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I’m all for innovation. I am an entrepreneur and I know that, sometimes, you have to go where no one has gone before, do something completely different, to get the attention of your market. But for me, this last month, even Skittles went too far. What am I talking about? French’s yellow mustard-flavored Skittles launched on August 5th – National Mustard Day.

The picture above was copied from the French's website, announcing their teaming with Skittles to create a limited-time mustard flavored Skittles in honor of National Mustard Day on August 5th, 2023.  (McCormick & Company, Inc.)

Now, we have a morning message in our team file that announces the day. We usually do national-this-day or international-that-day. French’s has done this before. Four times, in fact. And, while I haven’t tried any one of them and I’m not trying to hate on French’s, I’m sure I would have hated all of them. Mustard donuts that went viral last year. Mustard ice cream. Beer. (Yech. Just Yech.) And, my personal favorite, because it’s the only one I might actually eat, mustard-flavored buns. Now that makes sense.

what's the Mustard in Your Shop?

Have you ever put anything together, thinking that it would be a good idea and found out later that, in the words of one yellow Skittles’ taster started with “surprise and astonishment that quickly morphed into horror”? One good product and another good product do not necessarily mean that you get a better thing? Or even a decent thing?

More seriously now, let’s dig into the real reason I’m writing this.

The way you create your product(s) is important. You may want to give your operators specific, written, step-by-step instructions. Perhaps you need instructions only for the newer members of your team. Have you considered using video content to show them what you want them to do? Here, I’m going to digress a little. (Those of you who know me, know this is a regular thing.) We started CIMx in 1996, when computers were all but a dream for the normal shop floor. Even among the largest companies in the world, we did not have PCs on the shop floor yet. They were exclusively for the use of the engineering teams.

Today, while it sounds cliché, you know that we all have a gadget in our pockets that far outpowers the very strongest computers from back then. And yet, I don’t see them used in manufacturing like I would imagine they should be. And I believe that we should all be using every tool in our arsenal to fight back against the competitive forces out there.

A simple video taken by smartphone is a great tool for training and re-training your workforce. We have a customer that had their operators compete for the chance to be the face of each operation and their team took it very seriously. It’s a matter of pride.

Production Operations

For your production team to run smoothly, they have to know what they’re supposed to be making. That sounds so obvious, right? They need to know a lot more if you want them to perform at their most effective. Start with how long do you think it should take them? Does that depend on who’s doing the work? Knowing that a new employee will take a bit longer than a seasoned one is important for you to know because it drives the speed of everything on your shop floor.

They need to know your expectations. Orders of the operations. Who’s supposed to be doing the work. Typical issues they might run into and what to do about them. How much time it should take and what materials, parts and tools they should use in their work. Everything and anything you can tell them about the work and the best way to get it done. We’ve explored the value of numbers in your shop earlier this year. Now, we’re going to be launching a new series on how to get there. We’ll go through a typical sales cycle – questions and challenges you should make of any vendor to cut through the sales chatter and get what you want or need. We hope you’ll join us for the conversation.

Give your team the tools they need to do the work you're asking.  Give them the information, training and systems they need to thrive so you can, too.  Push the Connect button to learn about how we help teams with this.  Or, if you have a question, reach out to info@cimx.com.  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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