We (within building products) often struggle implementing a strong, manageable continuous improvement program within plants. The vast majority of new directors and managers inherit old, tired factories, with the lions share of workers having worked within their roles for decades. Change is all to often painful and cumbersome.
I have recruited a number of senior Plant Directors, Manufacturing Managers and CI Managers over the past four years within building materials. Often MD's and Operation Directors who commission me to do searches for such roles are most interested in changing the factories mind set to lean and what it means. Having sweated assets near to death, there is often a need to look more sensibly at manufacturing processes.
The "Rapid Plant Assessment" questionnaire outlined by Eugene Goodson below would be a very useful starting point when assessing your plant ahead of such investment.
After that experience, I resolved to train our managers—and myself—to approach a plant tour with an educated eye, one that could discern a plant’s strengths and weaknesses as accurately as the Japanese managers had read ours. The Rapid Plant Assessment (RPA) process, the tool I’ve developed over the years to accomplish this task, has been used in more than 400 tours of over 150 operations since 1998