THE IMPORTANCE OF A PLANT MANAGER IN A FOREIGN OPERATION
Beyond the responsibility of complying with lead times, product quality and plant operations efficiencies, the current offshore Plant Manager (General Manager, VP of Operations) has a broader accountability.
To traduce corporate business culture, goals and mission into concrete manufacturing practices in accordance with domestic laws, traditions and customs. Therefore plays a key liaison role between local plant and Corporate Office to assure an effective S&OP.
A successful Plant Manager will also assure a good Risk Management plan in order to avoid labor lawsuits, turnover, tax/customs penalties and to achieve a sustainable operation in the long run. Let’s not forget why the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation exists in the first place.
In Mexico, country of many subcultures, changing legislations and a network of 10 FTAs with 33 countries, the plant manager role demands someone with the ability to work both inside and outside of the operation. Outside to get awareness of social and political context and the ability to relate with key government agencies that could affect or benefit your operation. Inside with the knowledge of best manufacturing practices and the leadership to develop an effective management team to lead an effective responding plant.
HOW IS YOUR PLANT MANAGER IMPACTING YOUR ROI?
Regardless of the title that each company might give to these positions (General Manager, Plant Manager or Operations Manager), these positions are responsible for ensuring that your company is running and generating profit, so it is critical to hire and retain the right one. A strong Plant Manager optimizes input/output resources to ensure ROI goals and can effectively communicate with headquarters. But what happens when we are not getting the results we want from the foreign site?
It is not until goals are not met that headquarters dig deeper to see where the Operations Manager might be failing. To separate your operation from lower-performing organizations, you need to ensure you have an effective and self-motivated leader.
Ask yourself the following questions about your Plant Manager:
- Is aligned with overall strategic direction?
- Has the financial acumen for reporting results? (Profit and Loss Statement (P&L), Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement, Income Statement).
- Has the decision making been effective?
- Is able to grasp and implement new concepts and technologies?
- How much are development and deployment has there been?
- How much has the site grown in the past five years?
- Do you have key growth plans for the site?
THINKING OF REPLACING A TOP POSITION?
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OVERCOMING THE FEAR OF LEADERSHIP CHANGE
Bottom line, if your site is not consistently outperforming competitors in revenue growth, profitability, market share and customer satisfaction it is time to consider changing your Operations Manager, Plant Manager or VP of Operations. We know that the decision of replacing this type of position is never an easy one. An organizational change like this should be managed as a confidential process. A partnership between headquarters and an Executive Search Firm.
For over 30 years Corporate Recruiters has been a strategic partner to foreign brands with operations in Mexico. As a manufacturing Executive Search Firm, have helped clients to start, restructure and close down operations. We have been partners to international brands awarded with Best Place to Work and Shingo Prize.