Manufacturing Outputs For Your Future

We manufacturers know that we are responsible for the outputs of cost, quality, product performance and delivery; we also know that many others in our organization impact those as much as we do.

Being outstanding in those four outputs is necessary but not sufficient for our futures.

In recent years we’ve come to realize that the definition of outstanding for each of those outputs is more demanding than previously. And yet, they are still not enough.

The three additional outputs of your operations to consider today are flexibility, innovativeness, and resilience.

Flexibility does not mean jump through hoops to respond to the latest customer call. It no longer is limited to volume and mix changes in order patterns. It means your production and operational systems are designed to be flexible in meeting market needs and expectations.

Consider the flexibility those who shifted from making airplane parts to ventilator parts in a matter of days.

Innovativeness does not mean bringing more products to market each year than your competitor does. It means a culture that exudes problem solving mastery in every aspect of the business. After all, innovation is, at its core, problem solving for the future.

Resilience does not mean reactionary. It means identifying and preparing for the risks that matter most and being positioned throughout the organization to rebound from whatever happens.

Each of these three outputs requires systemic thinking, processes designed to deliver them, and a culture that does not question their importance or the changes they require.

We’ve all heard “raise the bar.” That isn’t limited to raising required scores on what you’ve always measured.

Sometimes it means changing the bar entirely.

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