10 essential questions that can help manufacturers focus their efforts to upgrade
February 25, 2020
Do you feel technology is advancing too fast for you to keep up? Do you focus too much on how changing machines, software, and/or processes will disrupt your facility, and less on the future benefits of these changes? As technology continues to evolve and improve, these advancements promise to improve everything—cost, quality, flexibility, delivery, process, speed and design. But this fact still leaves window and door fabricators without answers.
As with anything, technological advancements can leave once state-of-the-art equipment and processes outdated and sometimes ineffective. Because of advancements in technology and changes in processes, older facilities can become less efficient, have lower throughput and yield and, overall, lag behind newly updated counterparts.
This highlights a gap developing between window and door fabricators using state-of-the-art equipment and updated processes and those with older equipment and processes. Now, not all equipment or processes go out of date; not all equipment or processes need to be updated or upgraded every year. Therefore, it is important to be judicious in what and how you change.
Bill Clinton said it well: “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” As we all know, change is inevitable. It is a constant. It’s important to start embracing change at work to rethink equipment, processes, personnel and so on. What’s more, think about everything that will be affected by not changing: lost revenue, higher overhead, lower yield, unstable labor force and much more. It could even cost you your business!
So, how do you decide what, why and how your business should change? The answer is very subjective for individual companies, but there are some questions that can help manufacturers spark new ideas, innovation and excitement:
What are your business goals? How do you plan to achieve them?
Is demand for your products growing?
What new products do you want to fabricate?
Do you have new competitors entering your market or challenging your position?
When is the last time you upgraded your equipment, software or processes?
When did your competition last upgrade its equipment, software or processes?
Are your production costs rising and squeezing your ROI?
Are you opening a new facility or expanding your current one?
Do you know where everything is at any time in the production process?
Do your customers have insight into their orders?
Change is not easy, but as Mark Sanborn once said, “Your success in life [and business] isn't based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business.”
I will end with one final quote from Jack Welch of General Electric, “Change before you have to.”