Production Management: Taking Control of Your Manufacturing
Consistent brand success relies on many factors, ranging from stellar marketing to good market positioning to excellent market space capitalization to manufacturing processes. But many marketing executives don’t take an active role in production management or in controlling manufacturing processes at all.
This is actually a big oversight. In fact, a business’s manufacturing processes determine a lot about whether it will succeed long-term in its market niche.
How a business puts together its products, where it gets its raw materials, and how efficiently it uses available resources and manpower can play a big role in how much it costs to bring products to market and how much total revenue it enjoys at the end of a quarter.
Therefore, smart business executives would do well to focus on production management and take control of their manufacturing systems. This guide will break down how executives can take control of manufacturing processes and optimize them for greater success and even better brand reputation.
Production Management: An Overview
Production management is a key concern for business executives. But what exactly is it?
Also called operations management, production management essentially concerns:
- How your business plans for new and existing products
- How your business organizes inventory
- How your business optimizes the product manufacturing process, from when products begin as raw materials to when they are finally compiled into finished products
Ultimately, product management oversees all of these concerns and good product management will lead to a smooth-running manufacturing process throughout your organization and any studios that you contract with.
While your business may use a design studio for product manufacturing or design needs, such as Harper+Scott, product management is still important.
Product management ensures that your organization manages its inventory well and is optimized for economic efficiency (i.e., you only pay for the product you need rather than buying too much or too little).
Since product management is such an important part of maintaining your brand, it’s vital to know how to take control of your manufacturing processes and optimize them for total success.
Understanding Manufacturing Type
Broadly speaking, there are five main manufacturing process types. You may use one or more of these depending on what you produce or whether you’ve contracted a design agency that produces private label or branded products for your brand.
The main manufacturing process types are:
- Discrete manufacturing, which involves a wide variety of different products using modular and modifiable production lines.
- Repetitive manufacturing, which is the most streamlined process that heavily relies on the use of automated tools like robotics or conveyor belts.
- Batch manufacturing, which is often leveraged by design and sourcing studios like Harper+Scott. It involves creating batches of products based on consumer demand or marketing campaign requirements.
- Job shop manufacturing, which is ideal for creating bespoke products. It heavily relies on workshops or separate production areas and is used by smaller businesses in general.
- Continuous manufacturing, a process that mostly deals with raw materials and that is designed to ensure that the supply of necessary raw materials for production never runs out.
Before proceeding to the following concrete steps for taking control of your manufacturing, identify which of the manufacturing processes your business relies on for product creation and output. Doing so will help you target your efforts where they’ll be most fruitful.
How to Control Your Product Manufacturing Processes
Let’s take a closer look at methods of controlling your product manufacturing processes for greater success in the future, even if they’re doing satisfactorily right now.
Optimize Your Processes
One great reason to take more direct control of your manufacturing processes for success is to optimize them. This can be done in a few ways, and often in conjunction with a production manager or with your design agency leads.
Consider all the processes your business relies on together. One or more processes may not synchronize very well with one another due to physical needs, timing, cost, and so on. The key thing here is to avoid partial process implementation, which is often not cost-effective.
Instead, try to ensure that all of your manufacturing processes work together. For instance, continuous and repetitive manufacturing usually go together quite well. Similarly, job shops and batch manufacturing are tailor-made for one another.
Of course, you should also attempt to ensure that each process you use is followed and implemented perfectly for optimal production output.
Any brand looking to maintain a sterling reputation will need to ensure that manufacturing processes lead to high quality over the long-term. Take control of your manufacturing systems and ensure that quality is upheld at all costs, even if your particular market niche focuses on providing the most cost-effective or cheap products for your target consumer base.
Specifically, each product you create should meet a minimum standard of quality. This ensures that customer satisfaction remains at acceptable levels and your brand doesn’t suffer due to improper manufacturing checks.
Of course, sourcing studios like Harper+Scott can also take care of this for you. But it’s often helpful to take control and guarantee quality yourself as well.
Make Demand-Driven Decisions
Any new manufacturing decisions you make should be driven primarily by changes to demand. Don’t rely on your gut or greater industry trends.
That’s a bit abstract, so here’s an example: Your business will need to invest a certain amount up front on energy and material consumption when creating products and manufacturing them for the market.
If customer demand is currently low, you can lower energy costs and run your business more cost-effectively than you would if you maintained a high product output and ended up with excess product. Not only would this be energy inefficient, costing your business in the long run, but it would also increase your inventory carrying costs (more on that below).
The bottom line: Ensure that your manufacturing processes are being driven by the numbers, not by anything else.
Lower Inventory Carrying and Compliance Costs
Speaking of inventory costs, you can try to optimize your manufacturing processes by keeping your inventory carrying costs reasonable. In most cases, this can be done by looking at good product planning fundamentals and product management strategies.
For instance, it’s often tempting to order massive amounts of a popular product in anticipation of high consumer demand. But it’s often better to ride the line between being out of your product and having just enough to meet demand than it is to have tons of excess product right as demand dries up.
If you time your production poorly, you could end up with thousands of extra product units, incurring high storage fees over months or years. You’ll also run into fees for wasteful production, as you’ll be on the hook for disposing of excess products if you can’t sell them eventually.
Along the same lines, you can take control of your manufacturing to lower compliance costs. As you spend time focusing on quality and understanding the ins and outs of your product manufacturing processes, you’ll be less likely to have to pay compliance fees. Furthermore, your production manager or management team can anticipate any problems before they occur.
This focus is necessarily more important for industries where regulatory compliance is more frequent, such as the foodservice industry, farming, and so on.
Optimize Your Workforce
Lastly, take control of your manufacturing processes and try to optimize your workforce for success. The best way to do this is to look at demand versus capacity-utilization.
This means hiring workers just to capacity needs, or just at the edge of demand requirements. This allows you to optimize your labor costs and ensures that you have enough workforce available to give your organization a little flexibility in the event of a major issue.
Indeed, you should ensure that your manufacturing workforce has enough manpower to get the job done plus cover for unexpected workforce shortages. But try not to hire so many workers that your costs become too exorbitant for your organization’s goals.
As you can see, there are many ways you can take control of your manufacturing processes and practice better production management over the long-term. By emphasizing good production management in your organization, your business will see more successful quarters and enjoy a greater industry reputation at the same time.
When it comes down to it, how you manufacture your products and the quality you bring to market matters more for your brand’s long-term viability than anything else. Taking a more active role in manufacturing processes for your organization will only benefit your brand and in turn, your customer.
Want to discuss potential branded or private label products, or need to figure out a good manufacturing system for your needs? Contact Harper+Scott today. We’re thrilled to discuss what we can do for your brand.