Great leadership starts with a solid understanding of a company’s operations. Renowned author and speaker, Tom Peters (@tom_peters) mentioned the term “Management by Walking Around” (MBWA) in his groundbreaking book In Search of Excellence (1982). MBWA is still relevant thirty years later.
Supply chain and packaging cost reduction opportunities are commonly overlooked. Take an opportunity to practice MBWA by starting in you Receiving Department, follow the internal processes, and track your finished goods to your Shipping Department. Along the way, check out dumpsters and recycling containers for waste materials. Based on your observations, ask yourself the following:
- Are inbound shipments to your facility optimized for shipping density and lowest freight costs?
- Can your supplier packaging be improved for material handling efficiencies and line presentation to your operators?
- Is there packaging waste that can be reused, reduced, or eliminated?
- Does your packaging allow for ease of recycling and safe disposal?
- Have you asked your suppliers to offer returnable packaging solutions?
One of the main benfits of MBWA was recognized by American Statistician, W. Edwards Deming:
“If you wait for people to come to you, you’ll only get small problems. You must go and find them. The big problmes are where people don’t realize they have one in the first place” – W. Edwards Deming
Here’s to getting out of your office chair and walking the manufacturing floor to reconnect with where the work actually gets done.