Three thoughts about having a fit factory

by Rob Oakland

I was talking to a manufacturing director recently about some of the issues he faced running production plants across the world. He mentioned:

  • Getting mixed messages from his managers about factory performance;
  • Too much firefighting product failures, poor supplier delivery times and product quality;
  • Board pressure to introduce products and technology faster.

I couldn’t give him a silver bullet to solve his problems but I did share my experiences working with similar businesses. In summary, they are:

  • A trusted review of operational performance is the catalyst to improvement, especially when it blends experience, irrefutable shop-floor and management feedback, and analysis of the data;
  • A step-by-step plan to address improvements and getting the management team committed brings clarity;
  • Getting improvements working at the ground level with coaching is the best way to engage and upskill staff.

Saving 3 million US dollars over 100 days

The work we did for one business saved 3 million US dollars over 100 days, mostly by reducing product rework and returns, creating production units fit and capable. We call our approach Production Fit.  Full case studies of this and other examples are available here .

The building blocks of Production Fit are shown below: