The process of bringing a new product to market can seem long and daunting, and might be enough to put you off getting started. By breaking it down into 12 steps, you can see that it could be easier than you think to turn your great idea into a final product. This is where you begin to flesh out your basic idea. Think about what you want your product to be, what its use is, and who would use it.
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- 10 Steps To An Effective Manufacturing Operations Management Strategy
- 12 Steps From Product Concept to Manufacturing
- How Should You Organize Manufacturing?
- What makes a good production plan?
- The secret to success in metal fabrication: Keep it simple
- The 12 most important metrics to measure in manufacturing
- Production Planning for Small Manufacturers
- Methods of production
- Manufacturing engineering
10 Steps To An Effective Manufacturing Operations Management StrategyVIDEO ON THE TOPIC: Most Satisfying Manufacturing Process Never Seen Before
Among the characteristics of a company that shape corporate and therefore manufacturing strategy are its dominant orientation market or product , pattern of diversification product, market, or process , attitude toward growth acceptance of low growth rate , and choice between competitive strategies high profit margins versus high output volumes. Once the basic attitudes or priorities are established, […]. Once the basic attitudes or priorities are established, the manufacturing arm of a company must arrange its structure and management so as to reinforce these corporate aims.
When they are operating smoothly, they are almost invisible. But manufacturing is getting increasing attention from business managers who, only a few years ago, were preoccupied with marketing or financial matters. The fact is that in most companies the great bulk of the assets used—the capital invested, the people employed, and management time—are in the operations side of the business.
This is true of both manufacturing and service organizations, in both the private and public sectors of our economy. The problems and pressures facing manufacturing companies ultimately find their way to the factory floor, where managers have to deal with them through some sort of organizational structure.
Unfortunately, this structure often is itself part of the problem. For example:. And to what extent were these problems the outgrowth of poorly designed organizational structures? Finally, we will discuss the various kinds of growth that companies can experience and how these expectations should affect the organization of the manufacturing function. The concept of manufacturing strategy is a natural extension of the concept of corporate strategy, although the latter need not be as rational and explicit as management theorists usually require.
We use the term company to refer to a business unit that has a relatively homogeneous product line, considerable autonomy, and enough of a history to establish the kind of track record we refer to here. Dominant orientation —Some companies are clearly market oriented. They consider their primary expertise to be the ability to understand and respond effectively to the needs of a particular market or consumer group.
In exploiting this market knowledge, they use a variety of products, materials, and technologies. Gillette and Head Ski are examples of such companies. Other companies are clearly oriented to materials or products; they are so-called steel companies, rubber companies, or oil companies or, more recently, energy companies. They develop multiple uses for their product or material and follow these uses into a variety of markets. Still other companies are technology-oriented—most electronics companies fall into this class—and they follow the lead of their technology into various materials and markets.
A common characteristic of a company with such a dominant orientation is that it seldom ventures outside that orientation, is uncomfortable when doing so, often does not appreciate the differences and complexities associated with operating the new business, and then often fails because it hesitates to commit the resources necessary to succeed. Every company continually confronts a variety of growth opportunities. Its decisions about which to accept and which to reject signal, in a profound way, the kind of company it prefers to be.
Some companies, in their concentration on a particular market, geographic area, or material, essentially accept the growth permitted by that market or area or material consumption. Other companies, however, are so structured and managed that a certain rate of growth is required in order for the organization to function properly. Choice of competitive priorities —In its simplest form this choice is between seeking high profit margins or high output volumes. Some companies consistently prefer high margin products, even when this limits them to relatively low market shares.
Others feel more comfortable with a high-volume business, despite the fact that this commits them to severe cost-reduction pressure and often implies low margins. This concept can be expanded and enriched, however, since companies can compete in ways other than simply through the prices of their products. Some compete on the basis of superior quality—either by providing higher quality in a standard product for example, Mercedes-Benz or by providing a product that has features or performance characteristics unavailable in competing products.
We intend here to differentiate between an actual quality differential and a perceived difference, which is much more a function of selling and advertising strategy. It will, however, work as specified, is delivered on time, and any failures are immediately corrected.
Still others compete on the basis of product flexibility, their ability to handle difficult, nonstandard orders and to lead in new product introduction. This is a competitive strategy that smaller companies in many industries often adopt. And, finally, others compete through volume flexibility, being able to accelerate or decelerate production quickly. Successful companies in cyclical industries like housing or furniture often exhibit this trait.
In summary, within most industries different companies emphasize one of these five competitive dimensions—price, quality, dependability, product flexibility, and volume flexibility. It is both difficult and potentially dangerous for a company to try to compete by offering superior performance along several competitive dimensions. Instead, a company must attach definite priorities to each that describe how it chooses to position itself relative to its competitors.
Practically every decision a senior manager makes will have a different impact on each of these dimensions, and the organization will thus have to make trade-offs between them. Unless these trade-offs are made consistently over time, the company will slowly lose its competitive distinctiveness.
One test of whether a company has a strategy is that it is clear not only about what it wants to do but also about what it does not want to do—what proposals it will consistently say no to. Once such attitudes and competitive priorities are identified, the task for manufacturing is to arrange its structure and management so as to mesh with and reinforce this strategy.
Manufacturing should be capable of helping the company do what it wants to do without wasting resources in lesser pursuits. It is surprising that general managers sometimes tend to lose sight of this concept, since the need for priorities permeates all other arenas of management.
For example, marketing managers segment markets and focus product design, promotional, and pricing effects around the needs of particular segments, often at the expense of the needs of other segments.
And management information systems must be designed to emphasize particular kinds of information at the expense of others. While it is possible to chalk up to inexperience the belief of many general managers that manufacturing should be capable of doing everything well, it is harder to explain why many manufacturing managers themselves either try to be good at everything at once or focus on the wrong thing. They know that all-purpose tools generally are used only when a specific tool is not available.
Perhaps they fall into this trap because of pride, or too little time, or because they are reluctant to say no to their superiors. All these factors enter into the following scenario. Under duress, and without sufficient time to examine the trade-offs involved, he attempts to shore up performance along these dimensions.
Then he is confronted with pressure from finance to reduce costs or investment or both. Falling into such a trap can be devastating, however, because a manufacturing mission that is inconsistent with corporate strategy is just as dangerous as not having any manufacturing mission at all.
They will reflect engineering priorities, or operating simplicity often the goal of someone who has worked his way up from the bottom of the organization —not the needs of the business. Translating a set of manufacturing priorities into an appropriate collection of plant, people, and policies requires resources, time, and management perseverance.
Moreover, these assets tend to be massive, highly interrelated, and long lived—in comparison with marketing and most financial assets. Once a change is made, its impact is felt throughout the system and cannot be undone easily. The decisions that implement a set of manufacturing priorities are structural; for a given company or business they are made infrequently and at various intervals. They fall into two broad categories: facilities decisions and infrastructure decisions.
The total amount of manufacturing and logistics capacity to provide for each product line over time. How this capacity is broken up into operating units plants, warehouses, and so on , their size and form a few large plants versus many small ones , their location, and the degree or manner of their specialization for example, according to product, process, and so on.
The span of the process—that is, the direction of vertical integration toward control either of markets or of suppliers , its extent as reflected roughly by value added as a percentage of sales , and the degree of balance among the capacities of the production stages.
Policies that control the loading of the factory or factories—raw material purchasing, inventory, and logistics policies. Policies that control the movement of goods through the factory or factories—process design, work-force policies and practices, production scheduling, quality control, logistics policies, inventory control.
These two sets of decisions are closely intertwined, of course. Similarly, work-force policies interact with location and process choices, and purchasing policies interact with vertical integration choices. Each of these structural decisions places before the manager a variety of choices, and each choice puts somewhat different weights on the five competitive dimensions. For example, an assembly line is highly interdependent and inflexible but generally promises lower costs and higher predictability than a loosely coupled line or batch-flow operation or a job shop.
Similarly, a company that attempts to adjust production rates so as to chase demand will generally have higher costs and lower quality than a company that tries to maintain more level production and absorb demand fluctuations through inventories. Even more subtly, plant may be consistent with policies, but the manufacturing organization that attempts to coordinate them all no longer does its job effectively.
For, in a sense, the organization is the glue that keeps manufacturing priorities in place and welds the manufacturing function into a competitive weapon. It also must embody the corporate attitudes and biases already discussed. In addition, the way manufacturing chooses to organize itself has direct implications for the relative emphasis placed on the five competitive dimensions. Certain types of organizational structures are characterized by high flexibility; others encourage efficiency and tight control, and still others promote dependable promises.
How are the appropriate corporate priorities to be maintained in a manufacturing organization that is characterized by a broad mix of products, specifications, process technologies, production volumes, skill levels, and customer demand patterns?
To answer this question, we must begin by differentiating between the administrative burden on the managements of individual plants and that on the central manufacturing staff.
Each alternative approach for organizing a total manufacturing system will place different demands on each of these groups. At one extreme, one could lump all production for all products into a single plant. This makes the job of the central staff relatively easy in some respects it becomes almost nonexistent , but the job of the plant management becomes horrendous.
At the other extreme, one could simplify the job of each plant or operating unit within a given plant , so that each concentrates on a more restricted set of activities products, processes, volume levels, and so on , in which case the coordinating job of the central organization becomes much more difficult. Although many companies adopt the first approach, by either design or default, in our experience it becomes increasingly unworkable as more and more complexity is put under one roof.
At some point a single large plant, or a contiguous plant complex, breaks down as more products, processes, skill levels, and market demands are added to it. Skinner has argued against this approach and for the other extreme in an article in which he advocates dividing up the total manufacturing job into a number of focused units, each of which is responsible for a limited set of activities and objectives:. Quality and volume levels are not mixed; worker training and incentives have a clear focus; and engineering of processes, equipment, and materials handling are specialized as needed.
Each [unit] gains experience readily by focusing and concentrating every element of its work on those limited essential objectives which constitute its manufacturing task. If we adopt this sensible but radical approach, we are left with the problem of organizing the central manufacturing staff in such a way that it can effectively manage the resulting diversity of units and tasks. It carries out this responsibility both directly, by establishing and monitoring the structural policies we mentioned earlier for example, process design, capacity planning, work-force management, inventory control, logistics, purchasing, and the like , and indirectly, by measuring, evaluating, and rewarding individual plants and managers, and through the recruitment and systematic development of those managers.
These basic duties can be performed in a variety of ways, however, and each will communicate a slightly different sense of mission. The corporate staff clearly must play a much more active role in making the second organization work. Logistics movements have to be carefully coordinated, and a change in any of the plants or the market can have repercussions throughout the system. Only at the last stage Process C can the plant manager be measured on a profitability basis, and even that measure depends greatly on negotiated transfer prices and the smooth functioning of the rest of the system.
He will not have much opportunity to exercise independent decision making, since most variables under his control capacity, output, specifications, and so on will affect everybody else. The distinction between such product-focused and process-focused manufacturing organizations should not be confused with the distinction between traditional functional and divisional corporate organizations. In fact, it is entirely possible that two divisions within a divisionally organized company would choose to organize their manufacturing groups differently.
The important distinction has less to do with the organization chart than with the role and responsibilities of the central manufacturing staff and how far authority is pushed down the organization. In a sense, the distinction is more between centralized control and decentralized control. Basically, the product-focused organization resembles a traditional plant-with-staff organization, which then replicates itself at higher levels to handle groups of plants and then groups of products and product lines.
Posted by Marjorie Dunn. Rather than making large cuts to one or two departments, this goal is often best achieved through several small cost cutting efforts that ultimately add up to a significant amount of savings. To offer you some guidance on your cost savings journey, we have compiled a list of nine cost saving ideas you can apply to your manufacturing plant, without preference to any specific industries. The following tips apply to everyone and will help you save money:.
12 Steps From Product Concept to Manufacturing
By: Steve Wright on November 8th, Manufacturing Blog Posts. As the old adage goes, time is money. The more production you can squeeze out in a period of time, the more money you make, right? Three areas contain critical information to help you identify needed changes. Before you make any changes, understand how everything works now. Processes that have been in place for a long time may be riddled with workarounds as new equipment was added or production methods changed.
How Should You Organize Manufacturing?
Overcoming the challenges of making company-wide manufacturing operations more customer driven needs to start with a clear definition of what success looks like. Defining the strategic goal of having all production centers contributing to a series of company-wide lean manufacturing, supply chain, quality, and production, service and customer satisfaction goals galvanize diverse production locations together. Instead of having to rely on many different, disconnected systems to manage diverse production locations to a common set of goals, manufacturers are adopting company-wide Manufacturing Execution Management MES systems. Planning and scheduling, quality management, inventory optimization, tooling management, preventative and predictive maintenance, and Manufacturing Intelligence are the core functional areas included in an MES today.
In many large companies, design has become a bureaucratic tangle, a process confounded by fragmentation, overspecialization, power struggles, and delays. An engineering manager responsible for designing a single part at an automobile company told me recently that the design process mandates steps—not engineering calculations or experiments but workups requiring signatures. No […]. When senior managers put most of their efforts into analyzing current production rather than product design, they are monitoring what accounts for only about a third of total manufacturing costs—the window dressing, not the window. Moreover, better product design has shattered old expectations for improving cost through design or redesign. And even greater reductions are coming, owing to new materials and materials-processing techniques. Direct labor, even lower cost labor, accounts for so little of the total picture that companies still focusing on this factor are misleading themselves not only about improving products but also about how foreign competitors have gained so much advantage. In short, design is a strategic activity, whether by intention or by default. It influences flexibility of sales strategies, speed of field repair, and efficiency of manufacturing. I want to focus not on the qualities of products but on development of the processes for making them.
What makes a good production plan?
Production methods fall into three main categories: job one-off production , batch multiple items, one step at a time for all items , and flow multiple items, all steps in process at once for separate items. Job Production is used when a product is produced with the labor of one or few workers and is rarely used for bulk and large scale production. It is mainly used for one-off products or prototypes hence also known as Prototype Production , as it is inefficient; however, quality is greatly enhanced with job production compared to other methods.
Among the characteristics of a company that shape corporate and therefore manufacturing strategy are its dominant orientation market or product , pattern of diversification product, market, or process , attitude toward growth acceptance of low growth rate , and choice between competitive strategies high profit margins versus high output volumes. Once the basic attitudes or priorities are established, […]. Once the basic attitudes or priorities are established, the manufacturing arm of a company must arrange its structure and management so as to reinforce these corporate aims. When they are operating smoothly, they are almost invisible. But manufacturing is getting increasing attention from business managers who, only a few years ago, were preoccupied with marketing or financial matters. The fact is that in most companies the great bulk of the assets used—the capital invested, the people employed, and management time—are in the operations side of the business. This is true of both manufacturing and service organizations, in both the private and public sectors of our economy. The problems and pressures facing manufacturing companies ultimately find their way to the factory floor, where managers have to deal with them through some sort of organizational structure. Unfortunately, this structure often is itself part of the problem. For example:. And to what extent were these problems the outgrowth of poorly designed organizational structures?
The secret to success in metal fabrication: Keep it simple
Manufacturing has a long history in the U. That will likely continue to be the case, but post recession American manufacturing is otherwise characterized by slow growth and lots of change. So what can we expect from our recovering patient? The Good: Compared to previous years, manufacturing in America has been getting undeniably stronger. According to the American Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee , manufacturing has added over , jobs in the last five years, experiencing steady growth after more than a decade of decline.
The 12 most important metrics to measure in manufacturing
Manufacturing Engineering it is a branch of professional engineering that shares many common concepts and ideas with other fields of engineering such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, and industrial engineering. Manufacturing engineering requires the ability to plan the practices of manufacturing; to research and to develop tools, processes, machines and equipment; and to integrate the facilities and systems for producing quality products with the optimum expenditure of capital. Manufacturing Engineering is based on core industrial engineering and mechanical engineering skills, adding important elements from mechatronics, commerce, economics and business management. This field also deals with the integration of different facilities and systems for producing quality products with optimal expenditure by applying the principles of physics and the results of manufacturing systems studies, such as the following:. Manufacturing engineers develop and create physical artifacts, production processes, and technology. It is a very broad area which includes the design and development of products. Manufacturing engineers' success or failure directly impacts the advancement of technology and the spread of innovation. This field of manufacturing engineering emerged from tool and die discipline in the early 20th century. It expanded greatly from the s when industrialized countries introduced factories with:.
Production Planning for Small Manufacturers
Industry 4. As a result, manufacturers are benefitting from increased visibility into operations, substantial cost savings, faster production times and the ability to provide excellent customer support. Those who wish to thrive and not just survive are leveraging the latest in growth-inducing Industry 4. The top 10 manufacturing industry 4.
Methods of production
Planning is essential. During the past few decades, the concept of conducting business has changed dramatically.
The market has become just too competitive for mediocre performance. So what causes quality and delivery problems? One answer is rework from bad parts, which is where operator skill enters the equation.
The Big Idea — Amazing improvements in productivity can be achieved through small daily increments. Each day, ask three simple questions one each for Information, Decision, and Action that lead to one specific action.