Are you better off...

One of the big questions of this political season has been, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" It's not a bad question to ask, even when it has nothing to do with politics. Each of us should periodically take stalk of where we are now versus some point in the past and ask, "Am I (or are we) better off?" Conducting such an exercise for your plant, for example, could be a quic...

10/10/2004


One of the big questions of this political season has been, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" It's not a bad question to ask, even when it has nothing to do with politics. Each of us should periodically take stalk of where we are now versus some point in the past and ask, "Am I (or are we) better off?"

Conducting such an exercise for your plant, for example, could be a quick way to get a grasp on how much progress you're making. You don't need to compile a bunch of data, or anything like that. Although, you may need to consult a few numbers you're not certain about. Most of the questions you might ask yourself can probably be answered with a simple yes or no.

Of course, you could ask dozens, even hundreds, of questions depending on how far you want to go with this premise. Here are some key ones I would ask:

  • Is our plant safer than it was X years ago?

  • Have we reduced our emissions?

  • Have we reduced waste materials?

  • Have we increased recycling?

  • Is our emergency preparedness better?

  • Have we reduced energy consumption?

  • Are our workers better trained and more skilled?

  • Is our uptime up or our downtime down?

  • Have we reduced emergency work?

  • Are we better at planning and scheduling?

  • Is our plant generally in better condition?

  • Has our schedule compliance improved?

  • Have we increased inventory turns on our MRO stores?

  • Have supplier relations been improved?

  • Are we doing more predictive maintenance?

  • Have we improved our customer satisfaction?

  • Do we complete capital projects on time and within budget?

  • Can we show how we have contributed to overall plant productivity?

  • Can we document savings that resulted directly from plant engineering/maintenance projects?

  • Is all of our regulation and code compliance thorough and up to date?

  • Have we earned any certifications, awards, or honors?

  • In general, is our plant running more efficiently and effectively?

    • If you can answer most of these questions with a yes, then you are probably better off than you were X years ago. If you answered all of them with a yes, you should get a nice raise or a big bonus! Be sure your management is aware of the progress you've made.

      On the other hand, if it doesn't look like you've made much progress, now would be a good time to ask yourself why. Was it totally due to business conditions? Do you have some personnel issues? Have you been so bogged down in details that you've lost track of some of the larger issues? Are you burned out?

      Whatever the case, an occasional look back with the question, "Am I better off now than I was?" is a worthwhile exercise.





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