I don’t know about you (probably yes), but it seems to me that it is now almost impossible to make customers understand that every self-respecting manufacturing company has a very precise production schedule which is difficult to amend.
Let me explain myself better and choose an example that involves us directly.
MICROingranaggi closed the first quarter of this year with an increase in turnover of 38.3%, which means that – between mid-November and early January – we received a quantity of orders (partly, I must say, quite unexpected) that has actually occupied all the machines in the production department for whole months at a time. And I’m not saying this to exaggerate, because the scheduling I’m talking about is the result of extremely precise calculations.
It can happen, therefore, that when we receive a new request, we must necessarily include it in the operational schedule of our workshop. The problem is that
more and more customers can’t and won’t accept that a manufacturing company like MICROingranaggi (as I said: I speak for ourselves, but I am sure that this situation concerns many other enterprises) may have different technical delivery times than those desired.
Let’s be honest: I understand the point of view of our customers. Because I know that they too, in fact, find themselves operating under the same conditions, dictated by an era drugged by Amazon Prime, where the items that a company produces must be manufactured and placed on the market at the speed of light.
Despite this, I feel obliged to continue repeating myself in saying that
the manufacturing of custom precision mechanical parts, and therefore designed for a specific application, require very precise realization times that cannot be changed.
It is a bit like if customers were to search for capable, qualified suppliers, holding all the necessary certifications and so on, but who – when they receive an order – are completely out of work and therefore ready to dedicate themselves to such orders immediately.
There is something that does not add up in this reasoning, or am I wrong?
I mean, it is highly likely that a company that a customer chooses because of its work standards, already has other orders to complete and, therefore specific delivery schedules.
But that’s not all.
The other huge problem we encounter is that all the market-based adjustments we decide to put in place require a lot of time.
Let me explain: as soon as we see our work turnover increase and we decide to invest in new technologies or human resources, we are faced with exceptionally long technical timelines. If we recruit human resources, first of all we have to find someone qualified for the position; and then, if we find them (not always as easy as it seems), we have to train them.
The same applies when we decide to purchase a machine: it takes time for it to be delivered, installed and commissioned. And then there is the fact that you have to have someone who can operate it.
In both cases, these are processes which are never rapid, and more than just a couple of months.
So what do we do?
Let’s be honest: working under constant pressure is not good for one’s health, and there is also the aspect that the inevitable is round the corner: the possibility of making errors physiologically increases (for everyone).