This is the third in our series of Friday Tributes. Earlier, we paid tribute to friends and mothers. Today, we want to recognize and thank our colleagues that work in manufacturing plants. Perhaps I have a slight bias, but I think the challenges of working in a manufacturing facility are unique and deserve special recognition. I often say, “Unless you have worked in a manufacturing plant, you simply cannot understand what it takes day-in and day-out to serve our customers with the right products at the right time.” Certainly, the same could be said of our corporate- or field-based colleagues, but today we give a tip of the hat to those of you in our manufacturing plants.
What is so special about working in a manufacturing plant? I’m glad you asked that question… let’s look at a few of the reasons. A plant-based employee:
- Often, cannot make plans for the weekend until it arrives. It is often difficult knowing if you will have the weekend off until you know how well the line has run that week. Thus, planning personal or family events is often very challenging.
- Everything depends on production volume. When volume is up, the plant runs more efficiently, you can afford needed enhancements, and job security is strong. When volume is down, you are always concerned about whether it is a trend or temporary decline.
- Work conditions are often difficult. Some plant areas are not air-conditioned or they are cold in winter. In some areas, you are constantly dealing with crowding, dust, fumes, or fatigue. Plant work is hard work!
- The need for decisions is fast-paced. In a plant, you often must make split second decisions that could impact product, service, or quality. Some individuals in plants must make dozens of these decisions every day… and, they need to be right decisions.
- Most plant functions are audited constantly. Plant employees understand that every document they sign, every entry they make, and every comment recorded is open to review and scrutiny. The pressure of this constant oversight adds to the stress of a plant-based position.
- Plant-based employees are constantly asked to work more efficiently, faster, and with less cost. The challenge of ever-increasing requirements is often a heavy burden for plant-based employees.
- Plant colleagues often are not fully recognized for the great work they consistently perform. Some of our plants are remote and it is difficult for senior management personnel to personally see their good work and the way they respond to challenges. Their great work often goes unseen by those outside the plant.
Despite these challenges, plant positions are among the most enjoyable I have had in my career. There is a comradery and teamwork at a plant that is hard to match in any other setting. You tend to rely on your each other more simply because it is essential in such a fast-paced environment. I can say this without hesitation, plant jobs are the hardest, but, possibly, among the most satisfying jobs in any company.
Anyway, to all of you that are plant-based employees; this one is for you! Thanks for all you do and have one of those very best days yet!