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Numbers of Managers

Almost inevitably there will be proposed (or actual) separate managers for:

  • • Facility (overall management of the facility)
  • • Operations (managing the production processes)
  • • Engineering (managing Maintenance, Projects, Inspection, etc.)
  • • Technical Support, Personnel, Finance, etc. (separate managers for each of these)

It is possible to have shared roles depending on the skills of the individuals; at smaller sites, this arrangement should be considered seriously. However, the most significant problem areas are usually the supervisory, technical support, and workforce numbers, so let us move on to those.

Supervision Ratios

A flat, lean, empowered organization is the preferred one. The Department of Trade and Industry in the United Kingdom provides a benchmarking service for British industry. This has a data base of literally thousands of companies, mostly manufacturing of some type. This data base shows that poor performers tend to have a supervisor to worker ratio of 1:4 while the top performers have a ratio of 1:12. Where you decide to pitch your ratio is a matter of judgment, but 1:8 or 1:10 would seem reasonable. All the evidence shows that over-supervision does not improve performance. We have a case study covering some elements of this issue in Chapter 27.

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