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Role of HR in Manufacturing Set- Up

Published: June 11, 2015

We observe a sea change between the organization culture in a corporate office and in a manufacturing set up. People have a misconception about Manufacturing units to be dusty, managers not interested into human resources. In reality, we experience the other side of the coin. We observe highly engaged workforce in clean environments and the staff constantly managing and optimizing human resources at the micro level.

To build a focused factory we have to align our manufacturing strategies with the corporate strategies. Similarly, the HR has to align its policies accordingly. Therefore, both the corporate and manufacturing HR should sail on the same boat.

To be an effective Manufacturing HR, one should get hold of the manufacturing process. It is rightly said that HR professionals with manufacturing experience have a better grasp of the business. The central human resource department needs to identify several critical areas where HR can ensure that the human side of manufacturing management creates lasting value for the organization.

In the course of transformation and change management lack of information flow occurs between the manufacturing HR and Corporate HR. several initiatives are taken by the organization which do not go in line with the manufacturing operations. The functions of Corporate HR are quite different from the manufacturing set-ups therefore few initiatives do not go well with the manufacturing facility like Flexible timing, variable pay, appraisals, increments on basis of bell curve etc.

Human resource staff insist on consistent application of workplace policies. Therefore, line managers who deviate from enforcing workplace policies in their departments due to unforced reasons may find human resources staff at odds with them. For example flexible timing does not suit a Manufacturing facility and we have to avoid people to avail the policy. This lowers the morale of the staff. Low employee morale and poor motivation then become problems for HR to resolve, forming a basis for conflict between HR and line management.

Another key area is the performance management which doesn’t suit the plant environment that effectively as it does in corporate environments.

Here line managers face the heat during appraisal period and always create a gap in flow of specific information and feedback among employees.

A. Communications and monitoring the people pulse in manufacturing.

The corporate and plant HR together must monitor and involve line managers into policy building activities and build a great partnership with the shop floor workmen and staff for better understanding of the Manufacturing scenario and smooth operations in future. HR should also be like a parental and caring figure for the shop floor workmen and staff.

B. Integrating Corporate HR and Plant HR to build a better Manufacturing Culture.

Working in an office typically from morning nine to evening six job is quite different than working in shop floor handling men, machine and production efficiently.  It is very difficult for a corporate person without experience in manufacturing to understand the mentality and work culture of shop floor. Therefore rotation of the HR should be done to understand the practices and build an effective dialog between the both.


Making any policy for manufacturing set up, it is necessary to be part of manufacturing work culture for quite a long time. When we are communicating the policies, it should be clearly explained among the staff as the chances to misinterpret is high.

The Role of HR in Manufacturing set up is very important for handling the workmen as the present workmen are qualified and well aware of the work environment and government policies. It is very important to handle them with lot of care and sensitivity. In a corporate world people approach you during a problem but in a manufacturing world you go to them.

Successful integration of HR produces a profound cultural change, with major impact for the manufacturing people. As the corporate and plant HR work together, the HR function will be instrumental to sustaining that new culture for the benefit of the organization, its people, and its customers

-Harish Chatterjee, VP- Manufacturing.


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