Setting up and running a factory is no walk in the park. The key to managing a factory smoothly is appreciating the hindrances in operations as well as knowing what industry you align with. There are many different types of services offered by factories. A factory may specifically work in manufacturing, with the design and creation of items such as; specifically built museum plinths and large storage specific art crates or maybe even something a little more direct like welded mash panels and retail designed metal display stands.
Other times, factories can be used directly for the purpose of packaging and distribution. Most times, these shipping-based factories are much smaller and hold far less equipment then those manufacturing ones, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t as important in a business sense. A factory who is the soul distributor of the latest sneaker releases or more specifically a factory that ships in correlation with the Nike release calendar would have the pressure of a world-wide company like Nike on top of them. Learning to manage massively popular clientele is something that distributing, packing or shipping factories have to learn in order for their business to continue to succeed.
The simplest yet biggest principle behind setting up and running a factory efficiently is doing simple tasks exceptionally well. Here are some tips which are helpful in running a factory, regardless of what type of factory it is:
Especially in the starting phase, take small steps. Initially depend more on human resources than capital. Investing huge amounts on the equipment and machinery in the first few months of the factory may have an adverse effect. Lease the plant and machinery required instead of buying in that time frame. Take your time and be patient, big things will come to those who learn to wait patiently.
Know your people
Human resources are the biggest assets. It is good to personally communicate your factory workers from the shop level to supervisors. Regular interaction also ensures higher quality in manufacturing processes at the factory. Be people oriented and comprehend the wider perspectives which go beyond their roles in the factory. This is not restricted to just your staff, acquaint yourself with people from the industry too.
Adaptability is the key
The industry is completely dynamic and always finding a way to evolve. It is beneficial to be adaptable to the latest changes that may come your way. If you do not transform in time, or at least be prepared for it, your factory might become stagnant much sooner than you ever thought.
Keep an eye on the latest technologies. It is important to revive your manufacturing processes per the ever-changing technologies. Disruptive technologies have transformed the entire scenario of the manufacturing industry. Automation is making a positive impact on production in terms of cost and accessibility. Try to utilize artificial intelligence and the future is yours. Look at the latest advancements before purchasing anything new for your factory.
Invest in upgraded software
If you make the right investment in upgraded software, your factory procedures and processes would take place in the most efficient manner. This facilitates not only the advancement of the value chain at your factory but also the adoption of best practices. This is area to shit from everything manually. You may want to look into time management software, employee communication software programs such as slack or maybe even something as simple as the latest Mac computer from Apple for your tech-based office.
Take costs and benefits into account when tackling the obstacles
For any challenge that comes in your way while running a factory, consider the costs involved and benefits of each viable option. This would be helpful in making the best decision. An optimal solution would come only after reviewing the costs and benefits both. Also, take the opinion of your team and then get to the solution.
Solve the problem in the right time frame
It is very crucial to understand the problems fully and solve them quickly. Delay in solving the problems might hold up factory workers to proceed with the normal operations. Solve the problems in an effective manner as quickly as you can manage to. Dig for reasons behind the losses in the information from the plant floor. Taking feedback of your team while solving the problem, speeds up the solution.
You will not know absolutely everything
Be a problem solver but do not expect yourself to know the solution to anything and everything. Being a manager, you have fewer insights on manufacturing aspect. Try to get as much manufacturing insights as possible. Work with your people and you find the right approach to any problem at hand. Sometimes, one of the newest or youngest people in your team can have the most experience with an issue and offer the best advice possible. Make sure you use your team and communicate with them, as they are the best resource available to your business.
Be attentive to details
Assumption leads to big issues. Pay attention to details. Even though your workers do not need hand-holding, a disciplined flow is necessary. Do quality checks at the assembly line. Oversee the flow when deadlines are stringent else you might end up making losses and losing clients. Keep an eye on all systems and have faith that the guidelines you have set will help your business run as smoothly as possible.
Put an Emphasis on Networking
There won’t be better opportunities for your factory to develop more leads than the ones networking can offer you. Go out of your way and attend networking events to help generate more opportunities and create some profit for your business.
The biggest takeaway is to manage your factory by creating a manufacturing mindset to see the entire picture and make the best possible decisions. The simple idea is to ‘crawl, walk, run’. By being prepared for anything that will come your way, you can set your factory up for success and develop the correct protocol for your team to help deliver the best service possible.