Manufacturers looking to dramatically increase profits must constantly reduce overhead costs and increase product output. Achieving this is often much easier said than done and in order to meet goals for short-term growth, many manufacturing leaders focus on the short-term solution of pushing employees to work harder, faster and more efficiently.
To actually generate sustained growth, manufactures must ensure that workers consistently follow processes and fully document problems so that management teams can review solutions, identify costly tasks and improve procedures.
Documenting: A Path to Success
Documenting and analyzing procedures requires a hybrid form of technical writing that involves many levels of company participation. Traditionally, companies outlined processes and hired a technical writer to create a static training manual for employees to follow.
Today, manufacturers who wish to implement and maintain an agile, responsive system of processes must outline a set of procedures via a company intranet or meeting-place for employees and team-leaders to contribute information about process failures and solutions.
In a shining example of the value of this type of communication, John Snow from software company Enigma corporation addresses common challenges for maintenance professionals in the aircraft, aerospace and heavy equipment industry in his UptimeBlog. Enigma’s software connects technical manuals, service bulletins and detailed information about repairs with supplier parts catalogs, so that maintenance professionals efficiently perform repairs.
Consistency Trumps Efficiency
The Enigma system, which any manufacturer could implement, links common problems, detailed information about how the problems were solved, and a clear outline of total time spent working on each problem.
In order to develop a clear picture of each step’s impact on a manufacturing procedure, employees must consistently perform tasks according to outlined procedures to eliminate errors or waste.
Team leaders or managers must work with employees to test and document potential improvements for a leaner manufacturing process. This provides manufacturers with detailed sets of data to analyze and a tool for measuring large and small-scale production improvements.
Valuing consistency over efficiency enables manufacturers to focus on key improvements that lead to sustained growth rather than short-term production efficiency strategies that neglect to address waste.
In the final segment of the “5 Keys to Survival After the Recession” series, we’ll address modernized marketing strategies that utilize valuable internal resources and connect manufacturers with a much larger customer-base. Don’t miss the next post, subscribe to receive updates.