Owners or managers of businesses or companies that have factories, processing plants, and manufacturing facilities should be aware that plant tours are something of a regular occurrence — whether it’s for customer tours, clients and business partners, possible investors, or even quality and compliance inspectors.
Impact and Importance
As such, it’s important to be properly prepared in order to give a good quality tour as they can affect your business in many ways, depending on who you’re giving the tour to; customer tours can affect and promote brand loyalty, tours with clients and investors can positively affect business negotiations, and tours with inspectors are very vital in order to continue operations as well as earning certifications. This is why you should take the necessary steps to ensure a good tour experience.
Good Housekeeping and Compliance Regulations
Granted, food processing facilities are generally kept clean to comply with food safety and sanitation regulations and local health codes, it’s a good idea to take the extra steps to make your factory or processing facility “tour-worthy” so to speak. Thoroughly clean your plant prior to the visit, and double, triple, or quadruple check that your facility complies with safety regulations. The last thing you’d want is to have inspectors, customers, clients, and possible investors and business partners to see a poorly-kept processing plant.
If you have enough time prior to the visit, you may even do a paint job and aesthetic improvements to the exteriors and interiors (just make sure you plan and schedule it in a way that won’t obstruct your plant’s operations). If you have any unpainted or old storage tanks in and outside your facility, it’s recommended to have professionally painted by companies or businesses offering industrial tank painting — not only would they make them more aesthetically pleasing, a good coating can also prevent rust and corrosion which can lead to leaks and contamination. Adding or transforming one of your facility’s spaces or rooms into a comfortable waiting area can also be quite beneficial.
Plan the Tour with Safety and Comfort in Mind
Be aware of your facility’s environment, and plot out the tour by walking through your plant. Take note of areas that have loud noises, have slipping hazards, or are too risky to go through without the use of specialized equipment. If the plant tour includes going through a high-decibel area due to loud machinery, always provide headsets and headphones so you can muffle the noise but still be able to communicate. You also may need to prepare and provide other safety equipment such as masks, goggles, boots, coats, and aprons depending on the areas of the facility you’ll be going through. It’s also important for you to provide drinking water (or areas with water fountains) in case you’ll be going through humid or hot areas in the facility.
Get a Good Spokesperson or Guide
It’s not enough to assign someone who knows the ins and outs of your factory to lead the tour. You need to find (and perhaps even train) someone in the company who can effectively communicate with the group being guided and can answer any questions from the group. Knowledge paired with a good personality and charisma can turn any regular plant tour into a more than a worthwhile experience.
These are only the basics of what you can do in order to improve your plant tour, and you can go beyond and devise your own improvements in order to give high-quality tours to clients, customers, and investors. Just make sure that you always tailor your tour to the type of visitor who’ll be in the tour, so you can make necessary adjustments especially on planning the tour layout and who will be guiding the group.