I’ve been helping a small manufacturer with some interviewing the last couple of weeks, and there’s been several candidates that are long time employees somewhere else looking for a change. The common complaint from all of them was:


“My company keeps expecting me to do more and more with less and less people and support.”


Employers in New England have been struggling to develop a robust workforce for the last 4 years, and it seems to me this is now having a burnout effect on the competent staff that they do have.


A finite effort will always equal a finite output. You can’t keep asking your best employees to do more and more. They will say yes because they want to help, but they are burning out. It seems a lot of businesses are unintentionally working their best employees to the bone. Just like with a great athlete, you must think about load management for great employees.


One key tool to help is capacity planning as part of the S&OP process. Having a great sales and operations planning process is great for customer satisfaction, but it is also great for your team’s stress levels. If your capacity planning process is working properly, everybody should have a clear picture of what is expected of them and shouldn’t be continually overloaded. They should know what they are doing today, and what is expected of them in the next couple of weeks (depending on your lead times). Don’t ask them to do more than what’s possible. This type of clarity reduces stress and lets employees plan ahead to be more efficient.


Of course, there will be instances when you’ll have to ask employees to do more, but it can’t be forever.


If you have a question on capacity planning, send me a message. You may have key employees on the brink of leaving.