It’s all common sense, but I’ve seen it happen all too often not to say it. And since we promised we’d be with you, celebrating your tobacco business wins and supporting you with advice through the lows, here’s what we’d rather not see you do: 

1. “They’ll figure it out.”

“What’s the big deal about training staff to operate a tobacco machine?” you might say. Not so fast, though. In tobacco, we work with tiny, fragile objects, at speeds way beyond what’s perceivable to the eye. Preparation and instruction are difficult.

What we are after is installing a routine to exploit your tobacco machine, and that means your staff will develop reflexes and very good knowledge of possible mishaps. They must be able to immediately diagnose the issue and know where exactly to place their hand to fix it. Figuring it out takes time. A lot. And time is actually production time.

Never underestimate the importance of training your technicians. It will happen either way: before starting production, the safe way. Or during a crisis, as they figure things out while you would be bleeding cash. Play smart!

2. Floor it!

Once you’re in production, you may be tempted to speed up. Faster means more product, and that’s potentially more sales, right? Not really. What you are after is predictability. That is your North Star. What do I mean?

It’s worlds apart better to produce steadily, even at low speeds, as long as you can do it consistently. Going beyond your speed comfort zone brings about too many unknowns, which generally translate into long production downtime. On average, this reads underperformance by a mile. Plus higher maintenance costs for your tobacco machine. Plus high personnel turnover as your technicians lose motivation (Entrepreneurs like you and me are in it for better or worse. But your staff rarely is. They’re there for the wages.) Spare yourself the sleepless nights and the money and go steady. If you just got your driver’s license, you don’t just sign up for Formula 1, do you?

3. “Manuals? They’re here, somewhere.”

You know the saying: practice makes perfect. And it’s true. But in the tobacco business, there is no practice without procedures and routines. For your tobacco business to work, they have to be carved in stone. It’s that important. You will need procedures for each step of the production process.

And once something is well done as per the procedure, don’t change it (at least not until all works well for the entire production process. By then, changing would be a whole different business, in the realm of upgrades and improvement. For more on that, read 5 resolutions for your tobacco business in 2018 [link].)

Tried and tested procedures are as good as a winning lottery ticket. Loading loaves of bread in the oven is one thing. Producing quality cigarettes is a whole different business. Error is close and very costly. Stay safe with the best insurance there is: your rock solid procedures.

As always, the solution is details specific. For your further questions, actual case studies on these and any other issues, book a call. We’d be so glad to hear from you and help. [link]

Photo credit: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash