A Day in Life of Operations Manager in a car factory
Call In and Plan Ahead
As the Operations Manager in a car factory, my day starts early. My day begins with the first shift at 7:00AM. I take the company bus to work, which means I start from home at 6:30AM. I make use of the half hour in the bus to make calls to the shop and get an informal status on what happened in the shifts when I was not around. This helps me be prepared for any major production loss or machine breakdown that may have happened in the previous shift. In such situations it is best to be prepared to deal with the problem even before I get on to the shopfloor.
Hit the Shop floor
The bus drops me at the office at 7:00AM, when I meet other colleagues. All of us, managers and floor associates, then have breakfast and move to the ground for morning exercises and singing of the national anthem.
After the morning exercises, I move to the shopfloor. Here my first task is to check the logbook for the previous day’s numbers. From the data in the logbook I can get a complete picture of the production done the day before, of other process activities and any major problems that may have cropped up. Then I move on to the targets for today. I check the opening status of components to ensure that we have enough material to meet today’s targets, if not then I follow up with the PPC department and arrange for the material to be available.
Meetings and Inspections
I then hold short meetings with the floor supervisors to communicate the day’s targets and performance requirements. This also gives me an opportunity to hear from them of any problem or difficulties that they may have in achieving these, because of employee absenteeism or machine breakdowns.
This is followed by a 5S inspection of the plant. 5S is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on effective workplace organization and standardization of processes.
I also do a quick process audit to ensure that all systems are working well. Then I move on to analyzing the production reports from the day before.
The PPC Department is a very important unit in the smooth functioning of the plant. Throughout the day I keep checking with the people there to follow up on quality and quantity. I also have to keep track of resource availability, such as whether we have sufficient stocks of chemicals, paints and consumables for production to continue as planned for the day.
If something is stuck, I also follow up with the Maintenance team to ensure that the operations on the floor are able to continue trouble-free.
If time permits, I check e-mails. In between there are also meetings with my boss and other colleagues regarding production targets and new quality initiatives. Other people I meet include vendors and my end users, that is the Vehicle Assembly unit. This helps me track production demands. I also discuss any pending issue with the Admin department.
Lunch and Tea Breaks
Production at the plant continues without a stop, which means, that most days even I continue without stop. There are breaks for tea and lunch, but even these are filled with team discussions.
Before leaving for the day, I complete an analysis of the day’s production figures to ensure that we are on track and no major losses have crept up. I then fill the logbook with the production figures for my shift, any special instructions, new targets, material availability or reasons for loss. Sometimes, because of the production load I may be required to stay late, but my shift usually ends at 7:30PM, when I take the company bus home.