Fix Production Delays

SoqualThings got behind in production and we’re trying to catch up. Can you give us any suggestions to help fix production delays?

Thoughts of the Day: There are lots of contributors to the backlog. Take a look at which equipment is the most behind. Look for efficiencies. Build a realistic production plan. Assign staff to talk to customers.

Fix production delays. Figure out the source of the backlog to help build a plan to get caught up. Classify reasons for the backlog. Look at transportation, order processing, production cycles, quality, inventory, equipment breakdown, set up, retooling, and staffing.

While some problems may be out of your hands, the customer may still hold you accountable.

Make sure your sales and customer service people understand the time needed to produce and ship. Inform customers of faster shipping options if the customer wants to pay. Get manual orders converted online by telling customers how many days they’ll save. Offer training on how to automate.

Check if customers understand your production cycles. Know when to order to minimize cycle delays. Avoid a typical three-week delay. Run a production cycle the first week of the month for customer orders in the second week. Optimize order management. That is to say, advise customers when best to order so they get what they want quickly and easily.

Waste can slow output significantly. Track daily production errors and reward improvements. Reduce delays by producing less quantity more accurately.

Assess if you’re carrying the right inventory.

Automate communication with suppliers to speed things up. Request immediate notice of supply delays. Factor in realistic supplier leads-times into production planning and inventory management.

Prioritize shops that are behind. Figure out your equipment and training priorities. Have enough of the right equipment on hand? Time to upgrade to faster equipment? Are enough people trained to operate each piece? Have enough qualified maintenance staff?

For example, order new equipment well before you need it. Factor in delays getting it delivered, set up, and into production. If cash flow is a problem, consider using a leasing program to make the purchase.

Likewise, going to a second or third shift on equipment in greatest demand. Cross-train additional operators so that equipment doesn’t stand idle when someone is out. Set up training to move people up to more complex equipment.

Look for efficiencies to fix production delays.

Take a look at whether you can pick up capacity by changing the flow of work through the shop. Should you run bigger batches less frequently? Can you repair and retool on weekends or evenings? Are your maintenance people properly trained and do you have enough standard replacement parts on hand? What if you increase the quantity produced and reduce the frequency of setup on complex jobs?

Plan on 80 to 85 percent production for any piece of equipment. Consider equipment maintenance, repairs, production, and inventory issues. Prioritize employee downtime for training, sick time, and vacations. You can never exceed 100 percent production. The minute that anything goes wrong you’ll get behind and cannot catch up. Increase capacity now if you’re at 100 percent.

Talking to customers through a backlog is important. Be upfront with delays. Find out which customers can be flexible. Prioritize orders from quality clients. Calculate client quality based on profitability, not last in first out. Also, consider the importance of their future business and overall volume.

Involve sales in the communication process. Reps are the ones selling the orders and making initial promises to customers.

Looking for a good book?

Try:  “Production Planning and Control” by S Ramachandran and R Devaraj.

Looking for a First-Class Business Plan Consultant?

With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company as often you will have to provide sensitive information online or over the internet.

With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company as often you will have to provide sensitive information online or over the internet.With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company.

With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company as often you will have to provide sensitive information online or over the internet.

With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company as often you will have to provide sensitive information online or over the internet.With any financial product that you buy, it is important that you know you are getting the best advice from a reputable company.

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