Successful manufacturing businesses usually share a number of key attributes.
Being in the manufacturing sector, every business must take the effort to incorporate some of the key factors within their business, to ensure continuous growth and success. Here’s a look at some of the key factors that can bring upon a positive change in your business approach:

  • Professional Management Skills
  • Open Flow of Information and Innovation
  • Comprehensive and Complete Training Programs
  • Benefits and Compensation
  • High Job Satisfaction and Low Staff Turnover

Lean Manufacturing – A Brief Insight
Lean manufacturing is a production philosophy that works around the principle of ‘doing more with less’. The idea of this particular concept is based on the key of involving continuous efforts to reduce any kind of activity or waste that consumes business resources without adding any value for the same with respect to manufacturing, design, customer service processes, distribution, etc. This theory is all about simplifying and streamlining the business approach so that you can reduce waste significantly and also make your workspace, employees, and equipment responsive. This is all about cutting waste, improving quality, and adding value.

What is Lean All About

To understand everything about lean, you must take the effort to understand why this concept has been developed initially; the catch is simple, if you can understand the main purpose, you are likely to grasp its concept. The purposes are mainly two:

  • Provide optimal customer satisfaction
  • Make way for business profitability

Businesses should do everything to provide ultimate value to the customers as anything else it takes up can lead to waste. The equation is simple; if the customers do not want something explicitly then, why are you even doing it. This is primarily the reason that businesses should always ask ‘why’ before starting with any process.

Lean Manufacturing – The Process It Involves

Lean Manufacturing focuses on small and simple, but continuous improvement like changing the placement of a tool or bringing two workstations together. These small changes/improvements when put together can pave the road to higher efficiency throughout the whole system. Here’s a quick look at the key processes that lean manufacturing entails:

  • Identifying/determining waste
  • Analyze the waste matters and find out the root cause
  • Find solution for the root cause and re-path the cycle

Lean manufacturing involves eight categories of waste that you should regularly monitor. Here’s a quick look:

  • Overproduction – Find out whether you are producing more than the demand of your customers
  • Waiting – How much lag time does the production steps entail
  • Inventory – Are your supply levels and inventories of work in progress too high
  • Transportation – Do you ensure moving materials with care and efficiently
  • Over-Processing – Is your work approach inefficient or you need to work on a single task over and over-processing
  • Motion – Do equipment and people move between tasks efficiently
  • Defects – How much you take to fix production mistakes
  • Workforce – Are you sure about using your employees efficiently

To make the most of efficiencies, lean manufacturing focuses on adopting a process offering maximum customer value. For instance, they look forward to knowing what does the customer want and what is he willing to offer money for. The answer rests simple; customers seek value ad they would only pay for something that best cater to their interest. In simple words, it can be said that your customers will not be paying you for the defects or your large inventories; they should never pay for the waste that you involve.

Key Performance Metrics to Run Better Manufacturing Business

When it is the matter with the metrics, it is often noted that what gets measured is primarily what gets done at the end of it. However, what is to be noted in this respect is that effectively analyzing, measuring, and also improving metrics for a manufacturing business is not as easy as it might seem. You need to put in a lot of effort to find out what would work for your business in accordance to the specific job roles. It is often noted that there are several combination of metric indicators that are required to ensure meeting a bigger business objective. This is primarily the reason why key performance metrics of a business needs to be aligned to bigger objectives and goals. The catch lies in thinking ‘SMART’ goals i.e. specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time – based.

In manufacturing business, each goal or objective require several metrics. However, it needs to be remembered that if goals tend to be too lofty and employees think that such goals cannot be achieved, they might lose the interest of pursuing the same. Since each and every business goal needs to be driven by a particular deadline or a specific time-period to achieve the target, maintaining a time-based aspect is also needed as this is required to keep everyone focused on their goals.

Sustainable improvement of metrics is largely dependent on the methodology of continuous improvement. Measurement and metrics are the central pillar of continuous improvement cycle. Wondering which metrics matter to your business the most? Here’s a quick look at the metrics that influence goal/improvement for each manufacturing business –

Improving Customer Responsiveness and Experience

  • On-Time Delivery – This metric is the time that the manufacturing business requires to deliver a finished product on schedule that was already committed to the customers.
  • Manufacturing Time – This metric measures the time that a business takes to manufacture a particular product from the time of releasing the order to completing the production.
  • Time for Changeovers – This metric takes into account the time or speed that is required to make a switch with respect to the manufacturing line

Improving the Quality

  • Yield – This one indicates a product percentage that is manufactured correctly without much re-work or scrap.
  • Rejected/Returned Materials – This is a key measurement metric as to the number of times customers are rejecting or returning a product based on poor product delivery.
  • Quality Incoming from the Supplier – This is the measurement percentage of the good quality products/materials coming from a supplier into the manufacturing process.

Improving the Efficiency

  • Throughput – This metric measures the amount of product that is being produced on a machine or a plant Utilization Capacity – This measure is indicative of the total manufacturing capacity is being used at a given time.
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) – This multi-dimensional measurement metric is a calculation of availability, performance, and quality. This can be further used to indicate the effectiveness of a production equipment.
  • Production Attainment – This is all about measuring the percentage of time that is taken to attain the target of production level.

Reducing the Pressure of Inventory

  • WIP Inventory/Turns – This metric is a ratio calculation that is often used to measure the efficiency of the inventory materials used. This is calculated by dividing the costs of the products sold by the inventory, which is further used to produce the goods.

Ensuring Complete Compliance

  • Reportable Incidents regarding Health and Safety – This metric is used to measure the number of incidents related to health and safety that were just near missed or actual incidents that were recorded as an occurring over a given time period.
  • Reportable Incidents on Environment – This metric measurement takes into account the number of incidents related to health and safety that occurred over a particular time period.
  • Number of Non-Compliance Events Per Year – This metric is used to measure the number of times a facility or plant functioned outside the guidelines of standard regulatory compliance rules over a period of one year.

Reducing the Cost of Maintenance

  • Planned vs. Emergency Maintenance Work Orders – This metric is indicative of how often scheduled maintenance should take place as against unplanned maintenance.
  • Proportion to Operating Downtime – This ratio metric is indicative of availability of assert for production.

Improving Innovation and Flexibility

  • Rate of New Product Launch – Indicates how fast new products can be introduced to the marketplace and usually includes a combination of development, design, and manufacturing.
  • Cycle Time or Change Order – This metric measures how fast changes and modifications in designs can be implemented with respect to volume production and documentation processes.

Additional to these key metrics, manufacturing business is also heavily dependent on reducing costs and increasing profitability. To make the most of it, it is essential for you to understand the interrelationships that tend to prevail between business level goals and objectives along with the actions and methods that are required for a business organization to achieve them. When metrics come into fore, any kind of desired result must have a set of defined measurements, actions, and targets.

Technology Investments Manufacturers Need to Make

The global business environment of today is driving businesses to be largely dependent on technology and be always competitive. Manufacturing firms are likely to come across situations wherein they would need to adopt new and advanced technology to their business approach. To ensure a successful integration featuring maximum return on investment, companies need to integrate a systematic approach that can make room for a complete course of technology integration.

Technology integration in manufacturing business requires you to adopt a value-oriented holistic approach consisting several steps. Here’s a look at what ensures successful integration –

  • Manufacturers should always analyze the existing business state, benefits it can avail through tech integration, and obstacles that they might face with respect to their existing business strategy.
  • Manufacturing businesses should also find out new and advanced business technologies and how these technologies can contribute to business improvement.
  • Once the needs are identified, manufacturers should take complete and preparatory tasks prior to actual implementation like tech-assessment, business process analysis, cost-benefit analysis, etc.
  • Manufacturing businesses should always ensure making use of efficient project management that should involve everything from project development, planning, execution, to control.

Integrating technology in manufacturing business offers the tools that allow easier, faster, and efficient production of all kinds of manufactured goods. These master tools associated with the industry in turn helps businesses boost growth and production of manufactured goods by paving the road to turn raw materials into quality and affordable goods that are essential in the society today. The idea, in simple words, is to make modern life simple.

In fact, manufacturing technology offers the productive tools that empower a growing and stable economy thereby, rising the living standard greatly. Today, more and more businesses are adopting technology in their business in all aspects. While the production tools involve machine tools and other related accessories, equipment, and tool, the machine tools are focused on non-portable, power-driven manufacturing machinery and systems used to conduct specific operations on man-made materials to offer durable components and goods. Additional to these, related technologies that are integrated by the manufacturing sector include Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and Computer – Aided Design (CAD) along with test systems and assemblies required to manufacture the final product.

Wondering what kind of technology integration is adopted to make manufacturing business run smoothly. Here’s a quick look at what technology is being integrated in different aspects of manufacturing business –

  • Software – Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), systems integration software, and program optimization software.
  • Material Handling – Automated wire guided vehicles, Conveyors, robots, die handling equipment, bar feed equipment and pallet changers.
  • Automated Systems – Assembly systems, automated systems and cells, transfer machines,and Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS).

Additional to these, technology is being also integrated in other aspects of manufacturing business with respect to material removal and material forming.

Flexible Fabricating – A New Way of Manufacturing

Technological advances into the manufacturing business sector today allows the businesses to invent new ways of manufacturing things that represent a paradigm shift from the classic or conventional model of production-line. The most essential of these steps is additive manufacturing – a particular kind of process of manufacturing a three-dimensional object of of any shape from a digital model.

These advanced machines can make use of an extensive range of materials and manufacture things as varied as fuel nozzles for airplanes, sneakers, etc. Moreover, a single piece of manufacturing tool can also be programmed ideally to manufacture virtually a huge range of objects.

Additive Manufacturing – The Latest Trend

Additive manufacturing is also another technology trend that is being adopted by the business sector largely. This advanced way of manufacturing allows manufacturing businesses to create structures or designs that were earlier not considered a feasible choice. Additive manufacturing allows the creation of materials, with several parts and moving components without the use of assembly. Since the entire process is controlled digitally, you can be sure of getting all products manufactured in the best condition always.