Recently I have been working on an in-plant assignment, which has me thinking about the relationship between a company’s existing workflow, an optimized workflow and a company’s manufacturing sweet spots. What does this mean? Let’s take this step by step approach.
Your existing workflow is what you do today with your equipment, staff and procedures. Optimizing workflows means streamlining the processes to make them more efficient and reducing the cost of manufacturing. Your sweet spot is the type of work that you do most or do best.
Every company has products that are considered their “sweet spot.” These are the products you make most (volume) and make best (profitability). As someone who evaluates workflows every week, I can tell you that every company has a unique workflow and different sweet spots. It’s great news when your sweet spot matches your customer’s needs, but when your sweet spot does not align with customer’s needs, you will struggle with sales and profitability.
Two structural changes are impacting this alignment: our customer’s needs are changing and our existing products constantly become commoditized. Therefore, we have to morph and optimize our workflows to create products with greater value and products that better meet the needs of our customers.
Confused? Think about these questions. What is your sweet spot? Is that a good sweet spot? Are your customer’s needs changing? Are you monitoring that change and modifying your sweet spot?
Have you ever thought that your workflow results in specific sweet spots?