“The only constant in life is change.” ~ Heraclitus.
Trials to be overcome and wills to be tested. True in life, true in business.
Regulations change, technology relentlessly advances, and risk can aggregate despite your best intentions.
To make it in today’s industrial manufacturing environment, it takes more than an agile strategy for success. In fact, it takes a corporate culture that can roll with the punches, coming back with resilience.
It takes – Flexibility!
As a manufacturer, flexibility isn’t just important – it is always necessary.
For an exercise, think what would happen to your company if your operational needs were upended, for example, a key supplier goes out of business, or you suffer an unexpected equipment failure.
How would you react when it’s beyond business-as-usual? What strategies would you have in place to combat such a situation? Will your backup measures stand the test?
Spring 2020 has brought about a global transformation that is stressing communities and economies alike.
While our current situation is certainly an extreme example of what can disrupt businesses, it nonetheless provides great insight into what it means for the manufacturing community to truly be “flexible”.
It can go without saying that no one can predict the future. Furthermore, skepticism and cloudy futures can lead to stress and risky decision making.
Nonetheless, as an owner or manager, keeping your head on straight, using the right tools, and staying up to date on environmental and societal changes will do your company a world of favors.
Turning on a Dime
Although we cannot prepare for every contingency, planning is critical to mitigating future risk.
Typically businesses rely on software, business data and historical statistics help to drive and validate our decisions.
Supplies can run low due to changes in government policy, our products made obsolete through innovation, and a world crisis can rapidly degrade supply chains, not to mention how one manages day-to-day operations on the shop floor.
All these situations are out of the manufacturer’s hands, but as a business owner, the buck stops with you. You still need to deliver the value you’ve promised your customers.
Luckily, today’s technology has afforded us point-of-use, real-time solutions flexible enough for both day-to-day needs and when these disruptive moments inevitably occur. Manufacturers can make the most out of their current situations when utilizing products like Tofino’s Smart Procurement.
Having historical purchases, current supplier quantities, and catalog access all at your fingertips will ensure that every decision is made with as clear a picture possible. Difficult areas to manage, such as MRO inventory requirements, become a lot easier to predict with the proper information available.
As well, Smart Procurement’s mobile platform is accessible through iOS and Android devices, providing decision-makers access wherever they may be, on the shop floor or working at home.
Vending and Supply Room Management
Flexibility isn’t just concerned with supplier and customer relationships. A key component of your operations is your workforce.
Their safety, health, and well-being are of utmost concern when making business decisions. Minimizing risks to your employees removes barriers between management and front-line workers.
In times such as these, physical distancing, available PPE, and sanitizing protocols are our protection against social transference of illness. But what does physical distancing look like for manufacturers?
One area for improvement is a manufacturer’s MRO inventory storeroom. Full of foot traffic and crossing paths, physical distancing within supply cribs becomes close to impossible.
How can you optimize such a vital area to reduce person-to-person interaction? Well, with industrial vending machines.
We have spoken about vending integration and its benefits before, but even we wouldn’t have predicted the current environment. Being able to access MRO inventory and PPE with limited human interaction is important for protecting your workforce’s health.
Further optimizations can be made with an in-house automated requisition strategy supporting, for example, EHS compliant MRO replenishment runner and or a designated staging and pick up area, the goal is still the same – reduced congestion and fewer touchpoints in between employees.
Not only will your commitments to a healthy environment yield safer working conditions, but your employees will also recognize and appreciate your contributions to their well-being.
Adjusting is Critical
Adjusting your strategies to match current circumstances represents a clear and present acknowledgment of today’s realities. It is through flexible management that manufacturers can develop a sustainable practice, foster healthy environments, and mitigate risk.
Establishing these means of adaptation early on will help with the growth of your business, and the good news is that the technology is available today and can be implemented now.
As you can imagine, all these practices become easier with the proper tools and equipment. With software, access to historical and live data, and the ability to see it all in one place, you will have the full picture.
And in times such as 2020, who knows what is around the corner for us?
One thing is for certain, it will be up to manufacturers to remain flexible, as what once was new might just become the new business-as-usual.
Contact us today to see how Tofino can keep your business nimble and prepared for what the future has in store.