Recent studies commissioned by management consulting firms have indicated that manufacturing factories that consistently rank in the top 20 percent of most profitable in their class have that status because they tend to invest more in quality, safety, communications and compliance systems than their peers. On average, top-performing manufacturers spend almost 50 percent more on these systems and technologies. What follows here is an analysis of four crucial elements every management team needs to embrace if they want to attain a dominant position in their manufacturing class.
Safety Protocols and Documentation
The objective of maintaining safety protocols is to develop uniformity in the area of enforcement of internal policy so that no individual or group is treated differently and is therefore disproportionately exposed to hazards or exposing others to hazards. Developing, implementing and documenting preventive maintenance programs go a long way toward achieving this objective. Plant safety protocols ensure the safe and sanitary operation of equipment used in the manufacturing process. They are essential for maintaining a safe workplace, which helps organizations reduce costs associated with high employee turnover.
The Cost of Quality
According to industry experts, the cost of quality can be broken down into two components: the cost of good quality and the cost of poor quality. The cost of good quality is reflected in the investments a firm makes in quality assurance. The cost of poor quality is reflected by higher internal costs, higher customer acquisition and retention costs and expensive inefficiencies. Firms that manufacture products that are relied upon for public health and safety understand well the ultimate cost of quality. Organizations such as Terminal City Iron Works Ltd. of Alberta and British Columbia produce goods that are used in the management of municipal systems—systems such as fire hydrant networks and standpipes. Products that human lives literally depend upon. For a company like this, it is even more important to invest in quality goods from the beginning.
Leveraging Plant Communications
In any manufacturing environment, the threat of downtime is ever-present. Indeed, few things are more expensive than plant-wide production interruption. In certain heavy industrial settings, as much as 40 percent of profits are lost annually because of unscheduled downtime. Making intra-organizational communications more efficient is a top priority for those organizations that wish to maintain production continuity.
The High Cost of Non-Compliance
Concerning all of the forces influencing the manufacturing process today, compliance may be the one that is most fundamentally changing the landscapes of the manufacturing industry.
Manufacturers that choose not to conform to regulations and standards enforced by regulatory bodies and peer groups are placing their organizations, investors and stakeholders at great risk. The cost of non-conformance can mean the erosion or utter destruction of brand equity built over a century of time. The good news is that firms that enforce integral compliance measures unexpectedly discover increased bottom-line profits. According to BusinessWeek.com, they are finding out that their investments in compliance are making them more competitive in the global market, and they are experiencing an easier path toward attracting top people and retaining good customers.
Today, manufacturers are feeling unprecedented pressure to meet production and profit targets enforced by the Wall Street investment community. In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, no management team can afford to ignore the foregoing prescription for success. Indeed, these four elements demonstrate one more way of running a factory more smoothly.