Many business owners often assume that a production plan is a mere set of guidelines that covers a large scope and a wide variety of activities to ensure that all your resources are available when and where they are needed the most at any given time.
However, production planning is more than that. And these days, when competition is brutal and business is harsh, going about it in a traditional way simply won’t cut it.
Production planning is a complex process and every company that cares about its future and wants to maximize its production capacity should know that a sound production plan is not just a word on paper. It is a roadmap for allocation and employment of resources that is supposed to help you know where you are going and how long it will take you to get there.
If your goal is to increase your output and sales and to ensure future growth without having to bring in new resources immediately, how will you get there?
It is not simple. But, one of the ways of getting there is by improving your company’s ability to do things better internally, such as speeding up production and revamping your systems and processes.
Working in AABCO helped me pick up a few tips and trick on how to achieve exactly that.
1. Assign work to those that are best qualified for a job at hand. It certainly helps if your people have been broadly trained and are able to tackle a vast range of tasks. But the trick is to match jobs to people’s competencies.
2. Try eliminating all the unnecessary and time consuming jobs to improve efficiency. This is done by breaking your whole operation into smaller pieces, as sometimes to see the big picture you first have to break up a puzzle and then put it back together again. Only this time around, you make sure you mold the pieces according to your company’s actual needs.
3. Use a standardized language for all your internal communication and develop templates for your everyday documents. You have no idea how much time could be saved if there were no misinterpretations and errors based on misunderstandings. A standardized language and standardized documents can help you avoid many operational pitfalls.
4. Help your people by giving them proper software tools. Investing into new technologies that remove redundant processes and replace manual tasks is simply a must these days. Here too, simple copying and pasting will not work. It is not enough to use any software. Rather try and develop digital tools that will perfectly match your business needs.
5. Set up a rating system and encourage your people to evaluate their performance. The trick here is to shape this system in a non-hostile way. You don’t want your people to feel threatened by it. You want your people to use it and to make improvements accordingly.
For me, all these little guidelines haven’t appeared from thin air. In AABCO, we use an automated system, a sort of a digital manager that allows us to train our people and to employ them to the best of their abilities. This system is fluid, as the employees are able to stop and continue working without much stress and are able to redirect their attention to a different, more emergent task. The system uses standardized language and documents, which makes our resources agile and flexible, especially under strenuous circumstances.
For us, standardization, training, agility, flexibility and fluidity have proven to be the key ingredients for boosting and maximizing our production capacity and they have more than helped us improve on-time deliveries and maintain the high quality of our products and services.
Thank you for reading!
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