The current crisis has temporarily changed the manufacturing world. For instance, with fewer airplanes in the air, any business that made products used in the aerospace industry will be feeling the pinch. However, producers of hand sanitizers or facemask manufacturers will be seeing unprecedented demand.
This has meant for the need of contraction for some by businesses and the sudden need to expand for others. When a business has to expand suddenly, there are five main areas the business owner needs to consider.
#1 Health & Safety
This should be the number one concern when expanding your business. However, the need for short-term ‘sticking plaster’ solutions to problems often means that safety can be compromised to achieve results.
This is typically the case when a small to medium-sized operation becomes a much larger operation in a short space of time due to an external factor – especially when that external factor is huge, and its effects are predicted to be temporary.
Pressure on production can be lessened by hiring temporary staff or machinery to increase productivity; however, there can be compatibility issues, especially if the new machinery is more advanced than what you already have.
#2 Product Quality
You would expect new technology to increase the quality of production while also increasing the rate of production, but this is not always the case. Any new equipment will need time to bed in and be fully calibrated before it can be run at full capacity.
New staff will also have to be trained as well as extra training of existing operators to use the new machinery, and this will affect the consistency of production and, by extension, the quality. This is only a short-term problem, but it will initially see production slow as opposed to speeding up despite the additional overheads.
#3 The Space Available
Extra people and machinery will take up more space. While this may seem obvious, it is not something that is always taken into consideration when businesses plan on increase production quickly.
The footprint of a machine needs to be considered when purchasing or hiring, and many of the machines used in production facilities, such as automatic welding machines, are available in a range of sizes. This will allow the most effective use of the limited space available.
#4 The Short and Long Term Costs
It is very clear that all of these changes are going to have a cost implication for the business, and it needs to be decided using a cost/benefit analysis on how much investment should be made to reap the maximum benefits of this sudden change in demand.
#5 The Supply Chain
Now that production has increased, it means more materials coming in and more products going out. This will lead to supply concerns and extra pressure placed on the distribution network
This needs to be assessed to see if current suppliers can meet demand or if additional or alternative suppliers need to be found. Besides, the increased demand may mean that new prices can be negotiated with suppliers due to the extra materials being bought.