The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has released a ten-point plan which it says will help to ensure manufacturers are in a strong position when the economy begins to recover from recession.
Compiled by Roger Parr, national network manager for MAS, the proposals are:
1. Decide what your company’s key objective is – growth or survival – and tailor your business strategy accordingly.
2. If you haven’t started the Lean journey, NOW is the time to do it – work out how you can reduce waste from your company so it works to higher profit margins.
3. Work proactively with your supply chain – if bottlenecks are removed and it’s working more efficiently, your company will function better.
4. Reduce energy costs by implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) – this can be anything from switching lights off to purchasing energy efficient machinery and installing energy monitors.
5. Do not neglect R&D – try and identify new opportunities and markets and take advantage of the current economic climate.
6. Keep customer service levels high – retaining your client base is crucial and a lot of manufacturing business is conducted via word-of-mouth, so ensure your business’s reputation is credible.
7. Share best practice – work with local manufacturers and pool knowledge resources as they are probably encountering the same dilemmas as you.
8. Keep employer-employee communications fluid – produce visual management chart and mapping systems so that every member of the team knows where they’re up to.
9. Think very carefully about your options before off-shoring production and consider some of the pitfalls, such as longer lead times and the inability to monitor quality and production levels.
10. Seek external advice – this is where MAS practitioners can help.
Said Parr: “Manufacturers are under pressure on several fronts: credit flow, variable energy prices and a weak pound, increasing the cost of imported materials. It’s essential that they find ever-more sophisticated means to remain competitive.
“Our practitioners have dyed-in-the-wool manufacturing backgrounds, they understand the sector and bare the scars of experience. This allows them to provide authoritative, pragmatic advice and help implement manufacturing programmes that deliver quantifiable results.”
MAS is a sidearm of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and is funded by the government. It is delivered by the Regional Development Agencies via Business Link and focuses its efforts toward the needs of SME manufacturers.