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How to improve your manufacturing cycle time

clock63312045.jpgCustomers always want their products when they order them and not too many people are excited to wait on a backorder list. Improving your manufacturing cycle time is one of the best ways to keep your customers satisfied and to meet your goals and demands you have set forth for your company.How can you focus on faster delivery time and still maintain a high quality product? If you can start with your manufacturing cycle time first, you will have an easier time making products to order, thereby reducing wasted money with inventory and getting them out to your customers in a timely manner.

To improve your manufacturing cycle time, begin with looking at the waiting time. How long does a customer need to wait for their product to be manufactured and delivered from the time of purchase? How long to you need to wait for the sales team to deliver the orders to the processing department? How long does the processing department take to send the order to the production line? All of the "waiting" that happens within the company can lead to customer uproar and will frustrate them and you.

The problem with waiting is that it not only leads to issues with your customers but it continues to add to your overhead expenses because it stretches out your order-to-delivery cycle time. It also leads to organizational issues because you have different employees trying to scramble around to try and please the customers in a hurry. The thing that happens is you have "too many cooks in the kitchen" as everyone is in a mad scramble to fix problems. With proper cycle time in the beginning, you won't have these problems to begin with and you will have a smooth-flowing organization.

To figure out how to improve your manufacturing cycle time, you will need to start by going back to what the root cases are and then going from there. It is vital to identify what the primary problems are in order to help you focus on correcting the cycle time issues. Here are a few of the common problem areas you may be dealing with:
1. Bottlenecking. This is one of the most common problems. Just about every business will experience bottlenecking at some point or another. It is cases when you have a backup due to manufacturing equipment failure or other things. The good thing about bottlenecking is that it's actually easy to fix with just a few simple adjustments like reducing the flow of certain products or adjusting the number of employees you have working on the line.
2. Bad supplies. One thing that may be slowing you down is buying bad supplies. If you have cheap supplies to work with, it can break down the system as you have to continue replacing the supplies or you have a lot of wasted supplies. It's worth the extra money sometimes to pay a little bit more to buy quality supplies.
3. Delivery of products. Are you working with an outsourced company to deliver the products? Delivery of your products is an important part of getting your customers to be happier with your company. If outsourcing to companies like UPS or FedEx isn't working, how much will it cost your business to start up your own delivery method?

How are your business processes organized? Are they complicated and making it harder for your employees to do their jobs? If you have ineffective policies and processes, it's not going to help anyone at all and it will instead making everything slower. Retool your policies until you have ones that clearly explain what needs to be done and how it needs to be done.

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