If you say it fast enough, the manufacturing business is easy: create a quality product with a skilled workforce, throw a tasty profit margin in the pot, and start counting the skyrocketing profits.
But there’s a missing keyword here that every successful manufacturer will have spotted: efficiency.
Think of it this way: your product and staff are the best in the world, it costs x to produce and you add in a 20% profit margin – and only a handful of millionaires and billionaires can actually afford to buy it.
The solution? Efficiency. If you can make the manufacturing process smarter, cheaper and faster without compromising quality, those great products will cost less to make and eat up less time to produce – and you’ll sell more and make more money.
Luckily, we live in the exciting and fast-moving 21st century, and the manufacturing industry is ever more efficient. How is it done? With an impressive and growing array of manufacturing efficiency strategies and the tools that make them happen. Global distributors like RS Components, offer businesses a wide range of tools fit for this very purpose.
Let’s explore 3 of the really big winners:
We live in the digital era, and that means data – a lot of it. We call the immense flow of unprocessed information in this era ‘big data’, and the emphasis is on ‘big’. It means that the better your manufacturing analytics tools – the more they can capture, aggregate and analyse – the more benefit you get from the interpretation of that data and the smarter decisions you can make because of it.
The really great news is that there are plenty of business intelligence services in ‘the cloud’ these days that massively cut down on the hardware, software, maintenance and upgrade costs of doing it in house. Just imagine: by better understanding your downtime, your costs, your return on assets and many other key efficiency indicators, the more optimised your processes and the more ambitious your goals and profits.
Although we’re talking about technology and tools in this piece, the actual definition of technology is simply the sum of skills, processes, methods and techniques that get things done better – and we think advanced teamwork strategies fall into that category.
Last century, a very effective one was called Command And Control, which basically meant setting ambitious goals and punishing those who failed to achieve them. A more progressive and effective one in our era is Engage And Create, in which team leaders ask for input from their staff and then reward and rally around the strategies that collaboratively work. A more engaged workforce is a more motivated one, and a modern process to constantly test and update efficient strategies really does deserve to be in the impressive technology category.
Perhaps the most effective modern manufacturing strategy for greater efficiency is automation, and it’s not hard to see how turning manual processes into ones that work automatically bolsters efficiency exponentially. Automation speeds up processes, slashes staff and operational costs or redirects human input to more productive or inventive capacities, whilst minimising errors – what’s not to love here?
At the heart of 21st century automation efficiency are the sensors that allow the robotic processes to do their thing: the seeing, hearing and feeling that a human nervous system would otherwise need to do at much greater cost and with considerably less speed. Take ultrasonic sensors: they’re small, versatile, reliable, inexpensive and easy to replace – and yet they are still able to zap out their signals to detect movement, monitor things like liquid levels, and deftly carry out an almost infinite list of processes with lightening speed and unbelievable accuracy.
The final word: Efficiency is a no-brainer
For many manufacturing operations, and especially the ones that are already generating a profit, “business as usual” can be tempting. But as efficiency strategies and tools continue to evolve and expand, the real no brainer is to continually bank the multiple benefits of chipping away at how quickly, reliably and cheaply you can keep making great products and services that sell like hot-cakes and keep adding to the bottom line.