My Top Three Tips for Increasing Efficiency While Cutting Costs

In the manufacturing sector, so many factors are constantly at play with your profitability. I constantly struggle with balancing labor and raw materials costs with current market conditions. The problem is commodity pricing is so variable—literally changing with the winds as we often see after a natural disaster that affects oil production. You must be able to weather any storm in manufacturing, starting with the fierce winds of efficiency. Rack up those efficiency points with these four suggestions on improving operations management in manufacturing.

Rewrite the Operations Manual

When was the last time you pulled out your policy manual and actually read through it? What about for an audit? It’s a great idea to do this annually, but in reality, most managers just don’t have the time. Yet by reviewing policies, procedures, and standards–including chains of command for frequent processes–you can do a lot for your ROI.

Eliminate redundant policies and procedures that are negating your company’s morale, staff efficiencies, and profitability. In order to revise your operations manual in a beneficial way, though, you need data to show you where improvements need to be made. Where can you find all of the data for your company? By taking a look at automation for your back-office.

Automate All the Way

While most operational managers are focused on improving the ROI on the assembly line or in the warehouse, it pays to take a peek at your back-office processes. Look for ways to automate processes in the back-office with document filing. Anything you can eliminate from your employees’ manual tasks becomes savings for your business. Back-office services including accounting, regulatory compliance, IT, and record maintenance can all be improved with automated technologies.

Digital documents stored via the cloud are also accessible from anywhere and for anyone in your company with secure access. This makes portability for travel while working a cinch when working since you have everything you need in the cloud. Changes made in real-time are updated to everyone of interest, which further speeds up the performance of your company.

Big Data Goldmine

By digitizing all of your documents for automation purposes, you are cleaning up the physical environment as well. No need to pay to store these records in paper form now that you’ve automated these systems! You are also going to be able to improve the way you access data. With digitalized documentation and automation, you can search through thousands of pieces of data in hundreds of files within seconds.

This is where you can finally take control of the big data that your manufacturing processes are generating. This is the data that has surpassed gold to become the most valuable asset on the planet. If you aren’t using this data to evaluate your processes—which reflects back to the first tip of rewriting your operations manual—it is time to make that change.

Offer Employee Training and Mentorship

As you make changes within your operational processes and procedures, this will make ripples in the chain of command at your company. These ripples can turn into waves if left unmanaged. Focus on providing training and additional attention to employees who are affected by the changes you are making within the operations. Here are some tips for making this training a win for everyone, rather than a hassle for your workers.

Provide training at no cost to employees and reimburse them for their time spent in training. Work to accommodate their schedule the best that you can, which means avoiding weekends and busy working periods, if possible. After all, your employees are the backbone of your business. Training ensures everyone is on the same page and has the right information to be able to follow the updated rules of the workplace. Consider offering incentives for employees who are willing to put in the effort of leading teams or volunteering time to train others.

Improving Productivity and Performance for ROI

When your employees have the processes and training they need to do their job effectively, you win. You are able to save money on time spent on the clock doing tasks that could be eliminated. Work to eliminate tasks in your procedural manual and with improved productivity among employees. By tackling both sides of the coin in manufacturing operations, you are able to achieve greater gains in ROI faster.