Are you currently enjoying the Productivity Improvements of 5% to 10% that are being reported in the media? Do you feel like you are not making the kind of gains you should be enjoying? Do you need additional resources, insight, or expertise to take your companies performance to the next level? Manufacturing Consultants can help you realize these improvements.
These are the types of issues we deal with daily. How do you know that the changes you are making are producing the results you require? Many different measures can be used to monitor productivity. These include Cycle Time Reduction, Inventory Reductions, Improved ROI, reduced labor costs as a portion of the Cost of Goods Sold, to name a few. However, the ultimate payoff is on the bottom line, increased profits.
There are many incremental steps along the way, where productivity gains have a positive impact, yet still do not directly affect the bottom line. For example, shifting labor to even out the staffing on a three-shift operation. This move allows more flexibility on each shift, better equipment utilization, and improved maintenance scheduling of equipment. The result is better capital utilization, since the purchase of additional equipment can be delayed, while output is increased. Will this improvement be sustainable? Will it be supported without a level of communication to inform all involved (supervisors, management, labor) that the change has had a positive impact on a key measure?
If a productivity improvement, delay’s or eliminates the purchase of a capital item, that money can either be spent elsewhere or returned as shareholder value. Your business model and financial accounting methods may not allow for the easy recognition of these gains. In such cases, do you know you are making the gains you expect? Do you know the programs you are implementing are effective? How do you evaluate, where you are and what your next steps should be? Manufacturing Consultant can help you define and implement the appropriate measures to allow you to gather the data necessary to realize the improvements you seek.
The steps needed to gather the information to answer these questions can be accomplished by applying some general time honored principles. Many different programs built on the fundamentals of these time honored principles, (Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, TQM, ISO, etc). When implemented, these can lead to a structured system that allows for the continued evaluation, review and further modification of the manufacturing operation. The reality is, any of these programs require a cultural change and significant time and effort to implement. These programs will have such a disclaimer right up front, but without the full support of management and their support with the appropriate resources, the program will be destined to failure. Yes, there may be some successes along the way, but in the end, the lasting impact will not be what was expected.
In businesses, whether small, mid-size or large, the current culture will not allow for the success of such a comprehensive program, without significant effort and support, from the highest levels of management. Are these companies then destined to forego productivity gains? The turmoil created and effort required, to implement such a broad change, is doomed to failure without the appropriate support and resources. The failure may be associated with the facilities previous experiences of starting programs and then dropping them, or achieving predetermined results under the guise of a program. Whatever the reason, past experience works against your current efforts to make significant cultural changes. Past experience has had the effect of raising the bar. Now it will take more effort and resources to effect the cultural change and to get the employees on board.
Regardless of the type of program you want to implement, several fundamental steps need to occur. Rather then, remake the entire company, manufacturers can focus on improving individual processes, using the tools that will lead to a comprehensive program in the future. Reducing the scope of the program will significantly scale back the effort and resources needed to successfully define, measure, analyze, improve and control the process. This type of measured approach is much more sustainable and the company can still achieve a significant benefit (the old 80/20 rule).
Most companies have a fundamental understanding of what, why and how they manufacture the products, they produce. In a large number of cases, what needs to happen is a reevaluation of where they are today versus where they think they are. Drift occurs for a variety of reasons, the exception becomes. Examples include new employees in the mix, poor training, poor process documentation, key players are no longer present. Short of implementing a full blow program, what can you do to improve your productivity? What tools and steps need to be taken, to maximize return with minimal resources? Manufacturing Consultants can help you find the answers you seek.