From business strategy to investments into new machinery or automation technology; improving efficiency and growth is a universal aim. Just like any other manufacturer furniture manufacturers is driven by the search for ways to make manufacturing processes quicker, cleaner and more cost-effective, without compromising on product quality.
However, it’s not always straightforward to find the changes you need. The starting point should be an honest and detailed appraisal of your manufacturing process management systems and internal processes. From this, you can identify areas of improvement and gauge the urgency of each one.
Manufacturing competitive advantage often rests with effective data management and the furniture trade is no exception, especially when trends and consumer taste change.
Investing in better-integrated business systems is imperative. At the very least, you can use your existing network better to underpin connectivity and data control, creating an authentic “digital workplace”.
The signs to look for during assessment include time wasted by your production team sorting out information overlaps, gaps or errors. Ask questions such as do staff members have to manually transfer data from one system to another? Is there uninterrupted data flow between departments?
Data transparency and analysis
Consider how visible your data is across the company. The usage of disparate systems can affect the level of data transparency you may have. You could be missing important efficiency improvements if your system fails to support data interrogation across the entire product lifecycle.
Assess whether you have enough tools and skills to analyse data, both forensically and predictively. But this can be hampered by having too little data or an overwhelming amount of unused or out-of-date data.
Daily collaboration support
Are your communications and decision making still based on drawn out email exchanges or trying to catch someone on the phone?
Having an in-depth analysis and evaluation of the business operations, you may find that different teams, managers or departments are working from different data sets, systems and schematics, causing significant delays and confusion.
Whereas if a better-integrated business management software for real-time communication, collaboration and control. Decisions can be discussed, data can be updated and stored, and action can be agreed upon in minutes.
Overly complex admin
Do your manufacturing processes involve complex paper trails, duplicated forms or data silos? Often this is due to different departments working with different admin systems. Or processes have become outdated.
Without process simplification or streamlining, it can cause delays or production issues, such as staff working from outdated or contradictory inventory lists and BoMs.
Gaps and delays in stock availability
Does the lack of unavailable parts or assemblies’ availability cause production schedules to shift? A lot of the work in improving furniture production efficiency comes down to intuitive and transparent inventory control. Accurate stock control can have a positive effect on your cash flow as well as helping to maintain productivity.
Too much cash tied up in stock
Are you forced to store large quantities of raw materials or key components to avoid production delays?
There is also an industry-wide issue with the timescales for overseas delivery of materials. Without an efficient form of inventory control in place, you could be placing orders for predictive rather than realistic inventory requirements, strangling cash flow.
It’s here somewhere!
Equally frustrating and potentially costly is imperfect inventory storage and search systems. Unknown stock locations can cause friction amongst the warehouse staff and production team because of the delays in finding the required stock.
Improving efficiency can be difficult if these two departments fail to communicate and collaborate, such as moving materials to the factory floor in a responsive and timely way.
Production and sales team harmony
Are your front-facing staff confident when negotiating realistic deals? They face an uphill struggle growing your orders if they have to explain missed deadlines or products that fall short on quality or specifications.
Being aware of threats to your manufacturing process is important. However, lengthy debates in the boardroom and long consultation meetings to find solutions can be equally insidious.
Tangible business improvement and growth can come from investing in the most suitable Furniture Manufacturing ERP solution for your business; a manufacturing system that can improve your transparency, control and efficiency, from end to end.
Contact us to find out more about WinMan’s ERP solution for furniture manufacturers and how it can help improve your processes today.