The world has changed dramatically in the last two years.
Not all of it has been bad, and hopefully you’ve weathered the storms and you’re ready to emerge from the pandemic positively in 2022.
Whether you’re the owner or operator of a Manufacturing business, or a professional in a larger Manufacturing organization (either the Engineering side or Business side), we’re looking forward to another year of trying to help you achieve your goals.
Manufacturing has some specific challenges and opportunities that are unlike other industries and it’s our goal to help you navigate through them better than before. We’re excited about the resurgent opportunities for American Manufacturing from the pandemic and now’s a great time to take advantage.
As we head into 2022, most of us have goals we’d like to accomplish, but you should know that unless you actually change some of your behaviors, don’t expect your results to start to change.
While change isn’t easy, if you start small, you can do it. You can also keep it going throughout 2022.
4 Small Changes To Make This Year
Here are 4 Small Changes you can make that will grow your career and your business in 2022:
1. Weekly Process Improvement Time
- Even starting with small Process Improvements once per week can make a big difference for you this year. Using the practices of 2-Second Lean founder, Paul Akers, doing a 30-minute session once per week can transform your life.
- Start by learning to See the 8 forms of Waste and remove them by fixing what bugs you. You won’t even believe how good a simple “Before & After” video of your improvement can make you feel!
- You’ll build momentum that will inspire you to greater heights as you see how quickly you can reduce the friction in your daily activities.
2. Weekly Cross-Training
- If you’re not an Engineer, the folks on the Manufacturing side of the business can seem to be speaking a foreign language. Taking just a short amount of time each week to ask how things work, just on your shop floor, can both help you understand the technical aspects of your company’s products and make valuable connections within the business.
- If you are an Engineer, the reverse is also true … the Business side of the company has its own language. Spending a little time talking with a different person in the Marketing, Sales, or Accounting departments can give you tremendous insight. You’ll understand many of their challenges and could ultimately improve the quality of your designs by better understanding what they know about the customers, the market, and the numbers.
3. Daily Morning Bookends
- Your Personal Productivity, and that of your Team, is a huge component to your success. Identifying key activities you need to do each morning is an important way to build an operating base that is established before the craziness of the day takes over.
- A simple checklist with a few important tasks like reviewing your calendar, identifying your Top 3 Priorities for the day, and 15 minutes reading something constructive can have you hitting the ground running when the rest of your workday commences.
4. Weekly Customer & Supplier Reviews
- Both up and down the food chain are important relationships. Take time weekly to consider a specific Customer and ask three questions:
- What problem does our product solve for them?
- What alternatives do they have for our product?
- How could we better solve their problem for them?
- Whether you actually know the answers, or could actually ask the customer the answers to the questions, is less important that your taking time to think about it. Just putting yourself mentally and emotionally in their shoes is an important exercise that will provide great insight into your products.
- Similarly, take time weekly to consider a specific Supplier and ask 3 similar questions:
- What problem does their product solve for us?
- What alternatives do we have for their product?
- How could we help them perform better for us?
That last question is the kicker, as we too often put all the responsibility on the Supplier to just “know” those things … even though we’ve thought that much about it and never told them. You’d be amazed at how often they’ll come back with ideas to help your business more than before.
Hopefully you’re excited for 2022 and you can try these 4 Small Changes.
We hope that whether you’re just out of college and starting your career in Manufacturing, or you’re working to lead a Manufacturing Operation, we can provide you with helpful content each week.
Here’s to your Manufacturing Success!