Newsletter Masthead
November 2008

Manufacturing (Business) Survival - Part 2

Okay you already implemented the survival tips last month:

1 - You have solidified relationships with you largest customers.  

2 - You have strengthened your team by getting rid of dead weight players, marginal players and maybe adding some "A" players

3 - You have strengthened your cash position by getting rid of slow moving inventory, increased collections for current accounts and are looking at your top 20 expenses for ways to cut costs.
Now what's next?

1 - Current Customers - whose ability to pay you know and trust - see what additional services you can provide them.  It may be a modified version of your product/service or another product/service that you can provide.  But since they know you, they are more likely to do more business with you.  One way of selling more may be payment terms for customers you trust for inventory that you have sitting around.
2 - New Customers - one of the tragedies of this down turn is that some companies can't service their clients and hence will lose them.  This is a perfect time to pick up some additional clients, however, with new clients you don't truly know their ability and payment timing.
3 - Improve Work Processes
Yes the do it YOURSELF review.  You don't need consultants to make it happen, just yourself and your team to document your SALES and OPERATIONS processes for ways to trim the fat.

Sales Process
How Are You Generating Quotes - if you are involving your engineering department in the process, you may be able to create a knowledge application to automate the process
  • Decrease Cost of Sale by 25% - Product Configurators offer a 25% reduction in cost of sales by decreasing the number of technical sales support staff to the number of sales staff required.
  • Reduction in Rework by 50-70% - Product Configurators offer a 50-70% reduction in rework expenses for organizations with a 25% or greater order error rate. 25% is the industry average for made-to-order/assemble-to-order manufacturers.
  • Increase Revenues by at least 5.4% - Product Configurators will provide sales organizations with a 2% increase in win rate and order size resulting in a 5.4% increase in revenues.
    (Gartner Research)

Whether it is an excel file you use or an application you have developed, review every part of your current sales process for opportunities to reduce costs and ways to turn around quotes faster to win more business.
Operation Processes
Map out your work process, look at each hand off and ask "Is this necessary" because handoffs add time and money.  Only after you have reviewed your processes yourself, and changed the things you can, then consider Information Technology. Remember, the best use of Information Technology (IT) is making your organization more productive.  I know some of you have ran your operation on paper for years, but if you just had to reduce the size of your team, the same amount of stuff needs to get done with fewer people and IT may be able to help.  IT and Software applications that you can subscribe and use thru an Internet browser may be a way to help you be more productive with less resources.  Also, if you need help improving your manufacturing operations, contact your local Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP) Center -  These are organizations that are funded by our tax dollars to assist manufacturers create jobs by improving their operations and growing their operations. 
Ben Moore
Agent Technologies, Inc.

The Consumer's Workshop: the future of American manufacturing
The Consumer's Workshop: The Future of American Manufacturing is a hand book on how to setup the systems within your company and create the workforce you need to be successful now and in the future.  Written by authors that have worked at some of America's largest manufacturers, founded their own manufacturing organizations and helped numerous small manufacturers grow.
The Consumer's Workshop: The Future of American Manufacturing is a must read for today's business leaders.  It is insightful and provocative in its approach to where US manufacturing has been, how manufacturing got into the troubles it faces today and what we need to do to become the standard for world class once again.  If we want to know how to regain that competitive edge once again, the roadmap is certainly the pages of The Consumer Workshop.

-- Bruce Vaillancourt,Director, NIST MEP Program, TechSolve, Inc.

Book The Consumer's Workshop is an extremely timely review of how manufacturing strategy developed in the past
and how it will change in the future. The author team clearly demonstrates that companies have to change -- and provide plenty of advise how such a change should take place."
-- Frank Piller, PhD, International Manufacturing Consultant

As the authors make clear, eventually American manufacturing will become the workshop for direct production of consumer's own designs -- or it will be no more. Begin that path by following the steps outlined here."
-- B. Joseph Pine II, author, Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition

Investment: $12.99

In This Issue
Manufacturing Survival - Part 2
xRP: Free 30 Day Trial
Manufacturing Statistics November 2008
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Manufacturing Statistics 
1) Manufacturing Output decreased 2.8%in October 2008 with durable goods down 2.5% and nondurable industries down 2.9%. Source: Federal Reserve Board
2) Manufacturing Employment fell by 90,000 jobs in October 2008.  (27,000 were off payroll due to aerospace worker strike.)
 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
3) Manufacturing Trade Deficit in August 2008 decreased $3.2 billion, or 4.3%, to $70.9 billion.   Sources: Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis
4)Manufacturers' New Orders in September 2008 decreased $11.2 billion, or 2.5%, to $432 billion.      Source:Census Bureau
5) Manufacturers' Inventories decreased $4.1 billion, or 0.7 %, to $558.7 billion. Source: Census Bureau
Agent Technologies, Inc.
Phone:  513-942-9444
Fax:  513-942-9446
Founded in 1995, Agent Technologies, Inc. provides e-Commerce Solutions, Business Reporting Solutions, e-Business Strategy Development and Agent Based Systems. We specialize in comprehensive eCommerce 4 Manufacturing (sm) Solutions through our manufacturing consultants and software applications. Try xRP - our online business productivity tool for CRM/ERP.  FREE 30 Day Trial!
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