So you have managed to survive the worst recession in many years but what are you going to do now? Typically companies have lost key staff and it may not be possible to get them back. As a Consultant with so much experience in Manufacturing I understand the headache that this will bring just as you start to grow.
Manufacturing after the recession: a new beginning
Basically I would recommend you treat it as a new company. It is not all bad because you can use this opportunity to eliminate the bad practices from the past and every company had them.Staff who are still with you will need to be motivated again. Remember, if the business slows down, naturally so do the staff who are not in a position to go out and get you business. So you have to build the enthusiasm again, get staff to understand that the fear of job loss is gone and it is time to rebuild. There must be an air of positive expectation about the company, a good manufacturing manager knows what it is like to feel, see and hear the wheels turning fast and the positive pleasure that brings. Your staff have experienced the pain of austerity, maybe also a salary cut and may be struggling to survive, be conscious of this. They pay the politicians back by voting them out of office, but you did no wrong, in fact you pulled the company and their jobs through.
So ensure you take time to really analyse your total company and the needs therein. First you are going to find that the professionals you want have not been idle and waiting, many may have emigrated. So you may be shocked to find that the massive labour pool you thought was available, actually may not be there.
Is it now time to bring in an expert consultant to take a fresh look at your activities?You may now be caught in the loop of business beginning to flow back in and your ability to respond no longer be good enough. Your customers will be spoiled for choice and require fast response. So finding the right balance is critical. So you must apply this to your manufacturing set up. Difficult, yes, impossible never. A key element is linking your manufacturing directly to your customer, in many ways they are going to schedule your daily output. Doing this is not as difficult as you may think. Understand your customer needs, they are different than before the recession, they hold less inventory that before and it will take them time to be confident of the market, so they want shorter lead times during this period. It is no longer the world you operated in before. You must adapt to this change and so must everyone in the company. In the immediate term you need expertise to help guide you through. A very experienced consultant can be that guide, help you re-organise, assist in finding professional staff, eliminate wasted time and effort, help you make realistic delivery commitments, set lead times that enable you to keep the customer happy. None of this happens automatically, it must be managed in a professional and realistic manner.
This is an area that I will be revisiting several times in the future, watch out for it and/ contact me if you have questions.