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Improving Performance of the Work Team

1.1 My company has defined expectations of Team Members which are given to each employee in the form of a job description backed up with a work contract signed by each employee when they join the company. These expectations include, a timekeeping policy which requires the individual to be at work at the stated shift start times and to contact the Team Leader within 30mins of that start time with any reasons why this can’t be achieved. This will allow the Team Leader time to call in help to keep production on target.

Absenteeism and sickness are also closely monitored using a system called the Bradford Scale.

This concentrates more on the number of occasions when an employee is off rather than the number of days as regular short periods of time off are more disruptive to the working team. If the number of points on the scale reach a certain level then the disciplinary process is used. Personal conduct is also expected to be appropriate as disruptive or aggressive conduct will affect the performance of the work team meaning targets may be missed or team members will be in conflict.

Employees are also expected to reach certain levels of performance depending on the job they do. Training needs to be completed and personal objectives which are set annually by the area manager during appraisals are used to keep a continuous improvement mentality within each employee. Completion of set objectives also help towards future promotion and possibly pay increases. All these expectations help the company keep well motivated work teams who are self driven with good moral.

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1.2 The objective for my team is to ensure we supply our customers (the other departments in our company) with enough optical fibre to meet the order demand for all the different types of fibre laser we manufacture. To help us meet this objective we use a system of KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to indicate to us the current level of various indicators throughout the manufacturing process. These Include stock levels against the stock plan, current fibre yields, amount of work in the process at any given time, fibre consumed, fibre in validation, validated fibre, number of man hours available, shipped fibre.

All these indicators are passed down through the organization as Laser orders are placed with our company. On the shop floor we break them down to a weekly plan of work depending on the position of current fibre stocks and yields. Each Friday the next weeks plan will be decided at a joint meeting between the area manager and team leader. Once the plan is drawn it is communicated to all the team members and then checked daily during the following week to report progress and any concerns or adjustments that need to be made. In turn the departments we supply with fibre will also have been set there weekly targets and depending on the work that they have in process will determine what target is given to us to supply.

Our company works on a Lean basis meaning that no work will be in the line that has not been already ordered and this keeps online stock costs to a minimum. Due to the nature of our production process However, optical fibre is only confirmed as good quality once it is built in product, so to keep supply of good (Validated) fibre between us and our customers my department has to go against the lean principles and hold a stock of fibre on the shelf waiting for Laser orders. This ensures if a fibre fails in build we have enough stock to react quickly and replace the fibre without holding up the laser build line.

1.3 Individual team member performance has a very great effect on a teams overall performance, especially if the Individual is under performing. For instance if a team member was not completing the required amount of work each day this would put extra pressure on the remaining members of that team to meet production targets. This puts the team in a position of possibly not meeting realistic targets which are set on the basis that all team members perform to a set level.

Team targets are also set around the number of available man hours per week. If a team member is constantly late or sick this will also put the team under unplanned pressure to meet any set targets. A four man team with one man out sick is down 25% in man hours which usually means most targets will need to be adjusted or missed. This then has a knock on effect in the next department who will be only receiving 75% of the product that they were planning for, and that effect depending on the ability to catch up on lost hours may go all the way to a customer in the form of a late delivery of a promised order. This reflects badly on customer relations and could at worse mean lost or cancelled future orders. Also a team member who does not put enough effort into their work can cause ill feeling and conflict in the team possibly leading to arguments and low team moral.

This will have a drastic effect on the capabilities of the team sometimes causing other team members to reduce their efforts also. Underperformance of team members is a serious issue in a target driven environment and needs to be taken seriously by team leaders. It may be the case that outside of work influences are causing a team member to under perform so a friendly chat and understanding approach may be all that’s needed to encourage the team member to improve. Team members who perform above expectations can also boost the performance of a team in a positive way. These team members can motivate others to increase there efforts also. This results in better overall team results against target, which brings praise from management, improving team moral. This then means happy customers, more orders and longer term job security.

2.1 My own team has many indicators that we use to measure under performance. These include, Product Yield Charts, Disruption Reports, Weekly Targets, Scrap Reports and annual appraisals. A disruption report can be raised against our department for any problems our customers have regarding our supply to their line. This could mean damaged fibre, incorrect paperwork, failure to supply parts on time, or any event that “Disrupts” them from achieving set targets. These reports are then discussed each morning and depending on the severity of the disruption immediate solutions are put in place or a process of problem solving is started and monitored until the problem is solved.

Yield Charts give indications of process and operator performance. Product failure codes are recorded and investigated. Process detractors can be used to highlight improvement areas, and operator caused defects can be feedback to the team or individual concerned. Scrap reports are also used to put a financial value on product scrap allowing prioritizing of the most expensive problems first. An annual appraisal is given to each employee by the line manager. If a team member has been under performing, the reasons will be discussed and a plan will be drawn to encourage the employee to improve.

2.2 Underperformance needs to be constantly monitored in the manufacturing environment. It could just be that a team is not meeting targets because the target is set to high which puts to much pressure on them, causing mistakes due to rushing. Team moral is an important factor regarding Team performance. If you have conflict between certain team members it will cause them to take their mind off the workload resulting in reduced production and quality issues. This can have a knock on effect and eventually spread across all team members unless it is dealt with promptly.

Poor training can also be a reason why an individual or Team are not able to meet targets. Inadequate training will not only increase scrap costs it can frustrate operators who cant do the work properly and even put them in harms way if Health and Safety measures regarding the work they do are not included in the training. Sometimes people may have domestic or personal worries regarding health problems which affect their performance at work. These need to be discussed with supervisors or managers and depending on the circumstances help may be given to the individual.

2.3 The different causes of underperformance require different actions to rectify them. If a team member is underperforming for no other reason than being lazy then a quiet chat from the Team Leader away from the ears of other team members usually helps re motivate them. If the poor results continue then a disciplinary route of verbal and written warnings may be needed. Re training or extra training will help someone who is falling behind due to lack of process knowledge. If a Team is underperforming they can have a meeting and discuss the reasons as a team, and with all the ideas on the table from all team members, come up with a plan of action to improve their results.

In my place of work underperformance can come in the form of a disruption report. A disruption report can be raised against our department for any problems our customers have regarding our supply to their line. This could mean damaged fibre, incorrect paperwork, failure to supply parts on time, or any event that “Disrupts” them from achieving set targets. These reports are then discussed each morning and depending on the severity of the disruption immediate solutions are put in place or a process of problem solving is started and monitored until the problem is solved.

3.1 Motivated employees are more productive than those who are unmotivated. They enjoy their work more and are usually less stressed. Companies work hard to find ways to motivate their staff. Motivation is the driving force behind all people’s actions. Psychologists have developed various theories about motivation in an attempt to better understand and control human behavior.

This theory of motivation is based on the idea that people have strong cognitive reasons to perform various actions. This is famously illustrated in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which presents different motivations at different levels. First People are motivated to fulfill basic biological needs for food and shelter, as well as those of safety, love and esteem. Once the lower level needs have been met , the primary motivator becomes the need for Self-Actualization, or the desire to fulfill one’s individual potential. Maslow believed employers would see better results from workers if they recognized the various needs of individual workers and if they varied the rewards offered to them.

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Improving Performance of the Work Team. (2016, Dec 10). Retrieved from

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