Manufacturing is getting tougher all the time. Competitive pressures from product innovation, raising labor costs, regulatory burdens and new technologies all conspire to make successful, profitable manufacturing operations more difficult.
Successful manufacturers have learned to compete effectively through a collection of new techniques, technologies and new methods of execution to attain success. At Cincom, we call this Advanced Manufacturing.
Advanced manufacturing is all about keeping your customer’s needs in focus and in the center of your own planning.
How do you know if advanced manufacturing is for you? Here are five signs that advanced manufacturing can help you turn things around.
- Your customers are always interrupting your production planning with special needs and special products.
- Your sales force ignores your product sales goals and sells what they want to sell.
- Your competitors beat you in bid requests because your prospects won’t accept alternative-solution bids.
- Your suppliers are frequently failing to meet delivery deadlines.
- Your overhead expenses continue to climb, and your margins are proving to be difficult to maintain.
If your company is facing any or all of these situations, the time has come for you to give Advanced Manufacturing a look.
First, the good news is that each of these is actually an opportunity and not a failure on the part of your operation. But turning each of these into success will require effort and willingness to change. Let’s look at each one.
- Customers interrupting your production planning with special requests – Are you kidding? This is not a problem, this is a strong vote of confidence in your company and its ability to respond to the customer’s needs. These are the jobs that should get the highest-priority attention and the highest level of scrutiny to assure that your efforts effectively “hit one out of the park” as far as addressing exactly what the customer wants. Many companies would kill for this business. This is really the business you are in.
- Sales ignores your annual sales goals, selling what they want to sell. Sorry, that doesn’t wash; Sales sells what customers are willing to buy. If you find yourself in this position, it has little to do with Sales ignoring you and everything to do with you being out of touch with your market and what it wants to buy.
- Competitors ace you out of RFQs because your products aren’t accepted as alternatives. Well, there you are again; customers want what they want, not what you think they should have. If you are not even making it to the dance in RFQs, you need to get in touch with your market.
- Your suppliers are failing you. If you are relying on old established traditional relationships to overcome supply-chain challenges, you need to look hard at who your suppliers are. Double or triple redundancy is required. You should be able to source anything you need from different geographies and companies. You can’t afford to be without parts and supplies while the coup is settled or the hurricane blows itself out in your primary source’s host country.
- You run up higher and higher overhead costs and you can’t link these to specific causes. The reason why you can’t account for the increased costs is because you run your production operation as if it only makes one thing all year long. You have to see production jobs as projects in order to see where your profit is and where your costs are.
Like many manufacturers, you face these situations on a regular basis. Advanced manufacturing will help you turn these problems into opportunities.