Managers, Get Back to the Factory Floor

Without falling into the bad habit of micro-management, managers should follow the premise of "less deskwork and more walking around the factory."

Friday, July 29, 2016

An article published by the School of Business at the University of Montevideo, points out the need for senior executives and business managers to leave, for short times, the strategic part of their job, in order to be more directly involved in the company's concrete production processes.

Every company, says the article, "... has its 'factory' which could be an actual factory, a logistics center, a showroom, the primary care area in a polyclinic, a departure lounge, a call -center, administration offices and even the classrooms and playgrounds of an educational institution ... in short, all of the spaces where goods are produced and customers served."

"... This practice of touring the factory on a regular basis is not new. In the 70s it was known as "Management By Wandering Around", literally managing by "taking a walk". "

Some of the benefits of taking "a walk" around the factory:

"... • The master's eye fattens the cattle, also known as the scarecrow effect. More than one production manager, in different industries (construction, logistics, manufacturing, restaurants), has shared with me the fact that the mere presence of the boss in the production area creates instant improvement in productivity.  

• Indicators and management reports are essential. But they are flat, being graphics means they are two dimensional. A periodic tour of the factory enriches our understanding of the process with intimate details and more dimensions than are possible to represent in a report, transforming [the information] into 3D, 4D, and 5D knowledge.

• A bath of humility, grounded wires, and not forgetting what it is that pays the salaries. For those who manage fast food chains, frying burgers once a year is routine requirement; but talking once a week to the person who does it eight hours a day, is an act of learning and recognition.  

• Operations are carried out by people, and people require more intensive maintenance than machines. Giving the people who produce and serve in our processes a chance to exchange words, problems and suggestions for improvements to the process with the owner on a regular basis builds confidence, and encourages and facilitates the implementation of changes. "

Read full article: " Less desk and more factory " (In Spanish)

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As Alexander Aguilar exemplifies in his article on, every company should have clearly identified from among its colleagues who will take the "penalty shot" in order to score a goal in decisive moments.

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