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Maximizing Manufacturing Profitability: Our 5 Manufacturing Consultant Approaches

May 30, 2023

 by David Collins III

Two men discussing inside a factory

Maximizing manufacturing profitability hinges on enhancing operational efficiency and supply chain management, alongside careful cost control and productivity improvements. These strategies help streamline production and adapt to market and technological changes. By focusing on these areas, manufacturers can increase their bottom line and stay competitive globally. This approach highlights the need for ongoing improvements and flexibility to maintain growth and profitability in the manufacturing sector. Amongst many options, we've chosen 5 methods you consider when driving for maximum manufacturing profits.

The 5 Methods to Maximize Manufacturing Profitability

  1. Process Optimization

    Manufacturing consultants often optimize production processes to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. This can involve analyzing the flow of materials, identifying bottlenecks, and implementing lean manufacturing principles to streamline operations and reduce costs.

    Process optimization is our typical first approach to any project. Streamline the process to reduce manufacturing waste, time and effort which saves money and improves productivity. The added benefit is that process improvement usually improves cash flow as raw materials can move quickly from coming to shipping out. The cost of holding inventory is typically 25% of the cost of the inventory, and less inventory equals lower costs.  In line with these efforts, it’s also essential to address the 'Hidden Factories' within your operations, areas where inefficiencies are often overlooked yet can significantly impact productivity.

    It is not uncommon for our team to arrive at a factory and see bottlenecks in production with excessive work in progress (WIP). WIP is a clear sign of an inefficient line. Reducing WIP will improve production speed (more products out the door) and reduce the chances of damage and the need for rework (saving money).

  2. Supply Chain Management

    Consultants help manufacturers optimize their supply chain by improving inventory management, reducing lead times, and running supplier improvement programs. By optimizing the supply chain, companies can minimize inventory holding costs, improve delivery times, and reduce the risk of disruptions.

    Many companies struggled with supply chain management before major COVID-related disruptions. Optimizing the supply chain improves profitability by decreasing excess inventory and overall cost. Many factories waste space on excessive inventories, and our teams can cut inventory by half. The space can be utilized for increased production or for another company to use.

  3. Cost Reduction Strategies

    Consultants assist manufacturers in identifying cost-reduction opportunities across various aspects of the business. This may involve analyzing raw material costs, labor expenses, overhead costs and factory layout optimization. By identifying areas of inefficiency and implementing cost-saving measures, companies can improve their profitability.

    Many factories, especially in China, have high overhead costs due to excessive amounts of indirect labor. Examples of indirect jobs are material handling and quality inspection. Material handling is a non-value-added job and can be reduced through process optimization. Quality inspection should be part of every operator’s job, not someone standing over their shoulder. These improvements require documentation, planning and proper execution to be effective.

  4. Productivity Enhancement

    Manufacturing consultants focus on improving productivity by analyzing production metrics, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing strategies to enhance workforce efficiency. This can involve training programs, performance measurement systems, and implementing advanced technologies to automate processes.

    Value-added time is a crucial measurement for production efficiency, and value-added time is the time an operator is engaged in an activity that improves the product. Material handling does not improve a product; tightening a bolt or assembling a piece enhances the product.

  5. Market Expansion and Diversification through New Product Introduction (NPI)

    Manufacturing consultants do not help factories find new markets for their products. It is not our expertise. We understand manufacturing, not the products of the factories. However, manufacturing consultants can assist with new product introduction (NPI), which is a vital aspect of market expansion and diversification. It has been our experience that most companies struggle with NPI. Setting up or adapting an existing line for a new product is a complex process that should be handled properly to reduce delays and cost overruns.

    The new process must be planned out in advance, adequately documented, and tested before moving forward. Otherwise, scrap rates will be much higher, and there will likely be delays in moving the product to market. Manufacturing consultants can improve productivity and reduce costs to make the new product as profitable as possible.

Unlocking Sustainable Profitability in Manufacturing

Achieving profitability in manufacturing demands a strategic and continuous focus on improving operational efficiencies and embracing innovation. By adopting a holistic approach to operational improvement, manufacturers can significantly enhance their bottom line and secure a competitive edge in the global market. This commitment to excellence and adaptability is crucial for sustained growth and success in the dynamic manufacturing sector.

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Topics: Manufacturing Consulting, Process Improvement, New Product Introduction

David Collins III

David Collins III

David was a Senior Strategy Consultant for Deloitte, served in Iraq as a Special Operations Civil Affairs soldier, and as a Governance Advisor to the Afghan Government with the Department of State. At CMC, David advises clients on strategy and investments.

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