My papa told a favorite story I heard any number of times. It went something like this: An old farmer had a pig with a wooden leg. When a stranger to the farm asked why the pig had the wooden leg, the farmer launched into a story about how wonderful this pig was. The pig had saved his family by waking them up one night during a house fire. This same pig had fought off a pack of wild dogs and even went for and fetched help when the farmer was injured out in the fields. “But why the wooden leg?” His answer: “This pig is so good, you can’t eat it all at once.”
Those who have responsibility for operations and safety in manufacturing facilities usually cannot spare the time to visit all the departments in a day, or every month. At least, I never could when having this level of responsibility. Yet you must be visible in a meaningful way and get to know your people and the ins and outs of all the operations. The approach I found best was to go on a monthly site inspection, but only a portion of it, as I could neither devote a whole day, nor could I absorb all the people and operations intricacies for eight hours. Each month, I met with the labor safety committee person and took an hour or so to do an in-depth review of one or two departments. This gave me quality time with the people, the processes, the safety leadership, and made management visible, engaged and real. In essence, I needed to take on the whole organization in bite-sized chunks.
What is your viable process for better engaging in your organization’s safety, operations and people?