Tag Archives: Manufacturing Operations


Manufacturers today deal with greater demands from consumers than ever before. It is vital for manufacturers to deliver on time, every time. Fail to do so and they will lose customers, revenue, and credibility.

Therefore, streamlining operations is essential. This doesn’t mean manufacturers need to invest in expensive equipment or high-performance technology. Often, what needs to change is how people work and the strategies businesses can employ to support this.

Let’s get started.

Why is it so Important to Streamline Manufacturing Operations?

Streamlining manufacturing processes ultimately maximizes a company’s profits and helps them stay competitive. Here are just some of the reasons why it’s so important:

6 Ways Manufacturers Can Streamline Operations

Streamlining operations can feel like an overwhelming task at first. However, with the right strategies in place, it doesn’t take long to improve efficiency and boost productivity. Here are six tips to get you started:

1. Identify Issues in the Production Line

Every manufacturing operation has a bottleneck. This is a stage in the manufacturing process where things slow down or perhaps even stop. Bottlenecks are a nuisance and can lead to severe delays, time and labor inefficiencies, and increased costs. Identifying bottlenecks is essential for optimizing the production line and helping everything run more efficiently.

There are a few ways you can identify issues in your production line. For instance, you should look for signs of the following:

2. Support Faster Payment Processing

As a business owner, you know the importance of faster payment processing. Whether you’re paying your suppliers or your customers are buying your products, faster payment processing keeps everything running smoothly.

The simpler your payment process is, the better so spend time to find the best card reader for your business operation. Streamlining both the supplier and customer experience by offering online payments is a game-changer.

Online payments make it easier for customers to purchase from you, removing delays in the payment process and reducing cash flow issues. This helps streamline operations and keep everything running smoothly.

3. Adopt Lean Manufacturing Methodology

Lean manufacturing methodology focuses on reducing costs by limiting waste and improving manufacturing efficiency. Lean manufacturing is a great methodology to apply to your business if you’re looking to streamline operations.

For lean manufacturing methodology to be effective, all types of waste in the manufacturing process must be identified and then removed. There are four types of waste you should focus on eliminating as a priority. These include:

  1. Unnecessary transportation of materials such as equipment, tools, and employees can be avoided simply by optimizing factory layouts.
  2. Excess inventory. Whether it’s products, materials, or equipment, having excess inventory is a waste as it increases storage costs and slows down processes.
  3. Waiting time: time-wasting is common in manufacturing operations, either due to idle workers or idle machines. It typically occurs when workers can’t work because they’re waiting on materials or equipment. Machines can be idle when waiting on maintenance or replacement. Optimizing manufacturing processes eliminates this time wasting and boosts operational efficiency.
  4. Defective products are a waste that must be reduced as much as possible. For every defective product, you have an unhappy customer. This means returns are made and apologies are required, which increases costs and wastes time.

Reducing unnecessary waste goes a long way towards reducing lead times, boosting customer satisfaction, and improving operational efficiency. It is a process of continuous improvement and manufacturers will find that regular adjustments need to be made as customer demand fluctuates. However, adopting the lean manufacturing approach will go a long way towards streamlining your operations now and in the future.

4. Embrace Automation

Automation (utilizing production management software or robots to operate machinery) reduces the need for manual labor. It avoids human error and allows for consistency across all aspects of your manufacturing process.

Many areas within manufacturing can benefit from automation, most notably: payment and accounting processes, order processing, marketing efforts, and inventory management (to name a few!)

According to Industrial Machinery Digest, “One obvious byproduct of automation is increased productivity […] The market should see more businesses turning to industrial automation on various scales. When this happens, the market will be able to see not only more innovative products produced on a larger and quicker scale, but the quality increasing with production speed.”

Adopting automation as part of your manufacturing process will help streamline your operations like nothing else. It will allow your organization to keep up with customer demands and grow as your business grows.

5. Reduce Downtime (where possible)

As mentioned earlier in this article, many things can cause your processes to bottleneck. One of these is downtime.

Downtime is a significant cause of inefficiency in the manufacturing process. Therefore, finding ways to reduce it can improve efficiency. A few common causes of downtime are:

To improve on these it is important to monitor your production processes closely. This will let you identify and address any issues quickly and efficiently.

6. Train Employees Well

For employees to do a good job and support a streamlined manufacturing process, they need to know what they’re doing and proper training supports this. Proper employee training is a surefire way to improve efficiency, boost company morale, and support business success.

Establishing an effective team through professional training lets employees add real value to your business by preparing them for higher responsibilities, increasing their productivity, strengthening any weaknesses, improving workplace safety, and boosting production overall.

If you want to streamline your manufacturing operations, it is essential that you properly train your employees. This will go a long way towards supporting your business success.

In Summary

We hope the tips shared in this article have highlighted the importance of optimizing your manufacturing processes and how to achieve this! We know that streamlining your operations can feel a little daunting at first (we’ve all been there!) But with the right strategies we know you can transform your manufacturing process and take your business to new heights.

*This article is written by Sophie Bishop. Sophie is an experienced construction writer with a passion for sharing insights and her experience within the health and safety sector. Sophie aims to spread awareness through her writing around issues to do with healthcare, wellbeing and sustainability within the industry and is looking to connect with an engaged audience. Contact Sophie via her website: https://sophiebishop.uk/.

Back to top ↑


With all 50 states now in some phase of reopening, people all around the country are realizing what financial and health officials warned early on, back when the shutdown began in mid-March: Restarting the economy wouldn’t be as simple as flicking on a light switch. While business owners by and large understood that this would be the case, they’re nonetheless doubling their efforts to get operations as close to normal as quickly and as safely as possible in a bid to make up for lost time.

This is particularly the case among manufacturers, many of whom were sidelined by COVID-19 due to labor shortages caused by layoffs and a number of workers falling ill from the virus. As early as February, roughly 60% of manufacturing firms in the U.S. said they’d experienced disruptions as a result of the coronavirus, according to a poll done by Thomas Insights.

“Manufacturers were able to adjust certain processes to better cope with coronavirus-related disruptions.”

Understanding that even the best laid plans can turn sour due to forces beyond their control, manufacturers were able to adjust certain processes to better cope with coronavirus-related disruptions. For example, in instances where manufacturers couldn’t receive supplies from their main suppliers – due frequently to disruptions of their own – nearly 30% of manufacturers worked with alternative suppliers domestically, the Thomas survey revealed. Roughly the same share sought out overseas providers.

Employers taking precautions 

Yet as eager as manufacturers are to resume operations at 100% of their typical capacity, health officials have cautioned companies not to go too fast for fear of a second wave. Organizations by and large appear to be taking this advice to heart. Indeed, nearly 70% of employees polled by Gallup in a recent survey said their employer was adopting new or more frequent cleaning practices throughout the facility by wiping down high-touch surfaces and handles more frequently, making liberal use of disinfectants and urging workers to wash their hands. Close to 60% noted their employers were providing personal protective equipment (PPE), like face masks, face shields and disposable gloves. Around 55% said social distancing measures were being enforced, requiring workers to stay at least six feet away from one another at all times.

The National Association of Manufacturers has chimed in on what is needed to get America back to work with their American Renewal Action Plan, which makes recommendations on what the government can do to make the transition more seamless.

“Bringing our $22 trillion economy out of our ‘induced coma’ is a Herculean task for the ages,” NAM said in a press release. “This challenge will require our policymakers to innovate and act boldly. This crisis will need the whole of the nation to unite in common pursuit. And, as with other consequential moments in our history, it will be manufacturers who make the difference to lead us forward—to secure the future health, safety and prosperity of all Americans.”

How manufacturers can restart operations safely and effectively

NAM made a number of suggestions for the federal government to consider to help manufacturers ramp up production. They included:

Principles for successful reopening

Whether the government will implement these recommendations is for lawmakers to decide. In the meantime, here are a few suggestions from SafetyCulture for how manufacturers can reopen or ramp up production in a swift, yet cautious, manner:

Prioritize your people

If there are any takeaways from COVID-19, it’s the fact that individuals had very distinct opinions on the overall threat of the disease and the wisdom of the response. It’s important to pay heed to their feelings and to treat each individual on a case-by-case basis. If there are any deep-seated concerns that they have – perhaps about returning to work for fear of contracting the virus – get to the bottom of them and do so in an empathetic manner. In short, people should always come over process.

Understanding the Importance of Strategic Sourcing eBook

Consider a phased reopening

COVID-19 proved to truly be a one-of-a-kind pathogen; many aspects of it remain confusing and inconsistent. Similarly, there is no cookie-cutter solution to returning to work. Manufacturers may want to design a phased return-to-work schedule so if anything unexpected comes up, the staggered nature of the resumption of processes can account for unforeseen scenarios.

Adjust work spaces and stations

From health clubs to beauty salons to restaurants and more, just about every business has had to make some strategic adjustments to how equipment, chairs and tables need to be positioned to account for social distancing. Try to make some of the same shifts to assembly lines, conveyor belts and the like. Doing so not helps to increase productivity but can offer reassurance to employees who are concerned about transmission.

Rethink your pre-COVID supply chain management strategy

Due to the suddenness of the impact of the virus, many supply chain leaders have had to react to issues with sourcing, staffing, and production. Industry Today recommends five industry-agnostic principles for getting the supply chain back on track, including prioritizing safety throughout the supply chain, conducting fluid risk assessments, increasing supply chain visibility, diversifying geography (including production and sourcing), and staying focused on the future.

Maintain a sustainable, scalable spending structure

As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money, but for many organizations, the suddenness of the shutdown led to cash flow problems that may have been avoided with better planning and saving. Manufacturers must prioritize a resilient cost management system that can be sustained in times of uncertainty so expenses are addressed when faced with economic headwinds.

Some of the biggest adversities in life can wind up being turning points. There are a lot of lessons to be drawn from COVID-19, and at USC Consulting Group, we can help you apply them to your business and become better than ever. Our specialty is operational improvements and we can help your company realize greater efficiency by recognizing where the gaps exist and filling them in with the proper solutions.

Please contact us today to learn more how USC can assist either remotely or on-site.


Contact USC Consulting Group


Back to top ↑