Dear HR folks,
I have been working in a heavy construction equipment manufacturing company (OEM) as a corporate HR having employee strength approx. 3500 employees including contractual workers. I have bee asked by the management to prepare the trend of management to staff ratio in manufacturing industries in India.

Could you please help me to prepare this ratio in the manufacturing sector?

e.g Sr. level Management ratio
Middle level management ratio
Junior level Management ratio
Staff ratio
Contractual workers ratio

Looking forward to hearing from you soon,


From India, New Delhi
Dear A. Abhivisit,

There is no standard formula for the Staff: Managers ratio that works for all types of manufacturing companies. The total staff depends on the following factors:

a) The level of automation in the production processes
b) The number of production processes involved in the production
c) Methods of scheduling used in the production processes
d) The machine downtime because of stockout (of the material)
e) The machine downtime because of the poor quality of the material
f) The machine downtime because of the curative maintenance
g) The machine downtime because of the preventive maintenance
h) The number of components produced in-house
i) The number of components purchased from the suppliers
j) The turnaround time for the final assembly of the finished product
k) The time spent on reworking
l) The time spent in QC in the intervening stages as well as at the final stage
m) The competence of the production staff (please note, I am saying "competence" and not "experience")
n) The level of education of the staff
o) The Operations Research (OR) techniques used in the entire company in general and in the production department in particular
p) Is the "Quality Management" philosophy of the organisation or it is just lip service?
q) The overall organisation's culture of the company. Are the policies people-centric?
r) The overall interpersonal environment in the company? What is the level of rivalry amongst the departments or the managers?
s) The level of coordination amongst the Production, Purchase and Sales department
t) Is the labour union dormant, active or hyperactive?
u) The level of empowerment of the supervisors, managers in your company?
v) The level of bureaucracy in your company. For how much time an average manager has to wait for getting approval?

The list of the points is exhaustive. However, if one were to study the systems and processes of your company, the above list will get still longer. Against this backdrop, deciding the Staff: Managers ratio is very difficult.

So what is the solution? The solution is not to worry about the Staff: Manager ratio but to measure:

i) The costs and ratios associated with the production, purchase and quality departments
ii) The turnaround time of the processes for the production, purchase and quality departments

Your goal should be to:

iii) Optimise the costs
iv) Increase/decrease of some ratio and
v) Reduce the process turnaround of the processes for the production, purchase and quality departments

Above all, you need to measure and strive to increase:

vi) Multi-factor productivity
vii) Partial productivity, especially the labour productivity
viii) Measure the labour index
ix) Quality-Productivity Ratio (QPR)

Results: - The points mentioned from (vi) to (ix) would require reduction in manpower also. This will reduce your manpower, and it will improve the Staff: Managers Ratio.

The Final Comments: - The staff that you have been given pertains to the Ops Management rather than HR Management. In fact, no single person can handle this activity, but you have to form an "Operations Study Cell" that continuously studies the production and operations processes. To keep your boss in good humour, you may do some work, however, being from HR, you have limitations, and these limitations will cast a shadow on your work. Anyway, feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss this further.

All the best!

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear A. Abhivisit,

The ratio of workmen, Staff, Managers of an establishment decided on the basis of requirements of the manufacturing companies. The ratio aspects are different from one to another because of their production process and mechanization involved.

In most of the manufacturing industry a separate department i.e. Industrial Engineering exist to decide the devise efficient systems (i) requirement of different category of workers ( in Roll & Contractual), Supervisor/Foreman, Managers & staff, materials and energy for the plant.

It seems your company does not have Industrial Engineer to asses the work which has been endorsed to you. This is a complex job because the work involves different formula and equation. it would be good to consult a Industrial Engineer or Industrial Engineering Firm for better result with complete data of your plant. If not possible you make the time study and motion study of the process by involving HOD of each department.

From India, Mumbai

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