July 26, 2012
Teaching the Millenials a sound reliability strategy early in their career (the Matures, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers too) can be the critical component of a strong manufacturing strategy.
Millenials have been categorized as seeing the world as a union of people and countries connected electronically and technologically 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; spending a lot of time interacting with social media and using more than one medium at a time, with parents that catered to their needs more than the rest of us. Some see them as most times arrogant but, they may actually be the most productive, innovative generation in history (Sujansky, 2009). What in the world does this have to do with reliability? – a lot. Building a powerful brand comes with a strong reliability strategy. Every organization, no matter what it may be manufacturing, requires a powerful and strong reliability strategy lined up with its corporate strategy. In today’s climate this includes being connected and collaborating 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; spending a lot of time interacting with social media and using more than one medium at a time not only with the corporate strategy but with people, processes, programs, and performance beyond internal and external boundaries. Reliability has evolved from a reactive, "keep the failures quiet," enviroment brought on by pressures to meet production/manufacturing targets to the promotion and use of:
- Effective Communications
- Best practices approach
- Modern diagnostic tools
Maintenance and Millennials as a strategic tool are as relevant as understanding chronic problems with equipment and a competitive edge. While the Millennials may not understand the root cause of many failures, they can be a modern diagnostic tool at your fingertips to eliminate common root causes or find the counterpart of an outdated spare part.
For example, I was recently working with a group of Millennials. We were talking about communication styles between 20 something’s and "older" people and age discrimination against the Millennials. One thing that came out is how these Millennials have an app for everything. The short of the story is an intern was tasked to observe some surveying being conducted by a construction company and after about 20 minutes watching them scramble to calibrate some equipment he stopped them and said "hey, I have an app for that" they stopped, let him download it, and in the end he saved them a few thousand dollars in prep time over the summer.
Don’t have a millennial in your department? Not a problem. Millenials' attitude can be found in all the four of the generations and have been but more so with the Boomers. According to Sujansky’s, Keeping the Millennial’s, the relationship with technology is shared – the difference is the platform. Boomers are post WWII technology, while Millennials are post computer technology. Though their platforms for doing so are generations apart, both have an affinity for putting together technology to practice and the understanding of connectivity, collaboration and responsiveness is shared.
References: Sujansky, J.G. 2009. Keeping the Millennials. John Wiley & Sons. New Jersey