I have posted before about how much I enjoyed working and supervising holiday shutdowns over the years. Unless travel plans took the family out of town, I was glad to use my vacation during other times and work with the rest of the vacation-less employees on a list of “must ship” orders and important plant engineering projects.
Selfishly, I looked forward to shorter commuting times, quieter phone lines, and the chance to tie up a few loose ends. Looking back, only the commuting times could really be counted upon with a degree of certainty — weather permitting. Usually some emergency would come up with a customer or one of the projects that made the time fly by. We’d start off with great intentions of getting the design files sorted out, but instead find ourselves digging through old records to make emergency spare parts for someone else’s shutdown project.
From what I hear, business is very slow this year. It might make sense to call a few customers about their shutdown plans and see if they can anticipate any need for spares. Rather than let the “shutdown crew” feel sorry for themselves, why not invite them to help figure out a schedule to get everything on the list done? A bit of cross-training on unfamiliar equipment or pre-sharpening of tools might be the difference between making things happen and making excuses.
No one wants to hear that you couldn’t get a critical part finished. No one will care that the paint supplier wasn’t open on the day you need that extra can of hardener. Your supervisors will remember a well-executed program to complete that things-to-do-list. So will customers. Your team members might even brag to their coworkers about how hard they had to work while everyone else was on “vacation.” I once had a boss ask me why I only cracked the whip when he wasn’t around; I told him there was only room for one Boss Hog at a time.