The Importance of Good Management
Posted by Michael S. on September 6, 2017 in Manufacturer Focus

If you have been in manufacturing for a while, you have likely seen a great deal of change throughout your career—especially in technology.


However, despite all that innovation, some things really haven’t changed. One of them is the importance of good management. As a manager, you understand that many variables can affect your profitability, including:


  • Technology

    • Products 

    • Processes

    • Equipment

    • Systems

  • Customers

    • Needs

    • Demands

  • Industry segment

  • Potential regulatory issues

    • Safety

  • Competitors

  • Industry trends

  • Suppliers

    • Cost models

    • Capabilities

    • Accessibility

    • Alternatives

  • Employees

    • Hiring the right skills

    • Managing employees

    • Developing human capital

  • Business

    • Cost structure

    • P&L

    • EBIT

    • Product pricing


A manager of mine once told me, “I hire good people, so the results are great.”   


Unfortunately, it isn’t always that easy. In my eyes, you can hire the best engineer, programmer, machine operator, or whatever position you need, but if you don’t manage them correctly, the results might not be as good as they could be.


The best managers I have worked with emphasize work with, not work for. Here are some other traits that I believe good managers should have:


  • They are excellent mentors who are able to explain a task or the job and also provide the opportunity for employees to grow as people. 

  • They have charisma and leadership skills that make it easy for employees to give them respect and more than the standard 100% every day. 

  • They don't use authoritative leadership. Instead, they use the power of communication. They talk to their employees and inspire them to set the world on fire. 

  • They lead by example. They never ask for unreasonable things, pass blame, or point fingers. They own the issues, support their employees, and deal with difficult decisions right away. They get their hands dirty when needed. 

  • They take responsibility for employee mistakes and shortcomings, but use those as learning and teaching moments to help employees grow. 

  • They are advocates for their employees. 

  • They have positive attitudes, even when things don’t go well.  

  • They are fair and consistent, listen well, and provide encouragement. 

  • They want fixes, not band-aid solutions or short-term victories. They encourage their employees to do things right the first time and believe in root cause problem solving. 

  • They are willing to take an unpopular stance when necessary. 

  • They hold themselves and their employees accountable. 

  • They are team players, but aren’t yes-men. 

  • They have a high degree of ethics. 

  • They have a passion about their work that everyone can see and feel.   


Even with all the technology we have today, it's the people who work for a company that help it do great things. If you have a workforce who truly understands your company's vision and embraces its goals, they can move mountains and help the company succeed. However, you still need to provide your employees with guidance and leadership as well as management.   


In summary, how you manage your business can make all the difference. Good management skills and philosophies are still key ingredients to a successful business—even in today’s technology- and automation-driven manufacturing environment—and can help ensure your company not only does well, but becomes a leader in your industry segment.    

Michael S. is our Manufacturing guru
I have over 30 years experience in a broad range of manufacturing areas. Starting with an apprenticeship in Germany I’ve worked my way through a variety of positions within the manufacturing field. I got my start as a Tool and Die maker. I next became a supervisor of a class A tool room, then manager of a machining department. I was exposed to lean manufacturing in the mid 90s and adapted the lean philosophy. Loving and teaching the lean approach, I moved on to become a Continuous Improvement manager which led to a job as a manufacturing manager. I joined Acuity in 2015 as their manufacturing expert. I hope to evolve how manufacturers deal with and think about insurance companies, as well as be a resource to my fellow employees – enabling them to better understand the unique needs of manufacturers.

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Posted By: Michael S. on November 7, 2018 in Manufacturer Focus
Something I hear nearly every time I visit one of our manufacturing insureds is how hard it is for manufacturers to find new talent. When I ask the reason that they are looking for people, they usually respond with one of three answers: we are growing, we have a lot of people retiring, and people are leaving.