Honing production management practices is the fastest way to boost profits and improve the day-to-day running of a small or medium business. By creating an enhanced production management plan you will be able to save time, increase productivity, and improve the management of raw materials, human resources and equipment and begin to work together to a single goal. Production goals don't just happen by accident, and each business needs to develop a road map that works for them.
Do Small Things Matter?
Start by gaining a true understanding of the benefits of making changes to your business. Determine how working to a master production plan can help your business. Reducing labour costs by minimising wasted time will enable you to improve the flow of processes. You will also be able to reduce the need for back up stocks and the need for work-in process inventories. When your deliveries are on time and on target you will see increased profits and fewer man hours spent dealing with errors.
Using Kaizen or Lean Manufacturing Processes
Opting for lean manufacturing processes isn't as complex as many business owners think and actually involves lots of small changes that mesh into a streamlined production process. Changing to lean manufacturing processes- for example just-in-time inventory management and value stream maps - can help save businesses money and even pull many out of the red. In lean production planning, groups of employees brainstorm in an effort to come up with ideas to cut out waste. Any processes that cost money but don't add any value to the product are eliminated.
Just In-Time Inventory Management
Just in-time inventory management avoids the stress and costs of running out of product for your customers. When it comes to cutting costs, holding too much stock can be disastrous for working capital and your bottom line but so can not having enough when you get that big order. Balancing your stock can be an art. Just-in-time inventory management finds the best of both worlds by ordering stock at a time which is just close enough to the date when these materials are required but not so close that stocks tie up cash flow.
The 30 Day Rule
Holding 30 days stock on hand means that stocks are filled periodically in an effort to maintain no more than 30 days of stock on hand. The amount of stock needed is projected based on sales patterns but if a large order comes in unexpectedly from a new buyer you may not be able to fulfil that order in the usual time. While it may be one idea to hold emergency stocks, you need to decide exactly how much will be prudent without tying up working capital and profits.
Invest in Technology
Don't underestimate how digital software systems can save your business money. By investing in a quality Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system you can introduce automated processes on the production floor. If introducing a new ERP system is not on the cards right now, reviewing all the current processes and systems to highlight any inefficiencies can be beneficial to the business.
No More Miscounts
Miscounts occur at the receiving or order filling stage. Upgrading manual systems to EDI and bar code scanning systems can reduce mistakes as can synchronising your software systems with that of your suppliers.
If you're not sure which changes to implement, get help from an external source like WinMan ERP. Getting a new perspective sometimes assists businesses to turn things around in the nick of time. Often all it takes is a different approach to lift your business out of a rut.