If you were asked to complete a survey by listing the most important strategic objective for your manufacturing operation, how would you answer? If you’re like most business owners and operations managers, your first answer will probably deal with ensuring product quality, but your second answer might also align with nearly 80 percent of operations decision-makers: improving agility.
Across all aspects of the manufacturing sector, from consumer electronics to food and beverage, operations pros are searching for ways to respond quickly to shifts in supply and demand. The ability to ramp up production, increase raw material inventory, or add to the labor force in response to a spike in orders can keep any manufacturing model lean and efficient. And the ability to dial down and scale back on a dime also holds a prominent position on the priority list for most operations.
But despite the clamor and the high-pressure search for greater agility, production response times still aren’t perfect, and the goal remains elusive for most organizations. In the meantime, software providers are struggling to fill the gap with new applications that can help companies anticipate changes and initiate response protocols. Here are some of the most popular tools in development or available on the market today:
Planning, Scheduling and Dispatching Software: Automating production plans and tying these plans to resource capabilities can narrow the gap between demand and raw material availability. As information moves faster, lapses become shorter.
Document Management Software: Information, plans, lists, and schedules update rapidly, and an agile document management software system can keep workflows in motion by keeping the most recent information available to relevant players.
Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence: Again, the faster information moves, the more agile all production processes can become. This type of software application keeps the activity and needs of the shop floor available and transparent to off-site decision makers. Changes on the plant floor, the warehouse, and the back office can be shared and updated in real time, allowing each division and branch of the production process to make decisions based on shard data.
For more on the kinds of enterprise management software and applications that can support your operational agility, reach out the Little Rock staffing and business management experts at CSS.