Time-to-market for a new product can seem impossible to predict. You may plan every step to create a hopefully seamless timeline, but little things get in the way and create bottlenecks that delay product launches (and decrease expected sales volumes).
Speeding up the manufacturing process can decrease downtime and lost revenue, but what can you do when there’s little opportunity to see what obstacles stand in the way on the back-end?
The state of manufacturing and back-office processes
In any supply chain network, manufacturing typically has the latest and greatest technology. Advanced robotics can handle most of the heavy lifting when it comes to production. But that doesn’t mean that humans are as equipped to automate the processes within manufacturing that they take on from day-to-day.
Poor operational processes and little oversight of back-office work creates downtime that interferes with the overall timeline. This downtime gives other products a chance to compete, reducing your market share and decreasing sales as a result.
RELATED: The 4 Major Challenges Facing Manufacturing in 2019
Want a faster time to market? Here’s what needs to change
Speeding up your time-to-market (TTM), also known as speed-to-market (STM), can significantly increase your competitive value. Every day that a product is delayed is another day your competitors get a leg up.
If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to rethink your processes:
- You rely on spreadsheets emailed from person to person for updates
- Internal handoffs and communications take several follow-ups.
- Your team is often asking about the status of documents and approvals.
- Unexpected issues tend to take weeks to resolve.
Manufacturing processes your team can automate
Digital process automation involves taking the tasks your team completes every day and automating the process of managing each one and the overall organization.
Stakeholders interested in automating their teams’ workflows can start by making a list of some of the most common processes used on a daily basis, as well as processes used when something goes wrong.
Common manufacturing processes include:
- Inventory management
- Planning and production control
- Contract management
- Formulas management
- Production engineering
- Product samples management
- Quality control management
- Defect tracking and resolution
SEE MORE: Business Process Automation for Manufacturing
And any of these can be automated for greater visibility into the workflow. You can gain insight into what tasks take the longest to complete and reduce the steps needed in order to streamline the process.
For example, your team can use an automated system to quickly report part defects or equipment malfunctions. This report can trigger a workflow that alerts the right stakeholders and automatically creates tasks from the first alert to follow-up reminders to budget approvals to the final inspection.
Improve process efficiency with digital process automation software
K2 is a digital process automation platform that can help improve efficiency throughout the supply chain. One of our clients in the manufacturing and electronics space, The Arntz Optibelt Group, was able to reduce time-to-market by 75% simply by using K2 to automate processes for managing approvals for product and production line changes.
READ MORE: Case Study: The Arntz Optibelt Group