Properly Trained Plant Managers and the Bottom Line

There are lots of potential opportunities for large corporations to improve the bottom line by generating more income and cutting expenses. One of the less obvious but more significant ways to do so is in hiring and properly training a qualified plant manager. In this post I want to address the importance of a properly trained plant manager and six ways they can improve the bottom line of the company.

Begin with a good hiring decision

When any company hires a new plant manager, the goal should be to increase productivity, improve the current operation and ultimately to make more money. A bad hiring decision often results in a plant manager that underperforms in several areas. Obviously, companies need to be able to provide additional training but it is best to start out by hiring the best, most qualified job candidate to begin with.

1. Proper care and security of the physical building and amenities

Needless to say, the physical facilities that house the equipment, inventory and other assets is of the upmost importance. This can be an overwhelming responsibility for someone who has not had the proper experience and has not been properly trained. Even when someone has had some good plant management experience in a different industry, they often require some technical or specialty training to make the transition to their new working environment. By making sure that the plant manager is properly trained in overseeing the proper maintenance and security of the physical plant, unnecessary costs can be avoided.

2. Implementation of equipment maintenance protocols

A top notch plant manager implements a maintenance program that reduces the costs of equipment repairs and replacement. Luckily, there is now available some very sophisticated software programs designed to track and monitor the use of equipment. These programs make sure that each piece of equipment is scheduled to be serviced on a regular basis.

Asset management is one of the important stewardships of a good plant manager. Equipment up time is a critical component of improving manufacturing production and the bottom line of the organization. A well trained plant manager takes this responsibility very seriously.

3. Reducing the cost of equipment repairs

A properly trained plant manager knows how to reduce the need for equipment repair by proper service and maintenance protocols. Nevertheless, repairs are a hard reality of modern plants that are hitting aggressive productions goals. An effective manager will understand how to determine how much of the repair work needs to be done in-house and how much needs to be outsourced. He will then have the appropriate personnel trained and will negotiate economical service agreements with the necessary vendors.

Obviously, there are countless variables that will need to be considered when making these decisions. Some of these considerations have to do with the size of the plant, the nature of the equipment being used, the cost of training in-house repairman vs. the cost of having vendors to do the service work, etc. A qualified plant manager needs to be trained in being able to make these critical determinations.

4. Proper equipment replacement management

Despite having good equipment maintenance programs and efficient equipment repair protocols, all good things come to an end of their usefulness. This includes the equipment that produces the goods and services. Plant managers need to have a good understanding of when and how to retire and replace equipment.

It is also important to be able to analyze new technology to see if recent advances can significantly improve production. Sometimes it is cost effective to upgrade to superior technology long before the existing equipment has paid for itself, in these situations it essential that the plant manager has been trained to make these determinations. He also must understand how to get the highest resell or trade-in credit amount for used equipment.

A good plant manager should be able to provide useful input in this process. In some cases, management will delegate the responsibility of making new equipment purchasing decisions and the selling of used equipment exclusively to the plant manager. This often requires specialized training.

5. Effective hiring skills

Plant managers need to be just as qualified in managing people as they are in managing equipment and buildings. Depending on the size and nature of the plant, they may be dealing with a large number of people that report directly to them.

It is not uncommon to have plant managers that are really capable in managing physical facilities and equipment but not people. Again, these are things that need to be looked at during the hiring process. Nevertheless, the corporation needs to provide continuing management training for the plant manager.

Plant managers need to be trained in the proper hiring techniques. They need to be able to identify people with the necessary technical skills. Additionally, those people need to fit into the chemistry of the group they will be working with. It is helpful to be able to read personalities during the hiring process.

6. Effective motivation and managing skills

After a plant manager hires the best available employees for the plant, he needs to provide good leadership. This involves managing and motivating his personnel and getting the most production out of them. Although the manager may have some very good natural leadership abilities, it is often necessary for the company to provide additional management training.

Specialize training for plant managers improves the bottom line

In many medium and large organizations, a really good plant manager is invited to be part of the executive management team of the company and to participate in the executive decision making process. This makes sense since the plant manager plays such a vital and integral role in the company. Obviously, the more specialized training the company gives them, the greater the asset they are to the company.

Since they interface with the production process and a large number of company employees, they have a unique perspective and an inside view of the operation that enables them to provide invaluable insight to upper management and various executive committees. By providing the necessary support and training for the plant manager, the company empowers the manager to reduce unnecessary costs and manage expenses while increasing production. This in turn improves the bottom line of the company.

About the Author

Tim Hoff works for American Trainco in various roles including marketing, writing and assuring that training instruction is of the highest quality. A market leader within the training industry Trainco provides various training (HVAC, plant management, electrical courses, etc.) across North America.

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