6 Ways Manufacturers Can Improve Business Agility

Business agility is the name of the manufacturing game! How do you keep agile so you can capitalize on opportunities, while making sure you have enough finished product to meet demand? Here are 6 tips to help you stay agile.shutterstock_421484053

Agility Tip #1: Stay focused on what you are good at!

It can be tempting to keep expanding your product/service mix, but you risk becoming spread too thin. Often you have to buy specialized manufacturing equipment, conduct more employee training, and set up custom processes. Keep it simple. Do what you do best and find a partner to do the rest. It makes life easier and your employees happier.

Agility Tip #2: Focus on supplier relationships.

Like armies at battle, manufacturers live and die by the quality of their supply lines. Choose fewer, but higher caliber supplier relationships. Suppliers can bail you out in a pinch, extending credit lines, rushing parts and negotiating new terms. Your supplier can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Choose your suppliers wisely.

Agility Tip #3: Simplify your business processes.

Over time, business processes tend to morph toward meeting the needs of the exception, instead of enforcing the norm. Stop accepting all the exceptions. Step back and ask yourself why you do certain things this way. Sometimes it’s because years ago, there was a limitation that now no longer exists.

Agility Tip #4: Invest in your employees.

Train your employees so they can perform multiple jobs. Give them incentives to stay in your employment long term. Having constant employee turnover lowers morale and productivity. The #1 reason employees leave any job is that they don’t feel appreciated. How can you make your place an exceptional place to work?

Agility Tip #5: Capitalize on business insight.

Business analytics tools can give us incredible business insight. We can see trends, opportunities, dangers – and the information can be delivered so quickly now you can react to it almost in real time. Pay attention! Invest in your business intelligence toolset. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on your manufacturing equipment can tell you when something needs maintenance. Power BI dashboards can help you spot trends. Information truly can be right at your fingertips. You just must use it.

Agility Tip #6: Stay focused on your customers.

Don’t disconnect from the primary reason you are in business. Couple your manufacturing process to your customer needs. Think about how your customer serves their customers and how you can help them do better.

By staying agile, your manufacturing company can respond rapidly to changes in your environment without losing momentum or vision.

Author:  Doug Bulla