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Benefits And Challenges Of Lean Manufacturing

Lean thinking is all about doing more with less. Therefore, lean manufacturing is about reducing or eliminating waste across the board, from customer service and design to distribution and manufacturing. It is also commonly referred to as lean production. There are many benefits associated with lean manufacturing, as well as numerous challenges. Read on to discover everything you need to know.

The short-term and long-term benefits of lean manufacturing

As mentioned, lean manufacturing includes production planning, scheduling & control, and there are a number of benefits that come with readdressing these areas and eliminating waste. This includes improve employee morale, as your team members will feel empowered and like they are contributing. Moreover, lean focuses on reducing uncertainty in the workplace, which can also make employees more secure and confident in their role. Other benefits of lean management include a safer working environment, the creation of more space, and problem elimination. After all, lean manufacturing is all about forcing you to attack issues head on until they have been eliminated. Aside from this, you can expect total company involvement, as well as easier management because everyone knows what they have to do and when they have to do it. And that is not all! Other benefits you will realise include manpower reductions, increased efficiency, improved visual management, and improved quality.

Challenges you may face

As is the case with any change in business, there are going to be challenges you face along the way. Once lean manufacturing has been implemented successfully, it will all be worth it. Nevertheless, you do need to be aware of the challenges that you will come across so you can manage them effectively. The first challenge is resistance. After all, most people do not like change. They like to live in their comfort zone. This is why you need to make sure that everyone is aware of why this change is going to be implemented and how it will benefit them. Some of the other challenges you can face include initial labour increase, upkeep, and cost. This is not to say that lean manufacturing is expensive. After all, it is all about reducing waste. However, redesigning equipment and such like is going to cost money at first. Nevertheless, it is all about seeing the bigger picture and ensuring that you are going to be making cost savings overall.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding the short-term and long-term benefits that are associated with lean manufacturing, as well as the challenges. Lean manufacturing is something more and more companies are embracing today, and it is not difficult to see why. However, you do need to make sure you have the correct approach.

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Improving the Efficiency of Your Business

Countless businesses around the world are operating on a daily basis, with some proving to be more successful than others. Though this is down to things like marketing strategies, sales numbers, and top investors, even these indicators can be boiled down to having an efficient workplace. Higher efficiency leads to a business that is far more likely to succeed, and so it’s best to refine your workforce from within the office to see just how much this can help. Finding ways to do this can be hard, but you can start with small and easy improvements which will ultimately have an immeasurably valuable impact on the efficiency of your business.

Remind employees of goals

It’s almost like having a lesson objective up on the board during class time, but it works in the same way. Whether it be an email at the beginning of the working day, or a brief meeting as soon as everyone gets into work, having a daily reminder of what the goals in the company are for the day can keep workers on the right track. It will also help to clear up any potential confusion over what an employee’s tasks are and will prevent any greater misunderstandings happening further down the line.

It’s important to note that this will keep you as the leader from setting goals that are impossible to achieve in a day’s work, or which can be completed within a few hours. Having a physical reminder of what the workplace goals are will ensure that you can set them to match the fluctuating needs of a business. It will also introduce some variety into working patterns in the daily running of your company, which will keep your employees’ eyes on the prize. The trick is to set goals that are just outside the comfort zone of an employee, so as to challenge and push them to reach their potential.

Invest in better ways to communicate

You might have excellent goals and a foolproof business plan, but sometimes these can become lost when you are conveying them to staff. This could be down to things like overcomplicated jargon, or not using the correct vehicle by which to share these with your workplace. Either way, these factors are both things that need to be addressed. To start with, go over your goals and business plans with a trusted colleague or advisor to make sure that they are easily able to be understood by others in the office, and beyond. It may sound great in your head, but it isn’t your employees’ fault if they’re not able to grasp exactly what it is that you want. Breaking it down in a way that everyone can understand will help clear up any confusion you may be feeling, too.

Once you’ve done this, make sure you have a good way of communicating information to your staff, as well as potential clients outside the office. Having faster internet connectivity, a great landline provider, as well as a regulated email system can all markedly help with this. At the crux of it, companies now rely on the internet to communicate more than ever. To ensure you have the best of the best, and to look about bringing some extra funds in for your business, it’s a good idea to look into having a mobile tower lease.

Implement on the go training

Training is something that takes up a large chunk of time and resources of a company, which can often hinder any progress. Not only does it remove valuable workers from the office for an extended period of time, but it’s not even clear whether the training will positively impact the business. Traditional training requires staff to have training days, with large amounts of information being given out to staff, who are expected to take it all in during the allocated training slot. Not only has this proven to be ineffective, but it can certainly create a working environment characterized by high pressure, which will put workers off.

The key to solving this is through on the go training, where staff can learn at their own pace, in a place that suits them. You could even make use of mobile learning, so that they can do it from the comfort of their own phones, and so that training is not restricted to the workplace. This will not only make it more fun, but will enable the worker to embrace the newest technological requirements. By letting them train in snippets every day, the information becomes more digestible, and they will be better able to use it in a practical scenario.

Track progress

This type of training also makes it far easier to track the progress of workers, which you can do using internet software, or by checking in with staff at the end of every day. It may seem like a lot of work to put in from the start, but it will reap its benefits in the long run. By tracking progress, you will be able to see who is underperforming, and in which areas, and you will be able to spot any trends in the workplace that could be better improved in the next batch of training exercises.

However, progress isn’t always negative, and you can also use it to see just where your business is meeting its targets. This will help you take through a range of tried and tested strategies that you can rely on in the future. More importantly, you can use this information to see who deserves the next promotion, and who can be trusted with new responsibilities.

Reward hard workers

A happy workplace is known to be more efficient than an unhappy one. Incentivizing workers can be one of that hardest parts of running a business, especially on drab days where the hole office seems to be lagging. Though the easy option is to punish staff for not working that hard, the best option is to get to the bottom of why this is the case, and to offer support and extra training where needed. Not only this, but by introducing a rewards system for performance and behavior at work, employees will be more likely to reach for the higher goals, and will be able to see the same potential in them as you do.

How To Mitigate The Risks Of Outsourcing

Visit any business-related website, and you will find articles telling you why you need to outsource. They will tell you your business will grow. You will discover how it can be a worthy investment. And on this very website, you will find out how outsourcing can save your business. But what about the risks? Despite the benefits, it is wise to take a step back before designating important areas of your business to another company. In this article, we will take a look at two of the major risks involved, and we will give you some handy tips to mitigate them.

Risk #1: Does the company have the ability to work for you?

This is the biggest risk of all. You don’t want to hand over a project to a company that is going to make a mess of it. Not only will you lose credibility as a business, but you might also waste money by hiring somebody not up to the job. So, what can you do about it?

Tip: Quite simply, do your research. Start by looking at their website and look at what they have to offer. Do they have evidence to back up their service claims? Consider Bespoke Excel. This professional consultancy firm has clients as respected as Adidas and Aston Martin, with case studies to support the work they do. That’s the kind of testimony you need to look out for. Then find out how long the company has been in existence. We aren’t saying a fledgeling company will offer you a less quality service, but if the firm has been open for a number of years, they are probably doing something right. So, find out as much as you can, from reviews to testimonials, as positive responses will give you some peace of mind.

Risk #2: Will you lose control of your project?

You will lose some control. After all, you are handing your project over to somebody else. While this is normal, it’s understandable that you, as the business leader, will have some fears around this. Will they leak valuable data? Will they produce something you hadn’t envisioned? How long will it take to get the project done? All good questions and you need to find the answer.

Tip: While you will lose some control, you can still mitigate some of the risk by collaboration. When you initially speak to the company involved, lay down a few ground rules and even draw up a contract between yourselves. This can include the request for daily communication, opportunities to see the work-in-progress, and a reasonable deadline to limit the time frame. You also need to be as directive as possible. When hiring a web designer, for example, you may not have the skills needed for the job yourself, but you can still outline what you are looking for, ensuring the web design firm has a clear idea about what you want. If you are in any way unclear, you can’t blame the outsourced firm for not giving you what you wanted. So, talk to the people involved before the project begins, and make sure there is a clear understanding before you hand your work over to them.

Final word

Outsourcing is risky, but for the business leader, there are many advantages. With the right research and effective collaboration, you will mitigate the risks involved, and hopefully benefit from what other companies can offer your business.

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How to Give Your Business the Edge

Competition in the world of business comes as part of the territory. It’s rare that a monopoly is achieved without years of hard work and dedication. Sometimes the struggles of keeping yourself above the water can make it feel as if you aren’t making enough progress or keeping up with your peers. A great way to combat this sense is to rethink your approach and flip your ideas until they start working for you. The most successful businesses offer something unique to their customers, whether that’s a personalized delivery system or even just a user-friendly website. To sharpen your approach and give your business an edge over the competition, take a look at these helpful tips.

One: Know Your Strengths and Play to Them

Even when you find yourself and your business somewhat flailing amidst the sea of rising competition, you can still identify strengths in your business that maybe haven’t been taken full advantage of yet. It can sometimes take a small crisis of confidence for you to see clearly. Don’t panic and instead re-examine the areas of your business that work well. Complicated strategies can easily run away from your grasp so do everything you can to simplify it without compromising quality or efficacy. Once you’ve managed to pinpoint the staples of your plan, take time to enhance each of these and give them the attention they deserve. For example, if you are a predominantly online business, concentrate on your website and how to drive traffic to it rather than focusing on comparatively minor aspects such as employee uniforms or physical storefronts. By doing this, you will save time, energy and money by increasing the effectiveness of your already determined strengths rather than trying fruitlessly to improve upon areas which do nothing to contribute to your success.

Two: Be Specific and Make Your Business Needed

An enticing yet dangerous route for some business owners is to seize upon their success and instantly attempt to capitalize on it without consideration or planning. Just because you have recently seen unexpected profits doesn’t mean your business is suddenly capable of expanding to new territories or taking on unrelated challenges. If you find yourself doing well in one area, it can be tempting to replicate that strategy elsewhere and expect the same results. Avoid falling into this trap by taking this success for what it is – fleeting. To maintain a positive trajectory, you mustn’t be complacent. Focus on what is bringing your business success and keep it going, don’t swerve into uncharted areas in the hopes of finding similar rewards. Of course, business is about risk-taking, but impulsively reacting to success is a recipe for disaster. A better way of taking advantage of these bursts of success is to concentrate your business around them and discover your niche. Don’t try to be everything to everyone as this will stretch your resources too thin and confuse your brand. Instead, work your way to the top of your niche and offer something your competitors don’t.

Three: Delegate and Outsource

A more detailed method of playing to your strengths is to take charge of them while allowing the business’ weaker areas to be captained by other people. Pride can get in the way of appropriately outsourcing but finding the right professionals to take on some of your workloads can make or break a business. It’s understandably difficult to allow a stranger to take control over an aspect of your business, especially when it’s a part you haven’t been confident in yourself. However, locating the best people for the job takes a weight off your shoulders and allows you to focus on the areas which make your business unique. A common fear when it comes to outsourcing is that the work will be either slapdash or a basic template. When business revolves around being unique and standing out from the competition, it can be disheartening to see similarities between your work and someone else’s, clearly showing that you’ve both reached out to the same external professionals. There are, of course, many companies you can outsource elements of your workload to who understand that your business is striving for individuality. These are the people who can offer new marketing ideas, slicker websites, and better operations. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of these kinds of companies as their input could be exactly what elevates your business above the rest.

Four: Look the Part

It’s sad but true – people are superficial creatures. The history of advertising has led to some of the most captivating marketing campaigns that could pass for works of art. This is why your business can’t afford to offer quality services or products simply, but you should also appeal visually. It’s surprising how effective a mere facelift can be for a business as it rarely changes anything deeper about the product or the strategy. However, by putting aside some time and effort to concentrate on making your brand appealing, you will start to see excellent results. Two identical businesses can achieve vastly different profits all because one has attractive, well thought out branding and the other does not. It applies to everything from your website’s appearance and user experience to your logo. Consistency is key when it comes to your brand as it has the capacity to reach further than the business itself. For example, the Coca-Cola logo has been printed on clothing and become a statement entirely separate from the original business of cola drinks. A well-constructed brand image can change the path of your business drastically.

Gaining the edge over your business competitors can seem like a daunting challenge at first. When faced with the threat of failure or seeming too similar to others in your field, it can be incredibly disheartening. To overcome these obstacles and make your business shine you should examine the strengths already present in your business plan and product. Focus on what makes your business different while allowing external professionals to share the load. Top it off with a strong, consistent brand identity and your business is refreshed, sleek, and most importantly, has the edge.

How To Operate Your Company Fleet More Efficiently

If you want to do everything you can to operate your fleet on a much more efficient level then it is important to understand the way that your fleet works. If you have a couple of vehicles then you may not think that it is worth investing in a software to try and find out where each one is, and if you own a huge fleet then you may not feel as though it is worth getting them all cleaned on a weekly basis. The truth is that you should always know where your fleet is and you should always keep your vehicles clean, because at the end of the day it is a reflection of your business.

Your Staff

When you operate a fleet, it can be hard to make changes across the board. When a change is made, you then need to make sure that all of your staff are in the loop as well. For example, if certain cars are due to undergo maintenance then you have to make sure that your drivers are aware of this and you also need to make sure that you do everything you can to keep everything operating smoothly. This is easier said than done, so you need to have a steady line of communication between your fleet manager and your drivers at all times. This can be done through mobile communication or even via walkie talkies, but communication overall is crucial if you want to get the most out of your fleet.

Branding

Your fleet represents your company and for this reason you have to make sure that you are

utilising your vehicles as much as possible. Branding is a brilliant way for you to do this and if you have your company logo or even a decal on your fleet vehicles then they will essentially be advertising your business wherever your drivers go. They could be parked up outside the supermarket, on the motorway or even driving to a customer’s house, and they will be advertising your company the whole time. Providers like The Vomela Companies are great for this because they can apply graphics to every single one of your vehicles without any issues. They can also work with you to get the whole thing done simultaneously, so your parts of your business won’t come to a halt when the job is being done.

Telematics

Telematics can help you to have a much more efficient fleet. Telematics can greatly improve your existing level of fuel efficiency and they can also lower your CO2 emissions as well. When you have telematic boxes installed in your vehicles they can detect the driving habits of those who operate your fleet, and this is a brilliant way for you to make sure that your drivers care about your company as much as you do. If you know that your drivers speed, don’t make the effort to get to their destination on time or even if they drive badly when on the road then this is not going to be a good reflection of your company and telematics can help you with all of this. They can even help your drivers to have the safety and guidance they need when they are on the road as well, so this is something that is well-worth investing in.

Driver Training

When you invest in driver training, this can really help you to make the most out of the employees that you hire. Drivers who have undergone the appropriate training will be much more likely to get into accidents less and they will also understand road etiquette more as well. They will also be able to deal with a first-aid situation more effectively and this is a great way for you to make sure that everything is being done to keep your employees safe and even those who are with them. When you have driver training, you can then go on to identify any driver issues and these can then be smoothed out by the time the next driver training session comes along. If you have any concerns about driver training or if you are worried that it will be expensive then you don’t have to worry about this at all because the good habits the drivers will pick up will eventually pay for themselves. By combining driver training with a good level of road knowledge and safety you can easily make sure that your fleet is being operated at an efficient level without having to worry about your driver’s experience or even their road habits.