Automotive & Manufacturing

From safety to resilience to transformation

The changing role of safe-workplace playbooks for manufacturers

In March of 2021, manufacturing activity in the U.S. surged to a 37-year high and, today, capacity is virtually at pre-pandemic levels. It seems we’re coming out of the dark days and the safe-workplace playbooks introduced by many manufacturers have played their part in this success. The challenge now is to build on the excellent work done to gain full benefit from each playbook.

The manufacturing industry has showed itself to be smart, agile and innovative during the worst of the pandemic. Companies quite rightly put their employees’ health and safety as the highest priority – both when shutting down facilities and re-opening.

Lear was probably the first to publish its safe-workplace playbook – a comprehensive manual for returning to work – but others quickly followed. Major manufacturers such as Ford, GM and Tesla weren’t far behind. What’s striking about some of the playbooks is they are not knee-jerk reactions; companies have devoted huge amounts of time and resources to outline everything needed to create a safe, viable workplace.

Safe Work Playbook from Lear Corporation

A journey, not a destination

With employees safely returning to work, it’s time to consider how to maximize the investment made in these playbooks. That starts with recognition that the playbooks don’t just chart the safe return to work — they underpin what is, in effect, a dramatically changed work environment. We aren’t returning to how offices, factories and other facilities operated prior to the pandemic, nor have we transitioned into fixed new work practices.

The future of work in manufacturing is constantly evolving and adapting and the playbook becomes an excellent foundation for managing this constant change. It isn’t something that has simply served its purpose, but is a living, breathing document that can help create a more digitized, agile work culture while maintaining the highest levels of health and safety.

Covid-19 is far from being the last business disruption. In fact, McKinsey estimates that companies can expect supply chain disruptions lasting more than a month to occur every 3.7 years. What playbooks provide is a model for more effectively handling disruption in the future.

However, McKinsey believes that industry leaders will take this one stage further. “In order to come back stronger, companies should reimagine their business model as they return to full speed. The moment is not to be lost: those who step up their game will be better off and far more ready to confront the challenges—and opportunities—of the next normal than those who do not,” reads a McKinsey article.

Safe-workplace playbooks can act as the foundational document to drive and embed change within the organization.

Not all manufacturers have created something as formal as a playbook, but every company has looked at all the implications of re-opening production. The policies and procedures, documentation, HSE resources, production and capacity planning are common for all manufacturers. The playbook simply brings all this together and lets manufacturers manage it centrally.

Safe-Workplace Playbook Management for Manufacturing

The initial phase of playbook adoption has shown just how challenging it is to manage and make accessible all the resources and documentation involved. Playbook content is extensive – policies and procedures, step-by-step guides, checklists, videos, work schedules, etc. – and constantly evolving. In addition, manufacturers have to be sure that everyone has read and understood the information relating to them and everything is effectively tracked and monitored.

Safe-Workplace Playbook Management for Manufacturing from OpenText™ is designed to address all these issues. It delivers a scalable and secure content management platform to centralize the management of safe-workplace playbooks. Companies can build net-new playbooks or adapt existing industry templates to bring all content and resources together. With it, playbooks can be quickly ammended and all updates communicated to the people affected. Employees can easily find and understand current protocols and introduce new practices when and where needed. And manufacturers know that everyone is working from up-to-date processes and that they’re in compliance with the latest procedures.

Tom Leeson

Tom is Industry Marketing Strategist for the Manufacturing Sector globally. An Engineer by Trade, and Mathematician by Education, Tom’s entire career has been spent in Engineering, Manufacturing and IT helping customers digitally transform their business and their manufacturing sector. With Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things, Manufacturing lives in exciting times, so there is much to talk about.

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