For many Australian businesses, we understand how challenging it can be to navigate the tough conditions in today’s manufacturing sector. Rising input costs and constant downward pricing pressures can really put a strain on a business. While it’s important to focus on increasing sales, there are other strategies that can have an immediate impact on your bottom line profit, as well as your business culture and future growth potential.
So, what’s the secret? It’s all about boosting productivity! By streamlining and optimising your existing operations, you can get more out of the resources you already have. These resources can include your workforce, materials, processes, and systems. Unlike some other sectors, manufacturing offers numerous opportunities to enhance productivity and drive your business forward.
If you’re eager to see your manufacturing business flourish, then pay close attention to the following tasks. They’re absolutely critical for your growth journey:
Understand and review how things are working now
It is often the case that business systems, processes and people evolve over time and ad-hoc solutions are bolted on to existing practices. While this works for short-term solutions, it’s definitely not sustainable. So, taking the time to involve your team and review the current business practices will help identify any gaps as well as existing frustrations. Don’t try to solve all of the issues yet, the goal here is to identify challenges.
Prioritise the most impactful changes
When identifying solutions, it’s important to keep in mind you can’t solve every problem overnight. Instead, it’s best to prioritise those that will have the biggest impact on your business, whether that is profit, staff retention and motivation, safety or business expansion. Plan the changes required for the business and break them down into small, achievable steps.
Having reviewed the status quo and put together a plan for change, the next step is implementation. Having your team’s buy-in for this stage is critical. It is common at this time to see the following changes:
- Systems– The systems you implement are the framework for day-to-day operations and are linked to identifying and eliminating waste. Industry specific, best practice systems will be required if you are going to keep up with competition. There are a wide range of options available, so engaging an expert to assist with the process is common. The recent Small Business Technology Investment Boost may also be available to help your business maximise value from changes, which you can learn more about here.
- Procedures – Safety and efficiency are core to manufacturing success. Adjusting procedures may seem small, but can have a substantial impact on the productivity outcomes. Design of workspace to ensure minimal double-handling, optimised use of space and ensuring contact by workforce at the right skill level leads to better outcomes. Review of procedures for ordering materials, for example, will also have a real impact on cashflow for your business.
- Automation– Implementation of automation wherever and whenever there is an efficiency to be gained makes business sense.
- Supply chain management– Appropriate systems and the right team members will allow for better business planning, which includes supply chain management. Failure to manage this element of the business can lead to crippling cashflow outcomes, as well as reputational damage for not delivering outcomes on time. Focusing on this area can also help identify opportunities for growth or business expansion.
- Continuous process improvement— Boosting productivity is not a set-and-forget exercise. A continuous improvement plan, which may be led by a small number of team members, is critical to ensuring ongoing business success through increased productivity.
At Hoffman Kelly, we work with business owners to understand the drivers of their business and work with you to achieve sustainable, long-term growth. Manufacturing has unique challenges, which we can help you to overcome through understanding and implementing changes that will streamline operations. Contact us today to see how we can help boost productivity and profitability in your business!