Lessons From the Factory Floor

“I’ve been diagnosed with a brain tumor. I’m going back to England”

Those were the words that my head of manufacturing told me a week before catching a plane from Kingston, Jamaica, home to London. Of course I was totally blown away for David. He was in his early 30’s, full of energy, and very experienced in apparel manufacturing. In the midst of my sadness for him was a rising panic. We were just 6 months into a multi-million dollar contract with Fruit of the Loom.  We were leveraged up to our eyeballs, with hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in our new factory, and there was a lot of fine print in our contract. We had to perform.

Problem; it is not easy finding experienced top level management in Jamaica…

… just like it’s not easy finding leaders in your Networking business. I knew nothing about running a factory. I know how to run a business. I knew how to bring in sales; the factory was booked solid for 3 years. Overnight I went from the boss upstairs in the air conditioned office to grunt overseeing the assembly line. Problem is I was completely clueless.

It was like getting in the ring with Mike Tyson, I didn’t stand a chance. If I could have, I would have bitten my own ear and gotten it over with.

Luckily I had been reading two books; The Goal and It’s Not Luck by Eli Goldratt (two of the best Network Marketing books that are not about Network Marketing). Like a great detective novel, these books unravel the mystery of the Theory of Constraints.

“What the heck are you talking about”, you might wonder. What does any of this have to do with Network Marketing or Internet Marketing?

Little did I know that this crisis was going to lay the foundation for Network Marketing success. But before that happened I was going to have to beat the crap out of my proverbial Mike Tyson.

I soon discovered that the factory was really a disaster. Our Manager was not as good as I thought and there were underlying issues that were about to kick us in the, well, I’ll keep it clean but we were in trouble. Using the ‘in the ring with Mike Tyson’ analogy I knew that if I didn’t move fast he was going to knock me out. We would not meet our contract requirements and we would have hell to pay.

The Theory of Constraints taught me a logical sequence to turn the factory around, to “push the bottlenecks forward” and to eventually “break the bottlenecks”. We turned it around. We were meeting our deliveries. None of it mattered. We found out too late that FOTL had opened their own factories in Mexico and El Salvador. They yanked our contract, we had no other customers and we were bleeding cash and could not fight back. In short, we sold the factory at fire sale price and I was knocking on the door of bankruptcy.

What was in store next was like getting in the ring with 5 Mike Tyson’s, and I got my _ _ _ kicked!

(Coming soon: How implementing the theory of constraints took my Networking Business to the top.)

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