Take control! (2 of 3)

Step 2 of 3 – Take Control over Your Production

(Get the Good Tonnes Out – Step 2 of 3)

Taking control is defined as “the power to influence or direct people’s behaviour or the course of events” according to Oxford Dictionaries*. This definition is spot-on matching the production manager’s role; to influence and control in order to build an organization following production strategies chiseled out over the years.

Unfortunately it is easy to derail and suddenly you find yourself as a manager to be controlled by the production instead of vice versa, which of course is a dangerous path.

This post focuses on the second step of three in our series Get the Good Tonnes Out; to take control over the production.

Before we start we encourage you to read about understanding your production – the first and crucial step to be able to build further and take control. You will find that post by clicking here.

Taking control sounds easy and obvious, but where to start? My recommendation is to spend a few hours on elaborating on what production principles are likely to be your leading vision in the future. This will help you stay focused on the important issues and also prepare your for implementation of standardized production.

First – promote stability

But what about now – how should I take control? This is of course very dependent on how your operations work, but follow the guidelines below to make sure you focus on the right issues:

Stability, stability, stability – promote stability. Nothing pays off like promoting stability. Work with trying to remove the most frequent and detrimental problems one by one.

Start with the low-hanging fruits to make sure those obstacles will be no more. Then proceed with more complex issues that are really detrimental to the production flow. Remember – production stability should mainly be promoted at this stage. Not the local issues at a processing station unless they influence on the production (or safety).

Secondly – standardize production

Once a reasonable stability is there it is time to start the tedious work of standardize the production. View back on you previously defined production principle and review them. Are they still valid? If not, rethink and revise.

Now start to build a production flow based on the production principles and break it down into processing and operations principles. Then allow the crew to define a standardized processing within the framework of these borders. Make sure interfaces work well together and promotes the production principles.

This step requires tonnes of information to be distributed. Make sure everyone is onboard and start to implement the principles of your production strategy. Involve as many as possible to break it down into hands-on action in his/hers workplace.

Make sure that routines and information flows are aligned with the principles set up. Develop simple reporting templates and register key data to follow-up and evaluate.

Thirdly – improve the production

Once the system sits roughly in place and principles have started to grow into the walls you should start to improve you production system. Revise flaws and fine-tune the production, processing and operation to obtain a lean machine of metals production. This is a crucial step in order to show all staff involved that the system works and improves with time.

When you have reached this step, which is likely to take a longer time than you anticipated, you will feel satisfied. You set the rules and the production adjusts – you are now in control!

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* Oxford Dictionaries online; http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/ July 2014.