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A Halloween Haunting: Scary Stories for Manufacturers

October 29, 2018

We love the manufacturing industry. And some of us also love celebrating Halloween. 

What if we combined these two things by re-imagining some of today’s most popular thrillers set in a manufacturing environment?

It’s not that farfetched. Let’s explore some ideas.

The Plant Manager’s Tale

Set in a dystopian future, this drama chronicles life in a totalitarian state with a single focus: manufacturing. It’s all about assembly line output.

You can even hear it in the way people greet each other: “Blessed be the output.”

In this restrictive society, one person is valued above all others: the plant manager. We follow the story of Todd, a plant manager who’s owned by his company and is even forced to take on the company’s name. It’s a tense environment: if Todd can’t produce output, he could be banished to the fringes of the factory and forced to clean up scrap.

Todd’s one comfort is the Plex Manufacturing Cloud. In those brief moments when the overseers aren’t watching him, Todd logs onto Plex on his iPad. From an intuitive dashboard, he can monitor and optimize all aspects of his company’s manufacturing operations and ensure the highest levels of output. Thanks to Plex, Todd’s job—and perhaps his very life—is safe for now.

Stranger Things About Inventory

When a critical shipment of raw materials goes missing, an entire manufacturing plant springs into action. But the more they explore the causes and look for clues on the whereabouts of the materials, the deeper they get pulled into the mystery. Something extraordinary has happened—something beyond the realm of spreadsheets, email trails, and paper invoices.

In the end, nobody can find the answers except for one person: the plant manager. Channeling a supernatural force he refers to only as “the cloud,” he accesses a digital paper trail of all the plant’s transactions and activities. To the amazement of all the plant workers, he begins to provide clues about the missing supplies. They are not in the upside down – they were scanned in at the receiving dock of a warehouse. They sat in inventory for exactly 19 days. But then they were needed elsewhere, so they were placed in a truck to another warehouse.

Plant workers rally around their plant manager as they attempt to recover the missing materials—and their old way of life.

House of Quality

Furious over his betrayal by his company’s CEO, who had promised him a big promotion only to bestow the honor on a rival employee, a plant quality manager named Hank Overwood decides to seize power on his own terms. His angle? Product quality.

Using cloud ERP to gain real-time visibility into product quality, Overwood systematically sets up and exposes various colleagues who are loyal to the CEO—and who only have access to paper-based, after-the-fact quality reports.

In one episode, Overwood feigns enthusiasm for a high-ranking VP’s totally uninspiring plan to reduce scrap rates at the plant. Only in a boardroom presentation does Overwood reveal that the plant is doing very little to prevent manufacturing defects in the first place. The VP resigns in disgrace.

In another episode, a regulatory audit causes panic throughout the plant. Overwood is nowhere to be found, leading many shop floor staff to speculate that he can’t take the heat. Only after staff has spent days rifling through file cabinets with increasing desperation does Overwood emerge with automatically populated templates that demonstrate beyond a doubt the plant’s adherence to product quality standards. From that day on, shop floor staff view him with a sense of awe.

Okay, so maybe these are a little farfetched. We’re glad that your day to day life in manufacturing is not as dramatic. We hope you enjoyed reading our plot synopses.

Happy Halloween!

About the Author

Kaitlin Rebella Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Plex Systems