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Productivity Vigilance: Why Manufacturing Success Depends on Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

Productivity Vigilance MS Pillar Productivity Vigilance: Why Manufacturing Success Depends on Keeping Your Eye on the Ball
Productivity is a crucial indicator of manufacturing operational health. But productivity is more than just efficiency. Efficiency focuses on doing things right – minimizing waste and maximizing resource usage. 
Productivity takes a broader view, measuring the overall output achieved in relation to the resources invested. A highly efficient process still has low productivity if it can’t produce a significant volume of goods.

In manufacturing, productivity typically involves measuring output (goods or services produced) in relation to inputs like labor hours, capital, and materials invested.

A dip in productivity is not just a minor setback. It’s a clear sign that your manufacturing processes are not delivering optimal output relative to the resources consumed.

Neglecting this issue can have severe consequences, affecting everything from profitability to your ability to meet customer expectations. Let’s now explore the top 10 dangers of low productivity and how to tackle them.

1 Inability to Attract Top Talent:

In today’s skilled labor shortage, manufacturers can’t afford to be seen as inefficient or behind the technological curve. Top talent seeks out employers with modern, streamlined operations. Low productivity signals outdated processes, potentially deterring the best candidates and leaving you with a less skilled workforce.

2 Blind Spots in Cost Analysis:

Without accurate productivity metrics, manufacturers can severely underestimate their actual cost per unit. This can lead to underpricing products (eroding profits), overpricing them (losing bids), and misidentifying areas needing cost-reduction initiatives.

3 Missed Opportunities in the Supply Chain:

Manufacturers with low productivity are less reliable partners in the supply chain. Unpredictable output and inconsistent lead times can strain relationships with suppliers and distributors. This can result in higher procurement costs, stockouts, and potential disruptions in your ability to meet customer orders.

4 Environmental Impact:

Inefficient use of resources is a hallmark of low productivity. Wasted energy, increased scrap, and higher emissions contribute to a larger environmental footprint. This can put you at odds with sustainability-focused customers and even lead to non-compliance with environmental regulations.

5 Difficulty Scaling Production:

Inflexible processes caused by low productivity make it nearly impossible to scale production when demand surges rapidly. This inability to capitalize on market opportunities leads to lost revenue and leaves you vulnerable to competitors who can ramp up output quickly.

6 Vulnerability to Disruption:

Low productivity leads to a less resilient operation. As the pandemic highlighted, companies with lean, optimized operations are better equipped to withstand disruptions. Those with lagging productivity are more likely to experience severe production delays, supply shortages, and an inability to adapt to sudden market shifts.

7 Neglecting Total Productive Maintenance (TPM):

Flagging productivity often indicates insufficient emphasis on proactive maintenance. Without TPM’s focus on operator-driven upkeepequipment reliability suffers. Increased downtime and unplanned maintenance further erode productivity and drive up costs.

8 Lost Training Investment:

Skills training wastes resources if inefficient processes, faulty equipment, or a lack of standardization hinder employees from developing and utilizing their newly acquired skills. Low productivity can render training ineffective, limiting employee development and perpetuating a cycle of operational stagnation.

9 Delayed New Product Introductions (NPI):

Low productivity lengthens every stage of NPI, from design and prototyping to production ramp-up. This sluggish pace hinders your ability to capitalize on emerging trends, potentially resulting in competitors beating you to market and capturing demand.

10 Data Inaccuracy:

Without consistent productivity tracking, data on machine output, labor hours, and waste is likely unreliable. This skewed data leads to poor forecasting, misinformed investments, and a misplaced focus on improvement efforts, hindering your ability to make truly impactful changes.

Proactive Strategies: Powers for Productivity Growth

At POWERS, we empower manufacturers to conquer these challenges and boost productivity. Here’s how we can help:

The Path Forward

Flagging productivity is not inevitable; it’s a sign that immediate action is needed. By proactively addressing productivity pain points with POWERS’ solutions, your manufacturing operations can achieve greater efficiency, resilience, and long-term success. Rest assured, with POWERS, you’re on the path to a more productive future. Contact us today to begin your productivity improvement journey.

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About the Author

Dr. Donte Vaughn, DM, MSM, Culture Performance Management Advisor
Dr. Donte Vaughn, DM, MSM

Chief Culture Officer

Dr. Donte Vaughn is CEO of CultureWorx and Culture Performance Management Advisor to POWERS.

Randall Powers, Founder, Managing Partner
Randall Powers

Managing Partner

Randall Powers concentrates on Operational and Financial Due Diligence, Strategic Development,, and Business Development.