Collaboration: Improving Your Manufacturing Operations

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The age of businesses keeping information in isolated silos has all but been extinguished. No longer can a business rely on themselves to come up with the best manufacturing and production methods with no help from the outside world. Yes, businesses have been using and improving on the ideas of others for centuries, but it’s now more important than ever to collaborate with your industry to innovate more effectively.

Local Collaboration

Manufacturers are always looking for the next big innovation to help bring their operation to the next level. Whether it be a more efficient production method, or a better way to communicate with employees, collaboration is key. It isn’t necessary to abandon shop and set up a new facility in one of the nations collaboration hubs just yet. There is a great source of new perspectives and ideas within any manufacturing organization. Any employee can bring new ideas to the table, especially employees that are on the shop floor. These employees are a valuable source of information and can come up with new ways of creating a more efficient manufacturing process.

Employees that are on the shop floor everyday have a better chance of seeing where a process fails, or where communication falls apart. They have the opportunity to explain to upper management how and why these processes don’t work. Asking questions and asking for suggestions can open up management’s eyes to a real problem that they might not otherwise notice. Besides fixing problems that could be slowing down production, employees will feel as though their opinion matters to the company. An employee that feels appreciated will be more inclined to go above and beyond for the company.

Supply Chain Collaboration

Manufacturers rely heavily on the efficiency and transparency of their supply chains. Without communicating with suppliers and distributors the entire system will fail. As supply chains continue to become more complex and span over larger distances, collaboration between manufacturers and their supply chain is more important than ever before.

Collaborating with the entire supply chain is not only more important than in the past, it is now much easier as well. Communication technology has revolutionized the way manufacturers can keep in contact with every link of their supply chain. Using this communication technology effectively will be the key to success in today’s manufacturing industry. Collaborating with a supply chain can ensure the manufacturer’s goals are clearly stated and any deadlines will be met. Information silos will get a business nowhere. If manufacturers want to get the most out of their supply chains, it is necessary to work together with all aspects of the supply chain to ensure everyone is happy and they are all working together to achieve a common goal.

Collaboration Hubs

Beyond collaborating with employees and a supply chain, manufacturers have been increasingly more interested in collaboration hubs. These collaboration hubs are areas in which businesses from all industries are located in one area. Tech companies, other manufacturers, software developers, and so many more, all are mashed together and produce some impressive results.

Being located near a company working in a different industry might sound like it would not serve any purpose, but this is not the case. Manufacturers can easily communicate, face to face if necessary with these other industries to see what new projects they are working on, or what products they have recently released that may be able to aid in the manufacturing process. Tech companies are coming out with new revolutionary technology that has the potential to completely transform a manufacturing operation nearly every day. Having the ability to upgrade a facility with this new technology and having the company that developed the technology right next store is the ultimate form of customer support. Same goes with a software developer. Manufacturers are trying out new ERP, cloud and IoT software all the time, but many aren’t using it to its full potential. Being located near the software developer is the best way to ensure a manufacturer received the best support possible.

Manufacturers are always looking for the next big thing to give them a leg up on the competition. Many try to overhaul their entire operation with no tangible proof that their operation is running any better, it could even hurt production as employees might find their new system confusing and face a new learning curve. One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve a manufacturing operation is by collaborating. Collaboration can boost innovation and create better manufacturing processes. Stop keeping information in separate silos and efficiently collaborate with individuals and other businesses a manufacturer can bring their organization to new heights.