5 Steps to Scaling Up Production

Author: Paul Henriques in: Business Solutions

5 Steps to Scaling Up Production

April 17, 2023

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.

Challenges to Scaling

Scaling up production has always had its own set of challenges but those seem to have increased lately because of:

  • Inflation – Higher costs and inflation pressure have made it more difficult to invest in the added capacity that is required to generate higher production.
  • Talent – Staff shortages have been a manufacturing issues for decades, but they are now affecting almost every sector of the economy due to resignations, aging workforces, and a widening skill gap.
  • Supply chain – You aren’t the only one with problems in ramping up production. This means that across the globe, there are those that are unable to get the parts they need when they need them.
  • Shifting demand – Companies that produce complex parts and systems are having to quickly move from low-rate to high-rate production which has not only affected demands but also the core competencies of these companies. These companies are having to evolve to maintain their own high-quality standards.

Preparing to Scale

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:

  • Upskilling and hiring strategies
  • Better procurement
  • Better capacity planning
  • Agile project management

How-To Scale

Companies that scale up their production successfully all show the same core competencies:

Maximize current asset usage

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.

Improve shift setup

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.

Better data

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.

Improve purchasing

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.

Optimize engineering

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.

Scaling Success

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.


  • Paul Henriques

    Paul Henriques is the current Manager for the Documentation and Training team at OnRamp Solutions Inc. Paul has over 15 years of experience in writing training material and documentation for various software companies. Having had to learn OnRamp ERP to better document it’s features and write training material; Paul is constantly stunned by the amount of thought that goes into each feature and the capabilities that are within the program, with features for all the various business units of a manufactory. Paul spends most of his free time keeping up to date on all the latest news and best practices for the manufacturing sector. Paul’s favorite manufacturing quote: “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” – Henry Ford

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