Ways to Achieve Long-Term Manufacturing Success
To achieve long-term success in manufacturing, you must start now by creating both a long-range plan and short-term goals. These goals will help you to set your company’s course for how it will operate in the coming years. Learn about the factors that affect the manufacturing sector as well as how you can make plans for a profitable future.
Factors That Can Affect the Manufacturing Process
Before creating your plan, you must assess all the factors that can impact your manufacturing business. These factors will be areas that you can seek to improve by increasing training, streamlining operations or incorporating technology to increase efficiency.
The materials and supplies you use for manufacturing are essential components of your business’s expenditures. Cutting down on how much you spend without affecting your productivity is a constant balancing act. Consider the following questions when making plans concerning your company’s materials and supplies:
- Are you getting the quality you need for the lowest price?
- Could you find alternative supplies to lower some costs?
- Could you change your production process to use fewer or different materials?
- How does the cost of supplies impact your profits?
- Do you know how much material supply you have for production?
- Where do you store supplies?
- How do you inventory your raw materials?
- Can you stock up on supplies at a lower price to reduce production interruptions and overall costs?
2. Facility Overhead
Your manufacturing facility has overhead costs, such as utilities. While you cannot shut off power, you can find ways to make your operations more energy- and water-efficient and reduce your overhead.
For example, consider integrating more natural light by using more skylights and windows. Fans may help you to cut back on air conditioning use. Training workers to use water more frugally can reduce your water bills.
3. Equipment and Machinery Purchases and Maintenance
The machinery you use in your facility can break down, costing you money through interrupting operations. In your plan, you must account for the maintenance and cleaning of machinery in addition to placing them in the most efficient locations on the floor. With preventative maintenance and regular cleaning of your equipment, you avoid “process drift,” which happens when machinery loses efficiency from a lack of proper cleaning.
The people who work for you must have adequate training and experience to know how to work as efficiently as possible. When you make changes to your short-term and long-term plans, do not forget to incorporate a training program to get your employees updated on what they need to do to help your operation succeed.
How to Succeed in Manufacturing
If you want to succeed in manufacturing, you need to create an action plan for what you can do now and how you can prepare for the future. The preparation required for both will overlap. During goal-setting, make sure that you consider how you can boost profits without cutting back on quality. Producing higher quality products can help your company to last into the future where other businesses fall by the wayside.
1. Find and Retain High-Quality Employees
The first step to success is investing in your workers. Hardworking employees with technical skills know that they are valuable assets to any company, regardless of the unemployment rate. If they don’t get the pay or respect they deserve, they will leave. Unless your goal-setting includes ways to retain workers, you won’t have anyone left at your company to implement your ideas.
2. Create Short-Term Goals
The first portion of goal-setting should include short-term ideas for the coming weeks and months with a maximum time of one year. These action plans need to be items that your company can realistically implement. Examples of short-term goals include increasing social media followers by a specific number, boosting profits by a given amount or introducing new products over the next few months.
3. Use Your Short-Term Goals to Create Long-Term Plans
The short-term goals you make should be the steps required to achieve your long-range plans. For example, if you want to increase the total number of products your facility manufacturers, short-term goals should include adding new products, training workers and incorporating new equipment.
While short and long-term plans remain separate, they affect each other and require regular review. If you find your operations steering away from achieving short-term aims, you may be getting off-track too much to realize your long-range goals. During your review of your plans and how your company works to complete them, make sure that everything pushes your company closer to the overall goals you have set for the years ahead.
4. Consider Diversifying Your Operations Through New Products and Services
If you want to diversify your products or expand to also offering services, consider a kaizen event. These incidents are brainstorming sessions that request input from teams to find the best method to use to achieve the needed goal. When changing your production processes, this activity could save you time and increase productivity.
5. Organize Your Facility to Allow for Change
Any change is difficult. However, when you prepare your facility for a new direction, you make the transition easier. Using lean manufacturing practices such as 5S can help you to make your facility more efficient and less wasteful. This process includes five steps:
- Sort: Sorting requires organizing what you have to improve the flow of your operations.
- Set in order: Setting in order differs from sorting in that you organize materials based on when you need them during operations.
- Shine: Shine refers to keeping the manufacturing equipment well maintained and clean. As noted earlier, cleanliness and care can prevent unplanned downtime.
- Standardize: Standardizing your operations requires you to use charts and schedules to create plans for stable operations.
- Sustain: Sustaining means checking through audits that your operation continues to use these 5S methods.
How to Have a Successful Warehouse
Part of finding success in the manufacturing sector requires effective warehouse management. If you want to have a successful warehouse, you need to optimize your space and worker productivity. To do these tasks, you must have a means of organizing your inventory through a warehouse management system (WMS), well-trained workers and an efficient design in your facility.
1. Use a Warehouse Management System
Warehouse management systems are software programs that keep track of your inventory. Though not all of these programs have the same features, some, such as the WMS from FDM4, can give you a 99% accuracy with your inventory count. Knowing precisely what you have stored will help you to reduce losses from missing or miscounted products while ensuring that you do not overproduce products you already have in storage.
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2. Train Workers on Efficient Operations
Host a training program for your warehouse workers to ensure they all know what to do to pick products quickly from the shelves. If you use a barcode reader or cellphone app for scanning products, you must include training for those for your workers. When your workers have comprehensive training, they may be less likely to make mistakes from not knowing what to do.
3. Make the Most of Your Available Space
The space you have in your warehouse accounts for considerable investment in overhead in your operations. If you think you have run out of warehouse space, consider reorganizing instead of renting another storage place. When you rearrange your warehouse to take advantage of vertical as well as horizontal space, you can find more room to store products.
When it comes to organizing your products in your warehouse, consider that almost 80% of your facility’s product movement will come from 20% of your inventory. Place these highly demanded products in an easily accessible space to reduce the time your workers spend picking them.
Also, store as many products as you can vertically. To further reduce wasted storage room, trim the aisle widths in your warehouse and use containers that minimize unused space.
Learn More About WMS From FDM4
Take charge of your warehouse inventory through an effective warehouse management system. Find out more about the WMS solutions we offer at FDM4, including how you can gain control of your inventory with 99% accuracy. Your long-term manufacturing success starts today with how you keep your inventory and operations organized and run.