Voters cast ballots in Democratic contests in 14 states and American Samoa on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Picture credit: Chelsea Stahl / NBC News
Today is a big day for Democratic Presidential candidates. As has been said constantly recently, nearly one-third of the party’s delegates are “up for grabs” in fourteen states (and American Samoa). That means if you are Bernie or Joe or one of the shrinking crowd of contenders to challenge Mr. Trump in November, there is a lot at stake. Miscalculation, ineffective planning, network weakness, and resource unpreparedness could cost you the election TODAY.
You know what that sounds like? Modern production operations.
Everyday is Super Tuesday for manufacturers. We show up knowing that missing our targets and being unprepared with contingency plans spells serious trouble. We may not have exit polls and ballots, but we do have process metrics, KPIs, and other means to measure our progress and performance. Being able to keep our fingers on the pulse of the operations means we can know where we stand against our goals and whether we can expect to win the day when the trucks leave the dock, the customers get their finished goods, the lots turn over to a new run.
For the politicians there are a lot of speeches to give, promises to make, babies to kiss. Maybe not right now (CoronoaVirus) but perhaps again soon. For us in the manufacturing space we instead have recipes to manage, team members to train, suppliers to engage (no kissing), and schedules to keep. For some it’s a never-ending “groundhog-day” scenario that sees us straining to achieve virtual perfection in processes that can be tremendously complicated, complex, and convoluted. Mixing and blending and heating and packaging. Combating humidity and temperatures and contaminants and human error. We struggle on, not making promises but striving to keep them and be zealots about them.
The politicians will come and go. They will join and separate, unite and divide, talk and argue. From North Carolina to California (to American Samoa) they will debate policies, align with principles, recall past party heroes (FDR! JFK! BHO!) and attempt to deliver a knock-out punch to their principal opponent, and move far enough that the lead becomes virtually insurmountable.
Meanwhile, we are cranking along. We will see to it that America’s, and in some cases the world’s pasta, beer, energy, fertilizer, yogurt, lubricating oils, shampoo ingredients, medicines, granola, and so many other items that go into everything from our bodies to jet aircraft and mountain-top telescopes get done flawlessly, repeatably, safely, and predictably. We will execute day-in-and-day-out calling on current best practices (6-sigma! KPIs! 5-S Safety! Lean!) and summoning our best calculations, most effective planning, network strengths, and resource preparedness to deliver industry’s best EVERYDAY.
So get out there and vote if you live in a primary state (or American Samoa), watch the news, root for your candidate, listen for the hyperbole. Rest easy knowing that come Wednesday your yogurt and granola will still be flowing from the good people who make them. The vaccines and pharmaceuticals (not the evil ones) will still be safely produced under watchful computerized eyes and super-controlled conditions. And so on—the robots, engineers, planners, technicians, and others who plan, and make, and oversee your everyday needs are on duty. Vote for them with your wallet, and remember that come tomorrow we will still be there on the job, delivering on the promise to deliver the goods again…and again….and again!