Managing production is no easy task. It takes a keen business sense, supreme organizational skills, and the calm to know how to tackle the problems that pop up in real-time. Manufacturing and production are an essential piece of all retail. If you are fortunate enough to be on the production end of an amazing product, it is your responsibility to make sure that it is the best it possibly can be. If you’re looking to step up your production management game, here are seven tips that can help you keep everything in line.
1. Get Futuristic
What of the most tedious aspects of management, aside from having to deal with multiple individuals, is knowing where everything is. When you look at the spreadsheets, are you absolutely sure of stock, production, deadlines, and cost?
Is the warehouse adequately set to ship out orders on time? All of these take paperwork. In today’s age, you don’t have to mess with complicated ledgers, forgetful assistants, and inefficient dealings. You can digitize. Adapting to an updated MRP software is pretty easy nowadays.
You may have a system in place that has worked for years – maybe even decades. But setting aside a week to get everything fitted under an updated system will save you headaches down the line. You might be thinking, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it“. As true as that may be, oftentimes we find the underlying issues while adapting to a new system.
2. Tighten Up Staff
The biggest cost of any production is labor. Depending on what industry we work in, it can be unionized, non-unionized, or solely contracted. When it comes to unionizing workers, there’s not a lot that we can do.
The other two, we can manage time and job descriptions so as not to waste resources with unproductive hours. If we look at the American auto industry in the 1980s, we saw that unchecked time caused an inferior product. By really honing in and cutting out the fat, we can avoid such downturn’s in our own business.
3. Just In Time
When it comes to inventory management, the Japanese got it right with “Just In Time”. Having too much stock is a problem. It eats away at warehouse cost, inventory management, and countless hours of indexing. Just-in-time allows one to get all of these ducks in a row, before having it delivered and simply re-checked. This is perfect for perishable goods. The cost of freezers and refrigerated warehouses is going down anytime soon.
4. Avoid Miscounts
With all the moving parts of production, one often runs into the inevitable miscount. It happens in industries that are as crucial as medicine, and tasks as fixable as word counts. Either way miscounts happen. To avoid it, one needs to have a system in place to check and double-check, ideally by third-party or outside eyes.
5. Clientele Discernment
Often, mistakes are made in a game of telephone. They are industries like forklift tires that are traditionally phone-based. When working in these industries, it is necessary to deal with, as much as possible, with clients that are up to speed when it comes to communication and technology. Anybody that’s been in manufacturing, run into customers that like a phone call and a handshake. In the modern age, this will not do.
6. Return Policy
Speaking of telephone, when somebody places an order, have them confirm before sending anything. You must have absolute proof that the customer ordered what you sent. Without this, there are too many loose ends. Product returns are an absolute nightmare. It can cost small business thousands, if not millions.
They take up too much space, take out too much time, and create headaches in places that should be focused on increasing production. Making sure you have an adequate return policy gives you the safety net needed to not completely hit a loss.
7. SOP Review
We might think we have an airtight operation. We might think that we are incorporating all the elements that make for a perfect line. We still need a standard operating procedure review. What this does, in a nutshell, is keeping us on our toes.
When we established our SOP‘s, we assumed we had a certain amount of volume, certain targets to hit, and specific clientele. Those things change very rapidly. To keep up with the demands of business, reviewing our SOP‘s, no matter how brutal and boring is the only way we can be sure we adapted adequately.
Applying these seven principles will allow you and your business to thrive. Yes, it’s never this simple, but going digital, updating SOPs, and avoiding miss counts are all means to win. Good luck!
Interesting related article: “What is Production Function?”