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Lean operations helping manufacturers toward a brighter future

Lean operations helping manufacturers toward a brighter future
Lean operations helping manufacturers toward a brighter future

Lean operations is an important part of many company's efforts around the globe. In order to keep costs down – especially in the difficult financial times that followed what analysts dubbed "The Great Recession" – many companies explored cost cutting efforts. Now, even as times show improving economic conditions and the financial outlook for many firms is getting better, entities are still seeing the importance of the lean way of doing business. And one important step toward a more agile, leaner future is to embrace technology and other methods, such as computerized maintenance management software.

Survey shows executives still thinking big – by thinking lean
Accenture recently conducted a comprehensive study on all facets of the manufacturing industry, interviewing executives from all areas of the sector. The 250 respondents in all had several common themes, and one of them was the importance of a lean operations strategy.

The men and women who responded to the survey had found that growth was picking up – more than 9 in 10 said that their company had seen growth in the past two years, and nearly the same percentage expected continued boosts in annual revenue by the end of 2013. But there were coming challenges, they said, and they were going to require an embrace of new solutions.

More than 80 percent agreed that a pressing concern of the industry is to work flexibility and adaptability, and that means being able to implement new technological solutions quickly. Almost 72 percent had plans to significantly alter their company's operating model not just in general, but in the coming year. Between those who will have to make unexpected changes, and those who will soon see the importance of a new model as an urgent priority, one can expect that number to be effectively higher.

Technology helps workers
A big part of that, as the executives told the firm, is technology. To improve lean operations management many companies look toward solutions like asset management software and similar opportunities that afford greater organization and efficiency. More than 3 in every 4 of those surveyed said that they will be investing greatly in new IT efforts in the coming year in order to help the lives of people in jobs such as plant maintenance management.

There are innumerable stories of companies taking their work to the next level through efforts through lean operations. Founder and chief executive David Handmaker of NextDayFlyers.com, for instance, recently told Entrepreneur.com about his work toward a tighter business. His company had been hemorrhaging money, and he needed a way to stop the loss. After attempting to simply read a book about the subject, Handmaker found someone who could implement technological methods to cut waste and save money – and his business is now thriving. The company had 70 employees and its own printing operation, requiring a good deal of plant maintenance management – but thanks to his work, the entire set of problems has become easier.

A good, technologically adept workforce is clearly a priority for many in all areas and industries – a large amount of those who responded to the Accenture survey were concerned with the skills of future workers. But even the most able workers can be helped by new solutions. Plant maintenance software and similar options can make life easier for you and your workers by making sure the most important projects are confront when they need to be – and no others are allowed to simply fall by the wayside.

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