If organizational friction gets out of hand, as it often does in manufacturing companies, you end up with unfortunate delays in both R&D and production.
What causes the process to move slower than expected?
One of the most common problems:
Several departments within your organization use some kind online form, or perhaps even a paper-based form, to track the process as it moves from team to team. You use this to perform quality control. Even when this information travels electronically, the results are often the same.
One person is charged with making sure that this process is moving forward. If the process stops, nothing happens.
Use technology to automate the process and workflow, so you don’t have to wait for a person to do something. In this context, the system prompts that person to take action.
For example, instead of waiting for a person to pick up a task and start working on it, your system sends that task, assigns that task to a particular person, and automatically notifies that responsible person that they have a new task.
This changes your workflow from a “pull” approach to a “push” approach, where all steps are now faster.
Instead of someone on your team waiting for data to arrive, or manually requesting that data, the data is automatically moved into the right place and relevant stakeholders are automatically notified.
This kind of system design is very similar to your ideal manufacturing line. When your manufacturing line pushes materials forward, everything works. The flip side? If one of your employees has to stop what they are doing, find materials, and move these materials to their workspace, then work stops.
Or, for example, if the employee who performs step #2 in your process is on vacation or doesn’t realize that it’s their turn and others are waiting, production grinds to a halt.
These problems become even more exacerbated when you have employees collaborating in different physical locations -- where you have shipping delays while moving materials between your locations.
Would automation help your manufacturing company decrease delays in both R&D and production? Share your comments below.