Posts by Rob Tracy

Solving Talent Systems Problems for Successful Factories

Solving Talent Systems Problems

Over the next few months, I will be writing about talent systems that will highlight specific parts of the talent pipeline. For any factory—and any place of business, for that matter—success is directly correlated to the talent of the workforce. Having a methodical, deliberate approach to hiring, onboarding, and retaining the right people is imperative.…

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The Importance of Supervisors in the Manufacturing Industry

A production supervisor has perhaps one of the most difficult and thankless jobs in a factory. I learned firsthand one summer as an intern at a GM Factory in Saginaw, Michigan, where I filled in for vacationing supervisors. There I was, a 21-year-old college kid supervising a bunch of grizzled workers. It was daunting at…

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Joy to the Work: Making the Job Fun

Joy to Work: A Fun Work Environment

There’s a carwash in our community that does an excellent job. They vacuum the interior, wash the inside of the windows and hand-dry the exterior. It is staffed mostly with high school students who bust their butts, and I applaud them for that. I often bring my dog Lily with me when I go to…

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Lean and Operational Excellence in the BBQ Pit

Lean Operational Excellence Easy as BBQ

Over the past couple of years, BBQ cooking has become a hobby for me. I enjoyed watching BBQ Pitmasters on TV and it led to the purchase of a wood smoker to do low-and-slow barbecue. After a lot of experimenting, I’ve developed some decent tried-and-true recipes, but I wanted to learn how to move beyond…

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The Three Key Things for an Old-Fashioned Sale

Three Things to Help Drive Successful Sale

I often find inspiration for business and life lessons in my everyday surroundings. For example, I have a cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. It’s a great retreat for my family because the area is both beautiful and quiet, and the fall colors were amazing this past weekend. We have some modern luxuries, like indoor plumbing and…

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The Wedding Planner: Executing With Precision in Business and in Life

Executing Business Plans with Precision

I’ll probably get lambasted for mining my daughter’s wedding for business lessons, but I can’t help myself. When I was first learning about Lean 20 years ago, I remember sitting in church saying to myself, “I bet I could double the throughput of people through this church without people missing a single bit of the…

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Finding Grace in the Details: Become a Master of Your Operation

Finding Grace in Details

I’ve always been fascinated with heavy equipment. I suppose it started with my Tonka trucks in the sandbox. To this day, I can watch a backhoe in action with no small degree of amazement. In the hands of an experienced operator, this hunk of metal, cylinders and hydraulic fluid becomes a work of grace and…

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