Our REF-IN Key Executive Meeting held on 5/14/20 resulted in some key learnings.
Our first discussion point was related to how our organizations handle Risk Management. The consensus was that many organizations practice a “bury the head” philosophy. For those organizations that do address risk management, the focus is to try and keep it simple, and to incorporate risk management concepts into regular team meetings, even if there is not a formal risk management tracking mechanism. Standard Work practices and Failure Modes and Effect Analysis (DFMEA & PFMEA) are the most common risk management tools in use for manufacturing organizations.
Our second discussion point revolved around how to refocus teams, especially in a virtual environment and the new normal (Covid and workforce reductions). Many organizations started out with Covid discussions as the stay-at-home orders were implemented, but with the use of virtual meeting tools, the norm quickly transitioned to task oriented discussions. The outlier was for organizations that were going through workforce reductions, and they had a very difficult time focusing on immediate tasks as there was a constant fear due to the uncertainty of being let go. In general, morale has suffered in most organizations.
Key Point: Using a retrospective approach to determine what is working and what is not working, has helped individual contributors hash out their feelings and to get them on the table, allowing the organization to address improvement opportunities. Change Management is critical for these situations. Having a helping mindset is extremely important to help team members weather these difficult times.
Our last discussion point revolved around personal freedoms versus protecting the workforce. There was a lot of discussion around this issue. The consensus was that the organization must enforce what is necessary to protect the entire organization, and if there are individuals that want to have their personal freedom, that is their prerogative, but not at the expense of the safety of others in the organization. However, no organizations involved in the discussion had developed a comprehensive policy on how to handle dissenters from within the organization.