Satisfying supply and demand is a peculiar balance. Often, manufacturers are bogged down with the managing of equipment, personnel, logistics, and vendors. To help reign in these issues companies need to remember the three keys of manufacturing success: time, cost, and quality. Many believe you can only pick two of the three on any given project. Striking a balance in this magic triangle can lead to the success or failure of any good manufacturer.
TIME – Create More of it
Time is perhaps the most valuable of the three from a production perspective. All the money in the world can’t buy more time. Time is invaluable. The less you have, the more mistakes and more delays (affecting cost) can happen. The more you have, the more control of projects and more freedom to perfect processes you have (affecting quality). What it takes to master time is proper management. Time management in the modern age is solved in two ways; software and good ol’ human know-how.
Logistical and project management software is booming in the manufacturing industry. The amount of new startups is not only hitting a stride but a full-on gallop. These companies are relatively cheap compared to the solutions of traditional corporations. Cargomatic for example, aims to be the Uber of the trucking industry by connecting shippers and carriers. This allows shippers quick delivery due to a schedule tailored specifically for them. Another company Haven “automates freight & logistics for commodity traders, food suppliers, and consumer goods companies.” Through Haven suppliers are able to book and track shipments quickly. Regardless of your time constraint there is likely a software out there to help free you up. How you select the software and manage it is up to the human you put to the task.
This almost goes without saying but a capable staff who can adapt or problem solve are necessities in manufacturing. Along with the tools of technology you need people who understand them. Many companies are replacing traditional practices for that of new ones aided by innovative technology. Manufacturing is evolving. As demand increases manufacturers have to be ready to meet them. Investing in young hires who are open-minded and tech savvy is one way to prepare for that.
COST – Manufacturing the Smart Way
There are two proverbs that ring true in manufacturing: “Time is money,” and “It takes money to make money.” The first proverb was just addressed. We know that by managing time we keep cost low and quality high. The second warns that a company must know how to invest it’s money to eventually earn more.
You can do this in a number of ways. You could take a green initiative and use cost-efficient, renewable resources. Sourcing your materials locally can keep transport costs low. Or perhaps an investment in the right machinery. This can be very expensive at first but pays off in the long run. Many modern machines are less wasteful than older models. Here at Diesel Displays we attempt to do a combination of the three. We invest in renewable materials, source most of our materials to local businesses and have invested heavily into the equipment of our print, mill, and metal shops. By having the ability to manufacture nearly all of our projects under one roof, we keep costs low and quality assurance in check.
QUALITY – Providing the Best Option
Quality isn’t for everyone. Some people need a product that will simply do the job. Others don’t want to have to pay for high quality items. However, even if you fall into either category you most likely appreciate something quality-made. This after all is what separates smaller companies from industry leaders. Brands like Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, Lego, and Victoria Secret sell on the idea that what they have is the best. Similarly, consumers and businesses can easily find manufacturers who provide good turn around time and low cost. Quality is the defining factor that can separate you from the competition.
Producing quality products usually yields rewards. There’s the obvious monetary value of returning customers and brand recognition. But perhaps one important reward is that “quality” speaks to company culture. Getting in the habit of creating quality products creates a standard for the company. It says “this is the quality of product we produce” and in turn, the one consumers expect. In these and many other ways, quality can be seen as a long and rewarding investment.
The goal of any great manufacturing company is to be efficient and to be the best. The best way to get that result is to make sure you are investing in the three keys to manufacturing success – time, cost, and quality. This isn’t to say that finding that balance is easy – but it’s worth it.