'Tis the time of year when people might be secretly paying more attention to NCAA basketball tournament games than work and, in some cases, actually leaving work early to watch the afternoon first-round games. Even though March Madness might sap worker productivity, it still might hold meaning for fabricating management.
How could that be? Well, recent research suggests that sports teams with players who can play more than one position can field a better lineup on a more regular basis than teams without those types of players. Those teams also show more resiliency when it comes to player injuries.
More specifically, "The value of flexibility in baseball roster construction," a report prepared by Timothy Chan of the University of Toronto and Douglas Fearing of the Harvard Business School, examined statistics from the 2012 Major League Baseball season and found that players with the ability to play multiple positions were responsible for up to 15 percent of the teams' runs. The researchers then compared this flexibility to that of automotive supply chains that can adapt quickly to changes in supply and demand, helping production remain as efficient as possible. Both baseball teams and automotive manufacturers want to stay at their top performance level even in the face of obstacles—which might be a major injury for a baseball team or a material shortage for a supply chain.
If metal fabricators haven't realized the importance of that type of flexibility on their own shop floors, they likely haven't seen profits rise with the uptick in the metal manufacturing sector. They probably have a problem getting products through the shop, which prevents them from getting paid as soon as possible. (more...)