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Mercredi 30 Mai 2012

Top five operational concerns for manufacturing

We spend a considerable amount of time speaking and working with Operational leaders across a variety of manufacturing sectors. Based on the feedback we have received, we have compiled a list of the top five operational issues that are top of mind for leaders in industry in twenty-twelve, along with the most successful solutions:

Shawn Casemore
Shawn Casemore
1. Supply instability. The areas of greatest concern are often those which are the most difficult to predict. Supply instability tops our list of top operational concerns. With more manufacturer’s sourcing goods globally, the risk of natural disasters, supplier insolvency, credit challenges and exchange rate fluctuations can throw a wrench into even the best laid plans. Risk mitigation strategies for managing a global supply base remain as the tool of choice for most in our study.

2.Talent retention. The economic slow down of late placed the retirement plans of most baby boomers on hold. As the economy rebounds and investments recover, the mass departure of baby boomers is once again becoming a concern for those managing teams which comprise of this generation. Too tap into new pools of talent, leaders are finding means to place themselves ahead of the pack relative to gaining the attention of future candidates. Among the list of strategies include networking and sponsoring industry events, and expanding the use of social media as a means to communicate with an electronic generation.

3. Information and knowledge retention. Turnover ratios have continued to increase as younger generations remain constantly in search of “the perfect job.” Combining continuous employee turn-over with the pending exit of baby boomers, and knowledge retention of critical business functions has quickly become another key concern for operational leaders. Although historically popular means of capturing knowledge such as procedures and job aides remain popular, new solutions such as mentoring and coaching are being applied using both internal and external candidates in order to rapidly build knowledge and confidence.

4. Cost Pressures. Finding creative methods to reduce and eliminate cost is a continuing pressure with little signs of letting up. Some of the most popular methods of reducing cost amongst our study group include the altering of compensation plans to encapsulate profit contribution, as well as closely partnering with key suppliers in order to find new solutions to reduce transactional costs and drive innovation.

5. Optimization on a budget. Finding new methods to increase productivity while reducing overhead remains an ongoing challenge for operational leaders. Most organizations have been stripped of internally funded optimization positions such as Six Sigma and Lean practitioners. The common resolve of those across our study include finding methods to tap into best practices of peers; and engaging internal staff in continuous improvement activities to drive improvement and engagement.

As challenges mount, only those who are prepared operationally will be able to capitalize on the continued momentum of the economic rebound. Implementing the best practices of peers, such as those outlined above will help to best position yourself, and the organization for growth and prosperity in the coming year.

Shawn Casemore, President, Casemore and Co.

Top five operational concerns for manufacturing

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