Manufacturing Success Runs on Teamwork, Just Like Football

Steve Fox
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Game Planning for the Plant Floor

As a veteran of manufacturing, I've learned that overseeing a smooth-running production floor isn't so different than being a football coach prepping the team for a big match-up. The environments and goals may seem totally disparate at first glance, but many of the skills required are surprisingly similar.

Just like a coach develops strategies based on their players' abilities, we have to optimize our resources - people, equipment, inventory - to maintain efficient operations. I'm constantly analyzing KPIs and throughput data, finding bottlenecks in processes, and adjusting on the fly when unexpected issues come up. Being able to foresee potential problems and have contingency plans in place is key.

When orders suddenly increase, we're introducing new products, or equipment goes down, I make it a priority to get out in front and prepare my team. We talk through the challenges we may face and how we'll respond - just like a coach anticipating what the opposing team may throw their way. Thinking proactively allows us to handle curveballs smoothly when they come.

At the end of the day, my team are the ones executing the game plan. My job is to communicate priorities clearly, train employees on new processes, and motivate everyone to work together to hit our targets. I apply many of the same leadership and team-building skills a coach does to bring out the best in our players.

The pressure to perform is intense in both manufacturing and football. But with strategic preparation, analysis, and a well-led team who communicates and executes at a high level, we can win big on the plant floor. Though our fields look very different, the game planning mindset shares many parallels. I'll take an engaged, collaborative team over fancy equipment any day when it comes to manufacturing success!



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This post was last updated on: Oct 30, 2023.