TABLE OF CONTENTS
Showcase Your Facility, Build Relationships
Conducting manufacturing facility visits for members of Congress and their staff is a good way to build relationships for your company and increase support for an agenda that is driving America’s competitiveness. Facility tours provide excellent opportunities for lawmakers to meet with their constituents, hear the success stories and the struggles that manufacturers face and see first-hand how their policies work in real life. Facility tours educate lawmakers on the importance of manufacturing’s role in the economy
These visits can provide excellent press opportunities for your company. Better yet, the member of Congress will remember your role in your community and your hospitality. This guide will help you plan, prepare for and conduct a successful facility tour and ensure that your experience is as effective as possible.
Manufacturers are driving our competitiveness agenda, and it’s our job to support you along the way. We encourage you to contact us with any thoughts or questions on how to host a successful facility tour.
Facility Tour Checklist
Setting up the Facility Tour (Skip to Section)
Decide who to invite.
Send the invitation.
Track and confirm RSVPs and follow up as necessary.
Coordinate length of event with congressional staff.
Distribute memo of visit to employees.
Planning for the Media (Skip to Section)
Clear media participation/attendance with congressional office.
Draft a media advisory, if desired.
Prepare area for news media.
Prepare a message from the CEO.
Organizing the Facility Tour (Skip to Section)
Put together internal planning group, if necessary.
Decide who will meet with the legislator.
Craft lawmaker introduction.
Establish look and feel of welcome area.
Reserve a room for the guest to address your staff.
Create name badges for guest and staff.
Determine required safety equipment.
Brief tour guide(s).
Craft tour script.
Prepare an information package.
Research lawmaker’s background.
Research talking points, your company story, current events, legislative tasks, etc.
Prepare a map of the tour route.
Write out questions for the lawmaker.
Preparing Displays & Literature (Skip to Section)
Determine product display, if applicable.
Gather company literature and background materials.
Display NAM materials, if appropriate.
Provide list of attendees’ names and companies.
Preparing for Arrival (Skip to Section)
Designate a note taker.
Determine what machinery will be in operation.
Provide directions to the facility.
Welcome guest on arrival.
Conducting the Tour (Skip to Section)
Provide safety equipment to tour guests, if applicable.
Show lawmaker how your production line works.
Let your visitor be an active participant.
Mention any prepared talking points during the tour.
Following Up After the Tour (Skip to Section)
Send thank-you note to guest(s).
Thank your own staff.
Send photos to members of Congress.
Tell the NAM about the tour.
Provide press coverage.
Use social media to recap the tour.
Continue to communicate with the lawmaker post-event.
Setting up the Facility
Decide Who to Invite
Is this a visit for candidates, other members of Congress and/or congressional staff? Consider starting with a local or state staff person and working up to a visit from the presidential candidate or elected official. A staff-level visit can be just as important as a member visit.
Send the Invitation (See Example Below)
Send a letter to the candidate and staff explaining who you are and what you would like to showcase. Include directions to the facility, as well as a requested amount of time. When inviting a legislator for a facility tour, be flexible and allow for several options. Once a date is set, be prepared for last-minute schedule changes. The ideal time to schedule a tour is during a recess period. They generally occur during the following holiday periods:
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day (mid-January)
Presidents’ Day (mid-February)
Easter/Passover (March or April)
Memorial Day (late May)
Independence Day (July 4)
Summer (August through the week after Labor Day)
Rosh Hashanah (late September or early October)
Yom Kippur (10 days after Rosh Hashanah)
Columbus Day (early October)
Veterans Day (early November)
Late December through early January
Track and Confirm RSVPs and Follow Up as Necessary
Call the candidate’s scheduler to make sure the invitation has been received. Make follow-up phone calls if the scheduler has not gotten back to you to confirm the lawmaker’s visit. Don’t be discouraged if a visit is not scheduled immediately. Be flexible and persistent. Invite him or her to drop by for a tour and cup of coffee the next time he or she passes through town. Most candidates will occasionally have a few minutes of free time during a busy campaign schedule. Leave the date open-ended, and the candidate may take you up on your invitation.
Coordinate Length of Event With Congressional Staff
Once the scheduler confirms the lawmaker is able to attend, work out a length of time for the facility tour. Determine how much time the lawmaker has for the visit. The tour itself should last approximately 30–60 minutes.
Distribute Memo of Visit to Employees
Share the news with employees of the lawmaker’s planned visit and encourage them to attend.
Sample Email Invitation to Member of Congress
The Honorable John/Jane Doe
United States House of Representatives/United States Senate
Washington, DC 20515/20510
Dear Representative/Senator Doe:
I am writing to invite you to participate in a facility tour here at [company name]. As a member of the
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), we encourage every member of Congress to visit the
facilities of their local manufacturers for the opportunity to see how we’re competing to win!
[Insert information describing your company in two to three sentences. Include the number of
employees.] This facility tour is an informal opportunity for you to see our facility and speak candidly
with our employees. The format usually calls for the tour, brief refreshments, open discussion with our
employees (including a question and comment period) and a photo opportunity. We expect the entire
event to take no more than 60 minutes. Let me suggest the following dates:
[Insert Day, Month, Date—suggested time frame]
[Insert Day, Month, Date—suggested time frame]
[Insert Day, Month, Date—suggested time frame]
We sincerely hope you will accept our invitation to participate. Please let me know at your earliest
convenience if one of these dates is convenient. If not, please feel free to suggest alternative dates or
call or e-mail me directly at (PHONE) or (E-MAIL). Thank you and I look forward to working with you in
the near future.
Planning for the Media
Clear media participation/attendance with congressional office
Once the congressional office approves media attendance, contact your local media outlets, including large daily newspapers, as well as local weeklies. Offer to send your own report and photos to the paper.
Draft a media advisory, if desired (See Example Below)
Once the date is set, draft a media advisory containing the date, time, specific location, parking accommodations and lighting requirements, if any. Note whether the tour itself is open for press coverage and if the legislator will take questions after the tour. Give the location. E-mail the draft to the legislator’s local press officer for approval. When approved, fax or e-mail the advisory along with a press kit and company information to everyone on your press list.
Prepare area for news media
Arrange for an area outside of your facility for presentations, ribbon-cutting (if appropriate) and informal discussions with the news media. This area should be in front of your company’s signage or logo.
Prepare a message from the CEO
Prepare an “op-ed” or letter to the editor from your CEO to your local newspapers on an issue related to the legislator’s visit. Better yet, arrange a meeting with the newspapers’ editorial boards seeking support for your position. Reach out to local radio stations for an interview.
Sample Media Advisory
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[ DATE ]
[ NAME OF COMPANY ]
[ CONTACT NAME ]
[ EMAIL ADDRESS ]
[ PHONE NUMBER ]
[INSERT HEADLINE FOCUSED ON EVENT]
What: [Name of company and city, state] will host [name of lawmaker] for a facility tour tomorrow morning as part of an effort to make legislators more aware of both the benefits manufacturers bring to communities and the unprecedented challenges now facing America’s manufacturing sector.
The member of Congress will observe the facility’s production of [give a brief description of what the lawmaker will see while on the facility tour] and offer brief remarks to gathering employees.
[Company name] is a member company of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest industrial trade association in the United States, representing manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states.
Who: [ NAME OF LAWMAKER ]
[ COMPANY NAME ]
Where: [ COMPANY NAME ]
[ FACILITY ADDRESS ]
[ CITY, STATE, ZIP ]
When: [ DATE AND TIME ]
Organizing the Facility Tour
Put together internal planning group, if necessary
The planning group should be responsible for organizing the logistics of the facility tour.
Decide who will meet with the legislator
Don’t be concerned with party affiliation. After all, your intent is to develop a good rapport with public officials who may influence the future of your company and your industry.
Craft lawmaker introduction
Decide who will provide remarks and the topics you want to cover in welcoming the elected official.
Establish look and feel of welcome area
Determine how you want the entrance to your facility to appear when your guest arrives. Think about the type of signage you want to use and whether any displays will be set up here or somewhere else.
Reserve a room for the guest to address your staff
Determine the best room for the lawmaker to talk with your staff. Set up a podium and microphone if necessary and arrange seating. Determine if refreshments will be served.
Create name badges for guest and staff
Create name badges for your guest and any staff who accompanies him or her, as well as employees of your facility.
Determine required safety equipment
If your facility tour requires it, determine what safety equipment will be needed. These include construction helmets, goggles, gloves, etc.
Brief tour guide(s)
Inform your tour guide(s) of what the facility tour will entail (what machinery, if any, will be shown on the tour, who the guest will meet with and where, the length of the tour, etc.).
Craft tour script
Write out an outline of what you hope to cover during the facility tour.
Have a photographer on hand to take pictures of your lawmaker’s visit. These photos are excellent opportunities to publicize the event and for the lawmaker to remember the visit.
Prepare an information package
Prepare materials for the legislator that emphasizes the benefits that good manufacturing jobs bring to workers, suppliers and your area’s economy. Put together a one-pager that highlights your company’s characteristics and accomplishments.
Research lawmaker’s background
Research your guest’s biographical, political, business, social, educational and legislative background and voting record to identify areas of common interest. Find out what committees and subcommittees your lawmaker is on and try to match your legislative agenda with his or hers.
Research talking points, your company story, current events, legislative asks, etc.
Educate the legislator on the great things manufacturing does. Share your personal stories and examples of how government regulations and policies, as well as partisan politics and red tape, all impact manufacturing and your workers. Don’t just talk economic data or statistics.
Prepare a map of the tour route
Consult with employees to determine a route for the tour, noting which areas contain top-secret information or any safety hazards. These areas should be off-limits to the legislator, staff and press.
Write out questions for the lawmaker
Include any questions that you want to ask your lawmaker. These can be questions on regulations and policies that are currently in effect, proposed legislation, manufacturing in general, etc.
Determine product display, if applicable
Proudly display your product for your visitor to see. A special exhibit, promotional materials and company literature will enhance the visit.
Gather company literature and background materials
This information helps tell the story of your business to your guest. Include the story on your company history, philanthropic efforts, employee team news, etc.
Display NAM materials, if appropriate
Displaying NAM policy materials, literature, posters, etc., will serve as a reminder of your commitment to manufacturing.
Provide list of attendees’ names and companies
This is great to have for networking opportunities and putting names with faces.
Preparing for Arrival
Designate a note taker
Assign a team member to take notes on any discussions, if possible.
Determine what machinery will be in operation
This is important, especially if you plan to highlight or show a particular piece of machinery during the tour.
Provide directions to the facility
Ensure your guest knows what entrance to use; reserve a parking space for him or her.
Welcome guest on arrival
Greet officials at designated area. In the event of rain, provide an umbrella if possible. Hand out name badges. Prepare guests for the possibility of going through security before entering the facility.
Conducting the Tour
Provide safety equipment to tour guests, if applicable
Provide your guest with any items necessary for a tour, such as a construction helmet, safety goggles, gloves, etc.
Show lawmaker how your production line works
Show your guest how your machinery works, how different items are put together, what new technologies are being used and your workers’ overall productivity.
Let your visitor be an active participant
If feasible without shutting down production lines, offer your visitor the chance to address your entire workforce. Have the member of Congress do something “physical,” such as shake hands, participate in a ribbon-cutting, run a machine, examine your product or look at a computer screen. These are prime photo opportunities.
Mention any prepared talking points during the tour
You have an important story to tell, so prepare specific answers to expected questions, particularly about your company’s impact on your lawmaker’s district. When developing your presentation, work in the following information.
Success stories: Discuss how the facility has improved and contributed to the community. Inform visitors about your company’s history, including total investment in facilities and equipment. Discuss the impact that legislation (both positive and negative) has on your company.
Products manufactured: Describe how the products are used and where they are sold. Include the value of products you export.
Jobs: Discuss the number of people employed in your facility and others around the state or country; labor unions represented in your facility; and worker health, safety and training programs.
Payroll and benefits: Discuss wages and the types and value of employee benefits, including profit-sharing, recreational programs, voter registration activities, health or sports facilities, credit unions, child care, educational support and discount
purchases of company products. (Remind your visitor that each wage dollar multiplies in the wage earner’s community in the form of rent, food purchases, clothing purchases, medical expenses, etc., before it goes to out-of-town suppliers.)
Trade facts: Do you export? If so, do any of the current trade agreements impact your company?
Community impact: How much does your company pay in federal, state and local taxes? What are your local expenditures to purchase supplies, materials and services? Do you host town hall meetings? Does your company participate in community charities? Tell the legislator about your active role as a good corporate citizen.
Following Up After the Tour
Send thank-you note to guest(s)
Write a thank-you note reiterating any key issues discussed during the tour. Invite the legislator to return at any time. Consider inviting your legislator to your company’s annual picnic or other outing.
Thank your own staff
Recognize employees who contributed their time and expertise to make the tour a success.
Send photos to members of Congress
Many times photos you send to members of Congress will appear in a constituent newsletter, and often they will be posted on the legislator’s office wall, website and social media platforms.
Tell the NAM about the tour
Let the NAM elevate the success of your facility tour. Tell us how the tour went. Send us photos and press clippings. E-mail your information to the NAM’s Communications team.
Provide press coverage
Provide the lawmaker’s office with your company newsletter and other publicity the visit generated.
Use social media to recap the tour
Publish photos, details, etc., on company social media platforms. Coordinate with the NAM’s Communications team to post on the NAM’s primary platforms.
Continue to communicate with the lawmaker post-event
Offer the member substantive policy advice. Track how your legislator votes on future legislation, and express your thanks when he or she votes in favor of your positions.