Engage employees to unlock hidden earnings, delegates hear

08/03/2021

Why harnessing the shopfloor could be our secret weapon amid hostile operating conditions

Business leaders could uncover €100,000+ a year in cost savings by better engaging their frontline employees in improvement activity, GHI’s Leaders Academy heard.

Shopfloor suggestion schemes were a prime source of productivity gains, a seminar exploring lessons from another industry revealed.

“We achieved £90,000 a year savings through our suggestion scheme,” Gary Burgess, CI Manager at Fujifilm told delegates. “It’s a simple way to save money and the engagement of your operators will go through the roof.”

The comments came in a presentation looking at driving success in a low volume business environment. Chemical manufacturing specialist, Fujifilm delivered an award-winning strategy to grow market share in a declining analogue ink market.

However, harnessing employee innovation was not a quick fix, aviation leaders were warned. Leadership teams must make a concerted effort to be more visible figures on the shopfloor advised Colin Boughton, former European Operations Director at Fujifilm. “Managers shouldn’t just be bureaucrats. Go and walk a mile in the shoes of your teams. Don’t try and solve the problems for them but, do try and understand their daily issues. That leads to engagement and proven advances in profitability, safety and productivity.”

An aviation specific example of successful employee innovation was explored in a presentation on JBT’s Cargo Chute at the Digital Leaders Academy. This GSE innovation for offloading cargo in the cabin during the crisis stemmed from suggestions made by ramp operatives working at dnata UK, the session heard. The Cargo Chute has delivered efficiency and safety gains in offloading preighters since its introduction in 2020.