Category Archives: Uncategorized

Solve Labor Challenges – The nGROUP Way

We are all feeling the labor crunch. It’s hard to recruit, train, retain and make progress all at the same time. All of these labor challenges boil down to the fact that we are tasked with developing a rapport AND a system of accountability with the workers that ultimately determine our success. At nGROUP we have taken on such challenges and created a labor model with specific tools and competencies that maintains flexible staffing while delivering the performance and quality that companies seek – with less sweat.

Contemporary Labor Challenges

  • You need a flexible workforce that is productive and effective.   Companies have long used temporary staffing to meet the ebbs and flows of their business to control their labor cost. Using temporary staffing allows the client to match labor supply with production demands but at a cost. A temporary worker lacks the loyalty, commitment and training of a full time worker and companies become frustrated with the turnover dilemma. The dilemma is many temps are not qualified or dependable and are terminated for poor performance and the better temps leave for fulltime work.
  • You need to recruit and retain a workforce in a competitive labor environment while controlling cost. Record low unemployment levels have made recruiting and retaining a quality workforce extremely challenging and costly.
  • You need continuous productivity and quality improvement. Utilizing temporary staffing, losing quality employees and a lack of internal engineering/improvement resources creates gaps to continuously improve the processes.

nGROUP Solutions

nGROUP’s highbred workforce model delivers the performance and quality that you need without the cost and risk of traditional staffing. Simply put, we hire, train and retain a productive workforce that is managed by lean six sigma experts that make progress possible and immediate.

Our team of Certified Lean Six Sigma experts and industrial engineers optimize complex processes, systems and organizations by eliminating waste of time, money, materials, man-hours, machine time, energy and other resources that do not generate value to your overall objectives.

In such, it takes more than just managing HR to make the significant impact we deliver to our clients. We are able to recruit and retain high performance workers with competitive pay and benefits and help them with their career growth. This bottom up approach delivers a workforce that skilled, recognized, rewarded, consistent and productive.

 

A Case Study

A large automotive tier one supplier in the Southeast was being challenged to meet their clients’ needs. They were having difficulty keeping up with demand because of labor supply and subsequent shortfall in headcount and their margins had eroded significantly due to labor cost.

They were being squeezed to increase pay to improve recruiting but the higher wage rate would erase what little profit margins were there. They utilized staffing companies because the markup and hourly cost was much lower than the loaded hourly rate of full time employees but the productivity suffered and turnover was high.

We collaborated with the client to design an approach that would address the labor challenges they were experiencing. The client gave us the responsibility of managing one building.  We brought in our engineers and management team to develop and document best practices within the facility and create an incentive pay program that rewarded performance, attendance and attitude.

In addition, we developed a comprehensive worker engagement program that worked to assist in better recruitment and retention.   Workers began earning more money through the incentive program and individual productivity increased 36%. Attendance and retention also dramatically improved.

The net result for the client was a sharp improvement in meeting client service levels and a 9% cost reduction in unit labor cost.

For a discussion about your labor, production and cost challenges please contact Ryan Cates, VP, nGROUP performance partners at 803-367-2469 or rcates@ngroup.biz.

nGROUP performance partners are specialists in labor intensive process management for fresh produce processors and packers. To learn more please visit www.nGROUP.biz.

Micro Adjustments Translate to Macro Results

Micro Adjustments Translate to Macro Results

“Pay attention to details. The most important things are often overlooked in the search for things greater than the obvious.
” -Anonymous
When I read the above quote, I literally laughed out loud. The notion of observing the obvious reminded me of a recent On-Site Feasibility Study that a colleague and I conducted for a national apparel retailer.
One process that we observed was workers hanging garments. It immediately struck us – the majority of the workforce at this particular facility was petite. They literally struggled to reach the hanging racks. Once we began managing the production at this facility, one of the many “granular” changes we incorporated was lowering the racks. Productivity in this work cell increased immediately and as you can imagine the shorter than average workers were pleased that the “obstacle” was eliminated.
In another instance, we were conducting micro-movement studies at a reverse logistics company in order to realize efficiency objectives. The process involved picking parts. Parts could be picked from a shelf or a pallet. At the end of our study we factually discovered that workers were 25%-30% faster when they picked the part from a shelf. Logistical shifts in placement between human and object would allow for a significant increase in productivity.
Human factors and ergonomics (commonly referred to as HF&E) has gained attention in recent years but mostly in the area of comfort and occupational health and safety. As the two case studies mentioned above illustrate, human ergonomics is also the practice of designing systems and process that take proper account of the interaction between them and the people who use them.
The question becomes, have you truly observed your processes on a micro-level and would those observations result in a redesign or a small modification that could yield goal achieving results in 2017? To learn more about how our Operational Diagnostic can lead to such positive adjustments to help your team achieve more, visit our booth at the upcoming RILA conference in Orlando.
nGROUP executives will be attending the RILA supply chain conference February 12-15. If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss how micro-movement studies can positively affect your objectives, please contact Ryan Cates rcates@ngroup.biz . See you in Orlando.
About nGROUP
As an on-site insourcing partner, nGROUP works with companies in a consulting or vested partnership relationship. For over 10 years, the nGROUP Performance System has been adopted by executives in labor intensive industries to meet and exceed corporate objectives. NPS consistently outperforms other methods, increasing productivity, quality, and morale, and reducing labor costs by a minimum of 10-25%.

10 Questions To Determine If Your Pay For Performance Program Is Effective.

10 Questions To Determine If Your Pay For Performance Program Is Effective

 

by David Hair, CEO nGROUP performance partners

 

Incentivizing workers is at the heart of free enterprise. However, in order for a pay for performance program to work in a labor intensive system, certain conditions and variables are necessary to consider when planning an EFFECTIVE incentive pay program.

 

  1. Does your pay for performance program involve a labor intensive workforce?
  2. Do your workers truly control their output? (If it is machine paced or the flow of work or availability of work restricts their production it probably is not a good application.)?
  3. Does your incentive program increase measurable productivity?
  4. Does your performance program include your key success indicators, such as attendance and attitude?
  5. Did you invest time and resources to set accurate and attainable labor standards?
  6. Is there a system in place to capture the work content on a consistent basis?
  7. Do you continue to monitor the program to ensure that standards remain fair?
  8. Do you quickly reset standards anytime there is a change in work content?
  9. Do you post performance results so workers can get immediate results and feedback? Creating a culture of competitiveness is key.
  10. Do you expedite incentive pay immediately?

 

If you answered “yes” to all 10 questions, congratulations on developing and more importantly maintaining a truly effective pay for performance program. If you would like to learn more about how nGROUP can incorporate pay for performance into a system that increases productivity, boosts morale and reduces your labor costs by a minimum of 10-25%, please message me, or email me at dhair@ngroup.biz.

nGROUP Recommendation Letter

 

crunchpak

To Whom It May Concern,

I am pleased to offer a recommendation of nGROUP’s management services.

I was heavily involved with nGROUP throughout their time working with Crunch Pak. Their team is uniquely knowledgeable about our industry, the application of Lean, Continuous Improvement and addressing production challenges associated with our more manually intensive processes.

Crunch Pak has had workforce related issues that have adversely affected our manufacturing capabilities. Additionally, our business has grown rapidly, we’ve experienced turnover in our management team, and competitive pressures have increased.

nGROUP not only brought fresh ideas to the table and offered us insights into our managerial process that had been faltering, but added stability and resources to help drive improvements while we focused on the day-to-day. I found nGROUP P complemented and enhanced our operation and stimulated new ways of thinking about our business and driving results.

nGROUP’s team, including Jim Rossini, Jim Daniels and Brian Sessions, effectively diagnosed many of our communication, leadership and productivity problems and were able to develop tools that enabled the front line leadership of the plant to run their business more effectively.

The assessment of our operation and the ensuing planning, development and implementation of tools and methodologies were performed flawlessly. Adding nGROUP to our ongoing efforts enhanced our operation throughout multiple areas.

nGROUP was key to the development of our Continuous Improvement Team, which had not existed prior to engaging them. They have been able to train and mentor our leadership throughout the company to engage in the business and develop solutions to problems to drive results.

Should you engage nGROUP in the future, I am certain you will have a similar experience. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Regards,
Todd Dank

Details Do Matter

You hear all the time, don’t sweat the small stuff as it really does not make an impact in a business. I beg to differ.  At nGROUP, we are a company that works with distribution and manufacturing companies that have manually intensive processes.  That means that at nGROUP, we are masters as looking at the details of all processes and utilize engineering and six sigma techniques to improve performance.  We do not say work harder, we say work smarter.

 

Here is a great example of this.  nGROUP has a customer in distribution.

11-16-2015 9-16-31 AM

Notice the markings for where the trash can was placed. There were a total of 30 trash cans placed like this.

 

nGROUP noticed that the trash cans at the end of the tables partially obstructed a potential walkway and moved them. This new location improved productivity and decreased travel time for all of the intake positions in receiving. Additionally, there were safety benefits from decreasing the daily walking distance. By moving the trash cans about two feet, it would open up another clear pathway that would save them about 10 feet of walking, probably 100x a day. This elimination of waste translated into saving significant time and dollars for all in receiving and nGROUP’s customer.

 

So you see minor details DO make a difference!