The most recent episode of “Undercover Boss” featured Denny Slagle, president and CEO of Mack Trucks Inc. Other top execs should get out from behind their desks and learn more about plant operations.
Like millions of other Americans, I tuned into “Undercover Boss” on CBS the other evening. The TV show featured Denny Slagle, president and CEO of Mack Trucks Inc. (a division of AB Volvo), working in disguise on several of the company’s assembly lines. In case you missed it, click here to view some clips, including a few bonus scenes.
I’m always somewhat skeptical of “reality” shows like “Undercover Boss.” But, I’m all-in for anything that gives the general public a peek inside America’s impressive assembly lines. Too bad there aren’t more opportunities like that to showcase the talented men and women who build all sorts of cool products every day.
Slagle sure had an eye-opening experience working in several of his company’s facilities. For instance, while assembling diesel engines at the Volvo powertrain plant in Hagerstown, MD, he struggled to keep up and caused downstream production to come to a halt. At Mack’s final assembly line in Macungie, PA, Slagle had trouble handling an impact wrench while installing a front bumper.
Along the way, Slagle also encountered proud assemblers fearful for their jobs and upset about a lack of communication with Mack’s leadership. Does any of that sound familiar?
Slagle claims that the emotional experience changed his outlook on manufacturing. “I came away from this with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by our front-line employees,” he points out.
Even though it was a made-for-TV show, I applaud Slagle for spending some time on his company’s assembly lines. However, I hope he uses the experience to enact some positive change at Mack’s U.S. factories. Hopefully, Slagle will spend more time on the line in the future . . . when the cameras aren’t rolling. And, I encourage other top execs to get out from behind their desks and learn more about how their plants operate.
As ASSEMBLY magazine has been preaching for years, there’s a lot of world-class manufacturing that takes place right here in the United States. If you know of any facilities worthy of recognition, I encourage you to nominate them for the 2011 Assembly Plant of the Year Award. Click here for more details, including a nomination form.