I was reading the cover story of the latest issue of the Greensheet that is entitled Plant Manager Peer Group Increase Productivity.
This particular article is specifically focused at Commercial Print Plant Managers, but it started me thinking that there are so many parts of our industry that could benefit from some good old fashioned talking with each other here in Australasia and Asia too.
I remember the Xplor chapter meetings in the 1990’s that took place a few times a year in Melbourne and Sydney. The content was usually pretty good, but as a Production Manager at a mailing bureau, I always seemed to get as much or more value from the discussion over the breaks, the drinks after, or around the dinner table late into the evening.
Today we have social media sites like LinkedIn with discussion groups, however many of the people who could benefit the most from peer group discussions aren’t consistently sitting at a computer during their work day. Even though there may be valid groups on LinkedIn, if that is not part of your normal day, you’ll miss out. Should we going back to more face-to-face discussions?
For example, surely operations and production managers of printing and mail rooms could benefit greatly from having a couple of days discussion with fellow managers just as I did. This is not about revealing competitive trade or customer secrets. I’m talking about getting real value from talking to real people that share many of the same real issues.
Unfortunately trade shows and meetings of trade organisations are now getting few and far between, and when they do come around, it is often the business owners or the key decision makers that go, rather than the guys from the floor.
These days (thankfully) trade shows are getting to be as much about education as about seeing the latest and greatest technology, but – to me at least – it seems that some of the best opportunities to discuss day to day concerns in production environments have gone.
Do you agree? If so, how are we best placed to bring back these very valuable discussions?
Do we start with a breakfast or dinner meeting? Do we go for it like the US Plant Managers (in the article) did and have a few days away where everyone gets to have a say, everyone hears the issues of their peers, and together we try to help everyone put more value back into the industry?