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Strategic Planning in Manufacturing

Manufacturing is a complicated process with many parts and systems. It requires a great deal of work to succeesfully maintain the marketing operation and it requires lots of planning. One of the biggest problems that most businesses, and not simply manufacturing businesses, face is continual stagnation. A business is a very difficult thing to run with or without making lots of changes. Managers simply try to keep things going and employees are too tired to think about making changes. Upper management often seems most interested in simply making as much money as possible but without making the sorts of constant changes required. If you find that your business stagnates you should think about strategic planning in manufacturing.

Strategic planning is an idea associated with lean manufacturing, a process developed by Toyota that works to cut all waste from the manufacturing process. Lean manufacturing streamlines the actual industrial process but it also analyzes the total process to find sources of waste. Only those processes that work to produce something of value to the customer are kept. With strategic planning in manufacturing a company looks for areas to cut cost and to improve efficiency. Described bellow are some basic ideas about strategic planning in manufacturing:

Strategic planning involves constantly finding problem areas or places for improvement in the manufacturing process. The changes can be made in any area from raw materials, manufacturing, and the distribution of the product to the consumer. Strategic planning looks for ways to make the entire process more efficient. Often it focuses on the spots in the process where one process meets another. These are the places where manufacturing often gets slowed down or starts to loose its efficiency.

In order to start strategic planning you should think about specific problems that your manufacturing process will require. Meet with various employees and managers to discuss their ideas. A big part of strategic planning is to listen to what your employees have to say about the manufacturing process. Then plan some sort of course of action and start to implement it on a small level. You do not want to make major changes to the entire business without first trying your ideas on a small section of the business. It would require a great deal of work and effort to make a business wide change that might nor might not work. If you find that your little experiment works you can start to implement it on a much larger scale.

The key with strategic planning is to continuously find ways to make improvements to the manufacturing process. After you have implemented one change you need to locate another area of waste and plan for change. By continuously looking for areas that could be improved you will find new things to fix and new solutions. Your business will become more profitable as it cuts costs and turns over the savings to the consumer. Think about the tremendous success that Toyota has achieved in the last forty years on the world market. This company and many other manufacturing companies that have followed these principles have seen tremendous success.

In a world with so much competition among manufacturers it is critical that you find ways to improve the efficiency of your business. Companies that practice strategic planning in manufacturing also appear more cutting edge to their investors and customers. They are constantly improving their products and processes. They come to be associated with innovation and cutting edge techniques. If your manufacturing business finds itself struggling to catch up with the competition you should implement strategic planning.

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