Last month, I introduced QAD Redzone, recently launched in Australia. I haven’t been this excited about the possibilities for manufacturing in a while. And here’s why.
Unlike so many attempts to improve productivity on the factory floor, QAD Redzone gets that it’s all about the people and not just capturing numbers.
I believe QAD Redzone can help manufacturers bring the culture of their shop floor into the 21st century, and fundamentally change how they operate for the better using the expertise of their existing staff, and attracting the next generation of manufacturers.
What is QAD Redzone?
It’s a coaching program supported by a state of the art SaaS software solution centred around connecting workers. It uses everyday digital technologies to connect and empower workers, maximise productivity, simplify daily operations, and bring teams together for greater job satisfaction.
Attracting the next generation of manufacturers
Employment in manufacturing has been steadily declining over the last twenty years.1 Alongside this decline has been a change in sentiment. A recent report2 states that people are turning away from long hours, poor job quality and discretionary effort and seeking greater purpose and impact with their work.
And while engagement has increased since coming out of the pandemic, it still sits at just 23% according to Gallup’s latest report.3 All of this equals disengagement on the shop floor and lower levels of productivity—hardly an enticing environment for new entrants to the industry.
Currently, people aged 15-24 make up just 11% of employees in manufacturing.4 They’re a generation raised in the digital age where critical thinking and creative solutions are the norm. Their digital dexterity enables them to solve problems quickly, and they want to be empowered to do that in the workplace.
QAD Redzone’s collaboration tools enable employees to have an idea, turn it into a concept, and then action it in real-time. It allows them to participate in daily troubleshooting and removes the lengthy reporting chain that traditionally draws out the problem-solving process.
Manufacturers using Redzone have reported improved engagement scores of up to 74%. Watch the 2-minute case study.
Creating a team culture
Another important feature of Redzone, is its robust collaboration features, which break down long-held silos so that separate teams can start to see themselves as one group working together. When each worker is empowered, the factory’s culture improves.
Employees have more of a personal investment because their work takes on new meaning. They are involved in improvement activities that benefit both themselves and the company. They’re given a voice, and even those staff members not used to speaking up have the tools and space to communicate, which brings people together and creates a more unified team.
I’m looking forward to the knock-on effects this will have on students and graduates considering manufacturing as a career choice. When you have empowered employees who design a creative solution that saves the company thousands of dollars, they will go home and tell their kids about it. And making that kind of difference is inspiring.
Utilising legacy knowledge and empowering the factory floor
One of the most significant advantages of QAD Redzone is its ability to empower operators to get directly involved in solving problems as they happen. After all, it’s usually the person working on that machine daily who is best placed to know what needs to be fixed or changed. Currently, a vast amount of legacy knowledge goes unused because the operator has limited channels of effective communication and lacks the tools.
Redzone allows operators, quality control, and maintenance to work together, reducing negative impacts and increasing overall preventative care—leading to “well-oiled” machines and more predictable outcomes. It also supports workers to increase their knowledge and become cross-trained and multi-skilled through self-directed training and learning. They can see how their efforts will advance their careers and give them the power to turn their job into a career.
Enables lean manufacturing – for real
We’ve been talking about lean manufacturing for years. If you’ve tried labelling everything, including the stapler, but haven’t seen meaningful improvements in your metrics, QAD Redzone could be the answer.
Frontline teams can conduct root cause analysis on the spot and then score solutions based on impact, cost and ease in their huddles. There’s the ability to link actions to each potential solution, vote, comment, and add attachments.
It makes it easy to implement high-impact improvements, and workers can track results to close the loop and ensure sustainability—no more action items falling through the cracks, or inadvertently prioritising initiatives that don’t deliver value.
Are the results too good to be true?
When manufacturers are given results like a 29% increase in productivity, a 74% increase in engagement and a 32% reduction in staff turnover, their first thought (as was mine) is that these can’t be real. Or they are outliers.
I can understand the scepticism. This software is newly launched in Australia, and as of writing, only three multinational manufacturing companies have been using it for a sustained period. I’ve spoken with them, and their overwhelming opinion of Redzone is positive. It does what it says on the tin. And that’s why I’m excited. Because if it’s right for your business, it will likely deliver the desired results.
The manufacturers tell me they’ve seen reduced staff turnover and that it’s improved their agile operations. Directly linking the frontline team with leadership removes barriers and makes it faster and easier to solve problems, and they have a more aligned team that is focused and invested in a common goal.
Is QAD Redzone right for your manufacturing business?
Contact us to discover how QAD Redzone could transform your manufacturing performance and create a community of workers driven to achieve the same goals.
About the author
Rob Cheesman is General Manager, Manufacturing at Atturra. He has over 25 years of process improvement and ERP implementation experience in the manufacturing industry and is a QAD SME. He oversees Atturra’s 70+ QAD manufacturing clients across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.