There was some welcome news for British manufacturing at the start of this week, with the Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Index (PMI) jumping to a three-year high of 57.3 in April. Although widely greeted with caution by economists due to continuing uncertainty both globally and domestically, it’s certainly refreshing to hear glad tidings from the manufacturing sector.
Rob Dobson, senior economist at INS Markit, commented, “The big question is whether this growth spurt can be maintained, especially given the backdrop of ongoing market volatility and a number of political headwinds such as elections at home and abroad. Other surges seen since the middle of last year have generally proved short-lived, as weak wage growth sapped consumer spending.”
Mr Dobson is not alone in his prediction that this growth fillip may be temporary, which begs the question: what is the best strategy for Lean recruitment in times of uncertainty? Going through this process of assessing your team, you will almost certainly identify some gaps in your capability and it’s very important to fill those holes before you start taking water onboard. A leaky ship can only go one way, so map out where the cracks are by identifying the skills and experience you need and at what level.
One of the best ways to fill these fissures, particularly in a fast-changing and unpredictable market, is to bring in Lean consultancy specialists on a contract basis. When it comes to Lean recruitment, the contract sector is full of highly capable, well-trained and experienced specialists who thrive on the challenge of relatively short-term placements in businesses where their skills are really valued. From an employer’s perspective, there are many benefits of taking on a Lean consultancy:
1. Speed and efficiency
I can find you a high quality Lean specialist in a very short space of time: from initial briefing through to placement it could be as little as a week or so. This means that the recruitment process is efficient and straightforward, leaving you to turn your attention to other matters safe in the knowledge that you have secured a proven candidate who can make a big difference, quickly.
2. Manageable cost
The employer is in control of the contract length so can easily manage the cost of the investment. Whether you choose a fixed-term or rolling Lean consultancy contract, you can predict and regulate the level of spend according to market conditions or other commercial pressures.
3. Quick results
When your business is under pressure, particularly from external forces beyond your control, you need to be able to keep up with changes and maximise corporate performance. An experienced Lean consultancy contractor will be adept at making a difference quickly, delivering value where it’s needed in a timely fashion.
4. Fresh perspective
When conditions are challenging, it’s tempting to fall back into old habits or stick with what may be perceived as a tried and tested approach, but the reality is that often what a business needs is a fresh approach to solving problems and improving performance. A Lean consultancy specialist brings with them a new perspective and masses of relevant experience for you to draw upon, which is energising for your team and can prove to be transformative for your business.
In the current environment I’d advocate keeping your Lean recruitment strategy under constant review. The use of specialists on contracts can provide essential leverage which could give you a competitive edge and will certainly help you weather the continued economic storm.