I take a walk every morning that is absolutely critical but has nothing to do with exercise. My morning walkthrough of our manufacturing facility is the most important 20-25 minutes of my day. This is the walk that makes sure we’re walking the talk and fulfilling the commitments we make to our customers every day.
Our ability to deliver high quality casters & wheels on time is the lifeline of our business and the morning walk-through is my opportunity to get an unfiltered, first-hand look at how we’re doing. And because I take my walk with our VP of manufacturing, our plant manager and our quality control manager, key production decisions get made on the spot. No one can say, “I’ll get back to you on that” and there’s no room for procrastination.
The walk-through keeps me in touch with the heart of our business. It’s my summary of the day and it keeps me in touch with our production activity. The route I take through the plant is always the same.
The first stop is Injection Moulding where I check to see which moulds are running, spot check some of the wheels that are waiting for assembly and check cycle times.
The next stop is Welding – our two robotic stations and our hand-welding centre. There, I’m looking at changeovers, cycle times and taking a close look to make sure the quality of the hand welding is up to our standards.
Then, it’s on to Stamping to see what’s on the presses, check the accuracy of the stamped parts, and look closely at the finish of the steel.
After that comes Assembly where it’s just a matter of seeing what’s being finished and doing the occasional quality spot-check.
Testing is last. What’s on the machines? How are they measuring up? Are we using testing procedures that will provide the data to match up with customer requirements?
The walk-through has other benefits. We take a close look at equipment and machinery, making sure it’s operating properly and being maintained well. We make sure that employees are using safe practices with the right protection. Likewise, it’s a chance to make sure that there’s a safe working environment with clear aisles and clean floors. Although it sounds trivial, it’s an opportunity to say Good Morning to our staff and let them see that we take a personal interest in what they are doing and their well-being.
The point of the walk-through isn’t to micro-manage. It’s the way I fulfill my responsibility as an owner and the president of the company. An important part of what differentiates Algood in the marketplace is that we’re not owned by a corporate conglomerate and that our management is hands-on. Walking the talk every day is the way we maintain our commitment to our customers and has been a huge part of our success for almost 50 years.