We must change and evolve quickly in this new age of doing business. Competition has changed. Niche Markets and Emerging Market business, goes to those who adapt to it daily.
The new "Continuous Improvement" rule: "Teach everyone what it means for them to do a good job in teams for the full scope of their work together, and help them do it better today than yesterday, and get out of the way."
Today's Managers and Supervisors must change leadership style to correct problems born out of yesterdays practices...or deal with them like always, ever day...continually. Focus on building strong independent teams, skilled and trained to function autonomously. Give them tools, resources and advanced skills providing all means of support, breeding more of the same. Do this and employees will start moving faster, being creatively self sufficient and return surprising performances to get more work out right. If they weren't smart enough to do this in the first place, they never would have been hired.
After this, if things don't start to improve...
...then this wall
may not be such a bad idea after all.
Spoiling Clients: “A Relationship Building Art Form” © by Rickey Bates
Subject: How to Get--"Referrals, Work and Early Notice on Client Jobs"
Assessing and Organizing Client Jobs, from “First Contact.”
Help Clients get work to you better and faster:
Not all clients are as organized as you. Some clients who tend to be chronically late; are frequently the same ones who want miracles to get their jobs done, regardless of “How Little Notice” they give you “To Do the Job.” Don’t be quick or too hasty to always say, “Yes” on any request. Your company strives to run“Back to Back Jobs,” involving “Quick Changeovers” on “Uniquely Modified Equipment requiring designated Steps to achieve each proper "Set-Up. ” If costs are increased by delaying or shifting work from preplanned schedules, these should be charged back to the appropriate client. Also, you may not want to call them back too early right away until the incurred additional costs are tallied.
Conduct business like a "Genuinely Interested, and Concerned Friend."
This is a great way to be seen; in anyone's eyes. To work with someone like this, makes a job and work, seem more like fun, when both people are working hard to figure things out. The same holds true with any client relationship, without loosing a bit of professionalism. In fact…it enhances your credibility in the eyes of "Such Beholders."
KEEP TABS ON JOB PROGRESS: It's a basic ingredient to "Sweeter Running Jobs."
Additional things to always question yourself and the job about:
"DETAILS & TIMELINES"
Leadership from Sales, the Coordinator and Supervisors should be there “On-Hand” when the job starts to work out any kinks to ensure it starts and runs perfectly.
This is a great aid to preparation, and keeping good people in the loop and adequately supported with any “Quick-Job, Kick-Off Meeting.”
Telling people you that you’d like them to call or contact you to alert you of any problem, confirms your willingness to respond to any issue. This confirms to them that you are interested in problems that other people may have to deal with, and they will do this with little chance of ever abusing this invitation you’ve so graciously offered.
This is in everyone’s best interest and there is no better assurance to inspire initiatives on everyone’s part...to make sure that “Your Job,” for “Your Client(s)” always run well. This manner of work also helps keep you informed of time frames, dates and the impending schedules, allowing great updates on your jobs for clients. The benefits of this will quickly roll-over to you, on all your other jobs too. This works for you, when you’re unable to be there “In-person” to watch your jobs run. Following up on each issue guarantees and unbridles limitations and helps embed even more success principles throughout each team member’s job and performance.
If you already do these things, then congratulations on being a “Pure Artist” at heart. You’ve mastered this skill of spoiling clients who look forward to
many more joint successes on all the next jobs they’ll bring to you...just a little bit earlier from now on. “Well done!!”
HMMM Blog Posts 07/20/16
High Dollar Profits and High Dollar Losses happen one person and one operation at a time. You can’t be everywhere all the time--nobody can. But, your policies and the standards by which “You Choose To Operate,” should be “Ever Present & Everywhere with Everyone...ALL THE TIME!!” This article was written to address and “Speak to This Topic.”
Hidden, "Built-in” Positive & Negative Manufacturing Incentives
© by Rickey Bates, High Marks Manufacturing Management
Weak supervisory skills and practices are largely at fault for failing to promptly and sufficiently address chronically low producers. Bold and sometimes difficult employees who repeatedly fall short of the mark must be advised and at times confronted about their unsatisfactory level of performance, in some timely and appropriate manner.
An accurate assessment of the problem should be identified, clarified and reviewed with the employee “Right Away!!” Asking an employee "How's it going?" and getting back a "It's getting better…" may not always solve the problem. Approaching employees who are already well aware of their low production can be tricky, but it must be done. So let's just deal with consistently low producers, or those experiencing great challenges on some jobs.
Simple and probing questions to determine each factor responsible for low production should be a familiar process for employees. Senior or skilled employees who normally achieve standards. However, doing this the right way is sometimes difficult...in “The Heat of the Battle” during “Peak Production Times,” with “Demanding Clients,” with “Critical Time Constraints.” Understanding and Wisdom goes a long way to helping people Spot and Solve a few Hidden causes for problems.
Consistently low producers “Weigh-Down’ companies that struggle to move forward and grow. Nobody should just be “Waiting-To-See” if a person or their production gets better—”By Chance.”
Supervisors also cannot “Look the Other Way” or purposefully “Give Breaks” without good reason. Supervisors know this, but sometimes their appreciation for the person, their previous work, or special circumstances may test this working relationship when a supervisors gives benefit of the doubt, while this may do little or nothing but allow further damage that only delays possible “Wonderful Solutions,” which could be “Employed Now.”
Continual awareness of production “Output” “Requires Answers and Reasons” for low production. This also helps prompt creative, timely and appropriate ways to “Come to the Aid” of the Company, by promptly spotting the low production and causes for “Dips in Performance.”
Monitoring production doesn’t have to put employees “On-the-Defensive” or “Offend” them...like you’re “Watching Over Their Shoulder--Constantly.” Sincere interest and concern “On the Company’s Behalf” is expected, and understandable to all employees. The manner in which it’s handled, is key to turning the situation around. Many times, minor or simple adjustments in some equipment, processes or even procedures may do the trick. So the longer it’s left “To Chance” for things to “Work Themselves Out by Themselves” just doesn’t make any sense--for the company, the supervisor or the employee(s).
Teams of employees are acutely aware of production output and standards, and frequently even more-so than supervisors. Thus, when they notice low output being tolerated and that it’s “Not being attended to...” other employee production performance will drop as well.
When a supervisor overlooks signs of low production, ignoring their effects; they’re actually “Blessing” or at least “Excusing” what is going on!! They “Leave Things to Lay” allowing them to go on at “The Same Pace” by failing to alter the current course by “Not Tending to Opportunities” to offer options, solutions and give direction or directives, failing to “Lend a Hand.”
Everyone has a bad day, but a “Bit of help” or minor assistance, advice, insight, or just a helping hand for period of time--may just be all the magic that does the trick to solve the problem. Either way with any action of the above things will change, because things will be learned and people will be appreciating one another with a mutual respect and regard...to work through a problem. This too others will see.
At times--supervisors see other employees “pitching-in” to help another coworker. This speaks well for both employees. The awareness and helpful manner of one employee’s willingness to come to the aid of another employee; says they are a wise leader on the team. They spotted someone in a situation who they deemed worthy of “Offering and Giving” such help...and at times at their own peril while possibly working twice hard to keep up their own production. “Stranger Things Have Happened...so Don’t be too quick to jump to the conclusion that folks are just visiting and wasting time.
A Summary Point worthy of Emphasis
“Recognize, Acknowledge and Privately and/or Openly Express Appreciation and Regard for all Initiatives supporting growth.” This Collaboration, Communication and Cooperation, can’t be bought and paid for...this is something earned, and deserved. Building a plant full of team mates and work crews who operate this way...is priceless, and a company’s greatest hidden friends behind the scenes should be “Sought For,” Discovered” and “Treasured.”
These types of employees are in your manufacturing plants right now just waiting to be discovered, and this potential and desire is hidden within “All your employees.” Overlooking this principle for any period of time, in any department or employee can be too costly, having an unknown “Tolling Effect” on any company’s operations and “Bottom-Line.”
Endorsing all the “Greater Good” in “Best Practices” may just start from; “The Top Down,” “The Bottom-Up” and everywhere “In-Between” too!! Is anyone looking for it, can anyone spot it and will anyone thank employees for exceptional performance...today, tomorrow?
Good and bad practices grow exponentially, compounding and also spreading like a virus or good news. Great Leadership chooses which ways in which to operate. Failing to choose one way or the other...is also a choice which pays dividends or increases losses whenever and wherever people work.
These issues handled correctly with some prompt, appropriate, tact and “A Bit of Insightful Class,” demonstrates and proudly display “Monumental Signs” of “Best Manufacturing Methods and Practices.”
Final Thoughts: How will you know if you have this type of environment with great cooperation, collaboration and communication throughout the plant and company? Walk through them, look, watch, ask thoughtful and thought provoking questions, but only if you’re sincerely interested in hearing the answers, and ready, willing and able to do something about what may come right “Back At You.” Sometimes you may get weak in the knees for a few seconds, but it’s the natural cost and a needed investment, for this level of consistent standards for success. Enjoy yourself, and make someone else’s day...by the way. Learn something from them and pass it along...and it doesn’t matter from who, it’s a good mode to "Just Be In.”
If something...anything is missing or "Going South" on a job, this is one way to to help reassure people that “It’s Ok to open up, vent (constructively and tactfully...hopefully). But directness is an under-rated but sometimes harsh reality of things sometimes...before they get better, by change.
Walk through 10 plants of any kind this way, and the “One’s Who’ve Got It Right” and “Those Who Aren’t Quite There Yet,” will be “Abundantly Clear.” Inquiring Minds, engaging in this kind of generous and sincere dialog, will read the plant’s levels and standards on this subject and those of even greater detail, the closer you look at all operations. Plus…who knows, you may even notice more smiles!!
May these words inspire even greater thoughts and applications of your own throughout your company along the way to your next noteworthy and successful journeys…together.
Tips, Tricks, Tactics and Strategies 101: To keep your company "In the Black!!"
Introduction: Impact on plant quality and efficiency.
July 14, 2016
To: Plant Operations Manager
℅: Corporate Human Resources
Dear Human Resource Manager,
This is a gift to Plant Operational Management designed to rapidly improve plant efficiency through tips offered which help impact change in quality and efficiency. These tips and advice which may be "Well Known," are not always able to be "Properly and Effectively" acted upon without the right staff, support or methodologies, which must include a specific "Action Plan."
Please resist the urge to toss this in the can or hit delete, for your plant’s sake. The content discussed targets any critical strategies to aid in the cohesive cooperation, collaboration, communication and commitment of employees, to identify and control plant wide production, achieving high standards, and better controls of related performance factors. “Heightened Awareness” of the current effectiveness of operations, is the first rule and guide needed to set higher marks to achieve in each department.
Identifying what's possible and achievable is the next step. Once this is known, the plan to attack and reach those marks can be set in motion. That plan can and should push all the right buttons to “Create,” “Encourage,” “Inspire” and “Insist” on “This Level of Daily Standard of Quality and Efficiency. People in all jobs truly want to be a member of a team that functions this well in this way together.
“Initiatives” too often are “Grazed Over,” and get “Lip Service” through concurring assumptions by multiple parties, that "ALL Things Are Fine,” when in fact they more frequently are not when processes are left to run unchecked for any period of time. Follow-up is an On-going Best Friend to Progress. Without Follow-up and Accountability measures to check what's happened recently, compared to what was possible, greater success opportunities are more frequently missed than made, and "They Fall by the Wayside.”
For this reason, “Strategic Embedding of Thought and Themes” are kept general in nature, to aid the increased efforts of the widest range and types of “Large Plant Manufacturers,” in the St. Louis area.
Directors and plant managers have the right to choose wisely what interests them, and helps them better run the plant. One tip that prompts a change, may be all that is needed to make the plant more profitable.
All departments including Human Resources Departments, play a key role in helping plant managers achieve greater success by supporting all programs aimed at plant improvements. This is one of those keys. Employee Performance, Development and Review is an on-going process, and which helps governs the improvement cycle which can minimize staff turn over, by retaining and keeping the most skilled, experienced and capable staff members, having them "Keyed" and "Tuned-In" to practical strategies which ensure company success.
Also, the inclosed content should be of "Special Interest and Concern" to all C.E.O.'s, C.F.O's, and Board Members, who depend on being "In-The-Black," when those Dividends, Earnings, Quarterly, Proxies and Annual Reporting times come back around to stare them right in the face. Don't forget...They also have the power, right, authority and privilege to say, it's time for a change, and they can and should have all the best information necessary to help them make the greatest positive changes.
Please take a moment to confirm your interest and corresponding response regarding this subject and these topics, tips and strategies:
The High Marks Manufacturing Management topics:
What are the deliverables and advantages of hiring me as a Corporate Trainer?
Immediate Resources Put To Work For Your Company: An Ally to Work for You, according to your wishes, commands and directives charged to impact positive change.
Your plant manager or representative for plant operations; simply states what’s happening and why, explaining the depth, scope and effects upon the company. It does not matter if it's a potential problem, or a new challenge, or a chronic and on-going problem.
This is an overview from a “Bottom-Line and High Level Prospective," and an important “Key” to initiating the "Noted and Marked Change Process Assessment."
Next: Clarify the general or specific details, scope and understanding of the challenges. Once these details of the picture are stated and captured, it establishes and engages immediate response on the company's behalf according to their wishes.
The action plan is developed, returned for review and consideration, while being adapted and adjusted as the company sees fit.
According to a timeline plan of events, options are identified, described in detail, weighted, tested, reviewed, agreed upon, then the solutions are approved and implemented accordingly.
Issue 21; June 20,2016 Newsletter:
Strategic Plant Change Strategies and Themes Run Far, Wide and Deep!
There are endless ways to speak to a point or say the sam thing a different a topic... but for the points and following story, consider this way of thinking about how All you Say and Do both For and With your staff—which actually align strategies with all those who work "For You!"
What's priceless here, is your power ability and right as a trusted agent fighting for the entire good of your company, "You ARE the GREATEST SINGLE AGENT OF CHANGE!! Finding and implementing those "Best Methods," finding those BETTER Ways to get them even BETTER ALIGNED to YOUR WAY OF THINKING…especially when you are "Not Watching" is priceless!!
This story is designed to help engage your mind, drawing attention to, and creating an acute insight and awareness for new, creative and applicable means and methods, to initiate and implement change in your own plant.
MISTAKES DON'T JUST HAPPEN, they are born from one or more collective breaches concieved from some cumulative flaw(s) causing only slight difficulties at first, before they turn into one or more break downs in the system like a machine and this includes machines, but problems with processes work in much the same manner.
All natural senses should be engaged when driving a car, and working, everything runs better, when none are compromised or not being employed. Some can be discovered by hearing something unusual, or by seeing something that doesn't look quite right, or by feeling a vibration, smelling something like a burnt rings, or a singed wire, and so on. Often more than one sign could have been seen, but one that is caught will lead to the discovery of the others, until you track them down to get to the source and core problem. A common correlation is normally found between the length of time the problems went undiscovered and the degree of existing damage has been done, which is also relative to the time, energy and cost of the repair.
There is no better preventative manner to save these costs, than having the full attention of the employees monitoring and paying close attention to what's working good, and what might be right...may be well worth the time it takes to check it, or ask a mechanic to check out, before it gets much worse to the point it may crash and go completely down for a long time. If a full time mechanic is there, with the right part, and able to work on it, it's going to be easier to do it before it goest down. If anything is missing like a few parts which have to be ordered, pending availability and the shipping and arrival time delay, or the mechanic is busy elsewhere and cannot dedicate the time to for lengthy or involved repair, or if you don't have a mechanic on-site, one thing that you could have had going for you all along, which could have saved a lot of pain no matter what else can't be done now is...the operator catching signs of problems, and shutting it down, or running it slower or easier and watching it closer until that time...could have, would have and should have, served the company well, by saving them additional unnscessary higher repair costs.
Some seasoned or senior operators who are more skilled at trouble shooting a machine, than some of the mechanics who repair them, Many mechanics can find better ways to make machines run but if it puts out work they have to put away, or tend to, they will run it easier and slower than the senior operators who will get it back up to speed to make up for the down time of after the repair.
Paying attention can't be over emphasised. Operators are cued for warning signs. They want to solve them early and fast.
It's great when mechanics and operators collaborate and teach each other things, and have that level of comfort and mutual appreciation, but it's never perfect in most cases, however the respect and appreciation for each other's job should remain constant.
"Mistakes are the Second Name Given," to things Previously Known As: "A gut feeling." "A simple notion," "A Slight Sign" of "Trouble On The Horizon," that was never previously addressed and pointed out…by name!! Foresight is engaging the search through the "Collection of Collaborative, Cooperative, Communicating, and Controlling Focus of the Best Minds and Eyes YOU CAN FIND, EMPLOYED BY YOU… Standing THEIR Watch on behalf of you and your company!!" Them doing this, truly makes your company their company too. This is your power whenever and wherever you can't always be.
Whether a mistake is One of a Hundred or Thousands, chances are, it could have been foreseen or at least caught by multiple people, departments or process controls which were already in place.
Oversight, assumptions, distractions, lack of attention to detail, poor work habits or methods, ineffective control measures or even faulty or poor quality material play in the arena, and they all are enemies of success. Awareness and exceptional training of work habits, methods, and confirmation of skill, ability and initiative, helps prevent errors from slipping through the cracks.
Don’t assume what this EMPOYEE and ALL the Other employees ALSO assumed, or took for granted...as it turns out!!
(Recalling the story reported from internal company sources.)
This is the story of A Plant Manager who has to say “Oops” to his most important client, friend and previous employer, when “His Worse Nightmare Comes True,” and then; “HOW HE” Rises to the occasion to “Discover” and “Get To the Core of the Problem” and “How HE Starts Fixing IT RIGHT NOW. ” The Overall Outcome and Story of That Success, depended on every thing that happened next.
The names of both companies and all the people have been changed, to honor a historically amazing relationship service-providing company, and the entire staff and plant of people who collaborated to resolve and moved on, after such a critical and embarrassing “Mishap,” "Incident," "Oversight," and "Big-Time Oops."
TWO PHONE CALLS FROM HELL:
A well known public figure who used to employ our plant manager, whose efficiency and effectiveness proved critically important many times over in years past.
This man was head of a large corporation, who switched a different company to become the head over our other client company.
We were we were running “Hot and Heavy” doing campaigns for both companies at the same time.
There was a problem discovered, so he called his old “Right-Hand Man” on marketing matters, to see what was going on.
Phone call #1, To a very good Executive Secretary:
The client gave his name, explained the problem...
...you are putting “New Campaign Material” into the campaign for “My Old Company.” Not only this, but you are also putting the material from my “Old Company” into the campaign for my “New Company.”
The secretary asked his name again, got it, and then summarily “hangs-up-on the guy,” as being some “Crank-Caller.” (He is world famous)
Some time goes by, maybe a few hours later, he calls back and asks for the plant manager, and finally gets through to him.
Here is that the call that makes things...“Go-Boom.”
Phone call #2, To the same...very good Executive Secretary:
This time the client spoke a little bit louder, a little slower, and was apparently upset and even seemed rude to the secretary.
He explains the problem again: “This is ______ again, and I want to speak to (Plant Manger) NOW! Tell him who it is...now will you do that please?
She figured her boss could “Take Care Of This Guy” that’s telling her this “Far-Fetched,” story, because this guy just had to be some “Wacko.”
She buzzes her boss, “...There’s this guy who says he’s “__________,” with some ridiculous story about Client A, and “Client B’s Jobs,” and he was so...interrupted by the plant manager who says, “Put him through right now!!”
It was his friend, arguably the famous and powerful man in the industry calling our company, his friend and previous V. P., to tell him HE that we were “Screwing Up.”
It was true. We were putting 1 of the 7 inserts for Client A was going with Client B’s campaign, and 1 of the 7 inserts for Client B was going into Client B’s insert.
This potential “Multimillion Dollar-Game Changing Mistake” occurred due to many people failing to make the distinction between “Two Small Codes” which looked very “Similar.”
Both components were properly identified but the two codes were so similar that it required redesign, engineering and process criteria control change which included close review and/or restructuring to prevent “This Type of Mistake” from “Ever Happening Again.”
The components looked so similar in color, weight, printing, stock size, type and code by design. It’s as similare as the followng example:
The “Capital “Eye” and a “Lower case “Ell.”
e.g. I vs. l
Note: This equivalent of this singular difference sent everything and everyone spinning and seemingly spiraling out of control. Not only these two clients, but also every other client who happened to "Get Wind of This," this act could have given all of them good reason to leave our company. The procedural changes that followed were not only applied to these two clients, but they also carried much farther and deeper into the production control processes of each and every client to a greater degree from this point on. All work was double-checked and containments procedures were implemented.
This rather famous and important man and client who made this call worked for one of the “Big 3 Motor Companies," and later switched to one of the others.
The secretary among other things was asked, not to ever screen calls involving anything to do with plant quality or efficiency, even if they say they are “Bugs Bunny!!”
Though I’m not Bugs Bunny, I may as well be, because there are many learned lessons put to good use for other companies. Wise, skilled and experienced people help companies grow, by controlling losses, and expediting their growth. These issues are real, and dealt with every day, or allowed to effect your company behind the scenes, and these and many more like them, each day of revenues. In other words, please forward this for the benefit of the plant, your plant manager, and for the good of the company, striving to achieve perfection within your competitive niche and industry.
Please keep this in mind as the story unfolds:
Our plant manager was the NICEST, SMARTEST, WISEST AND MOST PATIENT MAN THAT EVERYBODY WORKED TO KEEP HAPPY BECAUSE EVERYONE RESPECTED HIM, AND KNEW HOW GOOD A MAN HE WAS, by the way he ran the plant and interacted with all employee at every level. Everyone knew he was approachable and sincerely interested in the total welfare of the company’s interests, the entire plant, and every employee who worked there. This was how people thought about the man before, during and after, and possibly even more-so, from this point on.
THE PLAN STARTED PRETTY FAST...AFTER A FEW BRIEF WORDS FROM OUR PLANT MANAGER.
In his directive, there was no pause, period or lower case. letters in this directive. No breath was taken, and there was no “Please,” certainly no “Thank You’s,” but I’ll leave it to your imagination to visualize the imagery of the emphasis, volume and clarity. Some of said, there may have even been smoke coming from his ears and nose with nostrils flaring.
There was a broken phone, loud sounding doors, the loud sound of many feet going “pitter patter,” people being called over the P.A. System on Max Volume, a plant full of employees with their most studious faces on busily working and checking there codes for a something wrong.
Rumors were being whispered alluding to “The Rapture,” or something very close to it, and it’s the first time that there wasn’t a smile to be found in the entire plant. We were all wondering...and a bit concerned and waiting to hear what happened, and were wondering if what ever had just happened, was still happening on the job, that we are on or was working on recently. Everybody saw “Writing on the wall,” but nobody could read it yet.
The sum and substance of the Plant Managers Change Order helped people get moving along quite well.
“Quick Critical Response” & “Corrective Action Summary”
Who or How Many People Made The Mistake?
It could be argued that; “All” of the following could have had a hand in preventing this mistake, and therefore the blame could be laid in varying levels, and be shared by all of them who worked on, required to inspect and “pass or fail,” and “approve or reject” the components: (In No Particular Order: Responsibilities)
How Did This Happen?
How Fast Was The Change Order Made? Immediately (Before the Plant Manager Hung-up the Phone)
How Fast Was The Change Process Started? Immediately Upon Change Ordered
How Fast Was The ChangeImplemented? Immediately After Change Ordered
What Was The Change Process? All possible parties identified and involved in immediate changes within their roles and areas of responsibility(s)
What Were The Changes? Too Many To List
How Many Were Disciplined or Fired? None
How Many Clients Were Lost? None
How Many Operational Changes Were Made? Too Many To List
What Was The Impact Of Operational Changes? Plant Awareness, Foresight, Planning, Cooperation, Cooperation, Collaboration, Teamwork, Quality, Efficiency, Initiative on Everyone’s Part was brought to an All Time High going forward throughout the plant and beyond, throughout other unknown job roles, duties and functions. The entire corporation.
What Was The Impact On Quality? Improved and Increased
What Was The Impact On Efficiency?
Improved and Increased
What Was The Impact Company Revenue? Increased
If you have New Hires, or a full-time staff of temporary employees, or nonunion workers who may need training or a few more guideline, job aides or personal instruction; we are here to help. If you have a supervisory training need, to collect performance data, or write better criteria to be measured, contact us.
Supervisors and managers are spread thinner now than in days and years past, and they may need a little help supporting to stay at the “Top of Their Game.” You don’t want any of them spinning their wheels, or pulling their hair out. Sporadic, variant or occasional training that each of them do, in addition to on-going quality-checks must be done in a days time.
At times it is even unreasonable and unrealistic to expect and assume, that they can deliver, track and document all instruction verbatim to the highest standards of consistently. They are normally the key people on the front lines as the busiest people in charge of most critical and timely decisions. They should not be divided, but they can be very well supported.
Companies no longer allocate huge funds for training, but that doesn’t mean, training is no-longer needed. The lapse of training oversight, has compounded and increased this need exponentially.
Note: Improving quality, production efficiency and employee performance, reduces every training investment, and pays dividends long after excellent training methods and techniques are put into place.
With years of experience training thousands of employees, and as many over a thousand per year to improve quality and efficiency, we’re serving companies who’d like the advantages of having their own means to minimize “bottom-line costs” and exceed client expectations.
Please contact me for a free phone consult or to arrange an on site evaluation audit of training needs.
Free Tips to Help Your Company Become
Operations Manager & Plant Manager
AS LARGE PLANT MANAGERS, YOU CAN WEILD GREATER POWER TO GET ANY HELP YOU NEED, AND MORE IS JUST WAITING TO BE PUT…TO GOOD USE!!
Summary: CHOICE ONE:
1. CATCH IT AND FIX IT FIRST
2. LET SOMEONE ELSE CATCH IT AND TELL YOU ABOUT IT, WHICH FORCES YOU TO HAVE TO FIX IT AND PAY MUCH MORE FOR IT LATER.
Plant managers have the unpleasant obligation and task to take responsibility for mistakes. but it is much safer to implement a higher state and standard of attentiveness and awareness, through initiatives that track production quality and efficiency.
It’s impossible to check everything, but looking for signs of something that’s not quite right-- goes a long way toward preventing the damage from missing the signs "Before They Morph" into some "Full-Blown Crisis."
Failures happen, but when all parties involved are not actively seeking answers, monitoring production and quality control, then one or many things may be wrong, and they more often than not…always do!!
Consequences for inaction, are too costly and involve many parties doing pennants, eating crow. This is involves numerous and very creative and profuse apologies and assurances. This happened here, and all those promises...were all kept. (We'll never know the amount of "Groveling Involved," but suffice it to say…that it must have been considerable!!
The changes that were ordered and followed. They were vast, deep and many, and done at the highest rate of speed humanly possible. The embarrassment of a Plant Manager though unbearable was necessary and all too humbling, but it happens every day behind very large and "Slammed Closed Doors." This proceeds the greatest speed of changes known to "Mankind." This is how clients are retained and what must be done on the Plant Manager Level, and even Higher…just to deal with such critical mistakes and retain clients.
The damage done, due to mostly "Winking At" signs of a problem(s) or trend(s) which could save many headaches if caught and dealt with "On-the Spot," is crucial to "Keeping things Running—Smooth As Silk." Overlook it most anywhere— and it can continue to slip through the cracks.
This "Mode" of "Environmental Change Attitude in the Workplace," this type of insight and "Call to Action for Change, " is unmistakably present in the best Plants throughout each department, when they work together to this end, all the time, with everyone, this well.
My name is Rickey Bates, and I'm looking for a large-plant operation to join, or even help as a freelance writer and consultant to those who want and need my help.
This will rub some plant manager(s), the wrong way, which is just the nature of the beast. The pride in accomplishments at that level tend to be already well earned, supported and modified to the size and type of foot that has already been put down, including acceptable policies which by now are “Etched in stone,” and hung out for “All To See,” and follow. Still, with every day brings another challenge in every-changing industries. So this check list to do a “Check-up from the Neck-Up” to see how things are going, just seemed too helpful to pass up the chance to help confirm such plant efficiency.
With any company’s bottom-line, and too with this article, there will be no “Sacred Cows,” or “White Elephants” in the room, that are “Off Limits,” to discuss, or put in their place.
One of the best joys of seeing marked improvements in production quality and efficiency, is serving directly under plant managers and always being available and ready to serve to help resolve any plant problem, and to do it quickly, using the best options, and to make sure the solution is embedded we so the grafted training sticks.
I've dealt with the "Good, the Bad and the Plain Ugly," of most core reasons for deficiencies which has helped me become very good at doing this in most any industry.
This “Key Strategy List” written for Plant Managers, and Directors, responsible for plant performance, will aid in improving plant efficiency and quality…Immediately.
The results which follow, depend upon the degree that all or at least the most appropriate and applicable points, principles and practices outlined in each area or topic are being handled now. If they are, then this becomes no more than a quick-check list confirming the greatness of the existing policy and procedures which are all already in-place, actively used, and being followed:
Are there performance Standards and Measures for Every Job and Function throughout the Plant?
If not, there lays a key problem, easily resolved, by invoking simple words of a key policy to: “GET THAT DONE.” Managers and supervisors vary in their interpretation of standards, but pooling the most applicable all-inclusive best practices is the vary point in defining expectations, confirming that it can and should be the norm. Identify ways and implement procedures to track and confirm the progress towards achieving the standard goal.
Next: Are all those standards currently in place, being applied and common place or common practice, and being consistently applied and tracked and checked by each appropriate level manager and supervisor in the facility, daily?
Is the practice widely known, endorsed and being followed? If not, fill that gap now with emphasis so that anything missing a standard and clear expectations, stands out like a sore thumb and that, “Big White Elephant.” (This point has and will always weigh heavily in plant efficiency. With or without these tips, good procedure followed or those overlooked effect the company. Earned results return in measure, and are tallied up in direct proportion to the presence or absence of each. Appropriate results are earned, measured and counted to the charge of each policy being actively endorsed or maybe...slightly glazed over lately.
It’s a daily earnings, in spite of reading this article, if nothing needs to change, that’s great. But, if that change is needed, the commander must exclaim, proclaim and simply order it done, according to their own management style of course, but it must be done. Nothing has to stop, but all changes can be carried out, being smartly and wisely planned and slated for change now, or at least in the very near...and doable future by someone or some team who can be picked...right now.
So let's get to it!!
Middle managers and supervisors critically and directly impact daily production efficiency, both by what they see, tend to and do, and by what they miss, fail to spot, and therefore don’t do. Deficiencies as always, should be up-front and center in staff meetings, and solutions and actionable next steps must be determined or at least a plan put in place for rapid assessment to handle them, as soon as possible. Staff meetings shouldn’t break up, until this is done. Once the same problem is repeated or the same sounding excuse is given “Twice,” that’s plenty to heighten and activate an immediate response to start an assessment process, measure and identify all aspects, and pursue short term immediate, and long term solutions through controlled tests of all best options.
Great staff meetings occasionally include a celebration of success when all costs and are standards met. But if it's the same old story; hashing over the same reasons or excuses for low production efficiency, lapses in quality execution, and the costs are failing to be controlled…things can spiral out of control, and the company's ability to recoup fleeting losses, continually impact the efficiency and profits of the plant…everywhere!!
Bottom-line emphasis should be on ALL Costs, All Losses and ALL profit margins. The worse problems in the plant, hamper the greatest profit margins on profitable jobs, because of the pool of profits being tapped, to cover underline costs failed to be met.
If indirect labor is not being properly tracked and charged to jobs failing slightly. it’s time to correct the problem...immediately. Earlier Starts, Kick-Off, Planning and Strategy Meetings needs to step up the clarity of direction to get questions and concerns answered, and or the problem and losses can linger and be attached to the company indefinitely.
There are numerous ways to hold all staff levels of production management responsible for production. Both directly and indirectly. The responsiveness to activity, interacting successfully with hourly workers, is important to be able to measure.
If employees are well trained, and work well with their supervisor, they’ll keep him in the loop with any significant change, as they should.
If left alone or there aren’t accountability measures in place, or if they are not frequently checked on or followed-up, the lapse in this practice breeds an auto-pilot mode allowing people to fumble along at their own acquired and accepted pace.
After questioning and checking for reasons why the standard is not being met, actions should follow and steps are taken to bring the job up to par.
If interaction ceases with counts not being monitored, the actionable changes will not normally take place without the supervisor, without exceptionally trained employees given the authority and right to make such changes. This is a rare breed of employee, but if your supervisor has a crew of these type of people or even one, they should be acknowledged, but should never be ignored or left without supervisory oversight. These people make great mentors even if the lower producers are simply assigned to watch, note and mirror their methods.
If the any standards or expectations are vague, or include a lot of “fat” with variances built in, then they become ineffective false and useless. Plant-wide, everyone can and should be trained and held accountable to support every plant objective and initiative
without exception. On every job, task and function there should be daily goals and standards for every employee at any level.
This includes pulling the vail back on hidden secrets, tips, tricks and tactics, where close accountability audits of performance can uncover the “Best of the Best Procedures,” which should be universally employed on the same job and function. Real-time production performance counts are critical feedback which drive production train showing the trend. This should also prompt determinant action for what to do about low production, and even confirm what’s going so right with the jobs running exceptionally well. Counts should direct a large part of supervisory current activities. If they don’t, they are useless and pointless if counts are allowed to go unchecked, and plummet.
Check points and measures, should be hand-in-hand, with actionable adjustments for improvements, which require follow-up tracking.
Standards should be set on every job. If they aren't, there is no accountability, period. They should be stiff but realistic, and be applied with optimal planning, before during and after production, by the most skilled and capable people. This means controlling and tracking downtime, loss and delayed restarts and time consuming adjustments. Once in place, everyone else will have a great target, and can be helped along to that mark.
The use proper work methods, should be well known, highly monitored, and variances should be spotted and handled immediately. Must confirm all classroom and One-on-One directives, tips, tricks, techniques and tactics that enable optimal achievement of performance standards.
Everyone should know what their current level of production efficiency is, and they should know what they can do to improve it to get it back up to standard.
Supervisors and Managers can quickly note and address any deficiency due to a lack of effort on anyones part to apply good work methods and habits. If they don't, that's where a big part of that blame can and should be laid at that supervisor’s feet. Their very job depends on how they enable, clarify and confirm that appropriate training, instructions and directives are being followed, using all best methods.
Follow-up ensures directives are in fact being put to good use. Failing to do this, effects both when they are Not Watching employees and even when they are…if they ignore addressing these things…"Head-On." It effects the performance of other workers who are accutely aware of people getting away with something, and it snow-balls. It’s a sore spot with all employees when someone is not being reproved for “Failure to Follow Proper Procedures.”
Walking by without noticing or spotting the opportunity, is basically winking at the problem and resulting low performance giving them a blessing to continue at that pace…ignoring accountability measures, reaping due rewards of loss to the company.
Control and Set Better Supervisory standards of performance, expectations. It's always possible to collect and measure data to confirm performance initiatives. Where ever it is believed that it is impossible to measure performance, someone is very wrong, and should be corrected. (Suggesting an exaggerated data measurement or collection process, sparks a better negotiated, more reasonable standard, with conditions attached, to ensure that standard is effective, helps in embedding proper process control habits.)
Establish standards on all jobs, and track all downtime, which should be charged to a non-direct labor function.
Uniform all training and directives, and streamline all work planning, scheduling, staging, startups, shutdowns and changeovers. Like a mechanic who pulls your car into the shop, and it sits for 4 hours, 1 hour labor was done, but you are charged for the 4 hours. Don’t let this happen in your company, anywhere. Start and Stop Times for Set-ups, should be overseen, and delays reported beyond allotted and scheduled set-up times.
Tear Down, should be on the heels of the last pieces processes, and stock should be re-checked, packed and staged for immediate return with proper counts, identification and warehousing procedures. Allowing it to any completed jobs of clients to sit, is a recipe "Waiting in the Wings," for disaster!!
Unique problems created by vendors can and should be charged and laying them at their feet, via a “Job Difficulty Report,” a ”Write it Don’t Say It” Policy and Procedure.” Otherwise, by overlooking factors increasing your costs, you are by “Not Acting” just taking it all in stride and throwing money away, and endorsing even more bad production going forward.
Charge backs for effecting the ability to achieve any standard due to unsurmountable problems they've created, should be normal, (Delays, faulty, damaged or bad product, partial shipments, additional costs, hidden charges, fees or increased costs not reported, special packaging etc… making a standard on any job, with any of these factors effecting the job, responsible for creating another means to losing more money, period.)
Any repeated problem, reason or excuse identifying a recurring problem, should be dealt with "Head-on." It should be treated as important as a current job with your most important client.
Failing to heighten the awareness to this level of importance creates an additional burden on every other job task, role and duty throughout the company, by forcing those losses and costs to be made up elsewhere. This burdens other job success standards, by forcing them to achieve standards above high capacity rates and standards, to made up by every other job dollar lost in the plant.
Any amount of burden of loss that needs to be "recouped elsewhere" is serious. Get and keep all jobs running in the black with better control, smoother starts, better staging and planning, scheduling, material, training, or resources.
Maybe some wallflower has already identified possible solutions or options that have gone "Unheard, or worse yet…Ignored."
Operators on the job, are first to see the pace and rate progress, but without guidance, The critical importance of an immediate Assessment, Real-Time "Time Study" with a "Meeting of the Minds," is the greatest plant “Wake-up Call” to keep everyone on there toes, while being aware of losses incurred in any manner, on all jobs. Scheduled or planned "Trouble-Shooting Assignments" should be deliberate, prompt and cover all basis, and converted to quality and efficiency measurements as well as dollars according to standard.
This will help prompt and alert employees to, “in-turn” alert their supervisors promptly, protecting the employee from being called on the carpet. It’s a good vicious cycle that keeps loss awareness at the proper heightened level of observation. Otherwise, the problem will always be there costing you more money, until all of the appropriate steps have been taken, to fix the problem.)
Plant Managers are the furthest from the solution, but they carry the weight, authority and responsibility, to make all this and all great things happen immediately!! Being nice, and continuing to let people and processes run and work out "All The Kinks," and "Glitches," themselves…is not always the best option, or any option for a solid "Plant Manager," or any "Leader."
One thing that gets in the way of this, is friendship, peers, strong leaders who've been babied or catered to, or who've literally carved out sacred territory, that even the plant manager feels funny about treading over.
This is the worse and easy trap to fall into with any manager or supervisor, some call it a form of "favoritism," but if you get down to it, plant managers, directors, C.E.O.'s, and even presidents of the company are constantly "Put off," the scent and track to resolving plant problems, by those who are the closest and at the vary next tier of responsibility. They can be called "Reasons," and many times, they sound too much like "Excuses," which should never plague the person who decides “where the buck stops.” It will effect every job, and even work it's way into a golf game with that particular person with bad performance oversight, and lest than the best management potential. Performance can never be separated from the performer when their skill or ability is found lacking.
Plant managers have the greatest voice of change, and should be the first person alerted to an impending delay that surpasses the agreed upon due date of the assignment, without asking. Initiative and commitments slide and fall short, but failing to advice of delays in advance, increases the gap in time between the assignment and the designated objective completion date. To hand that failure back with no warning to the Plant Manager, is irresponsible, since it must be reassigned or acted upon a second time by the plant manager. Staff meetings are the excellent platform for problems to start solving any and all problems that are, or those which soon could be out of control on anyones watch!!