Gamification: the new way to optimise operator output in Manufacturing

Gamification: the new way to optimise operator output in Manufacturing
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How performance improvement management Gamification can make your operators work smarter, not harder.

According to a recent study, engaged employees are 70% more productive and have a 78% higher safety record, with businesses experiencing 70% lower employee turnover and 44% greater profitability.

Engaging your machinists to keep their machines operating at their optimal output can often be a constant battle. On one hand, operators can fall into a pattern of extended tea breaks, banter and nightshift naps, while on the other, supervisors might not always have the tools or raw materials ready when the machinists need them. 

So how do you turn the tide? The answer may lie in a new Performance Improvement Management (PIM) technique called Gamification.

Used extensively in Israel for manufacturing, Gamification is a tool that uses game-design elements in a work context to tap into and improve employee engagement. By measuring productivity, it can set goals, recognise and reward employees who reach their targets and introduce a sense of competition by creating leader boards. 
But crucially, Gamification also gives operators a voice beyond the shop-floor. By allowing machinists to record and specify any causes of downtime, the information can be fed straight up the ladder to show management if there is a problem. 

“Making the shop-floor feel valued is not just about having the PIM software - but how you use it,” says Dean Flaherty, manufacturing engineering consultant at NT CADCAM. “Usually in manufacturing if you don’t reach your targets, someone will just moan at you. I have sat on both sides of the shop-floor - I have been a machinist and a production manager. One thing I always find is that management think the fault is with the operators and the operators think it is the management, but the reality is - it’s normally a bit of both.”

“PIM Gamification enables optimal output by analysing the existing resources and processes, while at the same time, motivating and encouraging people to manage themselves in achieving their targets,” explains Dean.

“Gamification encourages a valuable action in your operators and managers. It can give management a set of tools that helps to improve performance and identify areas of concern. With some improvements, you might not see any direct efficiency improvements but you will have made the machinists’ lives a lot easier. Once the shop-floor see that kind of improvement happening for their benefit, it shows that management is listening. This can stop a downward spiral and help the workers to become more efficiency based.”

The PIM software can also set operators achievable goals and record their efficiency and capacity output. This is accurately measured and displayed in League tables or on Leader boards.  

“It can take time to get your workforce fully engaged, but once they are, the improvements fly,” adds Dean. “When we implement PIM software, we automatically see Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) rates rise by 10-20% because the staff are now being monitored. Then by engaging them further with Leader boards and illustrating how the software can make them work smarter, not harder, we can drive those figures forward to reach OEE levels of 60-90%.”

If you want to boost your output or find out more about our PIM solutions from Visual Factories give NT CADCAM a call on 0800 018 6957.

For more information read our blogs:
UK Manufacturing must ride a new wave
Q&A with PIM founder Matti Tiano

Ro Pimlott - author


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My role as Content Marketing Executive within NT CADCAM is to manage all digital content across our social media channels, email communications and the website.