Article | May 18, 2021
For twenty years as an editorial contributor to Quality Digest magazine, I have had the pleasure of authoring or collaborating more than 80 articles for the publication. During this two-decade tenure, I have worked with Dirk Dusharme (pictured left), Editor in Chief of Quality Digest.
Quality Digest’s website receives more than three million page views each year, which provide editorial content, live broadcasts, videos, and on-demand webinars presented by industry experts on international quality standards, leadership, manufacturing, metrology, statistical process control, training, and more.
Quality Digest continues its important role as companies navigate a post-COVID reality with a critical role of safety, quality, efficiency, and resiliency. Quality elements are no longer an after-thought. It is essential when examining automation, lean manufacturing, and new paradigms for best practice. During COVID, all of us became more remote savvy and the demand for visionary content and information essential.
According to Dusharme, “Since their debut almost a decade ago, Quality Digest's "enhanced" webinar events have raised the bar for the traditional webinar experience. Our audience has come to expect concise, informative, and engaging presentations with subject matter experts who know what they are talking about. Apart from the traditional quality topics, we delve into areas that broaden our audience’s knowledge. These topics range from cybersecurity, to supply chain management, to understanding and dealing with cognitive biases. Our goal is to provide up-to-date, actionable information that our audience can immediately put to use. Live video feeds of the presenters and the products, interactive Q&A sessions, surveys, and valuable downloads all make up our usual webinar experience, followed by next-day access to the on-demand recording and materials.”
Enhanced Webinars from Quality Digest feature real-time streaming video of host, subject matter expert, and a case study in action. Users can email questions, chat, or download files in real-time. This modality is ideal for visual case studies/product demos, team or customer training, and new product/new service announcements.
Article | December 21, 2021
When it comes to developing a budget for the following financial year of your manufacturing business, many operations managers start with direct labor and material expenditures. But, what about manufacturing overhead costs?
Manufacturing overhead is any expense not directly tied to a factory's production. Therefore, the indirect costs in manufacturing overhead can also be called factory overhead or production overhead.
Outsourcing and globalization of manufacturing allows companies to reduce costs, benefits consumers with lower-cost goods and services, and causes economic expansion that reduces unemployment and increases productivity and job creation.
– Larry Elder
So, this article focuses on some highly effective overhead cost reduction methods that would help you build a healthy budget for the following year.
Manufacturing Overhead Costs: What Is Included?
Everything or everyone within the factory that isn't actively producing items should be considered overhead.
The following are some of the variables that are considered overhead costs:
Depreciation of equipment and productionfacilities
Taxes, insurance, and utilities
Supervisors, maintenance, quality control, and other on-site personnel who aren't producing signs
Indirect supply from light bulbs to toilet paper is also included in the overhead cost.
Manufacturing Overhead Costs: What Is Excluded?
Everything or everyone within or outside the factory that is actively producing items should be excluded from the overhead costs.
Factory overhead does not include the following:
Employee costs for those making the goods daily
External administrative overhead, such as a satellite office or human resources
Costs associated with C-suite employees
Expenses associated with sales and marketing - include pay, travel, and advertising
How to Calculate Overhead Costs in Manufacturing
To know the manufacturing overhead requires calculating the manufacturing overhead rate. The formula to calculate the manufacturing overhead rate i.e. MOR is basic yet vital.
To begin, determine your overall manufacturing overhead expenses. Then, add up all the monthly indirect expenditures that keep manufacturing running smoothly.
Then you can calculate the Manufacturing Overhead Rate (MOR). This statistic shows you your monthly overhead costs as a percentage.
To find this value, divide Total Manufacturing Overhead Cost (TMOC) by Total Monthly Sales (TMS) and multiply it by 100. The final formula will be:
Assume your manufacturing overhead expensesare $50,000 and your monthly sales are $300,000. You get.167 when you divide $50,000 by $300,000. Then increase that by 100 to get your monthly overhead rate of 16.7%.
This means your monthly overhead expenditures will be 16.7% of your monthly income. Being able to forecast and develop better solutions to decrease production overhead.
Five Ways to Reduce Manufacturing Overhead Costs
A variety of strategies may be used by manufacturing organizations to reduce their overhead costs. Here is a summary of some of the most important methods for reducing your manufacturing overhead costs.
Value Stream Mapping – A Production Plant Process Layout
A value stream map depicts the entire manufacturing process of your plant. Everything from raw material purchase through client delivery is detailed here. The value stream map provides you with a complete picture of the profit-making process. This overhead cost-cuttingmethod is listed first for a reason because every effort to reduce manufacturing overhead costsstarts with a value stream map.
Lean manufacturingis also one of the techniques of eliminating unnecessary time, staff, and work that is not necessary for profit and has gained undue favor in the manufacturing process. You must first create a value stream map of the whole manufacturing process for this technique to work. Once the lean manufacturing precept is established, the following strategies for decreasingmanufacturing overhead expenses can be examined.
Do Not Forget Your Back Office Management
Before focusing on factory floor cost reduction techniques, remember that your back offices, where payment processing and customer contacts occur, may also be simplified and increase profitability. Fortunately, automation can achieve this profitability at a cheap cost.
Manufacturers increasingly use robotic process automation (RPA) to sell directly to customers rather than rely on complex supply networks. This automation eliminates costly human mistakes in data input and payment processing by automatically filling forms with consumer data. Moreover, the time saved from manual data input (and rectifying inevitable human errors) equates to decreased labor expenses and downtime.
Automating Your Manufacturing Plant
For a long time, manufacturers saw factory automation as a game-changer. As a result, several plant owners make radical changes in their operations using cutting-edge technologydespite knowing it realistically. Over-investing in technologies unfamiliar to present industrial personnel might be deemed a technology blunder. Investing in new technology that doesn't generate value or is too hard for current staff to use might be a mistake.
It's usually best to start small when implementing newtechnology in manufacturing. Using collaborative robots in production is one way to get started with automation. They are inexpensive, need little software and hardware, and may help employees with mundane, repeated chores that gobble up bandwidth. It is a low-cost entry point into automation that saves labor expenses and opens the door for further automation investments when opportunities are available.
Reuse Other Factory Equipment and Supplies
Check with other factories to see if they have any unused equipment or supplies that may be "redeployed" to your manufacturing plant. Redeployment would save you time and money by eliminating the need to look for and install new equipment while lowering your overhead costs.
Outsourcing a fully equipped factory, equipment, or even staff can also assist in lowering overhead costssince you will only pay for what you utilize. As such, it is a viable method to incorporate into your production process.
Employ an In-house Maintenance Expert
An in-house repair technician can service your equipment for routine inspections, preventive maintenance, and minor repairs. This hiring decision might save money on unforeseen repair expenses or work fees for an outside repair provider. Having someone on-site who can do emergency repairs may save you money if your equipment breaks after business hours.
Manufacturing overhead costis an essential aspect of every manufacturing company's budget to consider. Smart manufacturingis intended to be productive, efficient, and cost-effective while effectively managing production expenditures. Calculating the manufacturing overheadcan provide you with a better understanding of your company's costs and how to minimize them. Depending on the conditions or geographical needs, each manufacturing plant's overhead expensesmay vary. As a result, identify your production overhead costsand concentrate on reducing and improving them.
What are manufacturing overheads?
Manufacturing overhead cost is a sum of all indirect expenses incurred during production. Manufacturing overhead expenses usually include depreciation of equipment, employee salaries, and power utilized to run the equipment.
What is a decent overhead percentage?
When a business is functioning successfully, an overhead ratio of less than 35 % is considered favorable.
How can I calculate the cost of manufacturing per unit?
The overall manufacturing cost per unit is determined by dividing the total production expenses by the total number of units produced for a particular time.
Article | May 20, 2021
The transformation of raw materials through mechanical, physical, or chemical processes into a new product is the definition of manufacturing in the U.S. These businesses include plants, mills, factories, and warehouses and they rely on power-driven equipment to produce their products.
Small businesses and home-based businesses are included in the scope of U.S. manufacturing - this includes sectors like tailor-made clothing, bakeries, candy stores, or toy/crafts creators. Additionally, companies that contract with the businesses in these industries are included in the sector of American manufacturing. It is worth noting: U.S. manufacturing does not include anything relating to housing or commercial construction.
Article | January 19, 2022
Manufacturing branding is a relatively recent trend that is gaining traction in the manufacturing sector. Brand marketing is important for manufacturers in a variety of ways, including increasing business revenue and establishing product credibility within their target consumer group.
82% of people feel better about a brand after reading personalized content.
94% of customers are inclined to develop a relationship with a brand that is completely transparent.
13% of consumers would spend 31-50% more on your products or services if they believed your business was making a positive difference in the world.
In this article, we will look at the advantages of branding to a manufacturer as well as how brand manufacturing may be established.
What Difference Can Manufacturer Branding Make?
"A brand is a voice, and a product is a souvenir"
-Lisa Gansky, an American entrepreneur, writer, and speaker
Your Name and Work Will Be Publicized
Branding is the process of enriching your products with a visual, linguistic, and conceptual identity that differentiates them from competitors. Ideally, factory branding would help you reach out to your potential clients by making them aware of your company's name and becoming familiar with what you do.
Brand Marketing Builds Emotional Bonds
Manufacturing branding is more than merely developing an image in the minds of your customers. It's about telling a story that strikes a chord with them.Once you've defined your message and the motivation for developing your products, customers will be able to connect with you more easily.Relatability is critical in an era of ever-changing trends and consumer behavior. Your clients will simply switch over to another firm that provides the same service and fosters a sense of belonging. The emotional value of your manufacturing brands should not be underestimated.
Building Trust Is Easier with a Strong Brand
A manufacturing brand that wishes to remain in business for the long run will communicate with its customers. The customers understand that you would not connect or share your story unless you intended to grow with them. However, this strategy works only if the factory branding is well-executed and demonstrates its authenticity. Modern customers can easily notice dishonesty or the use of a phony character.
Increase of Distribution Channels
Working on your manufacturing branding will help you expand your sales. Just make sure you have the necessary tools to sell via different channels. Creating a memorable brand doesn't merely attract customers. It will also assist in attracting potential distributors who may otherwise be reluctant to be your distributing partners. Your ability to negotiate quality agreements with resellers and reps will increase when your manufacturing brand is well-known. It simplifies their lives and saves them money on marketing.
This is a domino effect issue. More distributors mean more exposure for your business, but a delicate balance must be maintained. Your personal connection with clients may be lost if you abdicate brand responsibility. So, provide superior customer service to maintain a connection with your customers.
Profit Margin Is Increased
A strong manufacturing brand will allow you to sell at greater prices. People will be happy to pay for a quality brand that they can trust. But what would really set you apart from the rest is if you could beat private companies at branding. Private brands are the house brands of shops and huge resellers who offer cheaper copies of your goods. Customers should be able to tell the price difference between a factory brand and a private brand.
"You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do."
– Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company
How to Build an Effective Manufacturing Brand?
Identify Your Intended Audience
Identifying your target demographic is the first step in intentionally building your brand. You can build a buyer persona of the typical user of your product or by analyzing your current consumer base. Consider their age, gender, industry, occupation, education, interests, etc. To grow your brand and market your products more effectively, you need to create a buyer persona.
Conduct Competitor Analysis
Following that, it would be advisable to analyze your competitors' brands. In various markets and with companies in general, there are many brand features that are unique and widely utilized, and it would be counterproductive for a corporation to highlight those elements. For example, many B2B companies take pride in their product quality, reliability factor, and personal touch. When everyone is highlighting the same brand qualities, you will need a unique approach to stand out.
Developing a Central Theme
A brand's central theme acts as a pillar. It summarizes your company's principles and objectives in a single statement, or perhaps one word. It's a lot simpler to come up with marketing ideas and campaigns that connect with your company's philosophy and seem like a part of the brand.
Developing Your Brand's Individuality
Now, imagine your brand as a person, considering the preceding phases. You may gather every piece of information possible. The more specific you are, the more solidity your brand identity will have.
Brand themes may help you develop your brand's personality and story. Using themes, you may classify individuals and fictional characters based on a common set of personality qualities. These are commonly used in psychology and marketing.
Creating a Visual Brand for Your Business
Finally, create a visual illustration for your organization. This includes producing unique logos that represent your company's beliefs, selecting colors, designing your website and blog, and everything that can be related to visualizing your corporate brand.
Get familiar with geometric and color psychology, look at what prominent brands and other firms in your industry have done, and get on board with a good graphic designer to create the materials.
Best Channels for Manufacturers' Branding
Many businesses utilize social media, blogging with SEO suggestions, and email newsletters to boost their online presence. Content is the most important consideration when adopting these marketing methods. Hire good specialists to assist you in
understanding your buyer's persona and developing buyer-centric content to capture their attention and generate potential leads for your business.An active social media presence enables you to increase the number of followers on your social media sites and reach millions of people via these platforms. Furthermore, you can start weekly newsletters to keep your subscribers updated on the latest developments, campaigns, and how you're working to develop the best goods possible for your target groups.
Effective branding for manufacturing is what you need to increase your company's popularity and demand in a competitive market. Once you've established yourself as a known brand in your sector, you may pursue manufacturer branding, which is used by many well-known manufacturers such as Ford, Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Apple. Use the above-mentioned techniques to create your own brand and stay ahead of the curve in your industry.
What are the four elements of branding?
A successful brand requires a strong brand identity, brand image, brand culture, and brand personality, all of which must be present.
What is the manufacturer’s brand?
A product that has the manufacturer’s name on it or is used to market and sell the product.
What is manufacturers’ label?
The manufacturers label provides name and address of the manufacturer or distributor and relevant hazard warnings.