At the core of every manufacturing organization is a corporate strategy that guides how it intends to sustainably make money. Global leaders in manufacturing continue to invest to improve their product lifecycle to achieve the most effective results. A growing strategy commonly used revolves around the cyclic process of
Successful business leaders have realized the more adept and efficient a company is at repeatedly traversing this circle, the more competitive they will ultimately be in the marketplace. Since numerous industries today require an agile business with the ability to release new products quickly, the above process enables the manufacturer to be responsive while controlling costs and increasing profitability.
An often overlooked capital asset that can add significant value to all areas of the product lifecycle and impact both revenues and/or profits is the design-to-manufacturing documentation; namely, work instructions. Well-run companies have seen that well-managed work instructions can allow them to offer more options to their customers, enhance productivity metrics such as revenue per employee through better utilization of manpower, increase on-time delivery rates, and add significant value to their bottom line.
Are you missing out on this significant aspect of your supply chain?
In today's economy, it is literally Innovate or Die! Innovation decisions revolve around the long-term future product or service offerings that an organization must develop for positive market differentiation . The real reward for success in this area of the product life cycle is the premium profit margins that can be recognized by being out in front of the competition. Quite often, innovation centers around a “total solution” approach to a product that serves to further drive the demand for an offering in its given market or open up completely new market opportunities. By having in place a system that makes management of highly configured, detailed work instructions a core component of manufacturing, organizations experience
Manufacturers who are highly innovative - offering leading edge products in their industry - know that manufacturing documentation on ‘how’ a product is built is just as important as the actual design specifications. Contract manufacturers or manufacturers of products built to order, for example, have higher demands for specific order-based work instructions and demand more from manufacturing engineering to create the proper instructions for the shop floor.
One of the greatest challenges manufacturing companies face is turning the “potential” created during the innovation phase into “profits” in the manufacturing phase . Providing standard work instructions and training employees to make new products is a bottleneck or ‘process gap’ that must be overcome. This is particularly true for companies whose products involve a significant amount of complex manual assembly in highly regulated industries as documentation must be in sync with the start of manufacturing. The value of efficiency however is critical as the ability to hit the window of opportunity offers the chance to capture market leadership and sell at a premium price before competition comes along and eats away at profit margins . By having a well-established and efficient system for authoring, deploying and revising detailed work instructions, companies
A proper work instruction author/publishing system can leverage design/engineering content with process instructions to create a seamless, effective way to produce accurate instructions.
Analysts continue to report that regardless of the industry every market eventually sees commoditization and shrinking margins as competition enters the fray. At this time, in order to maintain legacy “cash-cows” that account for large revenue streams, companies must turn toward efficiency, lowering of costs, and improving productivity . This is the land of Lean, Kaizen Events, Value Stream Mapping, and Supply Chain Management as companies attempt to wring every nickel out of the manufacturing process. At this stage of the manufacturing life-cycle, organizations that have invested in a systematic program for standardized work reap the benefits of
Every manufacturing organization has to continually ask the question “What should we not be doing?” The answer may center on outsourcing a component of a whole product or at times of shrinking margins, shedding an entire product line that no longer fits the vision of the enterprise. In a nutshell, valuable people need to be freed from the “Core” and redirected to the “New.” Again, companies that have invested in knowledge capture and management in a functionally specific work instruction system benefit from the fact that
Work instructions should be a core consideration of every phase of the manufacturing lifecycle; whether it is in giving a company more flexibility with regards to innovation or in allowing them to recognize the full value of that innovation from manufacturing ramp-up through product sunsetting. Well-run companies have seen that well-managed work instructions can allow them to offer more options to their customers, enhance productivity metrics, increase on-time delivery rates, and add significant value to their bottom line. Are you missing out on this significant aspect of your supply chain?
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 Miller, M.T. (2009). A Seat at the Table: How Top Salespeople Connect and Drive Decisions at the Executive Level. Austin: Greenleaf Book Group Press. *Special recognition goes out to Marc Miller for writing a fantastic chapter on the "Great Game of Strategy" in his book A Seat at the Table.
 Yorke, C. and Garrick, J. (2007) Yes Innovation: Everyday Improvement Everyday Leadership. West Conshohocken: Infinity Publishing.