One: Begin With a Complete Assessment
Always start with a thorough and realistic review. A thorough assessment is the first step consultants generally take when tackling a problem, and it should be yours too. By taking the time to look at the entire picture and make objective assessments of each component, you set yourself up for success in the long run.
Two: Prioritise Return on Investment (ROI)
Following an assessment, it’s important to prioritise your findings. Often times, manufacturers go several years without a comprehensive audit which results in obsolete processes, procedures and technologies. Therefore, it’s important to take an objective approach to your prioritisation.
Three: Seek Improvement from Within
Your factory staff can be a great source of ideas for improving processes. Many times consultants will talk with workers on the shop floor to discuss ideas regarding process improvement. Because workers on the shop floor are the ones constantly using the processes, they have valuable insight into how things can be simplified or improved to generate value.
Pro Tip: Rewarding employees with a percentage of the cost savings from their improvement ideas is a great way to fuel their willingness to search for additional ways to save.
Four: Reconsider Old Ideas
Cost saving ideas get sidelined by more pertinent priorities all the time, but that doesn’t mean those original ideas were bad ideas. By going back and looking at previous proposed cost-saving ideas, it’s likely you will find one or more great ideas that make sense to implement now or in the near future.
Five: Grab a Copy of the ISO Standards
The ISO standards are guiding principles for any manufacturing organisation focused on consistently providing quality products, improving customer satisfaction and improving system processes.
Six: Find Cost Savings in Energy Reduction
Energy consumption is one of many large expenses facing America’s manufacturing community. By shifting the focus of production decisions away from capacity-utilization and toward a demand-driven model, you can make the decision to scale back production during slow periods without interrupting throughput.
Even on the shop floor, there are ways to capture energy savings which can have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line. By conducting HVAC maintenance, repairing leaky air compressors and strategically scheduling equipment start-ups, you can supplement your energy conservation efforts.
Seven: Work Smarter
By automating or consolidating repetitive manual processes, you can increase product quality, improve throughput and potentially cut down costs. Technology is always evolving and offers new ways of making tasks much easier to complete. Both on the shop floor and in the office, eliminating monotonous tasks through the use of technology is a great way to optimize your labor spend.
Eight: Sell Scrap to Vendors
Have you ever heard the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” While we aren’t proponents of clichés, we do think selling off your scrap to vendors is a useful--yet often overlooked--approach to cashing in on metal, batteries and electronics that may otherwise be disposed of.
Nine: Negotiate with Suppliers and Freight Carriers
Building long-lasting relationships with suppliers and freight companies is essential to your company’s success, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept the first price presented. Take advantage of your position as a manufacturer and try to renegotiate a better rate.
By implementing even just a few of the cost-saving ideas outlined above, your company can be on its way to a more profitable bottom line. Before you begin your cost savings journey, there is one thing you should remember. Even though cutting costs and saving money feels good, it’s important you don’t sacrifice the quality of your business. Cutting costs that ultimately result in inferior products or lackluster service just isn’t worth it.