Tips and Techniques

Why Things Go/Stay Wrong

Quite often managers and supervisors are too busy putting out fires to actually manage the factory. They don't have the systems in place that will allow their people to manage those issues. Therefore the factory goes through the daily process of business as usual with relatively no changes or improvements, just the daily fire fighting day in and day out. I have in the past said,

"The factory is running the managers instead of them running the factory and they simply don't know it."

In severe occasions,

"the factory is running you. You are not running the factory."

I read in a Sherlock Holmes book not long ago when Holmes said to Watson, " You see but you do not observe." I see that all the time in factories, managers and supervisors walking right past problems because they don't see them.

The way to manage a factory is to set up the systems, processes and flows correctly and then get managers and supervisors to manage those.

The idea is to get the management seeing through my experienced eyes. And that has often been a difficult task. Bear in mind we are dealing with experienced and usually smart people. They were just trained the wrong way to begin with.


What if You Change?

I had a Filipino production manager in Kenya in '99 who was fighting against me and doubting what I was saying was right and during a tense moment I said to him, "If you will work with me I'll teach you more in one year than you will learn in a lifetime if you continue to work with the fools you have been working with".

And I sent him home to think about it. You can imagine he was not happy with me that day.

How did the story end?

The rest of the story is he was making $600 a month then and now $6000. He calls me his mentor and is a personal friend. His daughter calls me Lala, Tagalog for 'uncle'. We can turn lives and careers around.

Sam Meeks 

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