We are preparing to integrate CNC into a 8 man shop and receiving a lot of resistance in the shop. Anyone else experience that and how did you ease the transition when people are up in arms and even 1 builder is threatening to quit?
I can't explain to them we r trying to make their jobs easier not replace them:( any advice. For the response, "let them quit", we are so busy that if my main builder left, we would fall even farther behind and not able to meet deadlines. Any other advice welcomed:)
People are resistant to change and feel threatened. It is not only the introduction of a router but can also be the software package. Overall it will make their job easier but you cannot tell them that and they will resist it at every turn, to the point of trying to make sure that work progresses slower. Yes there seems to be only one solution, have a one on one discussion with the resistors and explain the why the change needs to happen and how it will affect them. Unfortunately you might have to give them a choice to either stay and adapt or leave but be quick and firm before one or two bad apples spoil the barrel. Your "main" builder feels threatened that he will not be as important and loose positioning, that in itself is an issue that will lead to further issues when changes are required be it a CNC router, or some other production change. Sorry to say but you have let this happen and only you have the power to cure it.
Look up some of the posts on the woodweb about what affect CNC had on their business. If your head guy is so resistant he may cause you more problems than what he is worth. It is your business! Explain your rational for the change to a group meeting where everyone can state their case. You are not offering a vote on the subject! You are keeping them in the loop.
To tell the truth I didn't ask, I didn't see any resistance over 16 years ago either. resistance to change is a characteristic of the closed mind. Is that what you want in an employee? If there is a sign of sabotage, stop it instantly.
Things I did get resistance on: Conveyor system for all panel handling, hydraulic work benches. No one would now go back to the old way. Not that they were offered a choice.
I had a few stalwarts,, there is no way we would be here given what we faced in 08/09 show them my website, I can have some of the guys talk to them. No one lost a job and we are double to triple what we were in work. when you free the basic time of part production you free up volume, this adds custom and profits.
When I did it about 12 years ago, I explained to my personnel how it would help them earn more money due to more business. Also it would not result in less employees but rather more to handle the increase in volume that we would be able to handle. Some people weren't happy about it but learned to like it. Had 2 people quit over it which was a good thing as they were the type of people that were never happy with change. I have instituted many more changes over time that they would never had been able to handle it.
There is no way I could handle my current volume without the cnc. Best move that I have ever made.
All of the responses have addressed the issue you're experiencing with the resistance to change. This resistance is a poverty mindset and should be addressed by you, the owner. You obviously see the need for additional output and have addressed it with CNC capability. There are undoubtedly going to be efficiency advances and productivity increases, but those will be hampered and delayed unless everyone is on board. I agree with the poster who suggested a round table meeting explaining that it is the direction of the company. Investing in machinery doesn't eliminate the need for practical knowledge of how the product is manufactured, manually. In fact, it is a benefit for those working with it to have an understanding of what is supposed to be coming off of those machines. This knowledge positions those people for advancement, not obsolescence. Whether is is a profit sharing plan or a path to promotion, those who have been with you during the climb should be evaluated and informed of their part in your growth. They have an opportunity to be a part of the team or not.
I recently attended a presentation by FANUC robotics. This is a common push back that people on the floor have. They pointed out that companies that add automation, generally increase business, become more profitable and hire more people.
I also spoke with one of the leaders at Revashelf who was involved in bringing them into the Lean world. The president met with the employees and promised them that nobody would loose their job as a result of these changes.
The integration probably won't be smooth and you will have 2 weeks of hell getting things sorted out, in the end though it will make things quicker, easier and more consistent.
In the end though, if that builder is gong to poison the well and fight it to the end, be prepared to move on without him.
I just read an article that dealt with the same thing.
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