Ask the leader of any mid-sized to large industrial equipment manufacturer about the organization’s top challenges, and a phrase you might hear is “growing pains.” Some will admit to feeling growing pains for years, or even decades. But what does having growing pains actually mean? For IEMs, it’s often the inability to build products and solutions in a timely manner and meet promised delivery dates and customer expectations. Here are some other ways to tell if your manufacturing organization is experiencing growing pains:
- Employees are working long hours but productivity levels have not changed (or have decreased).
- Sales may continue growing but profits have not changed (or have decreased).
- Technology is oftentimes not running efficiently (or at all).
To tackle these challenges, it’s necessary to first find the root causes of why your organization is experiencing growing pains.
Manufacturers that do not keep up with the latest in technology or invest in software that can improve productivity and operations are already several steps behind the competition. To remain competitive and break through the growing pains stemming from technology challenges, IEMs must gain critical performance information that helps them understand their organization’s operational landscape and take actions toward improvement.
Selecting the appropriate technologies, such as an enterprise resource planning system, is never a simple task—after all, there are hundreds of systems, software, add-on modules, etc. with which any organization can get inundated. Some questions to consider when determining which types of technologies might be beneficial are:
- What are your competitors doing with technology?
- Can your organization remain competitive with your current technology?
- How could new technologies improve organizational performance and competitiveness?
Today, 80 percent of manufacturers in the United States report a shortage of skilled workers, according to the Manufacturing Institute. When IEMs lack the necessary workforce to get the job done effectively and efficiently, it becomes clear why some organizations can’t meet customers’ needs. This is why organizational growing pains are often associated with staffing.
One way to mitigate this challenge is by developing a skilled workforce. Manufacturing organizations must proactively train their workers and make it known that they place great emphasis and value on teaching their employees and leading them to success. Similarly, these organizations should also work on their relationships with educational institutions. When manufacturers connect with local colleges to offer learning opportunities for students, students not only begin understanding about the industry and why it’s a noteworthy career choice, but manufacturers are exposing them to the knowledge and skills required to bridge the manufacturing skills gap. As IEMs begin offering these opportunities for workers and students alike, they can begin alleviating talent-based growing pains.
Read More: One large manufacturer that has notably experienced growing pains is Tesla Motors. Achieving quick and remarkable growth handed the automotive manufacturer speed bumps in its supply chain. Read about how the company is making steps to alleviate its growing pains in our blog post,Supply Chain Strategies: Learning from Tesla Motors.