Advice from HVM leaders for a manufacturing startup: how to launch a new plant or new product
Twenty-four plant launches. That is the number of new manufacturing facilities Bill May, president and founder of High Value Manufacturing, has launched over the course of his career in the manufacturing industry. Bill has hands-on experience in every phase of new plant launches in the U.S. and internationally, including critical functions such as…
- Launch readiness assessments,
- Plant floor layout,
- Capacity planning,
- Systems & feasibility studies,
- Engineering resource planning and execution,
- Supply chain engagement/management,
- Acquisition and/or expansion evaluations,
- Compliance roadmaps, and
- Continuous improvement mentoring for sustainable success.
Additionally, every member of the HVM leadership team has 30+ years of manufacturing experience that includes numerous new plant start-ups and new product launches. Their combined 120+ years of industry experience and involvement in launches across a variety of capacities reinforce lessons for success and pitfalls to avoid when planning for and executing a launch project. Here are six tips offered by HVM leaders for manufacturers planning a launch…
6 tips for a manufacturing startup
- Best Practices: HVM’s number one tip for a successful manufacturing startup is utilizing industry best practices. Apply common manufacturing practices and processes that are proven to work, thereby saving time and energy by not having to recreate the wheel. Network with others within the company and/or supply chain to improve upon those best practices/processes by leveraging available knowledge among mutual stakeholders.
- Supply Chain Coordination: Communication and coordination with suppliers and customers in the supply chain should begin early in the planning stages for a new plant start-up or product launch. Keep those customers engaged with regular communication and meetings throughout the launch planning and execution stages. Continue to sustain a positive working relationship with suppliers with coordination beyond the initial launch project to ensure better quality, on-time shipments, and customer satisfaction.
- Keep It Simple: There is no need to customize a standard process, especially when plant managers and labor resources “don’t have time” or “are covered up” with daily tasks. Keeping a process simple, brief, and understandable will enable team transparency, meaningful measurement, and sustained success. Best practices should be the starting point.
- Experience and Skills: It is imperative to seek experienced guidance and the right skill set for a new plant start-up or product launch. Do not overlook the value of professionals who have been through previous launches and learned how to identify and navigate the typical blind spots. HVM has developed our model for operational excellent: 11+1 Quality Management Strategies (including for new product manufacturing), which starts with Capable and Stable Manufacturing Processes that are maintained and controlled via Statistical Process Control. Our Proprietary Launch Process applies these 12 strategies to minimize common issues from traditional product launches by: shortening launch cycle time, reducing new product costs, and increasing quality output.
- Solid Program Management: Program management that is knowledgeable about plant startup, operational performance, and continuous improvement oversight contributes heavily to the overall success of the launch and ongoing production. Program management should be familiar with Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP), which provides a framework for gold standard processes focused on satisfying customer requirements. Again, the experience and knowledge of program management are major determinants of launch success.
- Compliance: Operating in compliance with industry standards can eliminate crisis management, increase new business opportunities, enhance product quality, reduce waste, and improve overall efficiency. It is highly advisable (and easier in the long run) to launch compliant than regain compliance down the road. In most cases, an intensive and expensive certification process is not necessary if a plant and satisfies customers’ requirements.
When adding a new product or plant through an acquisition, HVM is equipped to work with clients that are considering purchasing or selling a manufacturing facility. As part of due diligence, a company should always include a manufacturing operations assessment in the early stages of the acquisition process. Our team provides various manufacturing assessments to ensure a business transaction provides maximum value.
High Value Manufacturing’s areas of focus include OEM & Supplier Support, Compliance/Quality, and On-Shoring. We serve clients in automotive, aerospace, and defense industries that seek to increase productivity, cut costs, and generate cash to the bottom line. We rely on vast professional experience, best practices, and innovation to produce quick response solutions for clients.
For a manufacturing company facing a plant start-up or expansion or a new product launch, consider these six tips for success and give us a call for an experienced perspective on your challenge ahead.