The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted manufacturing operations severely, affecting production networks, demand chains, and supply chains. Manufacturing output prices have increased by as much as 30% at the beginning of the new financial year. The recent downfall of the manufacturing industry is not new. Infections, trade wars, natural disasters, political risks, and other disruptions have all placed manufacturing at high risk in the past. As early as 2019, manufacturing production recorded a global economic slowdown, which has now morphed into a global economic crisis post- COVID-19. Currently, manufacturing is facing challenges from canceled orders, poor revenues, and falling stock prices due to an economic storm.
While the global economy has taken a nose-dive, there have been some significant efforts by governments, financial institutions, and the industrial community to foster sustainable growth in the manufacturing industry. The after-shocks of the pandemic will certainly impact how firms navigate their strategic choices and how governments regulate manufacturing and global trade policies. For manufacturing to successfully address the challenges of the pandemic, businesses need to build a resilient manufacturing growth strategy.
What is Resilient Manufacturing?
In manufacturing, numerous activities are involved, such as mechanical design and engineering, analysis, raw material sourcing, finite element analysis, costing, change management, supply chain management, sales, and after-sales support. The processes involved in designing and engineering a product, manufacturing it, and distributing it in target markets require a highly integrated set of interdependent activities.
Previously, manufacturers could create things from centralized sites and preferred to be near clients and required resources. Today, the operational environment has evolved with the advancement of technology and a strong logistics network. In the modern world, resources are increasingly competitive, long and complicated supply networks, and customers are dispersed worldwide.
The global marketplace is highly responsive, agile, and unpredictable. Technology is deep-rooted in nearly all manufacturing areas, and regulations keep changing. To survive and grow In such a constantly changing environment, organizations need to be able to adapt, react, and grow. In other words, manufacturing firms need to be resilient.
A resilient manufacturing organization can recover from or adjust easily to adverse situations. Such firms can cope with market stress and adversity, which may result in the firm returning to its original state of productivity and growth and performing effectively under any circumstances. Resilient organizations not only survive disruptions but also emerge as better organizations in the aftermath of these disruptions.
Essential Traits to Build a Resilient Manufacturing Growth Strategy
To build a resilient manufacturing growth strategy, manufacturing firms need to possess the following traits:
1. Accept Change as it Comes
In an organization, interruptions and unforeseen challenges must be handled to minimize or eliminate disruptions. Organizations must accept that shocks and disruptions will occur regardless of whether they are caused by errors and flaws in systems and internal processes or external influences.
The fundamental aim of a manufacturing firm in being resilient is to guarantee that its facilities can adapt to changes or bad situations effectively. As a result, producers must consider several factors affecting a resilient manufacturing growth strategy, including production capacity, manufacturing locations, supply chain actors, labor availability, and outsourcing decisions.
Organizations must accept changes caused by any disruptions so that they can improve their processes and systems.
2. Keep The Amount of Risk to a Tolerable Level
While manufacturing organizations thrive on greater risks, resilient manufacturing firms must keep the risk within its acceptance level. A resilient firm can only survive until the risk is within the limits of an acceptable amount.
3. Resilience from Collaborative Partners
The manufacturing organization relies on collaborative services and utilities to manage parts of its operations. Developing a resilient manufacturing growth strategy requires all supply chain partners and collaborative services to be resilient as well. For example, Connekt LLC provides design and mechanical engineering services to manufacturing firms. It shares the firm’s values and resilience strategy to mitigate risks and function smoothly even in the most unfortunate circumstances.
4. Resilient Manufacturing Firms Reflect on Total Quality Management
The drive for resilience and the push for total quality management are similar. Both resilient manufacturing growth strategy and total quality management focus on improving the quality of processes, reducing waste, increasing productivity, determining and eliminating redundant processes, and cutting down the cost of manufacturing. A resilient firm must implement total quality management practices in true spirit and become more organized around the principles of total quality.
5. Capitalize on Flexible Capacity
Flexible capacity refers to the ability of a manufacturing firm to increase or decrease its production capacity in minimum operational time and respond instantly to fluctuating demands. A flexible capacity allows an organization to respond to many types of demand fluctuations. Businesses that successfully implement this strategy can gain a clear advantage over their competitors. They can respond quickly to changes in market demand by making changes to the product or production volume.
To implement the idea of flexible capacity, manufacturing firms must be capable of operating their equipment at different production rates. The production equipment must be capable of manual start and stop, and the manufacturing firm can easily arrange a larger workforce with minimum response time.
Flexible capacity facilitates a manufacturing firm in producing different products using the same equipment and processes or producing the same product on different equipment and processes. For this purpose, the equipment must be capable of accommodating any changes in the product design or manufacturing of a new line of products.
6. Reduce Manufacturing Complexity
Manufacturers must design their products to reduce manufacturing complexity, comply with numerous regulations, and satisfy customers. The best way of reducing any complexity in product design is to outsource product design and engineering services. At Connekt LLC, our design engineers, electrical and mechanical engineers, and FEA consulting specialists help resilient manufacturing firms create unique product designs that do not involve any manufacturing complexity. Our engineers collaborate with you to develop the ideal prototype that fits your clients’ expectations as well as any regulatory needs. Our portfolio of engineering solutions includes injection-molded plastic design, CNC machining services, 3D printing, finite element analysis, and electro-mechanical packaging design in the Bay Area.
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