Written by Senior Consultant, Nathanial Marshall.
How many fires have you put out today? Do you feel that the days are flashing by and you’re not getting anywhere? Shouldn’t you be adding value as a Front Line Manager?
Operators often tell us, “The managers are never out here, they are just sat in the office.” FLMs are equally frustrated with a feeling of no structure to their day and with little time to spend understanding the issues to drive performance because of “other things cropping up”.
This is why we recommend the ‘Standard Leader Day’ – a structured approach for a shift listing all the key value adding activity that an FLM should complete in their shift and an estimated time for each.
Having a standard approach will help FLMs structure their day, understand the issues on their plant and engage with their people. When followed properly it becomes instrumental for driving improvement and challenging the norms.
It doesn’t have to be restricted to FLMs, it should ideally be in place for all levels of management within the business and most importantly, it has to be audited regularly. If the ‘Standard Day’ is not being achieved, ask yourself and your management team why? What else is happening in your day that is more important?
It will drive meetings to be more effective, ensure you are only at the meetings that are essential to your day, and highlight when other functions are not supporting your operators as they should. It allows the FLMs to challenge back to their own manager. “If you want me to take that on, which of the essential items in my Standard Day would you like me to drop.” It also allows and encourages positive challenge in both directions.
Probably the most important element is to walk the plant at least 3 times a shift. The walk around should:
- Follow a structured approach
- Be planned at set times
- Check speeds, output, and product specs, and
- Most importantly, facilitate engagement with operators.
The walks allow you to have presence as well as just being “present”. The more you do them, the more open the operators will become and this increased engagement will help support your future improvement initiatives.
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