Real-World Best Practices in Manufacturing Operations

No matter the product, every manufacturer looks for new ways to improve quality while lowering costs. And the best way to do that is by following well-established best practices in manufacturing operations.

November 30, 2018


No matter the product, every manufacturer looks for new ways to improve quality while lowering costs. And the best way to do that is by following well-established best practices in manufacturing operations.

So instead of randomly testing new processes on your own, start with these tried-and-true practices. Each of these four tactics have been put to use by some of the largest manufacturers in their market. But they can be applied by any size manufacturer producing any type of product. Check out these best practices in manufacturing operations and see how you can put them to use in your business.

Manufacturing Best Practice #1: Consolidate Technology Under a Single Provider

Today, Scotts Miracle Gro is one of the most well-known producer of lawn products, in the world. But growing that reputation came with its challenges.

As business expanded, Scotts Miracle Gro opened more than 60 geographically dispersed sites. That gave them a large footprint in many different communities. But it also made it more difficult to keep all its employees connected, putting a strain on both its on-premise technology and its IT teams.

As their existing on-premises PBX approached its end-of-life, Scotts made the decision to move to a single communication provider who could handle both their voice and data needs.

It sounds like a simple change, but it made a huge difference. By moving to a single provider, Scotts’ now works with a consultative partner who knows their business inside and out. Plus, experts designed their solutions to work together in a single hosted enterprise voice platform. That includes phone service, integrated messaging, presence and IM, mobility and conferencing.

In addition, a provider like this can provide contact center solutions, SIP trunking and portal management tools for improved customer service, reduced cost and maximum visibility of the voice and data traffic traversing their network.

With a complete unified communications platform, Scotts enables rich communications for in-office and remote workers across 60+ locations. With the ability to drive down costs and raise benefits, tech consolidation is one of the first best practices in manufacturing operations you should consider today.

Manufacturing Best Practice #2: Create a Repository of Training Materials

Ingersoll Rand sells a home air conditioner every minute of every day. Between its Trane and American Standard Heating and Air Conditioner brands, that’s more than a half million units annually. The company sells through more than 300 distributors that sell to 10,000 dealers. Those dealers make final sales to homebuilders and homeowners.

7 Major Manufacturing Challenges

Such a widespread distribution network is great for business, but it can be difficult to share product updates with every person involved and ensure all distributors and dealers use the right brand messaging.

Ingersoll Rand found a solution through webcasting. They chose a software that allows them to “share the desktop” with webcast viewers. Participants registered, logged in and took advantage of multiple training sessions as if they were in the same room.

But the benefits of webcasts goes beyond the scheduled training session. Make sure your webcast solution has the option to record meetings. That way, new hires, distributors and dealers can take advantage of past training opportunities.

Lastly, decide how often you may need to go live with a webcast. If your company releases frequent updates or adds dealers on a regular basis, some webcast providers allow unlimited webcasts, which will save a lot of money compared to pay-as-you-go plans.

Manufacturing Best Practice #3: Boost Productivity and Prepare for Growth

After an acquisition, Morrison Supply Company set out to upgrade their technology infrastructure to ensure it could grow with them. At the time, the company was using an old version of Cisco Call Manager for their voice service. And they used a variety of open source products for other office needs. The combination resulted in spotty and unreliable service at times.

Ultimately, the company asked West to employ our VoiceMaxx CE solution, which includes Cisco products and the ability to deploy Microsoft Office 365 across the enterprise. That gave them a unified contact center and email platform that boosted productivity by helping employees stay in touch.

Like one of the earlier best practices in manufacturing operations in this list, this move consolidated its technology under one provider, which simplified the system and reduced cost. But the change also set up the entire network to grow with them.

That’s because the entire system works in the cloud over the Maxxis Application Network. With a cloud-based solution, the IT team doesn’t have to travel to every location to adjust the phone or email system. It’s all stored in a secure location off site and easily managed through an online portal.

This simple change makes the company’s phone and email system work better for both employees and customers. Plus, it prepares the company for all future growth.

Manufacturing Best Practice #4: Unify All Sites Around the Globe

Globalization poses a challenge for a growing number of businesses in every industry. By moving operations overseas, manufacturers must address different regulations, learn cultural norms and keep operations in sync over multiple time zones.

Like many other companies, a major U.S. electronics manufacturer was forced to move parts of its production to Asia, which presented a challenge for its already aging and piecemealed communications infrastructure. In addition, the company had problems with its internal surf control for anti-spam, which incorrectly blocked users without explanation.

This company, too, used the Maxxis Application Network to create a private, fast and flexible solution. Plus, MaxxSecure’s spam filtering, intrusion prevention, private networking, virus protection and web monitoring ensured everyone could be online safely.

Moving overseas may be the right move for business, but that newfound distance opens up potential holes in your communication infrastructure. Consider using a cloud network off-site, under the guidance of a provider with an infrastructure designed to handle enterprise level interactions around the globe.

That makes your network more solid with fewer interruptions in service and allows your staff to focus on more mission-critical objectives.

Putting to Use Best Practices in Manufacturing Operations

To read more about these success stories and learn about more options to try, download our whitepaper, 7 Major Manufacturing Challenges. Or, click here to read some of the same information in blog form.

The right communication provider makes all these solutions possible. To see if West is the right fit for you, call one of our experts at 800.841.9000.

Use each of these best practices in manufacturing operations to generate real results in your business. Each of these communication solutions can cut costs and deliver the ROI you’ve been looking for.

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