How to survive the holiday season as a manufacturerManaging Workforce Knowledge
The holiday season is here! For many of us, it is a time of rest, good food, and family gatherings. For some, about the pleasures of picking out special gifts for our loved ones, including ourselves.
But for manufacturers, holidays are even more critical – in terms of revenues and planning strategies to avoid inevitable chaos that comes with increased demand.
While preparations for this year’s holidays usually start several months prior, preparations for holidays can and should be an all-year endeavour.
While we believe in Christmas miracles, your strategies won’t magically change in a span of a few months.
So, let’s look at tools that can help you ease the production process in the running for holidays, but you can also benefit from in the long run.
One of the main strains manufacturers must go through are holidays staff shortages. If a plant cannot produce enough products per hour to keep up with the demand, adding shifts is a simple solution – which means hiring extra staff, as it might not be safe or possible for workers to have shifts back-to-back.
Manufacturing requires a certain level of skills for each position, and finding trained, reliable staff is quite a challenge even during the rest of the year.
Additional staff requires quick and quality training, which technologies such as augmented reality are perfect for.
Through tools like AR glasses or tablets, AR can provide the user with work instructions, safety protocols, or information on machinery at a glance and guide the trainees through their tasks step-by-step.
Automation and robotics
While robotics can be considered a significant investment just to brace for the demand spike around holidays, it holds much potential during any busy period throughout the year.
Automation is mainly thought to take over simple repetitive tasks that require precision, increased speed, and patience. However, with evolving technology, factory robots are able to tackle more sophisticated cases even without human intervention.
Implementing robotics into your operations can boost wrapping, labelling, assembling, and inspection processes, giving you that extra push needed before holidays. Apart from efficiency, automation can also keep workers away from risky situations, lower production costs, and enhance quality by preventing errors.
Data collection and analytics
When preparing for the holidays, it is also essential to make sure your organization has the capacity to cover the demand.
Predicting how much materials, products, and staff you need may be challenging without proper technology.
Data tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can give you detailed insights into manufacturing processes and help you prepare for the holidays without producing unnecessary waste.
For example, data can help you with:
- Demand forecasting – To predict customer demand by analyzing numbers and trends from previous years and plan capacity and inventory accordingly.
- Predictive maintenance schedules – To plan production schedule around planned maintenance and minimize unanticipated downtimes.
- Workforce management – To help you anticipate how many workers you need for a specific task and enhance their performance by spotting bottlenecks.
Perfect for otherwise complicated planning! And on top of that, AI can also help you with scheduling work orders based on priorities and problem alerting capabilities, so you can tackle the right issues right when they appear.
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