Manufacturing Meltdown: Don’t Let An Upgrade Turn Into A Bottleneck

Modern manufacturers in nearly every sector are in constant search of the next big upgrade, technology or concept that can give them a leg up on the competition. Whether it be an investment into the Internet of Things or as fundamental as Six Sigma or Lean training, businesses are striving to improve. Modern digital manufacturing technology or efficiency principles can go a long way toward making a facility run smoother, however, they could also end up being the cause of yet another bottleneck holding back a manufacturing business.

Emerging Technology

The Internet of Things and modern digital technologies have incredible potential when it comes to manufacturing. Businesses can connect nearly every facet of their enterprise in order to gather data and make real-time informed decisions based on analytics. However, simply investing in the latest technology won’t be enough to create a smoother running facility.

When it comes to change, it makes business leaders uncomfortable but it can also have a direct impact on the workforce. It’s important to ensure employees are on board with the upgrades and employers must provide training along with them as well. If employees don’t have a complete understanding of how these new technologies will help them do their job or if they don’t have a handle on the new systems, they will fall by the wayside and be a waste of time and money. Furthermore, if there are bureaucratic procedures put in place to force the workforce into utilizing the technology after they show a disinterest, it will only end up creating a less streamlined facility instead of its intended goal which is to improve operations.

Clearly communicating with the workforce on what they want out of modern manufacturing technology is a great way to avoid this unfortunate situation. If a business owner only invests in the technology that the workforce needs or wants to have, it will create much more excitement around the upgrade rather than worry or resistance. The entire goal of incorporating the latest technology in a manufacturing facility is to improve, not to hinder business.

New Processes

Emerging technologies aren’t the only way to create a more efficient and productive manufacturing business.Concepts like Lean manufacturing, Six Sigma or a focus on employee engagement can have a tremendous impact on the way a facility runs. However, just as with modern manufacturing technology, they too can become another bottleneck instead of solving a problem.

Without a proper plan in place and communicating the goal to the workforce, any kind of fundamental change made to an organization will lead to major disruptions. These disruptions stem from the fact that employees are feeling ‘forced’ to follow arbitrary new rules for the sake of their employer rather than seeing it as a way to improve efficiency. Clearly discussing how these new processes will improve the business as a whole and what role each individual plays in the new system will go a long way toward ensuring new processes that are meant to make a facility more productive and efficient are accepted and utilized, rather than having the opposite effect.

Manufacturers have so many different ways to go about improving their business. From the latest technology to concepts that have been around for decades, they all share the same goal, fostering a more efficient and productive workplace. Yet all these improvements can actually hurt a business if not handled properly and discussed in an open manner. There’s nothing more frustrating than investing time and money in improving a business just to have it be the cause of entirely new issues and bottlenecks. Listing to employees needs and wants is a perfect way to ensure the time invested will not go to waste.