Whether you’re expecting state legislatures, corporate officials, or potential investors, you and your team should always be prepared to give quality, effective plant tours. There are a few things you can do to ensure a positive experience, and of course, the highest level of safety when touring guests around your plant.
1. Maintain good housekeeping before the visit.
While it might not seem as though appearance matters, it does when you host visitors. Especially when your visitors might be used to working in a corporate office environment. Make sure you cover the basics: dispose of waste, keep your floors and windows clean, and make sure the general layout of your plant is neat and orderly.
2. Be a generous host.
Does your plant produce a food or beverage that your guests can sample? If so, offer them one upon arrival or at an appropriate time during the tour. Anything you can do to make the tour experience more authentic, the better received the visit will be. Distribute product samples, look at prototypes, and offer some sort of souvenir that embodies what you manufacture.
3. Double (and triple) check compliance regulations.
Before you allow anyone into your facility, check to make sure all of your operating equipment and machinery comply with federal regulations. Then, check them again. You’ll want to verify safety and environmental compliance and make sure your plant is in accordance with all of them.
4. Emphasize safety.
Speaking of safety, it’s extremely important to provide your guests with the proper safety equipment upon arrival. Lend them safety glasses, headsets, gloves, and anything else that might be necessary for a safe experience in your plant. In this situation, the phrase “better safe than sorry” truly applies.
5. Use the right spokesperson.
Finding the right person to give your plant tour is key to providing your visitors with a quality experience. You want to choose someone who will engage the audience, make the tour interesting, and also be able to answer any questions the visitors might have. Devote some quality time to making sure you find the right person and ensuring they are prepared.
6. Ensure effective communication.
Allowing your tour guide to be heard, and ensuring that he or she can effectively communicate with the guests throughout the visit is perhaps the most important element of a plant tour. Utilize two-way or listen-through headsets to protect your visitors hearing but also allow for conversations to take place.
7. Show off what you do.
Throughout the tour, don’t be afraid to highlight what you and your team do exceptionally well. Take the time to explain innovations your plant has worked on and how you do things differently than your competitors. This is a time when it’s okay to tastefully brag about why your plant does things better and how you’re at the leading edge of your field.
8. Make your commentary engaging.
Good tour guides will explain machinery and processes to the visitors. Great tour guides will use examples and anecdotes to bring their machinery and processes to life. Think about ways you can incorporate relevant stories into your tour so that your audience stays engaged and interested. Show your visitors that your plant is more than just machinery and assembly lines, and prove that it fosters a hard-working team and innovative technology.
9. Introduce key team members throughout the tour.
In addition to using anecdotes and stories to illustrate your tour, engage the team as much as possible throughout. Identify and introduce key players in the plant to your guests and explain their role. Doing this will add a personal, human touch the plant tour experience and overall, will make it more memorable.
10. Document the tour, if appropriate.
If you’re giving a plant tour to a significant community member, a government official, or any other public figure, arrange for someone to take photos and/or capture video footage of the tour. This will be great press for your plant and might attract other key influencers to your company.
11. Ask for questions.
Using two-way headsets will allow your visitors to ask questions throughout the tour. If you don’t have access to a wireless communication system, make sure you end the tour in a quiet area so that your visitors can also ask questions before they leave. Use a Quiet Room or a space outside the plant itself to thank your guests for coming and address any final questions or concerns.
12. Follow up after the tour.
Send your visitors a thank-you card for taking a tour of your plant. If any of the participants were key government or corporate influencers, you’ll want to maintain those relationships and stay in touch in way that’s appropriate and professional.
Which of these tips are you already implementing into your plant tour strategy? What other tips do you have for improving plant tours? Let us know in the comments!