It is often said that a key factor responsible for the success of a business is its ability to be flexible and innovative. The management should be capable of making necessary adjustments to its policies in order to cope with the rapidly changing micro and macro environment. An engineering business should consider flexible specialism to set the business apart from other ordinary businesses. An engineering manager needs to have a flexible approach based on the type of engineering business he is handling.
The flexibility can take the form of:
1) Numerical flexibility
The term describes a situation in which the size of the workforce is modified in accordance with the workload. Instead of offering long-term contracts to the employees, irrespective of the increase or decrease in the amount of work being done, the management should hire or fire them purely on the basis of the effort they are required to make at a given point in time. This approach may prove to be cost-effective in case of seasonal businesses in which there is a marked fluctuation in the workload during different time periods. However, some pressure groups regard it as the inability of the management to act in a socially or ethically responsible manner, since a large number of employees are laid off during the offseason.
2) Time flexibility
Following the same principle, the working hours can be increased or decreased keeping in mind the amount of work to be carried out. The workers should know that they can be asked to perform their duties for longer hours if deadlines are to be met.
3) Functional flexibility
It is recommended that a multi-skilled workforce is employed so that there is no interruption in a particular process even if one of the engineers is not available due to some unavoidable circumstances. Practices such as job rotation are very common these days due to the reason that the management wants the members of the workforce to acquire new skills. Not only will these skills benefit the company but can also go a long way in developing the professional career of an individual.