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Production is King.... right?

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

This is an expansion of a Linkedin post i made in response to some feedback I received during a recent training session.

Wherever I have worked, whatever my role, in a Manufacturing Environment my mantra has always been that 'Production is King'. It seems a truism, but it's often forgotten.

Everything we do, whether on a day-to-day basis or as part of an overall strategy, is geared toward 'getting numbers out the door'. Or, at least, it should be.

Strangely, the impression I get from speaking to shopfloor workers up and down the country, is that this is some sort of evil pursuit - "All they think about is getting product out of the door".

Yes, of course. And so they should. The fact that 'they' approach the task in a less than ideal way is another matter, but the goal is correct: get product out of the door safely, to a high standard and on time. Everything else is noise. It is, literally, what puts bread on the table.

I hope it goes without saying that there are many, many other factors for the business to take into account: the mental health of the employees, the environmental impact of production, how the business approaches the question of diversity and inclusion, to name a couple of extremely important considerations.

But without the urgent need to get product to the customer, everything else is simply moot.

Yet, as simple a goal as this is, there are many obstacles to achieving it.

The biggest and most insidious of these is, I believe, the inability of the organisation to work cohesively, as a team, toward a common objective. Alas, silos and empire-building abound.

It doesn't need to be that way.

Of the 8 Wastes in Lean Manufacturing, often the least understood and most ignored, is that of under-utilised talent.

In a High-Performance Culture, on the other hand, talent is maximised by default. Every ounce of skill is nurtured, cultivated and put to use for the benefit of the business and those who work there.

The difficult part is creating the High-Performance Culture in the first place. How do you even change a culture? And if it involves training, which it must, what do you train, and to who?

This is the subject of an upcoming article.

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