Most mechanical engineers are familiar with the idea of resilience: “the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress” (Merriam-Webster).
Bouncing back after the “compressive stress” of 2020 tops the list for many manufacturers. Even if your company was able to thrive throughout 2020, numerous organizations are reconsidering how to build resilience into their operations.
The next change is just around the corner….
Manufacturing is still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Worker safety requirements have reached new levels. Related COVID-19 measures, including social distancing and other limitations, require extra time and money. And in many cases, workers are not able to perform their job duties onsite. Cost reductions, always a priority, are now critical as margins become tighter and tighter.
Aberdeen’s research reports that over 50% of manufacturers experienced decreased sales during the downturns in 2020. Obviously your industry plays a crucial role in how your company fared. Management should begin to consider how resilience fits into their business strategies—both on the cultural and operational sides. Resilient businesses tend to recover more quickly as unexpected challenges are faced head-on. And, teams are prepared to pivot when needed.
Resilience may seem to be a vague concept to consider in your business strategy, especially in manufacturing, where production always seems to follow the same fundamental process. Quick changeovers in production are often unthinkable. And what about the people factor—both managers and their teams: Humans naturally fear change.
The preferred states of stability and predictability may lead to an inflexible mindset that abhors the notion of doing things differently.
In today’s market, the motivation to get rid of operational and process bottlenecks in both engineering and manufacturing is no longer a “nice to have.” To outpace the competition, it is now a must-have. Such motivation adds to company resiliency. But to survive, recover, or thrive during unexpected slumps in business is an entirely different scenario.
Follow the Leader
Resiliency is not easy to measure. However, there are best-in-class companies with a level of flexibility that enables them to remain more profitable and maintain their competitive advantage. Even though best-in-class companies are experiencing decreases in operating profit and revenue, they are softening the blow from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. How? By implementing initiatives to return their organizations to pre-pandemic performance levels.
Aberdeen’s research also reports that visibility into operations is critical for project profitability, time-to-decision, and productivity. Technology that tracks and records the status of every design, part, product, and shipment increases project efficiency by:
- Alerting managers when things are missing or behind schedule
- Identifying potential bottlenecks
- Providing insight into cost-effectiveness
The strategies that best-in-class companies have put in place, which become more effective with a connected platform approach, make them better prepared to quickly adjust to future disruptions.
Connected platforms are the foundation for leveraging best-in-class resilience strategies. They promote communication, visibility, and control in today’s remote work environment, and they enable manufacturers to gain insight into, react to, and plan for internal and external disruptions.
Get a head start learning how to outpace your competitors and become a more flexible and adaptable business by watching this Aberdeen video report below. These business strategies—already proven by best-in-class companies—will help your company be more resilient.
To learn more about how to set up a more connected environment at your company, contact your local reseller.