Successful Time Management for Manufacturers
Manufacturers compete in an industry with multiple issues, and where margins are tight and constantly being squeezed, creating little room for error and ongoing need to cut costs. Here are 4 steps that might help to streamline practices and reduce error.
Step 1: Use Software technology to your advantage
While you may be able to manage your own time effectively – scheduling meetings and travel plans and day to day work without conflict – allocating time for a project implementation plan or completing a big order that can span across several weeks to months can be tough. With so many different forces that could extend the process, it helps to have some software system in place to take into account all aspects of the job and that will never lose track of even the smallest of details. In the technologically advanced era we live in, folders in a file cabinet just don’t cut it anymore.
Step 2: Budget your time from project start to finish
Just as a good financial budget is critical to success, developing a time management budget is a necessary step in the manufacturing process. Customers have expectations that manufacturers will deliver a quality product, in an agreed upon time frame, for an agreed upon price. Failing to meet the delivery date violates this contract and presents you with a few options, none of which are very attractive. You can skimp on the quality or increase price to deliver on time, or you can maintain the quality and price and deliver late. Not only will you likely lose money on the sale, as customers won’t be willing to pay the set price if you fail to deliver on the contract you both signed, but also word will spread. You will have lost that client’s future business and their 5 other closest industry partners will hear about their bad experience and take their business elsewhere as well.
Step 3: Allow for ample contingency
A key mistake that can be made, even if a budget is made, is to not allow for adequate contingency. There is a lot that goes on in the manufacturing industry. From order processing to shop floor distribution of materials to packaging and delivery, there is plenty of room to get off schedule. We never plan to get off schedule but at the same token, we never plan for employees getting sick, shipments being delayed or other external factors that can impede progress. With a contingency in place, worst case is you are delayed in your process but still deliver on time, according to the contract. Best case, all goes smoothly, no delays, and you deliver early, gaining a happy, loyal customer that will return their business and recommend your business to their industry partners.
Step 4: Deliver
Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables once said, “He who every morning plans the transactions of that day and follows that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.” In a slightly less literal reading of his words, planning the steps of an extended project guides you in the process and, in the busiest of days, will always keep you on track and steer you back in the right direction if you falter. Embrace technology, make a budget, and plan for hiccups – success and customer satisfaction will follow.
Interested in increasing your productivity? This article might interest you: Automating your supply-chain can increase profit more than sales growth
MetalEZ Business Software can help streamline these processes. Call 713-680-2247 or email info@MetalEZ.com for additional information.