Most manufacturing business owners and managers understand the intrinsic value of conducting plant tours. Offering plant, office, and laboratory tours gives the company a reputation of transparency and openness. That’s a characteristic that has become extremely important in today’s workplace and business environment. Before we look at some common mistakes of a plant tour that businesses often make, let’s review why factory and facility tours are so important for growing your business.
Benefits of a Well-Planned Plant Tour
As mentioned, holding factory tours presents the company as transparent in their processes and quality of work. When the tour attendees are investors, this reassures them that their investments are well placed. Remember, they’re putting money into your operation to get a return on their money, not just to help you grow. Guided factory tours are important events for many of them.
A factory tour that’s conducted for consumers is an important part of a media and public relations campaign. Rest assured that the details of a successful tour will be shared with their friends and family.
Don’t forget that consumers are immersed in social media. Their experiences will undoubtedly be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and various other social media platforms. Make sure they have a great experience. You’ll definitely want to avoid the common mistakes of a plant tour that inexperienced companies make.
Finally, there are times when companies get together to collaborate or partner on manufacturing projects. Each company wants to make sure that a joint venture or partnership will be beneficial to them. That’s one reason well-planned factory tours are crucial when planning to work with similar or adjacent industries.
So what are the common mistakes made in factory tours?
Common Mistakes of a Plant Tour
Business and life coach Alan Lakein understood the value of proper planning. He’s authored several books on success. Two of his most memorable quotes are:
- Failing to plan is planning to fail, and
- In all planning, you make a list and set priorities
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is not planning out their factory tours. Winging it just won’t work if you want your tour to be successful. While most tours are scheduled, there will be the occasional, unexpected pop up tour. While they may be unexpected, they can be anticipated. One big mistake that businesses make is not having a contingency plan for such occasions.
Planning is crucial for both the expected and unexpected factory tour. And poor planning or not planning at all is a surefire way to give investors, consumers, and potential partners a bad taste in their mouths about your company.
Mistakes in planning a factory tour are made because the management or staff have not planned for or understand some critical factors:
- The purpose of the tour
- The people conducting the tour and those attending it
- The equipment needed to present a successful tour experience
- The environmental factors of the tour location.
So, improper planning (or not planning at all) is the number one mistake of a plant tour.
Mistake: Not Planning for the Tour’s Purpose
You cannot take a cookie cutter approach for plant tours. Each type of tour will have a distinct purpose, and by extension, a distinct plan of action.
For example, a plant tour for the public need not include every area of the facility. In fact, this will be more of an overview or surface level tour. Your attendees need only tour those areas that affect their opinion of your company and product. Indeed, some locations might be easily misunderstood. Other areas can be potentially dangerous for the public. Don’t take them to areas where there is a risk of injury to unprepared or uninformed public sector attendees.
As can be seen, this mistake is made by not planning for the purpose of the tour and the people involved. Tours for investors and potential business partners will require more in-depth planning to ensure their success.
Mistake: Having the Wrong Communications Equipment on Hand
Another mistake made when planning a tour is not having the right tour guide equipment available. For example, some tours require two-way communication, including headsets, transceivers, and microphones for all involved.
Other tours need restricted by one-way communication because of the limited interaction necessary. Supplying two-way communications for everyone in this case can lead to disruption and even cause the tour to go well beyond the time allotted.
Additionally, some tour attendee groups may need further assistance. For example, a tour may be conducted with both English speaking attendees and those who are more comfortable with or speak only a foreign language. While a tour guide can speak to both sets of attendees, a second tour guide on a different channel can often present the message simultaneously or in conjunction with the English-speaking guide.
Having only single-channel equipment presents another mistake. It does not allow for discreet communication between tour location leaders. For example, the tour guide cannot communicate with area managers, letting them know the tour is about to arrive so they can prepare. Nor does it allow them to communicate any potential group idiosyncrasies that the area managers need to be aware of so as to avoid any “surprises.”
That leads us to one of the biggest mistakes of a plant tour.
Mistake: Not Taking Into Account Environmental Factors
It’s all about location. Again, this requires more than a cookie cutter approach to factory tour planning. You must plan your communications equipment in accordance to the environment of the tour, along with those considerations listed above.
Many tour planners fail to realize that often the environment will change during a tour. For example, a tour may start in a low to moderate noise location. However, should the decibel levels increase at other locations, they must be planned for. While an over the ear speakerphone may be adequate for starting the tour, the louder environment of the factory floor will require a more robust form of hearing protection, such as provided by padded, over the ear headsets.
It’s better to understand that and start with the highest level of hearing protection necessary than stop the tour to change equipment. A break like that is not only disruptive, it’s time consuming. This could drastically increase the tour’s length and cause attendees to become restless or disinterested.
Mistakes of a Plant Tour – Don’t Make Them
They’re easy to make… and easy to avoid with proper planning. Getting the tour right ensure the enthusiastic participation of all involved, from the tour guides to the attendees. If you’re unsure of what wireless communication equipment you need for your factory tours, call us and talk to one of our friendly, expert Service Representatives.
Crystal clear communication is essential for successful plant tours.
It’s what you need…
It’s what we help you accomplish.