Manufacturing is a competitive business and keeping up with the latest trends is essential for remaining viable. Above all, manufacturers need to be profitable, and profitability demands efficiency. Here are a few guidelines for making your manufacturing business more profitable by maximizing your revenue and cutting costs.
Invest in Sensors
Even if you don’t plan on committing fully to the Internet of Things or the cloud, some of the new sensors these technologies have delivered can help you smooth out the manufacturing process and find ways to streamline your operations. Being able to locate the bottleneck on your manufacturing line lets you know which areas you need to focus on, and it prepares you to make further tweaks as your manufacturing process evolves.
One of the most powerful results of today’s advanced monitoring software is the ability to predict where failures are most likely to occur based on age and use. Companies such as Leading2Lean specialize in providing manufacturers with this type of software. Having this knowledge lets you better hone your maintenance schedules and lets you replace or repair components before they fail and bring your production line to a halt. Predictive maintenance is a powerful tool that all manufacturers must consider to remain competitive.
Automation is Key
Labor is expensive when it comes to manufacturing, and one of the keys to cutting costs is to rely on automation. Although effective automation in manufacturing often involves investing in new technology, the results are almost certain to be worthwhile. If you haven’t examined software-powered automation recently, be aware that advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning have revolutionized the process. Consider hiring a consultant to find areas where you can cut labor costs and enjoy the speed and accuracy of automation.
Efficiency in the shop is critical for success, but it’s also important to note that repeat customers are also important, and shipping a poor product can lead to lost customers and reduced revenue. Always make sure to keep lines of communication open with your customers, and work to identify where in the manufacturing process defects or other problems occurred. In some cases, losing a single customer can be enough to bring down a manufacturing company. Feedback provided by customers can be invaluable, and being proactive in asking for feedback sends the message that you care about quality.
Streamline Your Supply Chain
Manufacturing companies sometimes start out small but grow rapidly after landing a major client or finding a niche. However, it can be tempting to rely on the same supply chain even if scaling factors might mean that a new supply process can lead to even better efficiency. In the early days, your company may have been too small to interest certain suppliers. Armed with data about your recent growth, you may be able to find significantly more efficient suppliers and cut your costs significantly. Growth may also let you negotiate a better deal with your current suppliers.
Manufacturing can be an exciting field, but it’s one where competition is always a threat. Make sure to remain vigilant in looking for ways to operate more efficiently, and keep an eye on competitors to find what they’re offering. Make sure to keep up with changes in manufacturing. New technologies are regularly revolutionizing manufacturing across a broad range of fields, and failing to keep up with the latest sensors, software, and tools can leave you struggling to remain competitive.