrial leadership truth bombs from the new IndustryWeek video series.
Stay inspired, my industrial friends.
Take Action in Uncertain Times
If you're looking for strategies to create opportunities in the "new industrial normal," we can help.