Posted 8 December 2016
by Peter Georgiades
It’s not always obvious that your manufacturing processes are beginning to creak. The chances are you’re too busy to see it as you’ve become the victim of your own success.
Sometimes you just get a spike in orders and there’s no need to change your processes – your business can absorb the short-term pressure. But when the increased workload shows no signs of slowing and the strain doesn’t subside, that’s when businesses need to rethink their processes. It may well be time to deploy systems that automate certain tasks and relieve the stress being placed on staff.
So what’s the tipping point? In reality, your focus may well be on the next deadline, with a need to look at short-term fixes rather than long-term solutions. But there are a few warning signs to look out for that may indicate you have bigger problems.
1. You’re looking to hire
This is often considered a healthy sign for a growing business, but hiring can also have a major impact on profitability. Before committing to such a large expense, it’s worth considering if a new system could automate some of the company workload and release existing members of staff to work on other projects.
2. Top execs are working crazy hours
You may not think working long hours is necessarily a bad thing. But if your key people are having to make sacrifices in their private lives, just keep up with the day-to-day workload, this will take its toll given time. And every business needs its top executives on top form. Read how Paddock Gear and Engineering Ltd overcame this problem here.
3. You’re holding too much stock
If you find that your warehouse is starting to fill up with stock that you’re not using, something has gone awry. Processes have become inefficient somewhere along the line and there is a chance it will impact on your profitability.
4. Paperwork is mounting
One of the reasons you may look to hire is mounting paperwork. The more that the admin work accumulates, the more chance there is for duplicating effort across a business, and the potential for human errors also increases. Yet automated systems quickly eradicate these problems, as was the case with Redline CNC Ltd.
5. No time for business development
If everyone’s too busy with their current workloads to focus on business development you’ve got big problems on the horizon. If this is happening, you’ll need to start streamlining your current processes sooner rather than later so you can focus on future growth – and your ability to scale up.
6. Pricing has become difficult
If you’re taking on bespoke orders but cannot quickly or easily calculate the time and cost implication, it’s a worry - especially when you need to be competitive on pricing. Improved visibility is often the answer when you need to know your profit margins, as it was for Cogsdill Ltd.
7. You’re struggling to track orders
Visibility is not just vital for the bottom line, it’s essential for tracing raw materials and managing customer enquiries. As businesses grow, the work involved in tracking all this information will only get more complicated. Processes can become convoluted and will be difficult to manage unless an automated system is in place.
If your business is experiencing any of these 7 symptoms of strain, it’s time to look at how you can improve the way your company operates. It may well be time to consider automating processes and introducing a material resource planning (MRP) system. These rapidly deployed systems often act as the bridge between spreadsheets and a full scale Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) system.
If you want to learn more about how an MRP system can take the pressure off growing manufacturers, find out more here.
Or contact us to talk about your software requirements today.