Four tips to help organize a fantastic factory tour

With good planning, people should be able to organize a memorable factory tour for all visitors.

By Rick Farrell November 17, 2021
Courtesy: CFE Media and Technology

If someone is looking for a way to draw in new customers or investors, a factory tour might be just what someone needs. It’s an excellent opportunity to show off facilities and equipment and introduce the staff. On top of that, a good company tour will emphasize professionalism and help build a stronger bond with clients.

All that is only possible if the factory tour is successful. And factories typically aren’t particularly suitable for tours — they tend to be loud and full of activity. In such conditions, it can be difficult to deliver a good presentation and ensure that everyone in the audience hears it.

Still, there are ways to organize fantastic factory tours that clients and investors will remember for years. Not sure how to do that? Consider these four tips for making a memorable tour.

1. Try to understand factory tour visitors’ goals

In order to organize a successful tour, start by understanding the visitors. If a company knows what they want to see and hear, they’ll have an easier time satisfying the visitors, and they’ll leave feeling their time was well spent. Ultimately, that’s exactly what is wanted.

Of course, someone can’t be sure what each and every member of the visiting group wants to hear. But someone can understand the whole group’s goals. Both investors and clients will probably want to see that the factory is up to par and the product quality is top-notch. But some of their other objectives might not be the same.

For instance, investors are more likely to be interested in a company’s efficiency and financial performance. After all, they are here to decide whether they should invest their money or not. On the other hand, if the visitors are potential clients, they’ll want to know more about the production process, cleanliness and inventory.

Take that into consideration when planning a tour. And of course, if someone doesn’t manage to answer all of the visitors’ questions, give them an opportunity to ask.

2. Use a wireless factory tour guide system

Factories aren’t exactly quiet — machines and people working with them tend to make a lot of noise. Thus, they don’t make a great setting for giving presentations or tours. After all, what’s the point of showing visitors around if they can’t even hear?

And, of course, someone can’t stop all activity as they’re showing visitors around. That wouldn’t only be a waste of money and time but also counterproductive to the tour. The audience wants to see how the company operates on a regular day, not an empty factory that’s not working.

So, how does someone resolve the noise issue then? Well, someone could use a wireless tour guide system during the presentation. These systems contain earpieces and microphones, allowing everyone to communicate even in less than ideal conditions. So, no matter how noisy it is, the presenter doesn’t have to raise their voice. Just speak as one would normally, and everyone will still hear.

Wireless systems usually come in two forms — one- and two-way systems. If a company chooses a two-way one, their visitors will also be able to talk to the company. Depending on the kind of tour, that may be a good idea. Someone might want to hear the audience’s feedback or allow them to ask questions even as they are being shown around.

3. Warn employees in advance

While the goal is to show visitors a regular day at the company, measures should still be taken to ensure everything goes smoothly. One such measure is telling employees an important tour is coming up and instructing them on what to do. For instance, tell them to be quieter or make more room for the group at a specific time.

Warning employees about the tour also gives them enough time to plan their activities with that in mind. Thus, they can postpone anything that may get in the way of the factory tour, as well as any projects a tour might interrupt. So, let them know at least two weeks before the big day — that way, they won’t feel blindsided.

If someone wants any of their employees to talk to visitors and share their experiences, make sure to let them know on time. They ought to prepare themselves for the part they will play in the presentation. For example, they might need time to gather and organize some information the visitors could ask them to provide. And even the most eloquent people can sometimes get tongue-tied if they are suddenly put on the spot. That is why it is best to notify employees well in advance.

4. Prepare information booklets

If someone wants their visitors to remember their factory tour longer, prepare information booklets for them. Hand them out at the start of the tour or give them as gifts at the very end. That way, the company will come off even more professional and prepared, and this good impression will linger for a while.

People can choose all kinds of information to put in a booklet, of course. But in most cases, someone should include some basic information about the company, financial stats and details about the products and services. Adding a few pictures might be a good idea, too — it’ll make a booklet that much more engaging.

RTS is a CFE Media content partner.

Author Bio: Farrell is North America’s foremost expert in improving manufacturing group communication, education, training and group hospitality processes. He has over 40 years of group hospitality experience, most recently serving as president of PlantTours for the last 18 years. He has provided consulting services with the majority of Fortune 500 industrial corporations improving group communication dynamics of all types in manufacturing environments.