Post COVID, targets are different and work has changed for almost everyone.  This is nothing new and it seems that everyone is writing about it.  But in manufacturing, things are very specifically different.  While high-tech companies like ours found it a bit easier to find a new groove in remote work, manufacturers were brought to their knees. 

For them, there is no remote work.  I don’t know a single manufacturer that I’ve spoken to that’s able to work remote, with the exception of their front-office staff.  For the people who make the things we all buy, figuring out distancing early was key.  It was all-encompassing and critical to staying in business. 

But distancing is just the start of it.  Manufacturing is a connected series of decisions and pieces of work that all come together to complete the production of products ready to deliver to market.  You cannot take one thing out of that connected series or the whole thing falls apart.  Each step in the process was designed with the end product in mind, including safety, precision and quality metrics.  Sacrifice just one of those and you may end up sacrificing (read scrap here) the whole. 

As the rest of the world comes back to work or at least starts to open up, how can those in manufacturing continue to press forward and get back to profitability? 

Pipedream?  Nope.  There is always a way to be profitable.  If there’s not a way to make money, there’s no business model there.  I’m reminded of a phrase I’ve heard in a few strategic classes: “if you don’t have a big problem, you don’t have a big opportunity.” 

What is your big problem right now?  What is your big opportunity?

If you are focused on how to get back to making money, I would ask if you knew, truly knew where and how you were making it to start?  Do you know the most productive things you do?  The most lucrative?  Each step of manufacturing is a piece of work that can either cost or make you money, depending on how it’s done and whether or not it’s done right.  We can all guess that when things do not go right, it’s unlikely that you will be profitable in that area.  Is there a way to recover?

Look to each step in your process.  Yes, you have to make time to do this.  Because you are looking at making profitable money in each step, the time that you spend doing this is not only worth the time, it’s the most critical thing you can do right now.  Find whatever data you have on throughput and dig into whether or not the money (read resources here, people and time and materials) is worth the amount that you’re spending. 

How to do that?  Look to data, real data. 

Don’t have it?  Get it.  Get the data from whatever system(s) you have access to.  Data like this is never on the shop floor.  It’s in the systems and reports that you have.  If you find that you have none, take this conversation off-line to start.  And, if you need help, remember that we’re here to do just that.  We can find your profitability if you cannot.  Step-by-step, hour-by-hour, job-by-job. 

 

Data is the answer.  Tracking, posting and driving to the numbers is key.  Start today.

In 2020, we are rolling out meaningful tools for manufacturers that are affordable, on-target and competitive.  We are also expanding our educational offerings.      

We believe in the critical importance of manufacturing right here in North America and we work hard to keep you working.  Ask us questions; you will find that we are far more reachable than other software providers you may partner with.  We are here to help you find the right tools and use them, whether it's a Google doc, an Excel sheet or a Production Control system.  To learn more about meeting your targets for 2020 or just getting a question answered, visit us at www.cimx.com.

 

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