Good old times…
We are now in the last week of July, which for many decades meant one thing in the manufacturing world: factory fortnight. All factories would close for that period of summer, workers would pack and go and enjoy their holidays with their families, whether at the British seaside or abroad.
For modern families, with busy schedules it’s kind of a dream that your entire family could be off work while your children are on their summer holiday.
Many manufacturers argue that closing down in the last week in July and first week in August is an important part of their operations. They can give time off to all of their workforce to spend with their families and children in the prime holiday time – something that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. This also means the staff are available throughout the rest of the year and there is no unplanned skill shortage. Otherwise, some manufacturers believe, they would have to operate at 70% capacity for three or four months of the summer season, which would be more disruptive for their businesses.
Factory fortnight also allows for machines to be maintained, repaired and ready when everyone is back to work.
From the management point of view, planning a summer shutdown can save some overhead costs such as heating, lighting and electricity, and plan production better.
Competition doesn’t sleep
There are arguments against it, with others from manufacturing industry highlighting the strong overseas (and growing domestic) competition that do not take this time off.
Some companies might find themselves in a difficult position where they’re part of a supply chain where Factory Fortnight is a distant memory. They, then need to ask the question: can we afford to shut down for two weeks and, possibly, lose business to a competitor who is no longer closing for these two weeks in summer?
Many workers took to their social media celebrating the start of factory fortnight but growing number of companies will not be closing down this year.
Is your company still observing this tradition? Looking for a new strategy while competition is on holiday? Get in touch with us!