Workers work better when they can see the big picture.
If you make an item that's used as a component in another product, showing workers the final product and explaining the total production process can increase productivity and quality, and even improve morale. Bill Dubay, 48, is the president and COO of Brunswick Technologies Inc. in Brunswick, Maine, a company that produces engineered reinforcement fabrics that are used in a variety of products, including boats, skis, snowboards and automotive parts. He has found that letting each of his employees see--and if possible, use--the final product gives them an appreciation for the need to meet customer specifications that might not otherwise make sense or seem necessary. It may seem like an obvious step to take, but in many businesses, workers never see the fruits of their labor.
One good way to put your employees in touch with the final product is to send them to your customers' plants. Dubay says customers will be happy to take the time to explain how your product fits into their processes. If a site visit isn't practical, demonstrate their product either with pictures or the actual item. Either way, the goal is to create an understanding among employees about how your product is used, what each customer needs and why.