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A Plant Manager’s Guide for Daily Production Meetings

A daily production meeting can transform a manufacturing organization. Production meetings provide an overview of the factory floor and the figurative fires that need immediate attention. “Essentially, the morning meeting embodies open communication and dialogue to keep people engaged,” Nick Hinman, VP of Corporate Strategy at Tacony, says. “If you stay connected at the right level, the right goals are established, and the right tracking is in place, the rest will follow.”

These 10-15 minute conversations create calm and flow by making actionable decisions based on data. Operators alerts management about issues that need additional attention. Plant managers and supervisors send back plans along with metrics to gauge success.

The basic structure of a daily production meeting addresses three questions:

  • How did we do yesterday?
  • What do we have to do today to improve from yesterday?
  • Is there anything we need to talk about of importance or that we need to accomplish as a team?

This blog post will break down strategies for how to conduct production meetings on the factory floor with operators, in the conference room with supervisors, and across the organization with the production management team.

Tier I Meetings – Factory Floor

This meeting is a usually part of the daily shift hand-off between operators and their leads. It’s an opportunity to celebrate wins and address losses. For example, if operators notice an uptick in scrap rates, they can highlight the issue. Leads will use these observations to help determine what happened and what needs to be done to correct the issue. Real-time data can further enhance this decision making process.

One of the main concerns tackled at these meetings is how actual production is measuring up to planned production. Operators can make initial recommendations to bring numbers back into alignment. Supervisors can also look at dashboard data from a production monitoring system. Drops in throughput can be attributed to a single source or trend.

Three key questions to ask that will hold the team accountable are:

  1. Who’s escalating it?
  2. Who’s solving it?
  3. Who’s checking that it actually happened?

The most important aspect of a Tier I meeting is that leads should be listening more than talking. Your operators are the first line of defense for the factory floor and will speak up if they know a manager will listen.

Tier II Meetings – Conference Room

Leads will communicate with their supervisors about issues or trends they are noticing on the factory floor. Common talking points can include production schedules, bottleneck issues and capacity management. A conference room is a popular location for this type of meeting since many manufacturing organizations still rely on displaying their production counts on white boards. This meeting can be held anywhere as long as the decision makers have access to data. Organizations that have switched over to a production monitoring system like Mingo Smart Factory can view counts on a dashboard using a tablet, laptop or mounted display.

Support functions such as maintenance, scheduling, and IT will get involved at this level based on feedback from operators. This helps maintenance create a plan for the day to address high priority needs first. For example, machines that are creating bottlenecks when they go down may receive a high priority, but preventative maintenance for a high volume machine will still need to go on the schedule.

Tier III Meetings – Across the Organization

Supervisors will elevate issues to plant managers and other upper levels of management within the organization. Consistently falling short on throughput or other KPIs need to be addressed to find the source of the problem. Plant managers will create a plan or timeline to address issues. Supervisors will communicate this plan back to leads at the next Tier II meeting. If a plant manager already has access to a production monitoring system, they may always be aware of these issues from mobile or email alerts. Ideally, this meeting focuses on the plant’s performance at the end of every week and if goals were met or not. If a goal was missed, a plan of action is determined to ensure goals are met the next week.

Daily Production Meeting Takeaways

A daily production meeting is vital to the success of a manufacturing company. The main goal of a Plant Manager is to be proactive, give their team the data they need to solve problems and stop racing from one fire to the next. Production meetings are an opportunity to address problems, get input from operators on the floor, and recognize wins throughout the organization. Coaching and mentoring from good leaders will help to ensure the right behaviors and habits take root.

Picture of Alyxandra Sherwood
Alyxandra Sherwood
Digital Marketing Manager @ Mingo Smart Factory I Adjunct Professor @ SUNY Geneseo I Boston Marathoner I Second Street Award Winner I Media Professional with 15 Years Experience