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Submitted by jmp on



Is here some people who are manager in factory.

I would like to start a discussion about what do you think about all this stuff in manager tools and the problem we can have to apply it in a factory.

For example a lot of folks here talk about team work, and the necessity for the team member to be able to compensate a problem with an another team member.

Perhaps I am wrong but it seem to me more easy to did this in a marketing team or a project team when you have a lot of people with the same skill. But when in your time you have :
- A production manager
- A financial controler
- Human ressource manager
- Supply chain manager
- Quality manager

How can you run a team ? Don´t you think that it must be more hard ?

juliahhavener's picture
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Your team have different job functions, but they are still a part of the same team. Each of them has a piece of the business that interacts with the other pieces - they have to understand that and have relationships that work. Your quality manager and your production manager have to work together to ensure both of their jobs are done well. Same for finance and supply, and they both impact the first two areas, too.

If your finance manager is out, where does the supply manager go for cash flow? Each member of my team, while most of them share a job description, have very different strengths and weaknesses. They have to be able to compliment each other and support each other to provide the highest level of service available. The same goes for your team, too - even though each has a different job description!

jmp's picture
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Hi julia,

Thanks for your comment.

A concret situation : How to implement a team work.

In my last position we had two weekly meeting.

In this meeting my production manager was all the time excusing is poor performance by a lack of material due to the supply manager mistake.

He as true. This was all the time a big fight between this two manager. And they was at the end putting me in the middle and I had to command and say : You do this and this... the option was for me a more command and control mode.

If you was in this situation what will you way to come back to the right track ?

juliahhavener's picture
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Individually, I would hold them BOTH responsible for their communication with each other. Passing the buck between them (through you) is not effective.

Poor performance isn't excused by poor communication and poor teamwork. Good communication and good teamwork lead to good performance. Focus down to the behaviors that caused the core problem and I would bet that both parties hold responsibility in there.

One on ones (so you know what's going on before it's a major problem) and feedback (so you can identify good behaviors that are effective and encourage their continuance AND so you can identify behaviors that are not effective and encourage the growth of new/better/more effective behaviors in their place) are still going to be your keys.

Also, make sure you listen to the effective meetings set of 'casts. That way you can focus on Horstman's Project Management law...who...will do when. Then hold everyone accountable for EXACTLY that and no less.

I hope that helps. If not - ask again, I may have missed something!

bflynn's picture


I presume they work for you. One or both of these managers are not doing their job right. You need to give them feedback on their work. Their level of performance is not high enough. You should require them to do better.

Remember to use DISC to talk to them in a way they care about.

SVP, send me a private message if something is not clear.


jmp's picture
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Thank Brian and julia,

Julia your point is clear.

My problem with all the manager tools stuf is that I belive that it is the solution. I think that you need time to implement it,

And my problem is that when I didn´t make my daily production all my focus is this problem.

In my last position ( industrial manager) I had every day a production meeting where my focus was on the daily production.

I think that in my new position (I am moving to new job) I will stop this meeting and do only one meeting where I will focus not only on the daily production but also quality, finaance...

I think that it will let methe time to build the time, but like all people I am quiet affraid of the change (to loose control and don´t be able to make my number if I let go the production)

I would like to heard your opinion about this.


juliahhavener's picture
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Change is always scary. If you have a production manager - it's his job to focus on the daily production. Even so, I think you run the danger of having TOO narrow a view. Things that don't create production problems today can create problems tomorrow...IF you don't know about them.

So consider it changing from a very close up picture to a farther back one, but with the same clarity of focus. You get to see more, and you can consistently monitor ALL areas, instead of just one. Let your people do their jobs, you simply guide the focus to the smaller areas for them to focus on.

thaGUma's picture


I agree with Julia. I would review your processes and procedures (in the evening/lunchtime/weekends) and come up with general tactics to deal with the main issues.

Allocate time to deal with the issues, even if it makes you fail in production for a short time. Miss production targets rather than quality targets of course.

If you are missing targets now or constantly under pressure you will find the time invested will result in gains that bring things back under control. If you have carried out a review. Once you have control you gain free time and can aim for a 'virtuous circle' with your team constantly striving to improve on issues. Review on a regular basis to see where issues are.

Be proactive.


LouFlorence's picture
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I can sympathize with your problem. My work is managing a power plant, very much like a traditional factory.

It sounds like you are accountable for overall results at the plant. You need to combine a very short-term focus with a longer term business plan that will deal with larger issues.

What I have found effective is to gather my direct reports in the morning, one half-hour after starting time. By then, they have had a chance to meet with their teams. First, we focus on safety and environmental issues, if any. Then we go through a formal review of the last 24 hours (72 after weekends) -- how much was produced, what was the variance to plan, what were the issues. Then we look at the near-term risks to production (again, 24-72 hours) and determine what, if any, actions need be taken (normally, the maintenance and operations groups are already taking care of breakdowns and problems; the leadership team is there to act if things get roadblocked). Then we talk about the production plan for the next 24-72. Finally, we review longer term risks, one separate area of the plant every day. The whole things lasts 30 minutes and is very productive. It enables you, as plant manager, to see where the problems were and what's in front of you. It gives an opportunity for team members to coordinate, and an opportunity for you to direct activites and to tell team members specific items you want them to follow up on that day (and tell them when to report back to you).

If you run this meeting every day, keep it focused on facts, insist on accountability and take what you learn at the meeting to give individuals feedback later (privately -- make sure you listen to the feedback podcast), then I guarantee you will improve short term results. Finger-pointing just doesn't work when everyone was together 24 hours earlier and had agreed that there were no risks to meeting the next day's plan!

This activity creates a "war room" feeling -- keeping score every day, winning and losing, thinking about risks. Be sure you hold the meeting in the same place, at the same time, every day. Put up month-to-date and year-to-date graphics of all key statistics on the walls. Keep it brisk, even a little tense. When one team member falls short and production suffers, that person feels they let the team down -- a powerful incentive for them to do better. When the goal is exceeded, everyone feels good.

This works for me and I think I would do something similar in any production environment.

Of course, this is just one piece of the job. I have found nearly everything Mark & Mike have put out to be helpful, especially when thinking about the longer-term aspect of the job.


Mark's picture
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Great thread!

ALL Manager Tools have been used extensively in automobile factories, chip fabrication facilities, motherboard assembly shops, cereal makers, aluminum smelters...the whole lot of them, over and over again.

It's in some ways harder, because "the line always has to run!" and "we don't make product when we're meeting"!

But your people take lunch, they take vacation, they do training... all SORTS of things take them away from "production."

And feedback sure doesn't require any time away....