Manufacturing is finally on the rise again. While you’re sure to be excited by sustained economic growth and the opportunities that come with it, staying on top of your game is a constant battle. Pushing your manufacturing to its highest potential requires continuous study and a steady stream of reinvesting in your personnel and facilities. From new conveyor chains to global market analysis, the totality of your efforts must be steered in the same direction to succeed. If you center your plans around the three keys to manufacturing success, this will be a natural outcome.
Manufacturing profits come from producing more at a lower cost. You need an adequate marketing strategy and the many avenues that tie to it, but ultimately, you have to be able to sell your goods for profit. This much is obvious. How do you achieve it? A three-pronged approach ties organization, leadership and technology into a holistic methodology. Organization is straightforward. Labor hours need to be spent in the right quantities on the right jobs to optimize output efficiency. Leadership can be simplified into providing adequate training, fair treatment and wages and sufficient retention programs to all levels of employment. Happy employees are more productive and cut turnover costs. Technology is the most difficult prong.
You need to update equipment and tools to stay on top of the market, but you can’t afford to regularly overhaul your entire infrastructure. The key to succeeding with technology is with precision targeting. Find specific issues that have the highest impact on productivity and start there. It could be something as simple as new conveyor chains or as complicated as a big data analysis center. Regardless, every technology investment has the potential to produce ample returns.
This concept ties back to productivity, and it starts in your facilities. Standardizing your own equipment makes it easier to identify and resolve issues with less downtime. While that obviously boosts productivity, it is only the first step. The broader goal is to stay ahead of rising standardizations across global markets. When you can anticipate change, you can corner buyers by offering what they need first. Standardization is at the heart of securing large-scale orders and sales, and it is a central component of effective marketing.
Most experts in the industry would say that innovation is the third key. Enough economic models have shown how innovation drives product growth, but that line of thinking gets ahead of itself. Innovation is really just a product of effective communication. Communication has to run well at all levels. When employees at the ground level understand their tasks correctly, they will do them better, but this alone doesn’t breed innovation. Communicating long-term goals, as well as the plan to achieve them, is what enables every employee to contribute. Many of the greatest inventions and innovations throughout history didn’t come from managers or leaders. They were developed at the ground level to better produce results that were properly understood. Of course, a one-way communication line is useless. Employees must be able to communicate up the chain of command just as efficiently or innovation dies with mid-level management.