Internal plant manager and structures overloaded
Automotive supplier Z GmbH has more orders for its plant in the USA than it can deliver. The permanent plant manager cannot drive forward the expansion of production capacity in parallel with day-to-day business. New machines are on standby. They need to be set up and put into operation. Additional staff need to be hired and trained.
Processes need to be aligned. Customers want to certify the production operation. Automotive quality systems need to be audited. Even good plant managers often do not manage the expansion in addition to day-to-day business. If you watch as a shareholder for too long, you lose the trust of your customers. Delivery commitments in quantity and quality are not being honoured. Staff quickly sense that the results will not be achieved as planned. The motivation is tipping and the situation is getting worse.
Plant manager with experience in expansion
You can’t study plant manager. A manager becomes plant manager through training and experience. Managing means organizing. To do that, you need talent and knowledge. The plant managers are often engineers who have studied production technology. Then they work their way up to management levels in a production plant. Those who can then work as production managers for a few years under a very good plant manager will learn from the master until he himself is a master. Then he (or she) can take over the plant manager position, but has no exercise yet with the implementation of major changes in the production site.
He has certainly learned to produce new products and to drive automation forward. He has introduced a continuous improvement process to constantly improve efficiency. He uses lean management methods. But expanding production by 50 while day-to-day operations continue, that’s a task for experts. These are two tasks at once. Successful plant managers can only do this if the 2nd management level at the production site is well positioned. The production managers conduct the day-to-day business, while the plant manager organizes the expansion.
KPI are part of the tools
Interim plant managers specialize in expanding, restructuring, relocating or closing production during day-to-day business. They have a plan for these challenges, which they have successfully applied several times. Measuring key figures (KPI) helps to measure this. All those responsible can work with the KPI and also inform the employees.
When everyone sees how far away you are from the plan result but is constantly moving towards it, it creates extra motivation. An interim management provider with a lot of experience, who regularly meets the managers in person to see what condition they are in, knows the top interim plant managers who work the same way.
This is how Z has also managed to expand. After a year, the expansion was implemented and customer confidence restored.
Conclusion: A top interim plant manager has learned to translate knowledge and experience into results. He or she loves the challenge of organizing the conversion of production while the day-to-day business continues.