What business advice can you offer a manufacturer who’s even more iconic than Elon Musk, Ohno Taiichi and Henry Ford combined (and even more eccentric than Elon Musk)? Well actually quite a bit…
A Rich And Telling Tale…
Ever since Roald Dahl published Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 1964, people have been industriously interpreting the children’s novel – as well as the two film versions that followed in 1971 and 2005.
Is it an allegory of the rich versus the poor? Is it a marketing handbook on how to totally engage your audience by simply offering five golden tickets for a tour of a factory? Is its message that life is karmic – with good children being rewarded and bad children being turned into blueberries? Or is it simply a warning call against the rise of childhood diabetes?
What Can Willy Wonka Teach Manufacturers?
Certainly, Willy Wonka does offer some inspiring insights for manufacturers. For instance, the fact he’s looking to find a worthy successor who he can then train with “all my most precious candy-making secrets while I am still alive” is commendable. In this age of a graying workforce, passing on the knowledge has only become more essential.
“If the good lord intended us to walk, he never would’ve invented roller skates.”
— Willy Wonka
Also, his workforce of Oompa Loompas certainly seems self-motivated – and the fact they regularly break out into song and dance, is obviously a great morale booster. In addition, Wonka’s tireless R&D – producing such game-changing products as the everlasting gobstopper or lick-able wallpaper – should be celebrated.
“Invention is 93% perspiration 6% inspiration 3% perspiration and 2% butter scotch ripple.”
— Willy Wonka
But regardless of how gleaming and modern his factory comes over, it still seems in desperate need for an industry 4.0 update. In other words, it would be a huge help for Willie Wonka to get real-time insights into what’s happening in his factory.
Helping Wonka Reach For The Manufacturing Stars
For instance, if Wonka was backed by a Machine Health Solution, he’d no longer risk being unable to fill orders in the holiday season due to unplanned downtime. The Oompa Loompas would know which machines to focus on and where they could extend production without risk of catastrophic failure. In addition, with the increased level of job satisfaction, the Oompa Loompas would be happier and less likely to get recruited by The Wizard to make the leap to Oz.
In terms of the lovely product in itself, with less downtime, there would be less negative impact due to spoiled milk or other raw materials. There would also be less negative impact caused by spoiled children, such as with Veruca Salt. The change in vibration and machine behavior caused by her being sucked into the garbage shoot would be easy to track and actions could be taken to mitigate the potential damage to the downstream equipment.
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”
— Willy Wonka
As for Augustus Gloop falling in the chocolate river? Apart from the ESG impact of having to pour all that chocolate down the drain rather than make candy from it (assuming they did that, or … yuck), there’s the impact on gross margins from wasted raw materials.
Willy may say there’s magic in the way he makes his candy. But the predictive capabilities of machine health are like magic themselves – and far more scalable.
And then there’s the matter of process health. Wouldn’t our eccentric friend also benefit from knowing the optimal conditions he needs to make the best chocolate? Or something as deliriously exceptional as an everlasting gobstopper?
Great Chocolate Every Single Time
Certainly, if you really want to know how the best confectioners make an impact on the happiness of kids worldwide, they’re doing it today with process health – and without kids in rivers, girls turning into blueberries, or flying elevators zooming by. Just great chocolate every single time.
In conclusion (and to paraphrase Willy Wonka himself):
Q: “Do you know what happened to those who got everything they wanted in terms of production health?”
A: “They lived happily ever after.”