By Chuck Edwards, President, Lenze Americas Corporation
Performance is a concept that is often discussed, but not fully understood. In the world of automated production systems, it starts with properly defining expectations. These include technical expectations—such as axis cycle times and throughput—as well as expectations relative to individual and team contributions.
The path to excellence requires many talented people working in a supportive environment. Ensuring high performance requires the right training and a clear understanding of individual responsibilities to minimize redundancies. Performance thrives when infused with teamwork and healthy competition among self-directed and motivated employees who are committed to continuous improvement. The path to excellence also requires the agility to foresee and exceed customer demands and trends within the dynamic marketplace.
In modern machine motion-control systems, software provides the repeatable, predictable communication and operations interface. It is a fundamental element to the efficiency of system functions. Repeatable, predictable communication is a differentiating feature of efficient and effective companies as well. Teamwork and fluid communication bring innovation to light and fruition. That means maintaining dialogue between team members from every area relevant to a project. From the onset, integrated engagement with a customer is essential to ensure a complete understanding of their needs and successful execution of a project.
This type of engagement depends on the efforts of highly qualified professionals. For this reason, education and training must be seen as investments in the future health of a corporation. Instead of bemoaning a shortage of qualified workers, for example, companies can not only recruit talent, but also reach out to those considering theoretical engineering, applied engineering or other technical training programs. Active support of science, technology, engineering and math education in local K-12 schools will help stimulate the interest of young people in these fields. Through a combination of educational partnerships, scholarships, internships and on-the-job training, businesses on a path to excellence can propel career readiness to new levels by ensuring that education and degrees are inherently practical.
But a solid education is just the beginning. Employees should also be able to take advantage of ongoing comprehensive training, seminars and other offerings to enable advancement. Today, companies that support employee efforts to live full, balanced lives are of most interest to talented job seekers. At Lenze, we strive to foster innovation by empowering employees to create positive change both in the workplace, in their own lives and in their communities.
Perhaps the most highly sought-after hallmark of excellence, innovation is common on the path to excellence. It seldom arrives in the form of revolutionary discoveries or trendy products or motivational programs. Rather, it can be seen in the ability to work together to view challenges and previous solutions from different perspectives. An environment that cultivates innovation is one where employees seek new ways to work with customers to define those challenges and collaboratively develop better solutions. On a path to excellence, innovation occurs daily in the countless interactions between customers, employees and partners—and in the myriad of ways resources are used more efficiently and intelligently.
As the scope and pace of change continually shift, success relies heavily on detecting new challenges at an early stage to leverage opportunities that change brings. Keeping your sights trained on collaboration and mutual success fosters innovation and trust. The “rules of the road” for navigating the path to excellence are as easy as that. MT
The opinions expressed in this Viewpoint section are those of the author,
and don’t necessarily reflect those of the staff and management of Maintenance Technology magazine.