The Shopfloor Management Acid Test

The Shopfloor Management Acid Test

No matter which area of a company or which hierarchical level: We do Shopfloor Management in order to get all employees to pull together. From the Chief Officer to the Line Employee – everybody should understand how to contribute to the company objectives.

With this in mind: How well does your Shopfloor Management work?

The following five indicators for self-diagnosis have proven valid:

1: Beneficial?

Ask anybody at the shopfloor meeting:
“Why are you here? Do you usually get important information out of this meeting?”

Background: Anybody should have a good reason to take part in the meeting in order to fulfill his/her role. It’s about going with a specific interest into the meeting. The reason individuals are taking part must be clear and immediately available.

2: Meaningful metrics?

What is your opinion of the metrics displayed on the shopfloor board? And feel free to ask anybody around: “Are these measurements understandable (right away)?”

Background: Metrics, visualization, graphics work only, if they are stunningly simple. So simple that anybody will immediately understand. Managers must face the brutal facts even if they don’t want to. And: Could an external visitor understand without asking for clarification? Anybody should understand and be able to explain why these metrics matter for his/her role.

3: Active problem solving?

Here’s what you want to be able to observe:
“The action list shows activities, not problem descriptions. There is space to address unsolved problems. Each problem identified has potential root causes listed.”


Operations is successful if all employees are attentive to problems and look for solutions, anytime. Shopfloor Management must drive this behavior. It’s key to systematically solve problems in the team. All employees should be able to distinguish between problems, root causes and solutions. If a problem occurs, we do not jump to the solution which comes first to our mind. Instead, we search for several potential root causes, to decide on the most sustainable approach for solution.

4: Great leadership?

To be observed:
“Do leaders come into the Shopfloor Management meetings with questions to be answered and to share their own worries? Do members of the meeting actively contribute to answering these questions? Do they get to know what matters to them and to their teams?

Does consideration take place during the meetings?”

Background: Yes, this is exactly what we wish to observe. Site priorities should be tackled. Any site issue coming up should be addressed with anybody affected!

5: Improvement through employees?

Now, who actually solves the problems: “Do employees bring in their ideas for improvement? Do most of their ideas address site priorities? Do they address central problems to be solved?”

Background: Shopfloor Management is THE instrument to communicate site priorities and most important objectives to all employees. Through Shopfloor Management all employees should learn how they can best contribute to achieving site objectives. If this is the case, you will see many great and spot-on ideas for improvement.


Is this an exciting topic for you? We invite for our “Input & Exchange” event on Shopfloor Management in March. There will be exchange with practitioners, structured facilitation and input from our implementation experience through our events:


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