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Five Things to Consider in Your Plant Expansion

November 7, 2013

106478409Your company is investing significant capital in a new facility.  It will be state of the art in terms of technology, equipment, and layout.  The project planners have thought of everything and it truly will be a showcase operation.  But what about the most important ingredient needed for a successful plant start-up ... the people who will run it?  Has the same care, planning and analysis gone into designing the hiring system needed to ensure the employees will be world class just like the facility?Select International has helped hundreds of green field and brown field operations select the type of staff they need to successfully operate a new state of the art facility.  Based on that experience here are five things to consider when planning a new facility:

  1. Start planning for your staffing early.  Virtually every plant HR team when asked if they could do one thing over again will say, “I wished we had started planning for our staffing strategy and process sooner.”  At the bare minimum have your initial staffing plan in place at least 4-5 months before your “go live” date.

  2. Know what you are looking for.  Conducting a job analysis will help you indentify the skills, knowledge, competencies and job motivational aspects of the jobs that are keys to success.  Benchmarking against successful incumbents at an existing facility is always preferable if that is an option.  You can also put a future spin on the analysis to account for new technology or work processes.  Identifying the success profile for the job will improve hiring accuracy and will also provide a legally defensible hiring profile.

  3. Leverage technology.  Many new plants have minimal human resources staff and tasks such as taking and screening applications, scheduling testing or interviews and handling candidate status calls can consume vast amounts of limited time.  Web based applications, assessments and scheduling tools can greatly relieve the time pressure on an already overburdened staff.

  4. Candidate care is important.  This is true for any organization, and even more critical for consumer facing companies, as the impression you leave with candidates affects their impression of the entire organization and your brand.  The last thing you want is for potential customers to have a bad experience when seeking employment with your company.  Keep your candidates informed about where they are in the selection process and what (if any) next steps are.  This is much easier to do by leveraging technology as recommended in item 3 above.

  5. Expect the unexpected.  Start-ups are exciting but chaotic endeavors.  By all means have a well defined project plan but be prepared to adjust that plan when the likely changes occur.  Customer demand, construction changes, equipment installations and many other factors can result in drastic schedule changes often on relatively short notice.  In building your plan you should account for these probable schedule disruptions.

high volume hiring


Tom Chase