Busy executives have personal assistants not because they can’t do the things their assistants do – like pick up the dry cleaning and get the car washed – but because they want to free up time to focus on more important tasks.
The same logic can apply to the myriad of tasks required to keep a factory humming. Certain tasks are simply done faster and cheaper using a third party logistics partner (3PL).
Here are 4 activities that, if you want to improve productivity in manufacturing operations, are ripe for outsourcing.
1) Detrashing parts on arrival
Why pay a higher-cost technician or assembly worker to open boxes and throw away trash? These tasks can be done faster for less by a 3PL, either in a section of your plant or, better still, at a nearby warehouse that stores your material and delivers it just in time. This change can reduce your headcount, reduce labor costs, and free up floor space in your manufacturing operation.
2) Picking and packing work orders
To support a just-in-time approach, it’s wise to prepare the exact quantities required for a particular day’s production run. The basic task of counting and organizing these parts is something that is best left to logistics support staff. This process enables you have only the parts and pieces on the floor that you need for that production run, saving space on the production floor and providing a check and balance for inventory.
3) Preparing parts for the line
To improve productivity in manufacturing, parts can also be pre-assembled and organized into kits. 3PLs are well-suited for this type of work, which can also be done from an outside location. By starting the manufacturing process outside your plant, you get a jump start that can dramatically improve manufacturing cycle time and allow your workers to focus 100 percent of their time on production.
4) Purchasing packaging materials and non-strategic parts
Why tie up cash and your buyers’ time sourcing things like boxes, packaging, nut and bolts? The right 3PL can source and store these materials on your behalf and invoice you only as they are used. This improves your cash flow and frees up buyers to work with more strategic suppliers.
Improve productivity in manufacturing through selective outsourcing
Few of us can afford to have personal assistants. But manufacturing plant directors can’t afford NOT to have cost-efficient logistics support. By performing basic tasks using more efficient outside labor, you can dramatically improve plant financial performance, in terms of both cost and throughput.