Author Archives: Jordan Hatfield

Is your manufacturing firm struggling with the UK energy crisis? Are you looking for ways of saving energy and money for your business? It’s always important to find ways to save energy, but now more than ever it’s becoming a necessity.

How the energy crisis can affect businesses

According to Retail Technology Innovation Hub, the energy crisis in the UK can impact businesses in the following ways:

How you can save energy in your business

So, how can manufacturers help reduce their energy usage and save money for their businesses?

Through careful planning and scheduling. By reducing downtime and wasting less time and energy.

In the past, machine downtime has cost British manufacturers over £180 billion each year, providing more and more need for production planning and data monitoring to keep things running smoothly.

And with the right resource planning system, you can improve your production planning and reduce machine downtime in between jobs. You can turn 12 hours into 10 each day, increase your workload capacity, and of course save on the energy you use to complete each order.

How much you can save with production planning software

Using our own MMS, we have managed to minimise the time and energy we waste in between jobs. Thanks to the correct scheduling and organisation of our workload, we recently saved about 10% on our monthly energy bill (about £3,500).

With Machine Plan’s energy-saving production planning software, you can improve your machine and labour utilisation. You can increase your workload capacity, or alternatively reduce work hours and overtime costs.

Plus, with our accurate data collection, you can quickly find out which of your machines are not running efficiently and fix the issue before it gets worse. This will reduce your machine downtime, your scrap, and therefore your costs.

What is enterprise resource planning?

All businesses, big and small, need to plan their resources efficiently. This is what we call enterprise resource planning (ERP). Companies normally achieve this using an ERP platform, a type of software that helps them to manage and integrate the essential parts of their businesses.

What ERP involves

An ERP software system can include various components, depending on the needs of your business. For example, it could integrate your sales, manufacturing, and human resources. Whatever you need, you can join everything together to allow these different departments to share information more efficiently.

Why you need an ERP system

We’ve talked before about the dangers of your sales team overselling. And there’s also the risk of underselling. That’s why you need to plan your resources effectively.

With a proper ERP system, your business benefits from better:

Once you ensure proper resource planning within your company, your sales team will benefit and be better able to make sales, close deals, and leave your customers happy.

How you can implement effective resource planning

With the right software to plan your manufacturing, you can better plan your sales and organise your staff. If you know how much time and resources your company has, and how much it needs for your existing projects, your sales and HR teams will both benefit:

That’s where our Machine Plan Management System will help. Our MMS is designed to let you know precisely how much of your time, staff and resources you are using. That way, you can properly plan your workload, forecast future sales, and keep things running smoothly.

In business and manufacturing, quality control (QC) is the procedure of ensuring that a product or service meets specific criteria for quality or meets the customer’s requirements. Quality control involves the inspection of the product or service to ensure quality assurance (QA).

Why you need quality control in your business

Creating a product or putting together a service will cost you both time and money. Without proper quality control in place, that time and money can go to waste. What’s more, you run the risk of poor customer service or faulty products going to your customers, which will come back to haunt you later on.

With a proper quality control procedure, you can ensure constant maintenance and improvement of your products/services and maximise customer satisfaction. It will allow your business to become a thriving environment where your employees do their best to make everything ship-shape.

How can you add quality control to your business?

If you want an effective quality control procedure for your business, you’ll need to establish the following:

  1. Standards: Establish the standards that you want your product or service to meet. Create benchmarks for ideal product/service quality and train your staff to this level.
  2. Action: Decide what actions you will take as part of your inspection. For a manufacturing firm, this would involve testing your products and deciding how many of them to test.
  3. Data: Check whether your products/services are up to scratch and meet the standards you have established. Collect data on your products/services and any issues they have.
  4. Correction: Decide the best corrective action to take on these issues. In manufacturing, this would mean fixing or stopping the production of defective products.

You should repeat this quality control process regularly to spot new issues and ensure customer satisfaction.

Quality control in manufacturing

In a multi-step manufacturing process, you should utilise quality testing at each step of the process. This includes:

  1. Testing the raw materials you use
  2. Pulling samples from the manufacturing line
  3. Testing the final product

If a problem occurs at any stage of the process, you will better be able to identify it and fix it as soon as possible.

How quality control software will help your business

With the right software, keeping your product quality under control will be easier than ever, and you can help your team to keep quality failures as low as possible.

That’s where our Machine Plan Management System comes in. Our MMS’s quality control system is designed to assist your business with the quality control process and help you achieve quality assurance.

Is your sales team overselling? Working in sales can be extremely stressful, what with the constant pressure to meet sales quotas and ensure client satisfaction. In their quest to make plenty of sales to meet their targets, many salespeople fall into the trap of “overselling”. And this can seem to be an easy way of attracting new business.

But this could be what’s hurting your business the most.

The Dangers of Overselling to Your Customers

When your company oversells in the short term, it ends up being harmful to your business reputation in the long term. For a manufacturing company that needs to produce a product as and when the order comes in, some orders can be difficult to fulfil in time. In the end, you’ll only struggle to keep the promises of your sales team.

And if your sales team are making promises your production team and manufacturing machine planning can’t keep, and they end up underdelivering on the order, it will make your business look:

It can cause you to lose your existing customers and any potential ones in the future.

How to Stop Overselling

So what can you do about this? You may think this is a problem you just can’t solve. How can you maximise communication between your sales teams and your operations teams to make plenty of sales that you can deliver on?

That’s the beauty of our Machine Plan Management System. It can produce reports at any time to tell you how long a particular order will take to fulfil – and when you’ll have the time to fulfil it. With a proper planning system, you’ll be able to plan your production better and keep your sales team more informed before they talk to the customer. No more overselling and no more underdelivering!

If you’re suffering from staff shortages, struggling to recruit new people to operate your machinery and run your manufacturing process, you are not alone. This is a common problem among companies we have spoken to, and for many others across the UK.

British firms are struggling to recruit

According to a survey from the British Chambers of Commerce for Q1 2022, about 4 in 5 firms had trouble finding new staff. Among the most likely firms to report this difficulty are those in the manufacturing industry, with 80% experiencing recruitment issues.

These businesses also reported a number of issues contributing to their recruitment problem – for example, COVID-19, greater wage competition, and foreign workers being less available nowadays.

Employment has fallen

According to an article from the House of Commons Library, examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK industries, employment had fallen by 9% in manufacturing by December 2021 since pre-pandemic levels. At the beginning of the pandemic, job vacancies were cut in half, but since then they have increased dramatically and reached over 65% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The Institute for Employment Studies blames these labour shortages mostly on a growth in economic inactivity. There are more people now who are not working nor looking for work. There is also, as many businesses have said, a shortage of foreign workers in the UK. A lot of EU nationals, due to COVID-19 and Brexit combined, have returned to their countries of origin.

What can you do?

With this in mind, how can businesses like yours cope with this strain in the workforce? By simplifying your manufacturing process and reducing your company’s needs for manual labour. With the right machine planning software, you won’t need to find as many workers to run your manufacturing process anyway.

To keep your productivity up despite staff shortages, our MachinePlan Management System (MMS) will improve your machine planning process and help your existing team to optimise production.