sManufacturing companies from a wide variety of industries are confronted with similar challenges – buzzwords such as information, communication, deadlines, quality, effectiveness, productivity, process optimization, etc. are part of everyday business organization.  

A few years ago, we became aware of a new management method that promised solutions to the above issues:

„Shop floor management“, subtitle: „Targeted management on site“ 

Older managers may still remember the slogan: „Management by walking around“. The boss or owner makes his rounds of production every day, gives instructions, asks about the status of the various projects, praises (usually less) and blames (usually more), thereby gaining an overview, connecting working groups, giving new impetus to ideas. 

Success Factors:  

  • understand 
  • perceive 
  • react 

„What matters is how people perceive and understand a situation, and that they can respond in ways that take the company to the top.“ (Mike Rother)  

One could say that „Shop floor management“ is the current form of „management by walking around“, further developed and now also very well suited for larger organizational forms. Basically, it is about deviation management and systematic process improvement in a standardized routine (daily tour, at the same time, in the same sequence). The resulting short feedback loops enable a quick reaction to deviations through direct information and communication on site. 

Which topics are addressed?  

  • Delayed orders or orders that have not yet started compared to plan
    Reasons for this (personnel, technology)
  • quality deviations 
  • Deviations from plan specifications for material consumption and production times 
  • General deviations from the „standard“ 
  • Information on special orders (quantities, materials, new production methods, …)
  • planned / unplanned production stops 

What is expressly not provided for in „Shop floor management“: 

Finding a solution (with the accompanying eternal discussions) on the spot. This has to be done in parallel in a separate working group and the results will be checked again during the next tour (blackboard, flipchart). 

We have been working according to this principle at asma for a good year now, with impressive results. 

  • Higher adherence to schedules with higher capacity utilization and less hectic production. 
  • The causes of quality deviations can usually be clarified at very short notice. 
  • Deviations in target times and material consumption are processed daily, thus continuously improving the data quality. 
  • The standardized routine reduces the coordination effort (time for convening meetings, scheduling appointments, availability of participants).
  • The participants are prepared, the management team receives a daily updated overview of all production areas together with the key figures from the management dashboard. 
  • And last but not least, these successes lead significantly to higher employee satisfaction, team spirit and creative approaches and ideas for new topics and projects.

A report by Managing Director Thomas Brandeis

Shopfloor Management - asma plastics technology PUR
Operations Manager Markus Wiesmeier, Jürgen Kettinger (Team Leader Order Processing), Thomas Bauernfried (Team Leader Quality Management) and Managing Director Thomas Brandeis