10 Questions for Manufacturers Looking to Upgrade
Change, by definition, is “to make or become different.” Change can be felt and seen all around us. It’s inevitable and a constant in all of our lives. No one can make you change, but for some, change can cause fear, which can cause paralysis. However, as President Bill Clinton reminded us, “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” So, why not start embracing change at work to rethink equipment, software, processes, personnel, etc.?
As with anything, change affects companies in many different ways. One of those ways is through technological advancements, which can leave once state-of-the-art equipment and processes outdated and sometimes ineffective. Because of advancements (a.k.a. change) in technology and processes, older facilities can become less efficient, have lower throughput and yield, and overall lag behind their newly updated counterparts. This highlights a gap developing between glass fabricators using state-of-the-art equipment and updated processes and those using older equipment and processes. As technology continues to evolve and improve, these advancements promise to improve everything, including cost, quality, flexibility, delivery, process, speed, design and much more.
Again, where does that leave you, the glass fabrication owner? The fear of change is still there, but if you fail to understand and prepare for change, it will eventually become very difficult if not impossible to change, adapt, and eventually improve your company and facility. As Jack Welch, the famous CEO of General Electric once said, “Change before you have to.” To piggyback on that statement, my father use to say, “Change before your competitors force you to close your doors.” So, think about everything that is being affected by not changing: lost revenue, higher overhead, lower yield, unstable labor force, and much more.
Now that we know some affects the lack of change can take on your business, how do you decide what, why, and how your company should change? That is very subjective and only answerable on a case-by-case basis. So, I’d like to give you some questions to think about to help spark new ideas, innovation, and excitement.
- Where do you see your company, yourself, and your employees in 5 and 10 years?
- What are your business goals? How do you plan to achieve them?
- Is demand for your products growing?
- What new products do you want to fabricate?
- Do you have new competitors entering your market or challenging your position?
- When is the last time you upgraded your equipment, software, or processes?
- When did your competition last upgraded their equipment, software, or processes?
- Are your production costs rising and squeezing your ROI?
- Are you opening a new facility or expanding your current one?
- Do you know where everything is at any time in the production process?
Change is not easy, but as Mark Sanborn once said, “Your success in life [and business] isn't based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers, and business.” So, I challenge you to think about how you can manage and implement change in your company!