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From hoarding items to socializing on the clock, certain activities have a nasty habit of interrupting productivity and, therefore, costing your company more money.
If your employees don’t trust your inventory control system, they will start to fear that certain items will run out of stock. It doesn’t take a keen Production Manager to see how this fear leads to employees stashing tools and supplies ‘just in case’ to insure they can do their jobs. However, this well-intentioned decision only serves to exacerbate the problem by throwing off demand and causing excess inventory to be ordered. This makes accurately calculating a min/max simply impossible. When your employees hoard supplies and tools, it ends up costing you more by increasing the amount of on-hand inventory that is not available to other users. This causes false spikes in demand and results in increased mins and maxes to cover this spike or false demand, which further increases inventory costs.
How do you solve this inventory control problem? You can start with implementing a powerful inventory management system with a demand-based ordering system. Employees will take exactly what they need because they have confidence that the system will makes sure they never run out. There is no longer a need to manually calculate a min/max for each item, as the inventory control software uses a powerful algorithm that calculates the min/max depending on the daily demand of each item. When an item quantity reaches its minimum point, the system will automatically reorder the items and sends an alert to the manager. Further, the system actually adjusts the reorder points based on actual demand and usage!
When you are not holding your employees responsible for the items they check out, you’re leaving a lot to chance. Since employees aren’t being held accountable, when a tool gets lost on the floor someone else needs to take the time to look for the tool or piece of equipment. This type of loss can cost you in two areas. One area is, if the tool, part, or supply, needs to be replaced, and, if so, how fast. In addition to the cost of the item that needs to be replaced, you must also consider the ramifications the missing part has on productivity. The next area of concern is how much time will be spent looking for the tool or part. This will require a person to stop doing their job to look for a tool or part. When you tear a person away from their task at-hand, this labor is now being spent on a monotonous and unproductive task and your employee is no longer adding value for which you can charge.
Using a smart vending or smart locker system can reduce the number of stock-outs by increasing accountability. Employees can scan their proximity card or input their employee number to check items out. This lets managers know who checked out which item, what specific time it was checked out, and when it was checked back into the system. Consequently, this changes the behavior of your employees since they know they are responsible for the items that they check out.
Often, when employees are traveling back and forth between the tool crib and their work station, there is a tendency to treat that time as a break. Although it’s great to see your workers getting along, there is plenty of time to socialize on breaks, lunch, and after hours. The average tool crib trip time is about 15 minutes, and the average employee makes 2 trips per day. This means an 30 mins a day is being dedicated solely to traveling from tool crib to work center. Consider the hourly rate and number of days worked, and the expense adds up quickly.
So how do you get your employees back to work faster? To encourage less socializing during productive hours, dedicate localized industrial vending machines so that your employees don’t need to travel as far or as frequently, thus reducing the number of distractions on the way to the crib.
Bad habits can be reversed with smart vending and inventory management systems. By simply implementing this solution you can solve many of these pesky habits.