Yoni brings his 4 years experience in solventless cannabis manufacturing to help solventless hashmakers and consumers increase their knowledge base.
From material intake to jarring and packaging, a solventless manufacturing operation has a lot of moving parts. In order to keep these parts working in sync, it is important to be intentional in how you assign tasks and delegate responsibilities. One particular area to consider is striking a healthy balance between task specialization and cross training of employees. Properly utilizing your employees diverse work histories and skill sets is critical to maximizing your success.
Some employees may find a niche that they enjoy sticking to day in and day out, while others will be most satisfied if they are able to rotate between tasks. Be sure to have strong lines of communication with your employees to know their preferences. Employees who are happy will be more productive, not to mention making the workplace more enjoyable for all. When it comes to task rotation, utilize pre-existing breaks in the schedule to minimize transition time during task switching. In general, an important guide to remember is that efficiency is greatest when a single task is done repeatedly to minimize transition time. For example, loading 20 jars onto a scale at once and weighing them sequentially (while taring the scale between jars to ensure accurate weight) takes less time than putting one jar onto the scale at a time.
Another important factor to consider when assessing specialization vs. cross training is the amount of time it takes to learn a new skill. When on-boarding new employees it is important to allow sufficient time for an employee to learn a given task. Some aspects of manufacturing have a steeper learning curve than others, so be deliberate about the amount of time you give someone when training them in a new area of production. Even for simpler aspects of production, giving time for an employee to get into the flow can be beneficial for long term retention of the details that lead to efficient task completion.
By maintaining detailed record keeping you can establish a baseline expectation of efficiency and determine when someone has scaled the learning curve and become proficient. Be proactive in communicating with those learning a new task to address any roadblocks that may arise that you have not personally experienced yourself. Taking time periodically to participate across the production line can inform your expectations and keep them ambitious and reasonable.
Even if your team is 100% individuals who are happy sticking to a single task, the importance of cross training to ensure operational continuity cannot be overlooked. Be sure that you have sufficient backup of skilled employees to cover for any missed time due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances.
For tasks that are particularly complicated or pose risk of financial loss, such as washing or pressing, it is worthwhile to consider subbing in your alternates regularly to keep their skills sharp. Further, by rotating task assignment you have the opportunity to solicit insight from more individuals, potentially leading to improvements in production efficiency that you might not have considered on your own. Being open with employees that all input is appreciated increases the pool of ideas available to you.
Successfully running a solventless manufacturing enterprise presents a host of challenges. Being intentional about task assignment, keeping diligent records, and establishing clear lines of communication are critical to keeping all aspects of the operation running smoothly. By leveraging your greatest resource – your employees – you give yourself the greatest chance of success.
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