As a manufacturer, your primary job is to produce a high-quality product while keeping everyone within the facility safe. Due to this, you may not instantly love the idea of outsiders coming into the plant and taking walking tours of the facility. After all, it may force you to adjust certain production methods in order to make it safer for those taking the factory tour. However, while offering plant tours may initially seem like a bad idea, these specific tours can prove especially beneficial to your business and to those clients who work with you.
When it comes to the purpose of a plant visit, here is everything you need to know and consider.
What is a Plant Visit?
When a company considers working with a manufacturing plant it will want to make sure the plant is able to deliver on its needs, both current and potential future requirements. While many manufacturing plants will indicate their ability to handle such production requirements, a well-informed business will want to tour the manufacturing plant to make sure this is the case.
By taking a tour, it is easier for the business executives and other stakeholders to see inside how the plant functions and obtain an improved understanding of the production potential of the business. This way, they will know exactly what kind of production orders the plant can handle, and whether it can handle the company’s current and future needs.
What is the Purpose of a Plant Visit?
There’s nothing more frustrating than attempting to explain the manufacturing process to someone who hasn’t seen it. They will likely ask you questions that would never come up had they only seen how production actually works.
Clients might wonder why the fabrication of a specific part is taking so long when in reality it might take days (or longer) to adjust your production equipment in order to address the client’s orders. Trying to explain this over the phone or through email isn’t a desirable method. However, by offering a plant tour you will be able to avoid many of these issues.
In short, the purpose of a factory tour is to:
- Observe how products are made and the processes involved in their production;
- To educate potential and current clients, suppliers, partners, investors and other stakeholders;
- Give executives a 360º vision of their manufacturing process.
See also: What are the benefits of plant tours.
How Do You Conduct A Plant Visit?
A good plant visit is like telling a story. The visitor should connect to the story because it has something to do with them. Setting the stage for the story you want to tell begins with the design of the sample invitation and should conclude with a social media recap at the end of the event when it is appropriate to do so.
During the tour, it is important to point out the manufacturing process as thoroughly as possible (while maintaining layman’s terms so the process can be easily understood). You should also remain open to questions from those on the tour to help address concerns along the way. While this will never fully eliminate all questions later on down the line it will help give your clients a frame of reference. This way, you can refer to the tour and remind them what needs to take place in order for a particular product to reach full fabrication. So while you may not be thrilled at the prospect of factory visits, it will help you out just as much as it will your clients in the long run.
During a plant visit, you also need to have an understanding of what industry the client is coming from and how they will use the products you produce in the plant. With this in mind, you can then adjust the plant tour to better highlight the most relevant information to the client. With a structured story, the client will be able to follow along and understand how everything you point out and talk about will affect their own companies. This will make more effective use of the tour in educating your visitors.
If you’re planning on organizing a plant tour, we suggest you download our factory tour checklist.
What is the Objective of Plant Tours?
No two clients are the same. However, that doesn’t mean you need to fully evolve your plant tour for every single client that comes in. Instead, create a handful of tour types that focus on different elements of your facility. This way, based on the tour guests, you can select the tour that best fits the visitor’s needs. Examples of successful plant tours include:
- Learning tours for company leaders and investors;
- Assessment tours for customers;
- Teaching tours for team members and students.
You can always tweak it as you go, but creating a handful of tours it makes it easier for tour guides to memorize the talking points. For a teaching tour, educators can be brought in to help students learn more about potential manufacturing careers while a plant manager can guide trade association members who would like a more holistic view of the operation. Of course, it is always important to be open to questions during the tour. This way, when visitors have a question they can ask it then and there and not try to remember it at the conclusion of the tour.
This two-way communication will benefit all participants since additional information will be provided at the appropriate time. If someone on the tour forgets their question there’s a good chance they will remember it later on down the line, which will require you to address these questions via email or phone conversation.
What Should I Wear to a Factory Visit?
Offering tours of manufacturing companies is likely not something you’ll ever need to do on a regular basis. There will be partners who work with your facility who may want to come in and tour the facility from time to time. And then there may be those considering a partnership and want to understand your production process better. In fact, you may only provide a handful of plant visit tours per year. No matter the number of tours you offer it is important to make sure everyone follows important safety measures and wears appropriate plant tour guide safety equipment. While on the shop floor it is necessary to stay on the designated tour route and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses, hard hats and other designated apparel. It is also important that on the tour everyone can hear you. That is why Plant-Tours specializes in audio equipment designed specifically for manufacturing plants.
From two-way audio systems to headphones that fit around hard hats and provide hearing protection, there is no shortage of microphone, speaker, and headphone designs available. So, if you’re looking to enhance the experience of those touring your plant, make sure to check out a Tour Guide System from Plant-Tours. And if you have any questions, the customer service staff at Plant-Tours is just a phone call away.