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Manufacturing involves a set diverse and highly complex set of activities, including design, analysis, sourcing, supplier management, fabrication, costing, change management, supply chain management, sales, after sales support, etc.  This set of integrated activities which are dependent on each other must be available and functioning when required.  Any interruption in anyone of these integrated activities, can, and will have an impact on the downstream activities. And, if the interruption is severe enough, can impact the company’s bottom line, brand, reputation, customers, the environment, or health, safety and wellbeing of the workers and the community.

 

The drive to eliminate or minimize these interruptions is leading organizations to become “resilient” organizations. A resilient organization is one that is capable of withstanding shock without permanent disrupture, and as a result of the disrupture, either returns to the previous state, or, as a result of the experience emerges as an improved organization.  All areas of an organization must be able to deal with interruptions and shocks in such a way that minimizes or eliminates any resulting disruption

People have to be flexible, able to do multiple tasks that are outside their normal working procedures. Consequently they have to have trained in multiple jobs (the safety aspects, craft skills, and specialty skills), with organizational processes and an environment that supports them.

Manufacturing processes need to have redundancy embedded within them to allow for a quick recovery from an incident.  They need to be able to produce different products without requiring significant change over time.  The supply chain needs to be able to recover quickly from interruptions.

Products that are being manufacture need to be designed to reduce manufacturing complexity, to conform to numerous regulations, and meet customer requirements.

Prices need to be monitored to take advantage of changes in the market, profitable customers need to be nurtured, and commodities managed to the advantage of the corporation

These activities, and others, add resilience to the organization, by giving multiple options when recovering from an incident, adapting to changes in the environment, and ensuring a profitable environment. Unfortunately, options mean complexity, and the management of complexity becomes one of the fundamental characteristics of a resilient organization. Having a fully integrated  solution to monitor, manage, and initiate corrective action for all these activities, be they peoples’ skills, shift assignments, options within manufacturing, options in transportation, suppliers, optimized financial processes, multiple regulations, and others is essential to a well running resilient organization.

Please join me for a series of blogs that will discuss various aspects of what make a resilient manufacturing organization

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