Are you a part of a knowledgeable and pro-active workforce?
The other day I had an interesting conversation with a couple of experienced pilots regarding flying skills in today’s modern civil aviation sector.
The advances in aviation technology, sadly, have seen pilots become monitors and managers of automated systems. Managing the flight deck of a modern airliner today is heavily focussed on understanding systems that are becoming more and more automated and complex in an ever-changing environment. According to The New York Times, ‘pilots now spend more time learning these automated systems than practising hands-on flying, so newer pilots are less comfortable with taking manual control when the computer steers them wrong’.
Pilots used to be enthusiastic about aviation and flying with a great love for aeronautics and piloting an aircraft of any description. Today, sadly, the true art of flying is lost on some pilots and many new pilots have become button pushers and checklist managers, because that is what their instructors train them to do.
Do you remember Captain Sullenberger? He skilfully landed his Airbus on the Hudson River after a double engine failure or the Air Canada captain who landed his Boeing airliner on an ex-military airfield after running out of fuel at 32,000 feet. They were both skilled glider pilots, and they glided their stricken airliners to safety with no loss of life, perhaps wet feet for the Airbus passengers.
A career as a pilot is rewarding, at least from a financial viewpoint. But what about that enthusiasm and more importantly, those true flying skills that can, in case of an emergency, save lives? Fortunately, such emergencies are few and far between, and flying is still one of the safest modes of transport.
Now, how does this relate to ERP you may ask? The answer is quite simple really and obvious to see in some manufacturing companies, especially some small to medium size organisations. Whatever the function may be, there are people pressing buttons on computer keyboards that do not understand what is behind the system they operate or indeed the effect they have on other users who require correct data to perform their tasks.
A well-oiled machine will run well and be efficient, and the same goes for people. With the right knowledge, people work better, can suggest improvements and have the inclination to successfully make the changes that bring improvements as part of a continuous improvement programme.
The question is how to provide your staff with the knowledge they need to be proficient in their function and in the processes they are involved in. There are several ways to achieve those proficiency levels, some of which do not cost the earth.
If your company does not have a key user group, i.e. a group consisting of a representative from each function that periodically gets together to discuss and resolve issues or is part of a continuous improvement programme, then this may be the way to start. Understanding what goes on in other functions will create a view for each key user on how the functions integrate and should be collaborating. Ultimately you want to achieve the goal of delivering your product, to your customer at the right time, quality, price to them and cost to you. Every operational function in the business is part of customer service in one way or another.
Another example that will involve an affordable investment is membership of an organisation such as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. Organisations such as this aim to enhance the capability and status of your employees and your business by developing the skills which are needed today and planning the needs for tomorrow. Not only do these types of organisations offer membership at the company/individual level, but they also provide online information and courses that lead to recognised qualifications. Another advantage of membership is that it is easy to remain at the forefront of technology developments in your industry and be aware of what is trending that may be important to your business.
Compare your team with the pilots above, and how do they match-up? Are they enthusiastic about working in their function and having the support of an ERP system they understand, not just in their roles, but also how it supports the whole business? Or are they button pushers that lack the drive and knowledge so they can’t add value to the process of defining and applying business improvements?
As competition grows, can you afford to fall behind? If the answer is no, you need to decide how you will create a knowledgeable and pro-active workforce.
Just a thought…
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