Week 2 - Plant Controller


Week 2 – Walking the Floor


After getting my feet wet the first week, I jumped in the second week getting onto the “shop” floor so to speak.  Part of the activities in the first week was to make myself known to the groups of people working for the company, both management and non-management.

Prior to my arrival with the company, finance only resided at the head office and when it showed up to the facility it stayed in the offices and kept to themselves apart from some plant management.  Therefore, I wanted to hit the shop floor and follow up on my 1st weeks introduction.

Being on the floor allows me the opportunity to truly learn the business.  I work on the assumption that each person working their position is the expert and I can learn from them.  The first time I walk the floor I go out without a notebook, cell phone, or anything that could distract me.  I want to be fully present when I’m on the floor for both safety reasons and relationship building.

This was a fun exercise for myself as I got to get a hands on feel of the facility and the people.  It allowed me to also get a better picture of the process and an understanding of the flow.  This helps when there are issues within the plant that drive a financial impact, I can see in my head almost exactly what they are talking about or where in the process the issue is.

An unintended benefit of this walking the floor came from one of the Operational VP’s who noticed and highlighted that he hadn’t seen finance do this prior to my showing up.  Within a couple of days of this comment I was then asked if I could come consult with his team on a couple of items that they were doing but thought there might be opportunity for improvement.  The walking the floor exercise was now building more relationships beyond the people on the floor which is an added bonus.

As week 2 comes to a wrap I’m finding things going fairly smoothly.  If I had a checklist I would mark off relationship building with a big green checkmark.  Relationship building is never completed but for starting a new position it is off to a wonderful start.  I also would check off some basics as getting an understanding of where the financial data is and what we are trying to do with it.  Also, I am glad the I’m aligned with my direct reporting structure of what is needed, and it is supported by my Operations dotted line reporting structure.

Week 3, here I come!