Author: Paul Henriques in: Business Solutions
It has been a difficult 3 years. Or at least it feels like it. Starting off with shut-downs, into labor and supply chain issues, followed by record-breaking inflation, and cap it all off with a war. If this isn’t a flood of troubles, it sure is close. All of these problems have shaken consumer confidence and exacerbated part shortages and price uncertainty.
And still, manufactories are meant to crank out record-setting production numbers all while having to concern themselves with circular manufacturing, ecological policies, and numerous other items.
The problem starts with the fact that too many shops have been so committed to maintaining their quotas that they haven’t been investing in their own infrastructure. This have left the North American manufacturing in a difficult position, where they are unable to scale effectively and efficiently. To achieve targets, these shops need an effective strategy that increases their capacity and scales production. Without this strategy, your shop may find itself the victim of missed targets, overrun budgets, or both.
Scaling up production has always had its own set of challenges but those seem to have increased lately because of:
Ask any person that has tried, and they will all tell you the same thing. Scaling is hard. On average, scaling a process can take up to four years with plenty of setbacks along the way. But in the last year, this has become more difficult with many companies seeing the need to scale in 12 – 24 months. Performing that type of feat while maintaining profitability can be nothing short of an organizational miracle.
To do this, you need to fulfill your current obligations while adding assets, hiring and onboarding staff, upskilling existing staff, and building new processes. This will require a strong infrastructure core that can manage added costs while completing the scaling transition. Core requirements to properly scaling include:
Companies that scale up their production successfully all show the same core competencies:
The first step in scaling up productivity is to start by “sweating” your tools. Running tools at capacity, however, is never that simple. It requires carefully planning maintenance and maximized processes to ensure the machine can sustain the higher capacity without an outage. Some of the processes you can improve to help with the higher capacity are: nesting, planning, and scheduling.
These are many techniques you can use to improve how operators use their shift. When you are trying to balance staff growth and production growth, you can better use their shift time by cross-training staff or standardizing more processes, or both. This, in turn, creates skill overlap and allows you to better manage your workers.
By leveraging the data available in your ERP you can make better decisions on how to spend your available capital and analyze different possible scenarios that can improve your growth.
To ensure you are getting the raw material you need to create parts and product, you need to improve how you look at your suppliers/ vendors. With a better view of how you purchase and procure material, you can ensure you are receiving the supplies you need to match your scaled up output.
When you are scaling, you may find yourself with excess inventory, which can quickly become obsolete. Be sure that you have a plan for every part to minimize waste by planning for changing demand, adding consistent engineering designs and tracking lead times.
Companies that have implemented plans like the above have seen a drastic increase to scalability and success while cutting the planned costs of the increase in production by up to 20%. This includes reducing excess staffing requirements by 20% with better shifts, better performance management, and standardized work.
By having better software to help you analyze your data, you can implement plans that decrease the time it takes and the cost to scale your operations.
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