We all want to be the best at what we do, right?
But as a manufacturer, what do you actually need to do to become the best?
Working closely with manufacturers over the years has given us the inside scoop, and we have compiled a list for you of what we think the best manufacturing companies have in common:
- They have a purpose
- The focus on processes and use best practices
- They have an ERP system
- They embrace innovation
- They have their supply chain management under control
- They focus on continuous improvement
Read on to learn if you have what it takes to be at the top of your game.
1. The best manufacturers have a purpose.
A purpose drives employee satisfaction and gives your entire manufacturing company a common goal to work towards every single day.
Employees, especially millennials, want jobs that excite them and a workplace culture built around achieving a mission. Research backs this up — 9 out of 10 employees are willing to take a pay cut for more meaningful work.
To find out if you have a purpose, answer the following three questions:
- Who do we serve?
- What do we do for them?
- How do our solutions improve the lives of our customers?
If you can easily answer these questions, your company is well on the way to defining your purpose.
The next step is to ensure you have a strategic plan built around your purpose and communicated by senior leadership continuously to your staff.
Want to see a manufacturing company that has put this into practice? Check out Elemoose, a custom fabricator of signage, props, and architectural building finishes, who seek out the most creative jobs and encourage their employees to push the boundaries.
2. The best manufacturers focus on processes and use best practices.
Well-defined processes allow your team to follow the same procedures over and over again, ensuring that your shop runs efficiently. For example, good inventory management processes make certain that you always have the right inventory on hand, ready for production.
Implementing best practices — meaning picking the industry standards that fit your shop’s needs — will also help you manage your complex business operations more efficiently and effectively.
For instance, many custom manufacturers struggle with BOMs (Bills of Material) and managing BOMs on complex builds. But, by following industry best practices when it comes to structuring a BOM, you will ensure that you have an effective format — and that you always do it the same way — making it easier for all of your departments, from procurement to production to accounting, to do their jobs.
3. The best manufacturers have an ERP system.
Saying that you need to have an ERP system may seem a little rich coming from a company that creates ERP systems for manufacturers.
But hear us out.
All of the best manufacturing companies have an ERP system because ERPs are the best way to create visibility across your organization, increase efficiency, improve business processes, and lower your operational costs.
Without an ERP system, manufacturers need to run their organization using multiple software programs and systems, like Excel, that don’t talk to or work with each other. This results in poor performance by slowing down collaboration and limiting productivity. But with an ERP, you can run all of your departments off of the same system, making your operation run more efficiently and allowing you to deliver more jobs on time.
Simply put, an ERP is the best solution for integrating people, processes, and technologies across a business — the advantages of which are almost endless.
Want to see an ERP in action? Check out how Motrec Industries, a custom builder of electric industrial vehicles, saved $400,000 and plan to increase their production by 150% after using an ERP system.
4. The best manufacturers embrace innovation
Though many imagine manufacturing as an industry limited to large production sites and heavy machinery in highly industrialized locations, recent innovations have brought widespread change to both the look of the industry and the definition of manufacturing itself.
Currently, in a period of rapid innovation called ‘Industry 4.0’, manufacturing is undergoing a series of digital transformation which will allow production to be more streamlined and data-driven than ever.
With technologies that feature new capabilities such as artificial intelligence, companies that embrace such innovations are able to make on-the-spot adjustments and constantly prioritize efficiency. Though these technologies can be pricey to install and may involve a steep learning curve, the rate of such advancements indicates a growing need to embrace innovations as they quickly become a new norm.
5. The best manufacturers have their supply chain management under control
The task of managing an effective supply chain can consist of several tasks that overall ensure on-time delivery and premium results. In the past, companies have outsourced their manufacturing needs abroad in hopes of lowering costs. However, outsourcing can also make your manufacturing requirements susceptible to delivery disruptions and errors in production that arise from difficulties with communication and different time zones.
In the case of working with suppliers abroad, it is essential to prioritize transparency when working with suppliers and stay updated on any global events which may impact your supply chain.
Luckily, the robust capabilities of Canadian-based manufacturers mean that shifting to local production processes may offer an effective solution to the delays and road bumps that may come with offshoring. Now able to take on projects of all sizes and complexities, local manufacturing presents a new option for companies who would like to make their managing supply chains.
6. The best manufacturers focus on continuous improvement
No matter where a manufacturer may stand compared to competitors, the current upgrades and technologies available mean that companies in all locations and those of all sizes are able to collaborate.
With a plethora of manufacturing hubs popping up around the globe, it is now easier than ever to gain knowledge on specialized technologies and learn how your company can constantly stay competitive in an ever-changing market.
All in all, it is essential that your company remain flexible and open to changes of all types. From acquiring new technologies to investing in training employees in dynamic areas such as artificial intelligence, the current state of manufacturing presents several opportunities to grow your manufacturing business and implement innovative new changes– no matter how small they may be.
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