Manufacturing’s New Year’s Resolutions

Many of the same New Year’s resolutions we make about ourselves each year can also be applied to our manufacturing businesses. Resolving to improve operations in the same way we want to improve ourselves can provide a good guide to follow for the coming year. Like personal resolutions, operational goals aren’t always easy to stick with, but they can improve your bottom line and your day-to-day activities.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common New Year’s resolutions and explore how they can best benefit your manufacturing operations and your supply chain.

  1. Losing weight: The mindset of trimming your waist can also put you in the right place to trim your waste with lean manufacturing. Dieting can control what you put into your body and how you spend your energy, much like lean processes can help you identify excess processes to reduce costs and tone your product quality.
  2. Learn something new: The New Year is often looked at as a time to improve ourselves by learning something new, whether it’s a skill or a language. Your business processes can benefit from the same goal, whether it’s learning how to integrate a new purchase order management system or teaching your sales team more about the manufacturing process to improve their relationship with your customers.
  3. Do more with less: Budgets are staying tight, causing people to get creative about how they spend money – the Netflix movie night has replaced box-office outings for many. Doing more with less in terms of your manufacturing process means cutting costs by being proactive. You can introduce quality control systems in order to cut costs on inspections and work that must be redone. Creating your products right the first time allows you to make more in less time.
  4. Get organized: The desk of a busy manufacturer often resembles that stack of mail at home that just seems to move in a pile around the room. Getting organized at home is often as easy as cleaning out a few rooms or finally sorting all those coupons, but you face a more daunting task in your business operations. Proper organization can save you time and increase your revenue as orders are processed and filled sooner, but this may mean you need a new system or a new team member to get operations in line. This is the resolution most likely to hold true to the old saying, “it takes money to make money.”
  5. Finish that to-do list: Taking a look around your shop floor almost immediately calls to mind all of those little things that need to be done but there never seems to be time for. This common resolution of taking care of all those little nagging things may be just what the doctor ordered for your operations or your crew. Fixing the coffee pot or getting a new fridge for the break room may be just what you need start your year off right.

The key thing to remember for your manufacturing resolutions, as well as your personal ones, is to make sure you can accomplish what you set out to do. Don’t plan for a 100% increase in productivity, but 10% might be achievable. You may not need to introduce a new product suite, but bringing one new item from design through production is a great goal that gives you a clear direction for your New Year.

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