Digitization allows companies to accelerate the pace of innovation and turn speed and agility into a competitive advantage. This is the age where factories are connected smartly with high-tech solutions to better plan and manage resources and processes.
Nowadays, manufacturers are embracing lean and agile manufacturing initiatives to improve inventory management and operational capabilities.
What is agile manufacturing? It is a modern approach or strategy used by manufacturers to respond quickly to changing customer needs and market demands. Multiple factors enable you to become an agile manufacturer – modular and customer-focused product design, information technology, corporate partners, and knowledge culture.
Agile manufacturing enables organizations to respond to market demands quickly, and without compromising quality. An intuitive and agile manufacturing plan focuses on creating and executing an idea while gauging whether it is right for the business.
How is agile manufacturing different from other practices?
- Modular, customer-focused product design
An agile manufacturing plan encourages quicker modification and adaptability. When products are designed in a modular pattern, variations are created easily. It brings together different pieces of materials to simplify design changes and delivers products with an unprecedented level of speed and personalization.
- Information technology
Organizations, whether large or small want to improve both external and internal business communication. Proper IT infrastructure drives agile manufacturing and ensures that employees are updated with every managerial decision and technological advancement.
- Corporate partners
Not every business model facilitates building good relationships with partner companies. Agile manufacturing emphasizes maintaining positive partnerships and cooperative projects. However, it is always suggested to examine your corporate relationships before implementing any new plan.
- Knowledge culture
Training is key to agile manufacturing. It ensures everyone in the organization understands the rapid changes and adaptation the business is working through. Appropriate training should be provided to all of the people working on the system to achieve agile manufacturing.
Agile manufacturing adds an extra dimension to lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is a systematic approach to minimize waste while maintaining quality and productivity within a manufacturing unit. Agile manufacturing is more focused on fulfilling customer demand in minimal time. This method is best suited to businesses undergoing a drastic transformation and fluctuating customer needs. Considered a precursor to agile, lean manufacturing has paved the road to modernization.
Lean manufacturing creates a structured, well-organized, and encouraging work culture while ensuring minimum waste. The relationship between lean and agile manufacturing can be explained with a simple example – one is a lean or thin person and the second is a fit one. Here, the latter one is an agile manufacturer and the former one is a lean manufacturer.
However, a company can be both lean and agile-driven. When the nuances of both lean and agile manufacturing are incorporated into an organization, it is known as leagile (lean + agile) manufacturing.
In a lean and agile process, emphasis is on not only quantitative inputs, but also qualitative comments, assumptions, risks, and opportunities associated with the plan. Audit trail capability is used for all the stakeholders’ inputs to add transparency and accountability to the process and encourage open and honest communication. This also increases participation and helps create a single version of the truth with no hedging, underestimating, or overestimating.
In lean and agile manufacturing, there is continuous horizontal reconciliation among stakeholders and vertical integration among strategic, tactical, and operational planning, which are interwoven harmoniously to create a cohesive fabric. In addition to being lean, this tactic accentuates inventory and capacity flexibility and cushions against market volatility and forecast inaccuracies, strengthening the organization. Capacity and inventory buffers act as the shock absorbers between strategic planning and operational planning in the event of unpredictable events. What-if scenarios for alternative courses of action and contingency plans help the organization mitigate risk and enable greater responsiveness to changing customer and market needs.
How can ERP drive agile manufacturing?
In today’s era, agility is not just a hallmark but also a requirement for surviving in this competitive marketplace. And to drive manufacturing agility, a modern Enterprise Resource Planning solution encourages lean manufacturing capabilities and just-in-time production to handle growing demands or sudden market changes. Enterprise Resource Planning software is the key to agile manufacturing. OptiProERP with SAP Business is a reliable suite of business management tools that offer advantages such as efficiency, accuracy, and scalability to meet your business requirements.
It utilizes a huge array of advanced features which promote capacity planning, material planning, quality control, production, inventory management, purchasing, sales, accounting, finances, and more.
How OptiProERP can promote agile manufacturing plans in your business –
- It reshapes your technology advancements to accelerate the path from planning to successful execution
- It encourages productive product designs that can be appreciated and requested by customers
- With state-of-the-art functionalities, you can respond quickly to an emerging crisis
- Its suite of business management tools helps you define risks, create a mitigation plan, develop cutover strategies and TCO (total cost of ownership) calculations
- It monitors, identifies, and resolves issues promptly and minimizes production time
- All of your data is on one platform to unify operations and promote agility and real-time access to the users
Designed by manufacturers, for manufacturers, this software is an extended version of SAP Business One which provides business automation. Its intuitive user interface with easy-to-understand drop-down menus, familiar toolbars, and search options are perfect for working fast and efficiently. To know more about this manufacturing ERP software, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.