Why Flexibility Should be a Key Priority for Every Manufacturer

Mark Dohnalek  |   December 06, 2017

As competition increases around the globe, technology continues to evolve, demographics shift and the workforce continues to change, there is one characteristic that manufacturing companies must prioritize in order to compete: Flexibility.

The old ways of doing business are simply no longer enough in a world where technology advances at an exponential rate, and consumer expectations are higher than ever before.  The ability to adapt to new changes quickly will be vital for any manufacturer’s success.

Here’s why.

Your employees will expect it

As our day-to-day lives change and older work patterns begin to fade away, the typical 9-to-5 workday will become a thing of the past. Even the typical first, second, and third shifts will need to be more adaptable, as well.

During the last recession in the late 2000s, companies began moving around their working hours in an effort to be more efficient and provide additional perks to employees whose wages they weren’t able to raise.

As it turns out, this trend toward “flex time” became highly effective and desirable, even if it was born out of an economic downturn.

Flex time is something that could appeal to younger members of the workforce who are used to having choices in everything – including where, when, and how they work.

So when a prospective new employee is taking a look at the job market, a manufacturer that can offer them some level of flexibility in terms of scheduling will have an advantage. This is especially true now that the economy has entered a recovery period and it’s easier to couple a flexible schedule with a strong salary and room for promotion.

Your customers will expect it

Demand is seemingly ever-increasing, and it’s also ever-shifting; customers seem to have more and more choices over how and when their product is delivered. Any company that expects to compete in the modern, and future, workplaces, will need to be able to meet that challenge.

In a sense, this refers to changing technology, as well; think about the way customers place orders and contact the companies that made them now, as opposed to 20 or 30 years ago. There are 24 hour technicians waiting to talk to people online if they have any issues. Customers can place their orders online at any time.

So does it stand to reason that a company that hasn’t moved forward to meet those expectations would be able to satisfy their customers? This will be especially important as global business becomes more interconnected, and time zones, or even physical location, won’t matter nearly as much as they used to.

Flexibility allows you to meet unexpected challenges without buckling

There are many reasons that production might be delayed, or that a key employee might be absent from work. With flexibility built into a manufacturer’s system of operation, those emergencies or setbacks can be overcome, simply because the company has more options to work with.

For example, think of how a flex-time work week could help an employee make up for an unexpected absence later in the production cycle. Or think of how your company’s ability to change their production schedule when needed could help if there’s a problem with your delivery method or supply chain.

The world is an ever-changing, ever-evolving place, and a manufacturer that is able to adapt and change with it will be more successful in the long run. The days of rigid structure in manufacturing are fast coming to an end. Are you prepared for the future?