How Staying Lean Can Make You Mean
It is a truth universally known that a profitable and successful business needs to minimize its operational costs and invest its capital into ventures that will make handsome returns on that investment.
As with all maxims, there is always a wide and perplexing gulf between the words and actualizing those words. Those who are able to cross that gulf and those who are not is usually the difference between the successful manufacturers and the unsuccessful ones. In today’s current climate where cheaper labour and manufacturing sources are always to be found the manner in which you remain competitive is to offer superior quality at competitive prices in good time.
So how do you do that?
First you identify what is keeping your manufacturing process from being cost effective. You identify waste. What is waste? Waste comes in many forms. Overproducing your product beyond what is required is wasteful. Waiting for your warehouses to gather materials because they are figuring out what they have and what they need is wasteful. Transporting materials from warehouses to manufacturing facilities is wasteful. Waste is what keeps a business from operating efficiently.
Limiting waste is sometimes as simple as giving your team clear and concise goals and objectives that are self-limiting in nature and let your people know what to do, how to do it, when to do it by and where to deliver the goods. If you keep your work to being precisely detailed to exactly what you are doing, how you are going to do it, and when you need it by then your employees in the warehouses, manufacturing lines and supervisors offices will be on the same page. That type of coordination enables a business to run smoothly and keep costs down.
Limiting waste is also a culture. Creating structures and protocols within your management corps ensure that your managers know how to manage their charges and the workforce knows what to expect from their managers. That way no one is surprised everyone is on the same page and communication flows freely from the bottom up and the top down. That could be something as easy as having defined email lists and phone extensions to various desks and stations, but invariably a complicated business will require more complex structures in order to grow and thrive.
That’s where an integrated business software platform can come in to help limit waste and improve communications and create structure and protocols for managing large groups of people trying to move in one direction. An email list and phone extension won’t be enough for a manufacturer that has facilities in three continents, with warehouses, suppliers and manufacturing plants run by dozens if not hundreds of different personalities. A business software platform like Sage 200 enables a business to communicate from management to warehouses to manufacturing and logistics. Sage 200 Manufacturing’s business modules allow every facet of a business to communicate to each other in a quick and easy manner that allows managers to focus on maximizing their teams’ performance.
Waste comes in other forms too. Excess production is just one manner in which we come across it. Waste is a cunning beast that sometimes comes under the cloak of helpfulness. While communication between your different echelons is crucial, flooding everyone with information from every angle is also wasteful. Does your IT guy need to know how many tons of steel your Manchester warehouse holds? Probably not, but your logistics manager certainly needs ready access to that information. So there is such a thing as excess information that is not useful. We can call this non-value adding action. A business software platform like Sage 200 trims back on these types of waste and allows your business, whether it is manufacturing, construction, consulting or design, to get all of your business’ core functions line up with each other and streamlined to encourage efficiency without cutting your business to the bone.