Useful Tips for Organizing a Plant Tour
Visiting a facility during an official tour, be it a factory, an office building, or any other type of company, is extremely important for a wide variety of reasons. As an investor, someone might want to look into potential businesses that can earn them an excellent return profit. And as a potential worker, they might want to get to know a future employer a bit more intimately. Obviously, people can look at feedback, user reviews, quarterly earnings reports, and other details. But in all honesty, seeing the company’s gears turning in person really is the best way to judge whether someone would want to be involved with this company or not, no matter the capacity.
That’s why tour organizing is exceptionally vital. A business owner like yourself will have to put their best foot forward in order to impress the visitors. And it all comes down to proper organization. There are many ways you can host a tour, but finding a list of the ones that work is surprisingly difficult.
Luckily, we’re here to help. In this article, we’re going to provide you with some of the most useful tips for organizing a company tour. These tips are guaranteed to get you new investors and workers, impress your higher-ups, and boost your credibility as a business owner.
Let’s say that you own a manufacturing facility that makes a lot of noise daily. Hosting a company tour would be difficult there, but not impossible. So, in order to protect your visitors from excessive noise and allow them to hear you comment on your day-to-day activities, you will need to provide them with high noise communication headsets. On the other hand, if your facility has a lot of overhead risk (like a construction site), your visitors will need hard hats. Some areas might even require a safety suit.
If your visitors feel safe during the tour, you can rest easy knowing that they’ll consider your factory just as safe. However, don’t go overboard with the precautions. For example, a typical office business doesn’t really need noise-canceling headsets or safety glasses for eye protection.
Plan Your Attack
Nothing, it seems, can be more complicated than planning a perfect company tour. Sure, it makes sense to do the basics first, like announce the tour online or print invitations in advance. However, once your prospective clients are there, what should you show them, and how should you do it?
It seems like a simple step, but a lot of business owners fail to have the best openers, so to speak. They fail to provide basic, proper introductions to their companies, which can instantly disinterest or outright bore the listener. And that can be incredibly damaging for your business’s future.
Let the Venture Speak for Itself
When the visitors are taking your tour, they will pay attention to three details in particular, whether consciously or otherwise:
- The appearance of your enterprise
- The products on display
- Your employees and staff
Provide for the Visitors
Some businesses offer food and beverages. Others hand out shopping vouchers and/or gift cards. Yet others rely on standard-issue stationery gift packages. And one or two might even opt for an unusual gift, like a short weekend trip somewhere or an company branded toy. No matter what it is, a free gift is always welcome.
Naturally, as a business owner, you don’t have to provide a single thing during the tour. It’s not mandatory, nor is it a guarantee that you will land more investors or employees that way. However, it’s definitely better to be remembered as a generous business owner rather than as a frugal one.
Display Company Issues
Yes, it sounds contradictory, but you will want to be upfront with your visitors. Stating the key flaws in your business the right way will show that you are willing to improve and that you’re not afraid to admit your shortcomings. But even beyond that, it’s a great selling point for the business if you manage to display said issues in the right way. Frame each failure and misfire as an opportunity to learn.
In São Paulo, Brazil, you can immediately recognize the Mahle Metal Leve Tech Center because of how easily it blends with the surrounding environment. It looks like a little hill with all of the natural elements implemented seamlessly with the factory’s architecture. Aerzen’s Coastville, PA facility is also environmentally friendly, with its rooftop garden and a rainwater recycling system. Or how about a pipe rolling factory in Chelyabinsk, Russia, that looks like a pleasant, wood-floored office space with tree saplings and vivid colors? And let’s not forget that Penfield factory in Syracuse with a house on top of it.
You can already recognize the pattern here. If you want your tour to succeed, offer something unique and one-of-a-kind to your tour guests. It doesn’t even have to be something huge, like in the examples above. You can try something as simple as having a gaming room with all the latest consoles, or a small indoor mini-golf course.
The Bottom Line
Company tours can be tricky, even to seasoned businesspeople. So, if and when you decide on organizing one, approach it carefully. However, don’t take small missteps and missed opportunities to heart. Instead, use them as a learning experience and improve your next company tour, as well as all others that will inevitably follow.
Author: Rick Farrell, President, Plant-Tours.com
Farrell is North America’s foremost expert in improving manufacturing group communication, education, training and group hospitality processes. He has over 40 years of group hospitality experience, most recently serving as President of Plant-Tours.com for the last 18 years. He has provided consulting services with the majority of Fortune 500 industrial corporations improving group communication dynamics of all types in manufacturing environments.