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How to Survive a Sudden Spike in Manufacturing Demand

June 25, 2015
Five Tips for for taking advantage of the upside of sudden demand without over committing.

Opportunity and growth are always welcome in the manufacturing sector.

But with the long supply chains and unpredictable future markets that most companies face, sudden spikes in demand can wreak havoc in an operation. If not handled correctly, they can overtax manufacturing assets and resources and throw the entire operation into chaos.

To help prepare for these spikes, John Mills has composed five ideas that can help you take advantage of the upside without over committing:

1. Enlist your top performers. "Rally your top performers across the line to assess what projects you have, what can be put aside, and what needs to get done right away in order to make room for the new project. Take their input seriously and don't push for unreasonable deadlines."

2. Embrace your specialty. "Look at the numbers. What types of projects are most profitable for you? What will cause the least disruption on the factory floor? Work isn't what you want; good work is. Hold out for it if you must."

3. Avoid the wrong kinds of projects. "Avoiding stretch projects in which you'll have to invest heavily in order to generate a return can mean the difference between cashing in on sudden demand and overbetting on unfulfilled promises."

4. Revisit your recognition practices. "Once you've determined the type of projects your factory is best suited to stretch for, look at your recognition practices….Workers need to know you understand the extra effort they're putting in."

5. Develop one-off incentives. "Develop one-off rewards that are tied to achieving specific, tangible production goals. Then, make good when workers do.
Manufacturing is a cyclical business, and the wheel is turning faster than ever. Keeping strong relationships with your floor can help mitigate the chaos. When a rush of new work comes in, remember to enlist your top performers, focus on your specialty, take work that allows you to succeed, and then recognize and incentive great output.

Read the full article, "5 Tips For Surviving a Sudden Spike in Manufacturing Demand" on IndustryWeek.

IndustryWeek is an NED companion site within Penton's Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group.