Lean HR: It's Not Just for the Manufacturing Floor

Posted by Phil Lullo

Feb 20, 2015 6:22:00 PM

_MGL7486When a contract manufacturer (CM) grows as rapidly as Fusion OEM has, every role in the company needs to be filled with the right person in order to keep operations running smoothly, stabilize growth, establish a strong culture and maintain high employee engagement. The hiring process is a critical factor in making that happen.

Streamlining the Process

Part of Fusion’s overall strategy, as expressed in our Painted Picture, is to be Chicagoland’s premier place to work in manufacturing. Given this goal, redesigning our hiring process to accommodate the increased flow of applicants was essential. This comprehensive redesign was twofold: first, we thoroughly researched our existing processes to identify deviant opportunities for improvement. Next, we created systematic documentation based on our findings – including flowcharts, forms, templates and training guides - to establish standard operating procedures that would effectively address those deviations.

We used this research and documentation to then create a Scorecard, based on the A method for hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. Fusion has enjoyed tremendous success in employing Chicagoland’s best talent in manufacturing using the A method, focusing on outcomes and competencies during the interview process. Our objective is to fill every position in the organization with the top 10% of talent for the compensation available for each position.

Our improved selection method includes sourcing, phone screening, face to face interviewing, Topgrading and drug tests. As this is a non-value added process, it needs to be as efficient as possible. Therefore, we applied Lean principles and eliminated the following wastes:

Waste #1 - Transport. Candidate documents are now screened by Hiring Managers using a web-based platform instead of hard copies. This platform, Hireology, gives us the tools needed to centralize our hiring process, organize selection and choose the right person for the job. As a result, we now can accept, store, share, and rate resumes and cover letters all in one location, so that everyone involved in the hiring process has access to the same information.

Waste #2 - Waiting. To effectively manage their calendars, Hiring Managers now schedule in-person interviews themselves. This allows less disruption in day-to-day production – with better control over their time, Managers are able to accommodate demanding production schedules.

Waste #3 - Over-Processing. Instead of waiting for candidate feedback from Human Resources, Hiring Managers now conduct phone interviews to get first impressions directly from applicants. These first impressions are critical because they are indicative of the potential working relationship between the Hiring Manager and applicant. Identifying challenges or opportunities earlier on increases the chance of hiring someone who is the right fit for the Manager and the team.

As a result of applying lean thinking, our applicant processing time is reduced and interviews are conducted earlier in the process. Additionally, Hiring Managers are engaged and empowered and information flow is improved.

Hiring for Soft Skills

During the Fusion OEM interview and hiring process, Hiring Managers pay particular attention to soft skills, characteristics that enable someone to interact effectively with other people.  We place as much, if not more, emphasis on hiring an applicant that will fit culturally within our organization than hiring an applicant with superior technical skills.

Soft skills that are essential for successful manufacturing talent include: a strong work ethic, willingness to learn, a positive attitude, and a sense of teamwork. These qualities enable us to sustain a culture within Fusion that redefines manufacturing. Our team functions well, and we are able to maintain high quality output while keeping a balanced workload. 

Employees are our most valuable asset – our clients hire us for our people and processes. Our rapid growth requires continual focus on hiring manufacturing talent with both the technical and soft skills required to be successful. Using lean thinking to streamline our hiring processes has given us increased efficiency and employees that are the right fit for our team.


Topics: lean culture, employee engagement

Subscribe To Blog By Email

Latest Blog Posts