Practical Steps To Control Manufacturing Costs

Practical Steps To Control Manufacturing Costs

What are the true costs of your manufacturing? If you can’t see them, you can’t improve them.

Here are three practical steps to gain the visibility you need to take control of your manufacturing costs.

It’s no secret that manufacturers are facing increased pressure to keep up with consumer demand, meet time-to-market expectations and create high-quality products, while achieving increased productivity at lower costs – especially in the face of mounting competition from overseas. Controlling manufacturing costs has never been more important if manufacturers want to stay competitive.

But if you can’t see the costs, how can you expect to improve them?

The fact is data insights are a critical input for improving efficiencies and lowering manufacturing costs. They enable manufacturers to achieve visibility of inputs and outputs, and control costs. But the data doesn’t need to be “big” to make an impact on your bottom line; it simply needs to be the right data, used in the right way.

 

Where do you begin? Here are three steps to get started:

 

  1. Prioritise the areas that offer the greatest potential for impact
    Nowhere is this rule more evident than with raw materials. Many manufacturers rely on historical raw material costs for forecasting, even though these are highly variable due to fluctuating exchange rates, import costs, and so on. What you need is a manufacturing model that pulls from your current costs of raw materials and current manufacturing process.
    Overestimating will cost you money in either waste or storage. Underestimating will force you to short your customers, causing them to go elsewhere, or will put you under pressure to find raw materials quickly (and therefore pay a higher price).
    Another black hole for manufacturers is labour and overheads. When it comes to overheads, getting better visibility of your power costs alone can make a huge difference. Every price rise puts another dent into the manufacturer’s bottom line, especially if they have overseas competitors unburdened by higher power prices. With better visibility into power costs, you can look at ways to adjust run times (e.g. run slower to save energy) and see the real impact on costs – without sacrificing output. 
    "Underestimating will force you to short your customers, causing them to go elsewhere, or will put you under pressure to find raw materials quickly (and therefore pay a higher price). "
  2. Stay grounded in the specific needs of the business
    Don’t begin and end with technologies. Not all technology is relevant to mid-sized manufacturers, especially with the recent rise in robotics and Industry 4.0. Chances are you won’t need to utilise machine-learning tech or make use of fully integrated sensor networks right now (if at all).
    Ask yourself: What do I want to achieve in my business? Don’t overinvest in technology that doesn’t align to these business goals – rather, start with the absolute essentials, then scale up as needed.
    So, what are the essentials? You need to put good business management software at the core i.e. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Materials Requirements Planning (MRP). ERP will immediately provide greater visibility of what’s going on. By integrating this with MRP, you can analyse sales, purchasing, manufacturing and forecasts to build an accurate picture of inventory requirements.
  3. Prepare your people for change
    Something that is majorly overlooked is how these changes will impact internal resources. Do they have capacity to absorb a new system? What tasks will they need to do? Are they ready to take it on?
    We’re not just talking about the operational staff, but management too. Often, you’ll be changing the way things have “always been done”, so there could be some initial resistance to the change.
    As with any organisational change, the best preparation is to involve your team early in the process. Explain why the change is a good idea and how it will make their job easier in the long run. In other words, sell the change. Ask them about their concerns, so you can address them directly and quickly.
    For management, the key is to make sure that they really want it. Chances are the first question they’ll ask is “How much will it cost?” But a better question would be, where’s the value coming from? Spend some time upfront ensuring management fully understands the value of the investment, and the process will be far smoother.
     
    "As with any organisational change, the best preparation is to involve your team early in the process. Explain why the change is a good idea and how it will make their job easier in the long run. In other words, sell the change."

To gain more insight into improving reporting, talk to a us today.

Wayne Potgieter

Wayne Potgieter

Wayne is an action-oriented Sales Manager with a proven track record of managing new business development to drive growth and ensuring that Verde customers are looked after. Prior to joining Verde, Wayne worked within strategic business development and customer management roles at several international companies.

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