Here’s the on-ramp for 2015. There are 3 lanes, choose yours carefully.
The HIT boys voted to bring back six of the Bastard’s more critical stories of the few past months. I’ve organized them into the 3 topics most likely to make your next general operations agenda.
Six beefy short summaries follow; which themselves offer conversational takeaways. Click the link to the published story and hit the gas. Have a great 2015!
TOPIC 1—ACHIEVE PRODUCT EXCELLENCE
Make more, save more by starting clean
Start at the beginning. Surface pretreatment processes impact your company’s bottom line in more ways than you might think. The better you understand the details of your system and the process itself, the better you can understand (and measure) its value. Even if you have the expertise in house, this may not be a DIY project. Consider the balance of a pretreatment wash system a critical and intricate piece of your business.
Protect your bottom line. Expand your resources by partnering with a skilled, knowledgeable supplier capable of providing assistance, expertise, suggestions and troubleshooting of your overall process. See: Surface Pretreatment: Starting clean keeps your reputation spotless (August 22, 2014)
The right lubricant helps you make the most
Metalworking lubricants perform a simple but critical task. Like a simple fuse, we learn to appreciate their usefulness more when they fail. Over the years the variety of fuses proliferated. So did lubrication. Choosing the right lubricant for your specific job depends upon factors ranging from material and machine wear to workability and bioactivity impact.
Each job’s a delicate balancing act. We know; if we miss a spec, damage a tool or underestimate the environmental impact in the process, it can all come tumbling down. All the while, the clock is still running. See: Some jobs test your mettle. Choosing the right lubricant helps you make the most. (August 28, 2014)
TOPIC 2—PROFIT FROM A CUSTOMER FOCUS
Specialties can be worth a premium
Specialty products seem like the elusive ones. They can be hard to find and difficult to get. Some create value-add; others exist for such mundane uses they fall into cost of doing business. However, customers are the ones who usually define specialty products. They create the market and the market can be profitable. For example, if you are applying a certain dip spin coating every day, you probably don’t think of it as a specialty. That is, unless nobody else in town is doing it, in which case it may allow you to charge a premium for the service. Find out how specialties can be worth a premium. See: Industrial specialty products are customer focused (October 2, 2014
How Ford profited from a true customer focus
Henry Ford was an industrialist and (I believe) he was a minimalist. He is credited with starting many of the quality programs we use today—all of them began with the customer in mind.
But Ford’s take on quality was not what we commonly think. For Ford, quality was entirely strategic. He figured, the more customer-focused you were, the better you understood how to, perhaps, exceed expectations. Any more would be considered waste and therefore un-quality. In that way you could deliver more profitably—that’s the minimalist-industrialist Ford we can learn from. Customer-focus by his book shows us how to hone in, hit the mark and deliver quality, day in and day out. See: Manufacturing-quality: How exactly do you hit the mark? (November 3, 2014)
TOPIC 3—PLAY THE CENTER IN THE STRATEGY GAME
Connect and control your destiny
Industry survivors are no longer the largest, strongest or even the most experienced—they just know when to adapt. They know that growth begins with control, not revenue. They know how to connect to a connected world.
The ground rule for Industry 4.0 is this: anything that can be connected will be connected. If you want to be among the survivors, you will take every opportunity to connect your business … and remain in control. See: 2 Advances in manufacturing challenge your control in 2015 (November 26, 2014)
Keep your eyes on data to stay in the game longer
Before metalworking coolants are drawn, lubricants changed, adhesives applied or before any conversion coating solution is even dreamt about, data are being collected and managed somewhere along the food chain.
Why is data so important? Meaningful data management will save you time, make you more efficient and, allow you to expand market reach. Those things, rolled up, will also keep you on the playing field longer as well.
One key caveat: data are commodities and mere gathering is a path to nowhere unless you sift for the wisdom. Collective wisdom is a team sport that enables your shop to exploit the value of data, experience, information or any other resource you now have access to (including a very smart distributor I know). See: From data to wisdom: charting your shop’s new path (May 22, 2014)
HIT Solutions believes the more your business keeps up with important trends, the more you will improve your product, and improve your bottom line.
Leave me your comments below; share your thoughts.