One of the biggest questions in the manufacturing operations consulting world addresses how companies can use digital resources to improve processes. If you're trying to figure out how to go digital, you can get the job done by focusing on these four areas.
Maintaining inventory for a manufacturing business is a tricky balance. On the one hand, you need to have enough materials to make products. On the other hand, you don't want to pay for excess warehousing or have resources frequently idled.
The goal of just-in-time ordering is to use digital systems to send materials orders no sooner than necessary. An old version of this places a card at the bottom of each bin of components, and then a worker places the order once they hit the card. Newer versions can each part automatically as it comes out of the bin. The electronic system then places the order after a predetermined number of components come out.
In the previous example, you may have noted a potential problem. What is the right number of components to come out before you place an order? Fortunately, a manufacturing business operations consulting firm can use digital systems to help you answer that question. Predictive analytics are software tools that help you study trends.
A manufacturer can use predictive analytics to determine the optimal time to reorder components for a factory line, for example. The consultant studies the scanned data from the inventory system and notes when the need for parts became critical. They would then use predictive analytics to anticipate how soon orders have to go out to not affect production.
It's just as important to think about the challenges your suppliers face. A company that uses steel for manufacturing, for example, will want to keep tabs on the steel market to determine the best time to buy. If prices start trending upward, they might place a larger contract to lock in prices and reduce unpredictability in their supply chain.
Integration With Partners and Customers
Streamlining the process of communicating with partners and customers is a big deal. Modern software allows you to integrate your systems with theirs, reducing delays. If you have a customer who needs to place orders irregularly, they can go into the system and place them. The system will also inform them of availability alongside expected production and shipping times. When delays occur, the system can also notify both you and them so everyone knows what's going on.
For more information, contact a manufacturing operations consulting company.