Summary of How to Fix a Factory

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  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


All factories struggle, writes seasoned manufacturing executive Rob Tracy. Sooner or later, your plant will fall behind in on-time delivery, your workforce will lose morale and the production calendar will fill up with emergency “hot list” scheduling. Tracy points out that getting a factory back in shape may be hard, but it’s not complicated. He explains step-by-step how to identify weaknesses, set attainable goals, get the cooperation of the whole organization and make improvements that last.

About the Author

Rob Tracy has worked in manufacturing for more than 30 years, including several terms in senior executive positions.



Repairing a troubled factory is a five-stage process.

At some point, every factory hits rough waters. Problems may accumulate gradually or explode into a crisis. The symptoms of a troubled factory can include an increase in missed delivery dates and customer complaints, a decline in worker engagement or a surge in reactive “hot list” scheduling.

Many leaders try to right the ship with Lean production tools. But Lean principles require a baseline of health. They won’t do much for an enterprise that’s struggling or broken and may even exacerbate problems.

Saving a troubled factory means building a robust, durable platform. Look honestly at the situation, prepare possible solutions and win the support of your workers. Once leaders institute new practices, monitor their progress and adjust activities accordingly. You can implement the fix in five stages.

Stage one: Lay the groundwork.

A turnaround can occur only when everyone – from workers on the floor to top executives – recognizes the need for change.

Motivate your workforce to support the repair effort and accept changes. Take...

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