The days of masking production inefficiencies are over. Exchange rate fluctuations and low-cost offshore facilities continue to increase pressure on the roughly 300,000 small and mid-sized companies in this sector, leaving most presidents wondering how they will maintain or grow their businesses and remain profitable over the coming years.
Many operations managers face challenges in designing and implementing systems that avoid unexpected surprises that include:
- Broken promises on customers’ ship dates
- Overtime and other cost overages
- Wasted capacity due to poor material handling practices
- Poor staff and machine utilization due to poor purchasing practices
The root cause of most shop floor headaches is scheduling. Identifying and scheduling around the bottlenecks in manufacturing environments is key. Gaps in the planning, communication, monitoring, analysis and feedback components generate inefficiencies that reduce productivity.
Job shops are forced to deal with the even more complex issue of shifting bottlenecks. The day-to-day change in the number, size, composition and routing of jobs makes it nearly impossible to efficiently allocate resources, personnel and materials without a robust scheduling process.
Yet, with all these challenges, some companies are setting new standards of excellence.
Our practical and results-driven approach typically includes implementing:
- Scheduling systems to maximize utilization
- Material handling and inventory controls to ensure production is properly staged
- Purchasing systems that are linked to production schedules to ensure material availability and minimize inventory costs
- Visual scheduling boards that act as planning and communication tools
- Estimating and job costing systems to learn how to secure more profitable jobs
- Systems to optimize pricing strategy to sell forecasted production capacity
- Certification programs to ensure management and front line employees are properly trained on new systems.
Although manufacturing and job cost companies are a significant part of our client base, working with Bellrock is not for everyone. Changing the mindset of your people and the processes they follow to become truly competitive is not easy.