There is an old-fashioned toy that is still popular with children today. It’s the domino. None of us can avert our gaze from a line of meticulously placed dominos before they tumble, one by one, cascading in perfect uniformity.
Production failures can be a bit like a toppled domino. The slightest error can impact your business in big ways.
That’s why a strategy is crucial for your business. Read on to learn more about a production strategy and how to assemble one for your business.
Your Production Strategy: Understanding the Basics
How you produce your goods significantly impacts the rest of your business. To better understand the extent, let’s dive into some of the basics of production and what it means to have a strategy in place.
What is a Production Strategy?
When you manufacture any products for your business, your production strategy is merely your plan for how you will do that. Writing a plan can help shape your business profits and productivity.
The strategy goes into detail, covering things like how you’ll allocate resources and what you’ll do to scale your production. It may also cover specific processes you have in place.
The most comprehensive production strategies also include your supply chain and materials.
Why You Need a Tailored Solution
Every business is different. All have unique goals and targets, and the production strategy needs to reflect the higher-level strategy for the company.
And that’s why a tailored solution is fundamental, as a generic approach could leave you with problems. A tailored production strategy must focus on the unique challenges of that business.
The company can work through those challenges and help improve production. For example, some businesses might have a stringent testing process requiring a unique quality control approach.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are a good example.
The Features of a Successful Production Strategy
Good production strategies have several things in common. Here are some of the features you’ll find in the most successful ones:
A Production Strategy Should Align With Your Business Strategy
Your production team needs to be on the same page as the rest of your business.
The best way to make that happen is to ensure some alignment. In other words, all the goals of your production strategy should link with at least one goal in your overarching business strategic plan.
That helps you focus on the company’s mission. You’ll have that reassurance that all decisions help you move in the same direction as a business.
For example, you may have a business mission to double your revenue. In this case, you’d expect a similar production goal aligning with that scaling level.
You Should Have a Clear Handle on Resource Optimization
Resources include materials, people, and equipment. It’s your production source, integral to the smooth running of your manufacturing facility.
You’ll need careful planning to ensure you use these resources efficiently. That means minimizing wasted resources and using specific techniques to optimize your production.
A resource management plan will give you a baseline and a path to improving this over time to help you become a more productive business.
Your Strategy Must Make Best Use of Technology
Your strategy should outline how you will use technology in your production.
Modern technology offers a vast range of solutions for the ambitious business. You can use AI to monitor output, automation on your product line, or robotics to carry out quality assurance.
The opportunities are endless. However, the most important priority is getting a balance between your investment in technology and the financial benefits you expect to see.
Technology is there to make you more agile and efficient, so ensure it always helps you reach that goal.
Training and Development
Your team is central to your production and success. Consider using part of your production strategy to outline training and development.
Upskilling your workforce with improved processes or technology will help you achieve higher output. It will also help you stay innovative as a business.
A talented workforce will help you work towards process improvements in your production strategy.
Your Production Strategy: Common Mistakes to Avoid
It takes time to perfect your production strategy. As you do, ensure you avoid these common mistakes:
You Ignore Market Trends
Customer needs change all the time. If your production strategy is based on past data for your business, you could put your business at risk.
It may be that demands for those products have altered, and you may face an over or under-production problem.
Continually monitor market trends. See what’s evolving and spot a slow decline in demand before it costs you money. And continue to innovate with your products to ensure you maintain market share.
Over-Allocation of Resources
Overestimating demand for products means you could waste time and money on resources you don’t need.
For example, suppose you are gearing up for a peak production before the Christmas season.
However, if you haven’t spotted the decline in demand for that product, you will face expensive wages for teams you don’t need, plus wasted raw material. Always run sophisticated data analysis to help you predict demand.
It will help you run your production more efficiently. Implementing lean manufacturing methods will help you minimize waste and avoid this problem.
Forgetting or Rushing Your Quality Control Processes
Poor quality control could leave you with high returns and reputational damage. Don’t rush or shortcut your processes to boost your output.
When creating your production strategy, spend time planning your quality control procedures. Stress test them to ensure they are fit for purpose.
You should also assign someone on your team to continually optimize your quality control. That way, your customers will see the consistent quality at a minimum and perhaps a gradual improvement.
Don’t Be Too Rigid
Production strategies require a certain amount of planning and organization. But that doesn’t mean these plans should be flexible.
Remember that the most innovative and successful businesses are also highly agile. Be willing to update your production strategy as your environment changes. And continue to embrace innovation.
So if, for example, an existing technology or process no longer works for you, find a better solution that does.
Expanding Globally and Your Production Strategy
Your production might include an overseas component. Here is what to do if you operate globally or plan to in the future:
Outline Your Supply Chain
When dealing with global aspects, whether with your supply or shipping products, you face a more complex supply chain. So, you must ensure your production strategy outlines how this supply chain will operate.
It should also touch on what you’ll do to make it more efficient, like using JIT, for example. This part of your strategy should also examine any risks to your supply chain that could impact your production.
For example, what will you do if your key supplier fails to deliver a part on time?
Consider Compliance Issues
If you are selling to different markets, you may face regulatory frameworks that you need to factor into your production strategy.
For example, the EU has stringent safety laws on children’s toys. You must demonstrate that you are testing your products to those standards as part of your quality control.
If you are manufacturing overseas, you’ll also face the complexities of different labor laws. Environmental regulations play an increasing part in manufacturing. So that’s something else to consider in your production strategy.
The Role of Data in Your Production Strategy
Data underpins everything we do in the modern world. We can track everything and use that to make improvements. Here is how to address the role of data in your production strategy:
A good production strategy will examine ways to improve your existing processes. After all, that’s how you do things more efficiently and cut costs. But when doing this, make sure data plays an important role.
Data will help you spot bottlenecks and problems. For example, you can examine the rejection rate on a production line to help narrow down the issue. AI will also become increasingly helpful in this respect.
In the future, AI can warn you about anomalies in your production line or when a machine requires maintenance.
Historical data is hugely valuable when it comes to making predictions. For example, you can use this to spot market trends, thereby better aligning your production rate with demand.
Predictions can also help you with inventory and spotting when a raw material is about to go out of stock.
You should also use predictive analytics with your machinery to notify you of things like when parts will likely need replacing.
Innovation in Your Production Strategy
You stay competitive by continuously improving your production methods via innovations and process improvements. It will help you evolve with the market and grow your business; here is what you need to consider for your production strategy:
Embrace technology as a way to advance you as a business. You must be open-minded about the benefits. Don’t focus on the status quo, even if your current production strategy seems fit for purpose.
Instead, think about how you can adopt and integrate new technology. Adding it to existing processes won’t work without some planning. You’ll need to focus on your existing gaps and start from there.
An incremental approach will be more achievable for many businesses.
Create a Cycle of Improvements
Make improvements part of your culture and reward your team for finding new and better ways to do things.
It’s worth investing in training for your team to get them up to speed on methods and techniques that could help, like Kanban. Revisit your production strategy regularly and look for areas that require your focus.
That’s how you can begin to drive authentic and measurable advances in your business.
Create a Culture of Innovation
Foster a culture in your organization where innovation is encouraged. It can be hard to do in a production environment as you don’t want to break something that’s working well.
Plus, changing a production strategy can feel risky. But risks are how you’ll get greater rewards.
Try methods like Agile to help you introduce innovation more subtly by trialing it in part of your production environment instead of committing to a massive overhaul.
Future Trends and Your Production Strategy
Staying abreast of future trends that could impact your production strategy is crucial. Anticipating these will offer you the best chance of adapting well. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Focus on Your Industry
You may find certain things happening in your industry that you must adopt. Maybe that’s a new production method for a standard product that saves you money and time.
Knowing about this is vital. Because if you overlook it, you’ll lose out to competitors who can produce goods faster and cheaper. So, it pays to take a proactive approach.
Create Flexible Production Methods
Investing in flexible production processes will help you in the long run. It will make it easier for you to adapt.
That way, if something changes fast, you can adapt. For example, suppose a product of yours went viral on social media. More flexible and scalable production environments will help you meet that peak demand.
That might be machinery you can switch from one production to another. Or using staff cross-trained in multiple disciplines, for example.
Plan for Many Scenarios
The best way to plan for an uncertain future is to model different scenarios. When writing your production strategy, think about some of the likely events that may happen. It will help you create a practical contingency plan for any eventuality.
Production Strategy: Helping Your Business Stay Competitive
There is a lot to think about regarding your production strategy. And the more you grow, the more complications you will face.
However, the time you spend planning your production will reap dividends for your company. It will help you stay competitive, efficient, and profitable.
Shield Works Precision Manufacturing is here to help you fulfill your production targets. Head here to learn more about our manufacturing and warehouse capabilities in China and how they can support your business.