Saying the manufacturing industry is competitive is like saying the sun is hot. The question isn’t the level of struggle among manufacturers. The real question is, where does your company sit amongst your competitors?
Manufacturing companies all over the United States are evolving to better serve their customers. What is yours doing? Optimizing your operations means implementing measures to make work as safe and easy for your employees as possible. It means fostering a culture in which all team members become key contributors and utilizing the latest technology to improve operations. Continue reading to get six tips to help manufacturing managers maximize their company’s potential.
1. Don’t delay when you see your factory needs upgrades.
You could have the most competent and dedicated staff in the manufacturing industry, and it wouldn’t mean a thing if they don’t have the necessary equipment to complete the job. Your workers can only be as effective as the tools they have at their disposal. It’s easy to blame them for lack of production and start making personnel cuts, but a good manager seeks to find ways to facilitate the desired results without inducing turnover.
When production falls below your expectations, it would be better to audit your facilities and equipment to ensure their integrity before you start pointing your finger at your team members. What you think could be workers not focusing on the job could actually be overdue maintenance. If your centrifugal pump is on the fritz but still being run to its full capacity, that in itself is enough to stall production. Replacing it with a new Tonkaflo Pump would have an immediate and sizeable impact on production.
If you notice that time is being wasted transporting goods from one end of your warehouse to the other because the forklifts are too wide to go down the narrow aisles, then it’s time to invest in a narrow aisle forklift. The point is that sometimes the solution is to upgrade your equipment and facilities rather than looking for places to lay blame.
2. It’s better to overestimate than underestimate the importance of your enterprise infrastructure.
Outside of your employees and machinery, your company’s enterprise infrastructure is probably its most valuable asset. All of your general industry operations depend on the integrity of your IT system. Manufacturers are learning the importance of data mining and analyzing metrics to find trends and update production, management, and marketing strategies that hit home for customers. They’re applying AI, machine learning, and automation to deliver better products and find alternate supply chains to make their products better and more affordable.
If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. It’s critical to grasp how much data analytics has necessitated a robust enterprise infrastructure for every company that seeks to be competitive in its market in the 21st century. If you aren’t applying business intelligence measures like mining for raw data and using the analysis and data visualization tools to update your company’s goals and processes, then you won’t be able to keep up with your competitors.
3. Embrace cultural shifts.
Change is difficult, but it’s inevitable in every area of life and it’s necessary, so the best thing we can do is learn to roll with the punches. It’s natural to feel threatened by major shifts in the way things have always been done. Once you’ve put together a system that’s yielded the desired results for so long, it’s hard to let it go. But things no longer work the way they used to, it’s time to get with the times.
One of the best ways to change your company’s culture for the better is to put greater emphasis on the satisfaction of your employees. It’s easy to think about your customers’ happiness because that should be the main priority of any company. However, it’s a well-known fact that happy employees do better and more efficient work.
The sustainability of your company depends in large part on your company’s ability and willingness to meet the needs of your employees. If you want to learn ways you can have a positive impact on your employees’ work lives and productivity, you should check out the Fair Labor Association‘s website. They offer insights about workers’ rights and other issues pertaining to the health, safety, and financial security of workers.
If the culture in your company isn’t conducive to employees giving their best efforts, then the problem is in the culture and not the personnel. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it has to start somewhere, so you should embrace it.
4. Make safety a top priority.
Injuries on the job are one of the biggest detriments to a manufacturer’s production and overhead costs. It’s much more cost and operationally efficient to put the time and resources into properly training your team members to do the job safely and proficiently.
OSHA is the governing body that sets the standards for safety in industrial settings, and OSHA training is required to qualify for many industrial licenses and certifications. OSHA training courses could help your company’s operations run exponentially more safely saving your employees pain and suffering and your company a lot of money.
5. Diversify your operations and customer base.
The best way to stay ahead of the field as a manufacturer is to provide services that your competition doesn’t. With some market research, you could find gaps in the market that with a little innovation, your company could fill and flourish.
One of the main things that separate industry leaders from the rest of the pack is that they provide a wider variety of high-quality products and services. It’s simple math—when you cast a wider net, you catch more fish.
The pandemic showed us how manufacturers who switch gears to meet consumers’ needs reap the benefits in profits. During the late months of spring 2020, when COVID-19 was at its peak, many manufacturers who made cotton goods shifted their focus to making COVID masks. Versatility is the name of the game.
6. Set realistic objectives.
As a manufacturing manager, you know how crucial it is for manufacturing companies to be goal-oriented. It’s the only way to survive. However, it’s just as important to be realistic about the goals you set as it is for you to push your workers to meet them.
With objectives and key results (OKR) software, you can set and manage your objectives and through data analysis, find metrics and actionable insights you can use to fine-tune your operations. The purpose of setting goals shouldn’t just be to reach a certain production volume or revenue amount. You should also prioritize goal setting as a means to recognize areas where your company can improve its products and services.