Win The Shift

When your operators are equipped to hit a production target and “win the shift,” you’re guaranteed to win your week, month, and quarter.


Many operators don’t know what the target is for their shift, or if they’re currently on-track to hit that target. They start their shift not knowing what a ‘win’ is, and leave at the end of the shift not knowing if they ‘won’ or ‘lost’. Not only do we all like to go home knowing that we ‘won’ today, but if you set a target then your team is much more likely to hit it!

A simple test: Go out to the factory floor. Find an operator. And ask two simple questions:

  • “What is your target for this shift?”
  • “How far ahead or behind this target are you, right now?”

If your operator can’t quickly and accurately provide this information, you have an opportunity to help them win their shift today. When your teams are regularly winning their shift, you will consistently win the week, month, and quarter.

This page provides a simple and effective way to help you set and beat your production targets.

Plan to Win

Your favorite teams don't win games by accident. Before each game, they create a plan. The plan has contingencies if the play goes off-track. Then they execute the plan, and adjust the play as they go. The manufacturing version of this strategy is:

Planning before during and after the shift will help you reach manufacturing production goals
To ensure your operators win the shift, create a plan and adjust actions if the team starts to fall behind.


Start the shift with a quick (maximum 5 minute) stand-up meeting with the operators to:

  • Agree on the shift target. Be specific. (e.g., pieces, pallets, pounds, packets, etc.)
  • Identify known potential issues. (e.g., changeovers, material changes, operator needing training.)
  • Identify any open problems from the last shift. (e.g., unresolved breakdowns, material issues.)
  • Agree on a simple action plan so that people know what to focus on, when to call for help, and who to call if they fall behind.


Track production in real-time. If the team falls too far behind their target, intervene quickly to help them get back on track. This might involve:

  • Allocating engineering resources to a machine that’s having technical issues.
  • Carrying out some on-the-job training if an operator is struggling.
  • Resolving material issues that are causing running problems.
  • Rebalancing the allocation of operators across machines.

For a more robust approach, consider implementing a Short Interval Control process. Short Interval Control is a structured process for reviewing production every 2 or 4 hours to identify a small number of improvement actions.


Many teams miss this important step and miss valuable information as a result. At the end of the shift – gather the team for a quick debrief. Capture what worked and what didn’t.

  • Did the team hit their shift target?
  • If they did, what should be repeated on the next shift (and briefed to people on other shifts)?
  • If they didn’t hit their shift target, what should be done differently for the next shift?

Publish these actions in the team area and use them in your next Plan-to-Win session.

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Track Production in Real Time

The biggest challenge that most teams face is – how do we accurately track production vs. the target?

Manual Data Capture

The traditional approach to monitoring production is to use an hour-by-hour whiteboard. Hour-by-hour or ‘Production Control’ boards are heavily featured in the Toyota Production System (TPS) as a way of visually managing production and particularly to balance the schedule and manage production flow.

A typical hourly production board tracks the required hourly target and an accumulated hourly target and compares these targets to the actual production and an accumulation of production for the entire shift.

There are three big challenges with hour-by-hour production boards:

  • Updates: If someone doesn’t manually update the board, the data is immediately out of date.
  • Accuracy: If you run products at different speeds, it is hard to set a real target. Many teams use a target based on an average rate—that doesn’t create a true target.
  • History: Once the board is cleaned…the data is gone forever!

Automated Data Capture

Two great benefits from tracking production with an automated monitoring system is that it will be accurate (tracking products by part) and that it will provide real-time feedback (either on the machine with a visual display, or on a computer as a dashboard).

We find that the best way to track production in real-time is to use a combination of metrics that we call “TAED”: Target, Actual, Efficiency, Downtime. These are:

  • Target: Real-time count of good parts that should have been manufactured.
  • Actual: Real-time count of good parts that actually were manufactured.
  • Efficiency: Ratio of actual good parts to target good parts.
  • Downtime: Downtime for most companies is the largest loss and a component of OEE Availability.

By comparing Target to Actual, your team can pace production in real time. They are winning the shift when the Efficiency is at 100% or more. At the end of the shift, the display could then provide instant feedback telling the team that they’ve beaten the target:

TAED displays provide real-time factory-floor data to increase productivity and help win the shift
TAED displays show Target, Actual, Efficiency, and Downtime. An efficiency of 100% or more, means that you are “winning the shift”.

If you have multiple machines or processes, an automated system can provide a real-time dashboard for every machine. This will help your managers to allocate resources across the production floor to ensure that every team can win their shift.

Real-time dashboards show target and actual counts across machines to help allocate resourcess
The All Production page shows target and actual counts for multiple devices, so that you can allocate resources across the team.


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