No industry is truly exempt from disruption (as most businesses quickly discovered during the COVID-19 crisis). One great way to enhance business agility? Embrace digital technology and transformation. For manufacturers in particular, the right digital tech and internal culture can help you maximise visibility, access real-time data and make swift decisions.
But how do you get there? There are three key elements of your business to focus on - people, processes and technology.
- Can your people adopt an agile mindset?
- Are your processes agile?
- Ensure you invest in agile technology
1. Can your people adopt an agile mindset?
This means ensuring your workforce can meet your current production needs at any time. It’s important because you want to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency. It’s neither cost-effective nor great for staff morale if you’re understaffed while production needs are high or vice versa.
So, ensure your employees are trained to adopt an agile mindset. This way, you can scale your manpower up and down and implement a flexible work schedule when required.
This is something you also need to consider when recruiting new employees. Try and look for potential employees who could bring an element of creativity to your team when you’re hiring. Ask yourself whether these candidates can see things in a new light and will bring fresh ideas to your business.
2. Are your processes agile?
Like your workforce, your processes also need to be flexible and scalable. To maintain that competitive edge, you need to ensure your processes can change to meet market demands in real-time. Or better, be able to take a proactive approach rather than a reactive one.
Start by reviewing your internal operations. Consider what your current capacity is and what you need it to be. Look for any bottlenecks, potential or otherwise. Remember, your business is only as fast as your slowest process in the production line.
Then, find and implement new systems or processes that can help you better manage those bottlenecks. Make sure you properly handle change management by getting your team’s buy-in early on in the process and creating a robust training program. Onboarding should be smooth and re-skilling a regular thing.
Tip: Consider lean practices to truly drive process improvement.
3. Are you investing in agile technology?
Enhance production agility (and supply chain efficiency as a result) with the right technology. Digitisation can bring you the following benefits:
- Once siloed data is integrated into a single platform/interface - this enhances visibility and saves time as it eliminates the need to search for the information on separate systems
- Easy access to in-depth, accurate data insights - because your systems are integrated, you can easily receive valuable data into your processes which can help you make more informed business decisions
- Minimise the impact of disruptions thanks to predictive analytics - for example, you can anticipate potential shifts in customer demand, the availability of raw materials and naturally occurring catastrophic events and prepare for them. This is exactly what we mean by taking a proactive approach rather than reactive
- Boost productivity and reduce the chances of human error - tech like automation and AI can handle repetitive tasks and provide you with in-depth data
Digital transformation is the key to business agility…
By this point, it should come as no surprise that digitalisation is key to ensuring ‘business as usual’. Innovation has always helped to turn the wheels of entrepreneurial success. Add digital technology into the mix and you can improve efficiency, productivity and more.
Want to learn how your manufacturing business can successfully innovate? Our guide will help.
Click the button below to start your journey to a digitally innovated future.