You take your eyes off the calendar for a moment and find yourself with only a short count of days before 2019 comes to an end. This seems to be true around the world. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we can use the ever-shortening daylight hours. It does not matter that we simply flip a switch to brighten the entire facility.
I have written before of my enjoyment of supervising the unfortunate group of team members who lacked sufficient vacation days to permit them to escape the madness. Everyday, you would look over your shoulder to find fewer and fewer resources. That is a topic for another day.
So, what is your plan to survive a situation that will certainly result in disappointed customers? You can put those 4th-quarter heroics out your mind right now. There are better uses for everybody’s time.
First, go through the “ship list” someone sold to upper management and verify the “public plan” for the big ticket orders. When you trip over the optimism, report it promptly to establish your integrity.
Second, back up the plan for the rest of “must ship list” and put up some “visuals” your co-workers can use to denote daily progress.
Third, stay in the trenches with them. Do not retreat to the office for long periods of time as if you are hanging them out to dry.
Fourth, listen to new ideas and alternate plans that might help some new orders get out the door. Odds are quite high that you have not worked shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the inexperienced but highly motivated people on your crew. The shop will be quieter due to fewer people and machines working. Were some jobs prematurely “given up on” because of a lack of available machine hours? Can tooling and operators be redeployed for these “targets of opportunity?” Your stake holders need to know while there is still time to put a plan together.
And no matter how tough the situation, your team will “love it when a plan comes together.”