How to Give an Effective Plant Tour
A tour of your company’s operations is one of the most effective ways you can get to know your Members of Congress, while at the same time educating them about important issues facing the industry. Below are some tips to help you make the most of a visit by your legislator.
Scheduling a Visit: Send your legislator a formal invitation and then follow up with his/her appointment secretary. Send the invitation well in advance and make sure the tour is scheduled during a time when he/she is expected to be in the district/state. (The weeks of Memorial Day or Independence Day, or the month-long August Recess, are good-weather times when legislators will generally be in town.) Be flexible and cognizant of busy schedules. Advise the appointment secretary that the legislator should dress in comfortable clothes.
Good Housekeeping: Follow general good housekeeping procedures to impress you legislator and make his/her visit more pleasurable. Make sure you sweep or hose down the yard to control dust, wash trucks’ mixers, and properly dispose of wastes that cannot be recycled or reused.
Regulatory Compliance: Be certain that your operations are in compliance with federal regulations…especially safety and environmental regulations!
Competent Spokesperson: Ensure that the person giving the tour is personable and knowledgeable about the company’s history, operations and activities.
Toot Your Own Horn: Explain innovative compliance techniques or equipment you have invested in (for example, a mechanical reclaimer for returned concrete.) Point out where you have gone above and beyond what is required. Discuss good safety records, community relations activities, or awards/recognition your company has received. Prepare a written summary of the impact your company had on the district/state (including number of people employed, amount of production, etc.)
Use Examples: When discussing legislative and regulatory issues with your legislator, use specific examples to demonstrate how your operations are affected.
Publicity: Have a photographer take pictures during the tour. Consider inviting local media but be certain to clear any publicity arrangements first with the legislator’s press secretary.
Follow-up: Send a thank you letter to the legislator for visiting your plant. Continue to cultivate your relationship with your legislator by visiting or calling periodically. You could also consider working on his/her next campaign or making a financial contribution to his/her re-election efforts.