Prime Advantage Blog

Overcoming the Top Challenges Facing Manufacturing Today

Mike McDonald on May 3, 2017 11:10:00 AM

050317.jpegAt the Prime Advantage Spring 2017 Conference, manufacturing professionals came together during the Business Roundtable and Benchmarking Sessions to discuss the biggest issues they’re currently dealing with and teased out solutions for tackling them. Members realize that they’re not alone in the challenges they encounter in their day-to-day activities and that through shared intelligence and experiences, there isn’t a single problem that couldn’t be solved together.

Here are a few highlights from the discussions:

Supplier Risk Mitigation

Choosing a supplier has inherent risk. A strong sourcing process mitigates that risk, and uses the latest metrics to help ensure that suppliers coming into your organization can meet your needs. Companies need to analyze the symptoms of underperforming suppliers to recognize the warning signs in future relationships sooner and before any damage has been done to production. One must also determine if it makes sense for the company to do this for all suppliers or just for key ones, depending on the ROI calculation of doing so. Another effective way to mitigate risk is to build quality depth in your supply chain buy joining a group purchasing organization.

Lack of Skilled Workers and the Impact on Health and Safety

The combination of Human Resource departments scaling down along with the shortage of trained skilled workers can impact your business from a health and safety standpoint. How does your company handle the hiring and training of workers and maintain above average health and safety performance? Many Members have had success through simplifying tasks to reduce the chances of a mishap, holding career days to promote better education of what’s required, and by participating in exchange programs to enhance perspective and build a more well-rounded approach. Another way to add expertise to your staff and tackle projects in the queue is to explore on-demand engineering resources.

Auditing Business Agreements

Business agreements come in many shapes and sizes, both formal and informal. Companies have different expectations and requirements when establishing business agreements as well as how they audit the legal, ethical, and moral obligations. The key is a continuous dialogue with your partners to ensure both party’s expectations are being met and to create an open forum for refinement and additional mutual benefit.

Sourcing Innovation

For a company to be truly innovative, it starts with embedding the importance of constant innovation into the company’s culture. Purchasing should play a huge role in this endeavor. The first step is getting supplier involvement as early as possible in each project. This will ensure dead-end paths aren’t pursued and add vital proficiency to enhance what’s possible. In addition, purchasing should aim to collaborate with other departments throughout the project so all rocks are overturned and to create transparency into how decisions are affecting other areas of the company.

There is no shortage of challenges in manufacturing today. But the more we realize that we can’t solve it all by ourselves and lean on each other to discover the best solutions out there, the more we’ll all prosper together.

To participate in future benchmarking and roundtable discussions, contact Prime Advantage about Membership.

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Topics: Manufacturing, Industry News, Group Surveys

Mike McDonald

Posted by Mike McDonald

Mike is the Executive Vice President of Business Development for Prime Advantage, a Chicago based Group Purchasing Organization for mid-market manufacturers. Responsibilities include managing business development, marketing, and the GPO's Healthcare Cost Containment program. He’s been a featured speaker, published author, and recognized award winner within the supply chain community.

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