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Here’s What You Need To Know In Leading Your Manufacturing Firm In The 2020 Recovery

Section 1

Author: John McMahon

Read time: 5min


The pace of technology continues to move at breakneck speed. Operations managers are more important than ever. For businesses to survive, they must act and avoid falling into old habits. For businesses to thrive, they must be forward-leaning, anticipatory, and proactive.


1. Empower Your Employees

Yes, “empower your employees!” It sounds out of place, maybe cliché in a list of serious recommendations. Here’s what we mean by “empower your employees". As your employees come back to work they are going to be as nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Follow recovery best-practices. Be the one to give them comfort, hope & encouragement. Give them permission to push the boundaries once again. There will be a hesitancy throughout organizations. Managers who are able to organize and inspire their team anew will take the lead.

2. Cultivate a Cultural Commitment to Excellence

There are several business-critical elements on the chopping block. Chief among them are organization, operations, and production excellence. In the rush of employees to get to work, get it over with, and get home, attention to detail and the pursuit of perfection may get lost in the shuffle. Set the example at the top. Flow the culture of excellence throughout the organization. By doing so, you’re positioning your firm to become or remain an industry leader. Reduce meeting time and emails. Use scalable digital technology like mobile messaging. Less time in meetings means management can spend more time supporting their team’s efforts to perform at their best.

3. Hire the Best

Now’s your chance. Many of the best and the brightest have been laid off by your competitors. It’s the perfect time to seek out, attract, and retain world-class employees. The company that succeeds in doing this will innovate its course and lead the pack over the next few years.


Operations is a broad job function. How it is handled will shape the company’s future.

4. Insist on Continuous Improvement

When it comes to “improvement” knowing where to put your time, attention, and resources is critical. There are some “improvements” that will give you ZERO ROI. As IronOrbit has worked with manufacturing firms over the years, here are the four areas we’ve observed that have brought our clients the most return on their “improvement” efforts.

-Improvement in Product Consistency

-Improvement in Communications with Current and Potential Clients – Be Customer-Centric

-Improvement in Underlying Technologies (new infrastructures and integrations)

-Improvement in Employee Continuing Education

These four areas consistently have proven to give a positive return. They have to be approached with an eye towards performance objectives. This includes everything from product quality, delivery time, and customer service. Relationship management has always been key to long-term success. It is especially important now and the years ahead as we begin the journey of recovery. The quality of these relationships will determine how your company recovers. Focus on building solid relationships and clear communications based on empathy and compassion.

An agile manufacturing firm must be viewed as a sailboat, constantly adjusting and responding to the seas and the wind. This is also true for the supply chain. They have to have the flexibility to balance between meeting demand without creating excess inventory.


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