As a manufacturing manager, you must walk a fine line between maximizing your production numbers and keep your operations safe. No amount of profit is worth a life-altering injury to your employees. But is production vs. safety truly a zero-sum game?
More Safety, More Profit?
The short answer is “No.” You don’t have to sacrifice safety in pursuit of a more robust bottom line. In fact, if your brand is known for valuing and protecting your employees, it can enhance your profits.
A 2020 survey by Edelman, a brand consultant, found that 81% of respondents said that to do business with a company, they must be able to “trust the brand to do what is right.” And as far as retention is concerned, 29% of those surveyed said how a company treated its employees was the most important factor in deciding whether they would become a loyal customer. And 90% of respondents said that to earn their trust, companies needed to protect the well-being and financial security of their employees and their suppliers.
These results were certainly affected by the COVID pandemic, which still had a firm grip on the nation in 2020. But three years later, customers still expect companies they do business with to treat their employees well. The 2023 IHA Market Watch Report found that of all the forms of corporate responsibility a company could display, good treatment of their employees had the most impact on their buying decisions.
Take These 4 Steps to Safety
So, how do you ensure best-in-class safety while preserving profits? Here are four suggestions:
1. Assess and Manage Risks
Perform regular audits and inspections to make sure your employees and the equipment they use are working properly. Address any deficiencies you find and decide what maintenance and training measures you can implement to keep things moving safely.
2. Provide Ample Training
Training shouldn’t be used simply as a reaction to unsafe conditions. Be proactive and make sure your employees expand their knowledge bases early and often. Keep them informed of changes to their procedures and improvements in technology.
3. Engage Employees
Involve employees in the safety program – Keep the lines of communication open with your workers, and include them in discussions about changes that affect them. Also, form employee-driven safety committees to build a culture of awareness and caution.
4. Recognize Contributors to a Safe Environment
Public thank-yous are incredibly motivating. Give shout-outs to employees whose work helps keep their colleagues safe and celebrate extended periods of incident-free production.