By far, the single most-appreciated fringe benefit that I have enjoyed (even above the accumulation of frequent traveler points) in my thirty-year career in sales and use tax is the plant tour. I thoroughly enjoy donning up in a hard hat, safety goggles and steel-toe shoes to tour the factory floor. I like to see first-hand things being made.
I have had the pleasure of touring plants over the years and have seen a multitude of items being manufactured – from sausage to steel. I have covered nearly every foot of a 1.3-million-square-foot tissue and diaper plant. I have enjoyed the aroma of baked goods cooking in ovens larger than my kitchen. I have also sweated my way through hot extrusion processes ending the tour in soaking wet clothes. All of the tours were intriguing and pleasurable. As a matter of fact, plant tours are one of the best things about my job.
Today is Manufacturing Day. It is the day set aside to celebrate modern manufacturing in the hope to change the perception of manufacturing careers for future generations. Many factories will have their doors open to the public, a specific school group, or a scheduled event. To find a local event – and possibly a plant tour in your area today – go to www.mfgday.com. Celebrate manufacturing. Introduce manufacturing to children, youth groups, school clubs, and peers.
If you cannot find a plant to tour today, don’t wait until next year. Many U.S. manufacturing facilities are open to the public year-round for plant tours. You can even find museums about the evolution of products manufactured in the United States. Popular Mechanics’ July/August 2016 issue featured an article titled, “21 Great American Factory Tours You Can Take Right Now.” Among the 21 factory tours scattered across America mentioned in the article are iconic names like Airstream (Jackson Center, Ohio), Coors Brewing Co. (Golden, Colorado), Harley-Davidson (York, Pennsylvania), Jelly Belly (Fairfield, California), Lodge Cast Iron Manufacturing (South Pittsburg, Tennessee), and Tabasco (Avery Island, Louisiana). See Mark Schmit’s blog post for Manufacturing Innovation on August 2, 2016 titled “Manufacturing as a Vacation Destination.” He references the article and the factory tours as well as nurtures the spirit of October’s Manufacturing Day Celebration.
Pack up the car and make a plant tour an outing with the family. Find a plant tour in your local area. Either way, enjoy a plant tour soon and Happy Manufacturing Day!