News, Insights and Best Practices for Manufacturing in Mexico

Improving labor productivity

12 Jan 2015

Category: Labor & Economics, Manufacturing in Mexico

The Mexican labor force has a particularly strong work ethic. In Mexico, the average employee spends more hours per year working than in any other member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operations and Development, and according to U.S. News, productivity in Mexico is even better than it is in China. Though the country may already be a gold mine for productive, skilled labor, there are a few ways to even further encourage labor productivity and see an increase in company profits. 

What is labor productivity?
A report by the Houston Chronicle states that labor productivity is a ratio of the quantity or quality of results to the resources expended to achieve that result. Essentially, it is a measure of how much work an employee gets done during a day at work. Labor productivity is a critical component of efficient, competitive manufacturing and can easily be bolstered through performance management initiatives and effective employee training. 

Boosting productivity through communication and morale 
Performance management begins with establishing workplace morale. According to business coach Teri Levine, workers who are happy with their employer perform better, directly influencing company profit. Improving labor productivity in this way can be done on site by setting attainable goals for your employees and offering praise and recognition when they successfully meet them. Reevaluate staff members regularly to further foster accountability and set up prize incentives or develop leadership capabilities to encourage your employees to go above and beyond what is minimally expected of them. 

Making sure that employees know what they need to do to be successful in the maquiladoras is crucial for establishing on-site morale. When a new employee begins working, discuss the role they play in the bigger picture and what they can do to help the company achieve their goals. Determine what their personal skills and interests are, and assign them to a task based on them, as that is where they will likely most succeed. Regularly administering directions and feedback will effectively ensure that they are meeting manufacturing standards and will contribute their workplace success. The average employee only spends 40 percent of his time on tasks that are directly related to company goals, and communication provides employers with a viable way to improve efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs.

The importance of employee training
Thorough employee training should do more than teach employees necessary technical skills - it should also teach them relevant time management skills and company priorities. Helping workers in the maquiladoras understand what is most important to accomplish and how much time to attribute to each task is crucial in establishing a low-cost manufacturing strategy. This nurtures employee initiative and reduces time spent micro-managing, allowing management to better utilize their time with other on- and off-site tasks. 

In response to the need for effective training, the Offshore Group has built a technical training facility in Sonora to facilitate both classroom and web-based instruction. We have made alliances with local trade schools and government programs to give employees the tools they need to perform and prosper at work. 


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