Back to the Floor

Simon Kidney back on the floor

A few weeks ago, members of the Senior Leadership Team at Robinson Manufacturing were invited to participate in a Back to the Floor initiative as an opportunity to experience first-hand the tasks undertaken by our factory and driving staff and get the Robinson Manufacturing experience from another point of view.

The aims of the initiative were to:

  • Build stronger working relationships between and within teams
  • Create a better understanding and appreciation of the different roles within the business and the challenges that each faces
  • Generate business efficiencies and improvements through listening to the thoughts and ideas of our people
  • Kick start a broader, company-wide programme to motivate and engage our people

Each individual was able to choose where they spent their Back to the Floor day from our four current factory locations, or from going out on the road with one of our delivery drivers.

An Element Of Trepidation

Going in to the experience, most wanted to use it to gain understanding of the challenges of a challenging manufacturing experience, as well as to build working relationships with colleagues from across the business. It was not without an element of trepidation though – for many office based management, the prospect of a day’s hard physical work was daunting, as Greg Farrar, Risk Business Partner explained: “Doing a full day of physical work for the first time in seven months, having spent most of the last thirteen months sat at a desk, will be a bit of a shock to the system.”

Glyn Hilson turns his hand to truss manufacture

HR Business Partner, Andreya Ashwell, who organised the programme, was very clear about her objectives: “From a people perspective try and understand the challenges they face and if there is anything we can do from a business point of view to remove or at least reduce these challenges.”

Over the course of the week, our management team turned their hands to every element of factory work, experiencing the physical challenges whilst broadening their understanding of the day to day experience of factory-based  colleagues.

It was apparent to all participants that our factory staff have a really good work ethic, take genuine pride in doing a good job and have a real commitment to the business, despite the physical challenges of the job.

For Glyn Hilson, Floors Director, who spent his Back to the Floor day at one of our Wellingborough roof truss factory, believes the project could result in new manufacturing ideas: “As an opportunity to gain insight into the different manufacturing techniques between ecojoists and roof trusses, the programme has highlighted a wide range of skills and experience that will help us to continue to improve our manufacturing processes.”

Back to the Floor Again?

“Definitely,” commented Simon Kidney, COO. “The benefits were such that we will not just repeat the programme for senior management, but we will also roll the programme out to our aspiring junior managers – tomorrows leaders.”