For a good look at how logistics solutions have helped drive a company from a small business to a massive operation, look no further than Toyota and the Toyota Production System. Specifically, Toyota built its automotive empire based on the concept of "lean manufacturing," as in eliminating seven different types of waste from the production cycle, not only to improve customer value, but to improve product quality, reduce time to market and time of delivery to customer and, finally, reduce a company's total costs.
In business, there are good times and there are bad times. Everyone got a taste of the bad times in the wake of the 2008 economic recession, when product struggled to move off of the shelf. But what about the good times? When the economy is good and people are spending money, is your business able to ramp up production and take advantage of the circumstances at hand? Or will it be able to only deliver goods at its usual pace?
In business, it's the good times that have to be good enough to outweigh the bad times. And in order to truly take advantage of these good times and have the cushion in your bottom line when times are truly lean, there are a few things you can do right now:
Embrace a "leaner" work environment. Just like how Toyota built an automotive empire by eliminating waste in its product development cycle, you too can adopt a leaner strategy that facilitates a quality product, increases customer value and reduces time to market (not to mention reduces overhead).
Analyze your logistics solutions: Get in touch with your suppliers and ask them the difficult questions. Will they be able to increase production during the good times? What is their current manufacturing capacity? Might they be able to deliver more? What's their equipment like? What about their staff? Access to raw materials? These are all questions that should be asked and their answers considered when analyzing the logistics of your operations. Your company's supply chain is crucial to how it operates. Is yours providing a competitive advantage for your company.
History has a tendency of repeating itself. And while the nation as a whole still isn't completely removed from the 2008 economic recession, it's been well on the mend for several years now, to the point where companies are hiring again as they ramp production back up. It's a simple case of supply and demand - when demand is there, there had better also be supply. And if a single supplier or aspect of your company isn't pulling their weight, it could be time to make a change.
When the getting is good, your business needs to take advantage of it. And when its bad, you need to be thankful for how well you did when things were going well and think of ways to become leaner. Toyota is considered to be the largest automaker in the world today, and by employing its Toyota Production System and falling back on its logistics solutions, the company has continued to thrive, even when other, more tenured automakers endured struggles.
Product development starts with a concept. Then there's design and engineering. Finally, there's prototyping and then manufacturing. After manufacturing, there's the end product, the product that gets delivered to the customer. Is your company handling its business in a way so that it can prosper in good times and tread water in bad times? If you've answered "no," then now could be the time for a change. Be ready, and not surprised, for the good times. It's your taking advantage of them that may make all the difference in the world for your business.