Training material

Shop Floor Management Demystified (SFM)

Last updated: March 15, 2024

Defining Shop Floor Management

Shop Floor Management (SFM) is a leadership structure within Lean management aiming to streamline manufacturing operations on the shop floor, optimize daily management processes, and further cooperation between employees and management. SFM coordinates efficient production and ensures standardization, waste reduction, safety protocols, continuous improvement, and quality control.

Shop Floor Management (SFM) traces its origins back to the first principles of the Lean Production System (LPS), which emerged in Japan during the 1950s as a part of the Toyota Production System (TPS). SFM was designed to help production teams operating at the point of action, also known as “Gemba.”

Conceived as a tool to manage production processes, SFM rapidly evolved beyond its initial scope. Over time, it has matured into a comprehensive approach for improvement across diverse organizational areas (e.g., production, quality, safety, maintenance, etc.).

Shop Floor Management (SFM) optimizes operations within various industries, and its core principles pave the way for advancements like digitalization. This method brings streamlined processes, enhances efficiency, and adapts to technological advancements.

Three Pillars of SFM Approach

The basis of Shop Floor Management (SFM) resides in three pillars:

  • Gemba: Gemba means where the action occurs; it is the shop floor, where value creation and waste identification converge.
  • Genchi Genbutsu: Genchi Genbutsu refers to the importance of leaders engaging directly with the workforce. Supervisors gain crucial insights into existing issues by immersing themselves in their teams’ environments.
  • Genjitsu: Genjitsu leverages precise, quantitative data for in-depth analysis. It revolves around using factual information as a compass for informed decisions.

Core Components of Shop Floor Management

The first component of Shop Floor Management is promoting a Lean Leadership culture. This shift immerses managers directly in production through Genchi Genbutsu, a complete involvement in the work environment. Hoshin Kanri (another principle of Lean management) also touches upon aligning organizational goals at all levels. Hoshin Kanri is a strategic planning method that unifies continuous improvement and goal achievement efforts. By involving all management levels, SFM promotes and sustains Lean leadership routines.

Process confirmation is another necessity in the underlying characteristics of Shop Floor Management. It involves visiting the shop floor (going to the Gemba, where the work is done) to observe operations firsthand, verify critical processes, engage with workers, and check established standards. This component allows managers to identify issues proactively before they spread into more significant problems. Prioritizing proactive supervision maintains operational efficiency and adherence to standard procedures.

Direct and hands-on communication channels between managers and employees derive from implementing stand-up meetings, daily huddles, and SFM meetings. These meetings involve all management levels and support teams regularly, from daily to weekly to monthly recurrence. Regular SFM meetings help participants focus on countermeasures and corrective actions. Moreover, encouraging coaching approaches rather than authoritative methods produces an environment conducive to open dialogue.

Shop Floor Management heavily relies on visual tools like machine monitoring dashboards, SQCDP Boards, Kanban, and PDCA boards to align daily operations with organizational objectives. These tools facilitate tracking production metrics and aligning day-to-day management. For instance, within manufacturing, SFM’s utilization of these visual aids enhances operational transparency and accelerates corrective actions.

Sustainable problem-solving is a long-term element of Shop Floor Management. Encouraging methods suitable for all employee levels is essential to involve everyone in identifying and resolving issues. This approach helps to ensure that problems are not just solved but also prevented from recurring.

Within Shop Floor Management, performance management oversees and measures an organization’s strategy to achieve desired outcomes. It supports proactive management daily. For example, in the manufacturing sector, performance management involves monitoring key indicators to validate the efficiency and quality of production processes. Moreover, most manufacturing companies track performance regarding safety, supply, quality, maintenance, delivery, cost, and employees.

SFM encourages a culture of continuous improvement where workers and managers are empowered to suggest and implement small, incremental changes to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and enhance quality daily.

6 Tips for Improving Daily Shop Floor Management

Tervene’s experts suggest proven methods to improve daily shop floor management:

  1. LSW: Improve Daily Shop Floor Management by implementing Leader Standard Work.
  2. 5S System: Provide workplace efficiency, safety, and organization thanks to the 5S methodology. 
  3. Gemba Walks: Conduct proactive Gemba Walks using checklists to keep a pulse on operations.
  4. Continuous Improvement: Facilitate Kaizen ideas through a Kanban board.
  5. Communication: Establish an effective escalation process across management levels for timely issue resolution.
  6. Cross-functional collaboration: Involve support teams—maintenance, quality, safety, improvement, and engineering—in collaborative initiatives.

Benefits of SFM

Shop Floor Management has many benefits:

  1. It enhances leadership initiatives and facilitates decision-making by centralizing information.
  2. It reduces friction, errors, and waste by ensuring smooth production cycles. Improved data management also fits into SFM by identifying shop floor areas needing attention.
  3. These factors contribute to time savings, swift reactions, and even reinforced workplace safety.

5 Steps for Successful SFM Implementation

Implementing SFM has to be done in phases. The first is the establishment of clear communication channels across the entire organization. Identifying the correct escalation path for deviations from the get-go is critical. Ask yourself, are issues handled at the proper management level?

The second step in implementing SFM is training team leaders and supervisors; coaching managers is vital. They are the main drivers of adoption and need all the tools related to this approach. Management must integrate procedures into daily and weekly routines, and relevant information must always be available.

Take this opportunity to improve and introduce digital tools. Using whiteboards and paper notes brings management burdens and requires a lot of data transcription. Transitioning from traditional, often labor-intensive paper-based methods to seamless, effortless digital devices makes a difference. Tervene’s solution leverages efficient data management and eliminates the need for transcription while improving control and real-time data visibility.

Adding digital mechanisms to an organization’s arsenal also allows visual KPI tracking to contextualize data and performance at a glance. Regular reports and dashboards give management and executives all the information they need to keep themselves updated, follow up with task owners, and make strategic decisions.

Update SFM processes with an iterative method. After each predetermined period, it’s important to reevaluate and integrate lessons learned with various rounds of analysis and feedback to avoid repeating mistakes and to improve quarter after quarter.

Tervene’s Shop Floor Management Solution

Tervene offers specialized software designed for Shop Floor Management (SFM). Hundreds of medium-sized manufacturers and global companies use this customizable solution. The application streamlines information flow and structures communication to facilitate collaboration among teams in the facility. 

Tervenes digitalizes most daily management processes suitable for SFM: Gemba Walks, audits, daily huddles and meetings, problem-tracking, management board, and project management. Additionally, the remote visibility features enable monitoring and management from various locations. Tervene’s SFM software is a best-of-breed solution for optimizing operations. Book your 1-on-1 demo with one of our experts now.

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