The Lancashire Quarterly Economic Survey was recently published. It shows that manufacturing in Lancashire continued to strengthen. Lancashire manufacturers invested more in training than in the previous quarter. They reported being more confident about their profitability. But what can manufacturing do to prevent profit squeezes?

The good news

This is despite pressures from increased costs of raw materials. Manufacturers in Lancashire, and probably elsewhere, are focussing on becoming more resilient to external factors, such as changes in the exchange rates (I’m not changing the B word!).

The challenge

Manufacturing needs to work out how to continue to be profitable and competitive. This while keeping price increases to a minimum so as not to lose customers.

So what should manufacturing also do?

With the present squeezes, improving efficiency is crucial. Why is it taking 7 days to resolve customer complaints? What is the ROI if these complaints are resolved in 3 days instead?

Of course improving efficiency should not be done at the expense of quality or health and safety. Though unfortunately this is happening. Primarily because people get hurt, customer satisfaction goes down, and profitability dips. Also because you don’t have to!

1. Eliminate unnecessary steps in the process

There will probably be steps in the processes that are not needed anymore, or that can be made more straightforward, and so quicker to complete. For example, when several people are needing to approve a certain decision: Do you really need all of them to be involved? Or when you need to input the same data more than once: Why not get software solutions that talk to teach other, so duplication of work is avoided?

2. Invest in workflow software that drives the process

We all know the situation where you ask Paul to do something, and he forgets, so you need to remember to remind him, then he does it, then it Sarah’s turn to give her input in the process, and she queries something Paul has contributed, so it goes back to Paul, who by this time is away on his holidays ….

If you have a good workflow solution all the people involved will be able to collaborate, so while Paul is on his holidays, John can still contribute. In driving the process, these solutions will automatically alert Paul, Sarah, and everyone else when their input is required. This reduces dead time in the process.

At Progrex IT Solutions we have vast experience in bespoke software for manufacturing companies. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you.

If you are a manufacturing company and would like updates on how software can help you become more efficient and profitable, just let us know.