Your employees’ feedback could be the most valuable asset in your manufacturing operation. Working on the factory floor, your employees see firsthand where improvements could be made that will save your company time and money. As a business leader, you have the ability to take this insight and use it to make positive change across your metalworking organization.

This is why creating a communications pipeline between management and workers is so critical to your long-term success. Follow along to discover how a well-thought-out communications pipeline can benefit your metalworking operation, as well as how to get started on your own communication plan.

Why a Communications Pipeline Is Essential to Manufacturing

Effective communication can help align both management and floor workers toward common goals for a cohesive company culture. It also presents the opportunity to shape that culture to best suit your workforce.

Building a communications pipeline is also essential to the success of your everyday operations. Without an effective way for your management team to communicate with the shop floor, you could be missing out on opportunities to grow and improve your performance.

Consequences of Poor Workplace Communication

Metalworking factories that choose not to prioritize their communications pipeline could face the consequences. Employees who aren’t on the same page as management are less motivated, feel less valued, and are less interested in staying with your company.

Less communication also makes it less likely that workers will report safety issues, increasing your chances of work-related injuries.

Benefits of Effective Communication in Metalwork Manufacturing

While the overall effect of open communication pipelines is certainly positive, there are some specific benefits of effective workplace communication that you may not have considered yet, including these three:

1. Employee Empowerment and Optimized Workflows

Promoting open communication from your employees to management empowers your factory floor. Not only do they feel as though their opinion is being heard, but they also feel more valued overall.

This demonstration of how much you value your employees and their insight can improve your employee retention rate and encourage open and honest feedback. With access to honest feedback, your metalworking operation can make improvements to your workflow that will boost productivity, enhance results, and build a stronger work culture.

2. Reduced Injury Rate

Another major benefit you could gain from a strong communications pipeline is reducing injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, thousands of metalworking injuries occur each year, which negatively impacts both your employees and your business.

By promoting honest communication between factory employees and management, you can identify and eliminate potential workplace hazards that lead to injuries. Resolving these hazards creates a safer, healthier workplace that will boost your overall productivity, product quality, and job satisfaction.

3. Increased Employee Value

Creating an effective communications pipeline allows your teams to boost their individual value to your metalworking business. Beyond offering management feedback, floor employees can also provide additional value to their teammates through cross-functional communication.

Prioritizing a culture of cross-functional communication can diversify your employees skill set, widening the range of their potential work opportunities. This communication can diversify your workforce’s expertise and create opportunities for new leadership to grow from a base of wide-ranging functional knowledge.

How to Establish and Improve Your Communications Pipeline

The right communications pipeline will benefit both you and your employees — but how can you fine tune your current communication plan for long-term success? To start building better communication, consider starting small and trying some of these helpful tactics:

  • Identify your key factory stakeholders. Find the employees who are essential to your everyday operations and organize a meeting between them and management. The workers who have firsthand experience with your processes can provide valuable insight so you can improve any issues in your workflows. This not only helps your employees feel valued at all levels, but also helps identify ways to improve productivity.
  • Create opportunities for open dialogue. Much of facilitating communication comes from creating opportunities to do so. Establishing a culture of open communication in your workplace is a positive first step. This will help employees feel safe expressing feedback to their managers. According to a study by Vanson Bourne, more than eight in 10 businesses experience avoidable unplanned downtime, which can cost hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars. Open communication can prevent small issues from becoming major delays in production or risks to safety.
  • Encourage cross-departmental communication. When departments build relationships, they can learn from each other and improve the overall value of your workforce. Interdepartmental communication also helps keep employees out of silos and adds diversity to their skillsets, making them more of an asset to your team.

While maintaining your workflow is important, receiving and implementing feedback from your team will help build a more cohesive work environment. By encouraging and nurturing an open communications pipeline, you can identify potential improvement opportunities, minimize workplace issues, and boost the overall morale of your workforce — which could mean a serious boost for your bottom line.