On October 4, hundreds of thousands of students and others will participate in thousands of Manufacturing Day events across the country. The ultimate goal: get people excited about what modern manufacturing really means—and inspire the next generation of industry leaders.
If you’re one of the companies hosting an event, you may be wondering what you’ll actually do when people show up on your doorstep, or how you can ensure your plant tour goes off without a hitch.
Will people walk away from your event feeling energized and inspired? Or will it leave them wanting to know more? Let’s look at ideas, strategies and tips for making sure your Manufacturing Day event is a successful one.
Planning Your Plant Tour
While Manufacturing Day events run the gamut from career fairs to community celebrations, plant tours are the foundation of Manufacturing Day. Even if certain areas of your facility are off-limits because of safety or confidentiality concerns, you can still offer a behind-the-scenes look at key points in your process on and off the plant floor.
Ideas for planning an engaging plant tour include:
- Demonstrating how a key machine or procedure works
- Highlighting Industry 4.0 initiatives such as mobile audits and how leaders use analytics to improve quality
- Displaying your product at different phases of the manufacturing process, and even allowing people to touch equipment or products where appropriate
- Providing hands-on activities where students can get involved, such as producing something they can take home or using a training simulator
- Discussing possible career paths and how students can translate STEM skills into a rewarding job in manufacturing
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and pressed for time, don’t make it complicated. Instead, just base your tour on what you currently do for customer walkthroughs.
How to Prepare
Making sure your Manufacturing Day event goes smoothly requires more than just creative ideas. To put your best foot forward, you’ll also need to appoint a committee of employees to help plan and prepare critical aspects of your event, such as:
- Event format: Manufacturers need to decide whether to host an in-person or virtual event. The MFG Day site has listings of events nationwide if you’re looking for ideas to borrow for your company’s event.
- Voice of the Company: Choose people within your organization who are excited about what they do and good at explaining what the company does in simple, lay-friendly terms. Also, make sure everyone who is presenting has a name badge.
- Welcome mat: Signage, directions, good lighting and enthusiastic greetings are all essential to making people feel at ease.
- Tour script: It’s important to have a plan for each stop along the tour route complete with introduction, major talking points and questions for attendees. Doing a dry run will help ensure everybody’s had a chance to practice what they’re going to say.
- Safety: Obviously, safety is a key concern when inviting outsiders into your facility. You’ll want to make personal protective equipment (PPEs) like hard hats and/or goggles available as necessary.
- Housekeeping: In addition to safety concerns, making sure your facility is neat and clean is essential to showing people that manufacturing plants are, in fact, inviting places to work.
Tips for Turnout Success
If you haven’t already, it’s time to crank up your PR machine and personal outreach to get people to come to your event.
The official MFG Day site has many resources available for companies that want to host an event, including a PDF Host Toolkit with sample event invites. The organization recommends manufacturers invite:
- Students and youth organizations
- Elected officials
- Current and/or prospective customers
- Third-party service providers
It’s critical to track and follow up on RSVPs to make sure the event stays top of mind for people. Even a reminder phone call to attendees the day before can help ensure a better turnout.
In the days and weeks leading up to your Manufacturing Day event, you should also promote your Manufacturing Day event on social media and email. MFG Day provides a helpful PDF Event Promotion Kit complete with social media graphics, sample posts and email content you can swipe for free.
Finally, organizers ask that you register your Manufacturing Day event on mfgday.com, and use the hashtag #MFGDay19 to share news from your event.
Like any event, what you get depends on what you put in on the front end. Your presentation doesn’t have to be perfect, but with a little forethought you can create an experience that’s fun, shows pride in your work and draws a crowd of engaged participants.