Cheating is not worth it. In the short term, it may give you the “win” but in the end, it corrupts from the very center of your organization. And, yes, I’m talking about the University of Michigan. Their systematic program to “steal” game signals from teams they were playing rots the very core of their program and their students. For full disclosure, I am a Buckeye at the heart, but I’d have this same opinion about any team.

You teach your team what you do. In the back of your mind, somewhere, something registers that you “got away with it.” Imagine those students in those locker rooms. They are on a high – having just won a National Championship. Dishonestly. Did “whatever it took” even when that was well over the line of what was acceptable in a written rule book. Now, you put those kids in a classroom, and what do they do? Do they do all the work that’s required?   Do they do “whatever it takes” even if that means that they do not do the work but get the grade?

You taught them that cheating pays off. How about their relationships? Will they be true to their family and friends? Where do they draw the line for what’s acceptable and what’s not? Since the coach didn’t do it, they will all do it for themselves and they will all have varying ways of approaching it.

In the end, it will be the rot that destroys.

There’s a saying that I subscribe to:

“Excuses make today easy, but tomorrow hard. Discipline makes today hard, but tomorrow easier.”

And here, I’m not just talking about the discipline that’s required to do the job. There’s discipline involved in sport, for certain, and I’m sure that the team “up north” does as much work as everyone else does. They work hard. They train hard. They show up. (Some would argue that if you believed in the strength of your program and your players enough, you wouldn’t have to cheat.)

There’s discipline in following the rules we’ve all agreed to. That the NCAA has created. That we all sign as athletes. I know that we had an athletic code at my school, and we all had to sign that code before we were allowed to compete. Why do that if you don’t hold the kids and the program to the document and what it contains?


Getting to the shop floor, as that’s what we really talk about here, you know you can’t cheat. You can’t shortcut the process you need to follow and expect that your quality will remain. You know you have to do the hard work, you have to follow the process, you have to do everything that’s required in order to get your products made and meet your customers’ demands. In Production Operations, there is no work around discipline without sacrificing, nay gutting, your profit margin.

In Production Operations, you need your team, every one of them, to know what’s required of them today. And you need them to execute on that. Now, I have seen a few teams – but very, very few – where the teams and management do not trust each other. It’s impossible for me to tell you why that happens. In the few cases that I can think of, a few common issues come up. These teams tell us management doesn’t’:

  • understand how difficult it is to do their work,

  • provide them all the tools they need to get the work done,

  • know how long it takes to do the job, and

  • ask them for feedback that institutes change.

And management tells us that the team:

  • picks the work they want to do,
  • relies on prior work rather than instructions,
  • runs behind, and
  • communicates sporadically.


If you find that these challenges are ones you struggle with, consider reviewing the tools that you are providing to your team. Is there an easy way for them to communicate with you, with each other? Does your team have everything they need at exactly the time they need it? We will be reintroducing our discussion around visibility and control in manufacturing this year, and we will continue to cover this in depth.


Discipline in manufacturing is hard. Heck, it’s hard to be disciplined in business and life in general. Adding manufacturing to the mix does not ease that burden. Things are constantly moving, and unless you have completely automated your facility, it is rare when everything goes right on a given day. When things do not go according to plan, you need discipline to direct the work the right way as quickly as possible. It gives your team the tools they need to respond.

I used to think discipline was just a way of being. And truly, it is. You need to commit to a way of doing things and see that through. But at its very heart, there’s the process. A set of proscribed steps that you will take when presented with a certain situation. It’s at the very heart of manufacturing: work instructions to make your product, build your part, run your process. There is usually little variability in the work that can be allowed to get the quality and precision you want or need. Follow the process. Exhibit the discipline.

What’s your playbook this year? How much variability are you planning for and able to take on? Since COVID, we’ve seen variability in manufacturing increase dramatically (people, jobs, economy, connectivity, and supply chain). We would argue that if you don’t have the discipline today to do the work no matter what (and this time, I’m referring to high adaptation skill rather than the negative at all costs methodology), tomorrow’s going to be really, really difficult.

Ask your team if they know how they’re doing. How do they know? What information might be helpful to them or required?  These are the very challenges that we see shops deal with every day.  Give your team the tools they need to track your numbers, report on them, analyze and archive them.  Push the Connect button to learn about how we help teams with this.  Or, if you have a question, reach out to  We are here to help you save money, time and get your Production under Control

Contact CIMx Software to see how a Manufacturing Execution System can improve production control for you.


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