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Posts Tagged ‘supply chain’

Designing a Production Strategy That Works, and Mistakes to Avoid

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:

Process Improvements

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. 

Making Predictions

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:

Technological Innovation

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.

How to Maintain Flexibility in Supply Chain Strategies

There are over 32 million small businesses in the United States. With so much competition in every industry, it’s crucial to take every opportunity to ensure your company’s longevity.

This is particularly true when considering supply chain management strategies. Proper supply planning can go a long way when it comes to avoiding issues you may have otherwise encountered.

We’ve created a brief guide that has the key information you should know. Let’s explore the types of supply chain management you can take advantage of.

Continuous Flow

This model focuses on efficiency. It’s great for creating stability in high-volume environments. Manufacturers who produce many of the same products on a regular basis will find this to be a great option.

Having such a high level of efficiency allows manufacturers to keep prices low. In many cases, the continuous flow model will help you maximize your sales numbers.

Fast Chain

Sometimes, companies prioritize responsiveness over efficiency. Manufacturers that change their product lines frequently should consider the fast chain model.

For example, businesses might focus on taking advantage of trends. Since trends change so often, the manufacturer should flood the market before it loses popularity.

You can take this model to new heights by developing trends on your own. This will allow you to exponentially increase your performance. This is much easier said than done, though, and you’ll also need a stellar marketing department.


Businesses that leverage the agile model often work with specialty items. It’s specifically designed to deal with smaller batches of products. In practice, this means less automation and more expert knowledge.

This has the advantage of creating additional value, allowing for higher prices. It’s worth noting that this model isn’t meant for high-volume production. It simply isn’t sustainable in this scenario.

Efficient Chain

As the name implies, this model focuses on end-to-end efficiency. Production forecasting is crucial to get the best results. Raw material prices have a strong influence on how effective this model can be.

Labor shortages, delays, and material shortages often make using this model difficult. This is particularly true in a post-COVID world.


There’s a chance your business needs something more specific than a traditional model. This is where custom configuration steps in. It allows you to establish unique production and assembly setups.

Common examples include builds that focus on limited production or prototypes. In practice, this can be thought of as a combination of continuous flow and agile models.


This model attempts to leverage the best attributes of the other models. It aims to accommodate stretches of low demand and reacts to periods of high demand. To work, it requires the right infrastructure.

Automation is key when it comes to maximizing flexibility. Having access to a broad list of professional suppliers is also necessary.

Maintaining Adaptability

No matter what supply chain management strategy you use, it’s essential to maintain adaptability.

You’ll need to be comfortable identifying areas of concern and making the appropriate changes. It’s also important to have insight into approaching issues. For instance, you could forecast demand shortages and adjust your model to accommodate them.

Or, you could adapt to meet a surge in demand for a short time. Common disruptors include price changes, lead time, and natural disasters. Put simply, there is no shortage of obstacles you can face. Stay ready for the ones that come your way.

Getting Started

Working with a professional is one of the best ways to improve supply chain flexibility. They have the tools and resources to ensure you start on the right track.

They can also assess your current strategies and reconfigure them. This goes a long way when it comes to maximizing performance.

When looking for someone to work with, consider what other clients have had to say about their experiences. Were they satisfied with the results? Did the firm maintain professionalism throughout the process?

You should also consider their pricing structure. The last thing you want is to encounter financial surprises.

The company you choose should be easy to get in touch with. They should also seem interested in helping you meet your goals.

Finally, look at examples of their past work. This will provide valuable insight into what you can expect. As long as you do your due diligence, you shouldn’t encounter issues.

Best Practices

There are certain steps you can take to avoid common problems with supply chain management. Keep these in mind when moving forward so you can make the most of them. Listed below are some of the most notable.

Stay Compliant

It’s crucial to always remain compliant. Breaking regulations can come with costly fees and penalties.

In some situations, it can even affect your brand integrity. This can make it difficult to scale your business in the future.

Assess Risk

Assess the risk of the supply chain model you use. Ideally, you would choose one with maximum output and minimal risk.

This isn’t always possible, though. If there isn’t an option with minimal risk available, have a contingency plan in case things go wrong.

Utilize Automation

Automation is key when it comes to hitting peak efficiency. This can eliminate menial tasks and streamline your workflow. Train your team appropriately so they can implement automation as often as possible.

Leverage These Types of Supply Chain Management

Having the right strategies in place is crucial when it comes to maximizing your chances of success. Understanding the types of supply chain management can help you hit the ground running and keep you competitive in your industry.

Get in touch with a representative at Shield Works Precision Manufacturing today. Our professional team can assess your needs and help you get the best results.

Supply Chain Management: The Backbone of Your Business

Supply chain management is the backbone of any company, big or small, that deals in physical goods with substantial production and distribution processes. When you’re starting out your business, supply chain management might seem like an afterthought; you’re more concerned with what goes on inside your company than the goods that come in and out of it. But when you’re ready to scale up, you’ll need a way to manage your goods from their point of origin all the way to where they’re being used—and that’s where supply chain management comes into play.

What Is A Supply Chain?

A supply chain is the network of all suppliers and producers, distributors, warehouses, and end customers involved in producing and delivering a product. Supply chains are found in a variety of industries including automobile manufacturing.

A consumer goods business’s supply chain can be broken down into four main categories: supplier development and management; distribution; operations management; and customer service. These four components work together to ensure that goods are delivered to customers on time while maintaining a high level quality.

Suppliers need to be monitored for quantity, delivery times, and any changes in price or availability. Distribution requires coordination with carriers and transportation services for getting products from point A to point B without any delays or damage. Operations must handle such things as plant floor layout, storage equipment design, assembly line design, production scheduling strategies and inventory levels. Customer service involves managing customer expectations with respect to pricing/costs, lead times and order fulfilment.

An effective supply chain is crucial because it ensures your company has continuous supplies which allows you to stay competitive by meeting your customers’ needs at a low cost while still ensuring profit margins remain healthy enough for long-term success.

Benefits Of Having A Good Supply Chain In Place

A good supply chain will ensure the availability of your products and services to buyers. Having a reliable supply chain in place means you can trust that what is promised is delivered, without worries about product shortages or delivery delays. It also means you can focus on other aspects of your business, such as marketing and customer service, knowing that your supply chain is running smoothly. Good inventory management also saves you money by reducing the amount of time spent managing inventories; it eliminates waste by reducing excess production; and it prevents overbuying or underbuying by estimating demand more accurately.

It also allows you to offer same-day shipping or delivery services, which can greatly improve your customer experience while enhancing your brand image in shoppers’ eyes.  Finally, having control of every step of the process from production to distribution gives you peace of mind because you know where your products are at all times.

Problems With A Poorly Planned And Managed Supply Chain

A poorly planned and managed supply chain can lead to a variety of problems. For example, if your supplies are delivered late or in the wrong quantities, it will be difficult for you to keep up with demand and meet customer expectations. This could cause your customers to look elsewhere for products, meaning you’ll lose money. Similarly, if something goes wrong with a shipment – say you ordered 2,000 units but only received 1,500 – then you won’t have enough product on hand to fulfill orders and may have to cancel some orders altogether. This can damage your reputation as well as cause delays in production that hurt your bottom line.

In addition, a poorly planned and managed supply chain can lead to even financial problems. If your supplier ships you faulty products – say they accidentally send you 2,000 units that don’t work properly – then it may be difficult for you to get a refund or replacements. This could force you to halt production as your staff tries to identify and replace all of these faulty units and seek compensation for losses. Worse still, if there’s an issue with your suppliers’ products that leads to serious injuries or health complications for customers, then it may be difficult for you to find a lawyer who will take up your case due to consumer protections laws in many countries. And it’ll be detrimental to your cash flow.

How Can You Effectively Manage An Effective Supply Chain?

There are many factors to consider when it comes to supply chain management, but the most important is having a plan. You should start by writing down all the points that are essential to your business and then create a list of what you need for each point. You can also make use of a system that will help you manage your inventory and keep track of where things are in the process. When it comes to order fulfillment, be sure that you have enough space in your warehouse or storage area to account for the time it will take for customers’ orders to arrive. If you’re not sure how much space you’ll need, speak with a professional who deals with these matters on a daily basis.

Or you can hire a professional supply chain management company.  They will work closely with you to establish goals for your organization’s future manufacturing plans as well as strategies that address potential problems like an increase in problems or changes in technology. They also provide recommendations and support for establishing a sustainable supply chain strategy. With their guidance, there’s no doubt about it: You’ll be able to continue running an effective supply chain without wasting money, resources, or time.

Shield Works Can Take Care of It All

Shield Works has over 17 years of experience in managing supply chain, all the way from manufacturing to delivery.  We can help you achieve your goals and objectives while saving time and money. For a free consultation on how we can help your business, call today!