It is so easy to fall into the open clutches of technology with all those alluring sweet apps, like a genie granting your every wish; bringing you meals, groceries, bagels, new outfits, games for endless hours of entertainment and finding you the love of your life or an evening of lust. They do seem to make life so much easier so you have to do less thinking or reasoning for yourself. Back when this boomer was as a grocery store clerk, I had to count out the change on my own with no prompting from the register but as we all know now the register tells you everything. Is counting out change the loss of a skill set that helps develop critical thinking to resolve problems? Maybe? A start. Less thinking, less brain activity and beating candy crush is not a replacement of the skill set.
As we become more dependent on the use of technology and virtual reality especially now with so many working from home which is fabulous for office workers, other white collar employees or late night talk show hosts but when it comes to manufacturing, besides all the support groups like sales, marketing, customer service and administrative, who can continue working from home someone still needs to physically be there at the plant to operate, load and repair the machinery needed to produce, package and ship product.
Clustered in a control room in that plant along with the latest in technology and behind the bank of monitors, scan counters, dials and flashing lights of various colors all updating production in real time sits the Production/Plant manger monitoring the activity going on, on the production floor. However are you getting the whole story when you’re just siting behind a desk watching reality T.V.? Well, I can tell you that the successful ones don’t because they know that tech doesn’t give you the rhythm of production or the melody but when you take a WALK you can hear it live all for yourself as well as being accessible to your staff which is always critical.
You may have heard of the term Gemba Walk which is part of the teachings of Six Sigma. I’m not going to go into Six Sigma since it is an involved but excellent way to problem solve but you can Google it and find out more for yourself which I suggest you do. You don’t have to become a disciple unless you want to get your belts and certification but you should at least understand it and then you can incorporate what you like best of it into your daily workings. My manufacturing philosophies are a combination of different teachings, tweaked at times to suit specific needs.
I like the concept of Gemba Walk, it’s like a nature walk but around your facility. You can call it what ever you want, as long as you are out and about for the staff and around the facility so you can find issues before they become problems. It’s also a great way to get the blood flowing through some exercise as at some facilities I could walk several miles a shift. All you need to go for your walk is your eyes, ears and a notepad. As you touch base with employees and thank them when you find them doing things correctly make notes of items that may need attention or repair. You may notice an out of date fire extinguisher, dangerous pot hole in the warehouse floor or unguarded chain or sometimes when a worker sees you on the floor they may point out an issue. It’s your facility and you should know as much about it as possible. When they do make sure to follow up with them as well as to the disposition. A leader has a few aspects to accomplish to be successful and the ability to listen is important but to me the one that’s most critical is Credibility! It is a priceless commodity. Once you lose it, it takes a lot to gain it back.
The walk isn’t just good for your shift but as plant manager I could go for a walk on any shift and quite often did keeping every shift manager and employee on their toes .
This could have been avoided. OSHA cites Furst-McNess Corp. for safety violations If someone n management had practiced the Walk they would have seen that housekeeping was falling behind and a dangerous situation was developing. When dust accumulates it can become an explosion hazard and not just wood dust but any dust including sugar and grain dust.
OSHA Whistleblower Charges Surge During COVID19 What Employers Can (and Should) Do to Prepare and Respond ” https://buff.ly/3jv0oUF Employers you can avoid this, try listening to your employees, they are the ones doing the job. When you blow them off it sends the message of “we don’t care about you”. Listen to their concerns and then give them the plan with a schedule of when corrections will be made.
Why wearing the proper PPE is critical to your survival. If working over 6 feet off the ground you must have some sort of fall protection. Ask for it — Report: Nearly half of America’s deadliest Jobs are in construction https://buff.ly/3jVUQTn
I have found in my many years that Corporate Cultures only exist when the corporate heads allow it. At Wells Fargo it’s a den of thieves allowed to cheat and abuse customers. It’s the same with safety. If corporate takes it seriously and has consequences for those who don’t then it will work from the top down. — Wells Fargo Fired Over 100 Workers For Allegedly Lying To Obtain Loans Intended For #SmallBusinesseshttps://buff.ly/3lRj8ia
When it comes to safety at the workplace, never keep quiet but speak up for the life you save may be your own. You are not a rat for speaking up, you are not a stool pigeon, you are an intelligent human being who took in all the facts and decided it is not worth dying to save the boss a few bucks in safety. You can make an anonymous call to the OSHA HOTLINE – 1 – 800 – 321- OSHA (6742) or your state OSHA. Politics has no place in workplace safety, we ALL deserve a safe workplace. Until next time, please stay socially distant, wear a mask, wash your hands and stay safe.