Parsable Blog

Why a People-Centric Approach is a Must in Manufacturing

Anisha Padamshi

One of the biggest outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic is a growing call for empowerment, equity and equality among workers and employees, especially those on the frontlines; recently, Amazon, McDonald’s and Walmart announced that they’re raising pay for hourly workers, among other benefits. And while these companies may not rank the highest for workplace satisfaction, these recent decisions show that having a people-centric approach is critical to a successful business operation.

In our latest episode of “Conquering Chaos: A Show for Manufacturing Leaders,” Parsable’s connected work expert and podcast host, Josh Santo, chats with Didier Moleres, Vice President of Global Operations for Bimbo QSR, a division of Grupo Bimbo, the largest bakery in the world and parent company of consumer brands like Oroweat, Sara Lee and Entenmann’s. They discuss the importance of putting people first when it comes to growing and scaling manufacturing operations, including change management, culture and collaboration, and why keeping people at the center of it all is key to future-proofing the organization. 

Listen to the full podcast episode here

Building a Culture of Empowerment

Bringing your team into any conversation related to the business, listening to their concerns, thoughts and ideas goes a long way.

This sentiment holds true in every industry, but particularly in manufacturing. Fostering a culture of empowerment and giving people the option to share their perspectives is only going to become more critical in the future, especially considering the continued shifts in workforce dynamics. As we’ve discussed in past episodes, manufacturers are already struggling with attracting younger generations that want to feel like their voices are being heard. Giving them a voice and a way to contribute is a benefit to company culture, and it’s a way to set your organization apart when it comes to talent acquisition. 

Putting People at the Heart of Change Management

In manufacturing, especially at a company the size of Grupo Bimbo, change is common. From changes in policy and technology to changes in culture and processes due to mergers or acquisitions, getting people on board with new ideas or initiatives can be difficult. That’s why taking a people-centric approach to change management, and letting employees know their ideas are important, is the key to your success. 

For example, integrating two companies because of an acquisition always introduces a new opportunity to uncover best practices and better ways of doing things. If an organization is truly putting its people first, those best practices aren’t necessarily going to all be taken from the larger organization or people higher up on the totem pole. Understanding what people across both organizations are doing and why, and then analyzing that information to determine best practices, is ultimately going to deliver better long-term results and a stronger culture, rather than the acquiring company saying, “it’s our way or the highway.” 

Scaling and Standardizing With the Help of Technology

As manufacturers look to scale their operations, there’s often a need to standardize certain processes, which of course leads to more change and another opportunity to put people first. 

Moleres recently led an initiative to introduce new safety standards for Bimbo QSR globally. His team had a plan for the system and best practices to put in place, but executing it in eight different languages across several countries proved to be a difficult task. The common factor within the different countries, cultures and programs was the people. To make the transition effortless, his team focused more on how to deliver and make the transition easier for the people, rather than how to structure the hardware or software. Bimbo QSR ultimately turned to Parsable to help facilitate the new standardization program faster and more seamlessly than they could’ve done using a manual approach. 

Preparing for the Future Today – and the Importance of Collaboration

With increased competition in manufacturing and constantly-evolving technological advancements, the best-run organizations are always preparing for the future today – and they are taking a people-centric approach as part of that process. While it’s hard to predict the future, the more you adopt a people-centric view, the better the outcome will be overall. 

In one example, Moleres outlines how Bimbo QSR is exploring ways to accomplish going paperless in its operations. By adding people from across departments into the planning process, such as QA and IT, the company is gaining more visibility into its operations, what they want to tackle first, and “what if” scenarios like the possibility of integrating ERP or IoT. The goal is to find a couple of good solutions that can help define future operations, and while it’s a work in progress, the fact that many stakeholders are collaborating as a cohesive team helps tremendously in defining the company’s future. 

For more insight on how to reap the benefits of a people-centric approach to manufacturing operations, listen to the full episode.

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