The Southeastern United States is home to approximately 40,000 manufacturing companies. Approximately 36,000 of them have less than 500 employees (82% with less than 100 employees). A significant number of these Small to Medium Entities (SME) experience operational issues (cost, quality, or throughput) and lack the necessary skilled employees and/or time to improve these deficiencies. These challenges run rampant throughout manufacturing facilities across the United States.
Interestingly Academia recognizes the critical nature of this supply base by highlighting, through documented articles. They expose how SME’s continue to be under crippling economic pressure. * “From 2000 to 2010, manufacturing output and investment stagnated as companies offshored production previously done domestically. The U.S. supplier base weakened, raising doubts about the future of manufacturing’s contribution to American innovation.”
Likewise, additional research illustrates that these SME’s are essential to the renaissance of manufacturing in the United States. **“Strengthening America’s supply chains and the small manufacturers at their core is essential to the long-term competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers both large and small. Manufacturers spend on average 60 percent of the price of their final product on purchased inputs, so differences in the quality and nimbleness of their supply chains can make or break a manufacturer’s ability to compete.”
If we are to re-invent and overturn this lost decade of economic erosion, we’ve got to implement problem-solving methodologies today within small to medium enterprises.
Before we begin, analyzing the problem is the first step. Both 6 Sigma Manufacturing’s DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) process and Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act begin by assessing the situation followed with a detailed Plan of Attack and rigorous follow-up
If we can develop and document an assessment process to be utilized when analyzing the capabilities and readiness of Small to Medium sized manufacturing enterprises we will begin to strengthen America’s supply chain.
An example of a well-established assessment process is the one employed by the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP). The process contains the following process steps:
- “Analyze – gain an understanding of your organization to identify the “limiting factors” – wherever they may occur – hindering your success”
- “Benchmark – measure how competitive you are vs. other companies via a database-driven comparison”
- “Plan – isolate which strategic and tactical business improvement services will help your company to raise your performance”
(Source: SCMEP website: www.scmep.org/no-cost-competitiveness-review/)
How do you address resource shortages? What about time constraints?
Can you increase throughput with the knowledge and resources you have today?
Does your manufacturing company have a detailed plan for success?
If you are looking to reignite your company’s manufacturing efforts, let experienced professionals assist you in creating a detailed plan for success. Together we can drive manufacturing costs lower and increase both quality and throughput.
At High Value Manufacturing Consulting, we realize manufacturing facilities today struggle with a number of planning, operational and resource challenges. As a world class manufacturing consulting firm our goal is to help our clients assess current manufacturing issues, plan for future needs and provide concrete recommendations for sustainable growth.
*(See Berger, Suzanne, Making in America: From Innovation to Market, MIT Task Force on Production in the Innovation Economy, The MIT Press, 2013; Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih, Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance, Harvard Business Review Press, 2012.)
**(Economics and Statistics Administration analysis using data from the Census Bureau’s 2012 Economic Census. For this calculation, purchased inputs includes: materials, services and expenses, contract work, and energy.)