Manufacturing companies in the Pacific Northwest are diverse, ranging from food production to microchips and everything in between, but one thing all manufacturers have in common is a desire to maximize effort, time, and money. Wherever your manufacturing business is in its lifecycle, you can tap into outside resources to improve your processes. Organizations like OMEP help small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results by pinpointing areas for improvement and helping businesses find opportunities they may be overlooking. Supply chain organizations like Relay Resources can facilitate solutions that increase your efficiency, productivity and profit.
To get an idea of how these partners could help you, check out this list of 4 common problems OMEP hears from their manufacturing customers, as well as ways to approach each one.
Increase Production Capacity
Here’s a manufacturing truth: You might be able to get more from your skilled employees by asking them to do less. Right now, you probably have some highly skilled employees who are required to spend a portion of their time doing basic tasks, like prep work or finishing touches. Imagine if you could take that work off their plate. How much more could you produce if your more highly trained employees and teams were freed up to add value in other ways? Would it open up some of the bottlenecks in your process? Free up their time to cross train other employees?
Relay has a proven history of helping companies focus their highly skilled workforce on highly specialized work, by assuming responsibility for the less specialized work. One example of how outsourcing certain steps of a supply chain can help create efficiencies within a manufacturing process is the Oregon-based company Looptworks. A Portland-based Certified B Corporation, Looptworks is known for taking excess fabric materials and upcycling them into new products. They partner with Relay on some of their large-scale projects to sort, clean, and deconstruct original materials, then a highly skilled team of Looptworks designers and sewers puts their skills to use transforming those materials into their end product. In short, you can create valuable efficiencies by strategically outsourcing parts of your supply chain. Consider outsourcing some of your production to a supply-chain partner like Relay Resources.
Find Good Employees
Keeping your production staffed with engaged employees who are cross trained is a big challenge for any company. But, as anyone with a high turnover rate knows, it’s a problem worth tackling. As part of your solution, consider tapping into a trusted partner’s trained workforce to assist your team. The supply chain solutions team at Relay Resources brings together diverse individuals with flexible skill sets that allow them to excel at a wide variety of supply chain tasks. Plus, all of our teams are trained in the most up-to-date COVID safety protocol. So you can rest assured knowing that the employees doing the work are properly protected.
Instant access to such experienced and reliable teams can be a great addition to any manufacturing process. Take Secret Aardvark. As they reached over 1,000 locations across the U.S., this not-so-secret line of sauces tapped our experienced Relay team for help with warehousing and order fulfillment.
While local companies may lean on Relay to help them strengthen their operations to grow outside the region, non-local companies can use Relay to strengthen their ties in the area. Lindemann Chimney Co., a Chicago-based company, met their increased demand by utilizing the Relay warehousing and fulfillment teamto expand their sales territory to the West Coast. This allows for local pick-up options and reduced shipping times for their ever-expanding customer base in the West.
If you’re looking for a smart way to grow your staff, partnering with other organizations can open up access to trained teams that can improve the efficiency, productivity and quality of your operations. In other words, when it comes to building your production line team, sometimes it pays to think outside the box.
Expand to Meet the Needs of Customers
There are times when customer demand outgrows your manufacturing capabilities – a seasonal rush, a rush of new product excitement, a high profile and/or well-timed shout-out online, the results of a successful marketing push… Your needs may be permanent or temporary, but either way, if you need to ramp up production quickly and nimbly, you may benefit from the help of an outside team.
Yellow Scope Science Kits are designed to inspire girls to explore, examine and discover their world. Every engaging, creative and totally hands-on science kit requires careful assembly and kitting, which our SCS team has been more than happy to manage for them. As the company continues to grow and becomes more heavily engaged with Amazon Marketplace, they’ve also needed access to additional storage and fulfillment services, which our teams have taken on as well. We love being part of Yellow Scope’s journey and look forward to more growth in the future.
Keep Up with Changing Delivery Expectations
The world of free two-day shipping and on-demand everything has undeniably changed customer expectations, especially now that so much shopping is being done online. Working with a warehouse and fulfillment partner can help you keep up with and optimize your delivery services. Who you partner with can affect your business in different ways.
Bambu has been creating sustainable home goods for over 15 years and is a great example of how this kind of partnership can work. Co-founders Jeff Delkin and Rachel Speth created their eco-friendly B Corp business around their mission to reduce reliance on plastic by providing people with natural alternatives. Originally from Portland, they built their business in Shanghai, where they can source local materials and employ local craftspeople. Sustainability shapes more than just their products. They decided to work with a third-party logistics company (3PL) in California to manage their warehousing and fulfillment as they continued growing their channels of distribution, including Amazon. The partnership was working well but they wanted something closer to their Portland office and with a value set that more closely resembled their own. Bambu moved their warehousing and fulfillment to Relay, where we worked to ensure delivery and turnaround time for their increasing ecommerce order fulfillment, supporting their continued sales growth in a location more convenient to their team.
BONUS: Your partners can be a reflection of your organization
If working with an outside partner seems like it could be a good fit for your manufacturing company, then let this be the icing on the cake: In addition to adding efficiency, quality and profitability to your process, the partner you choose can be an important reflection of your values. And, as more and more consumers shop with their conscience, rallying behind a purposeful mission can do good for the world and your bottom line. Relay cultivates meaningful work for people with disabilities or other barriers to employment. They deliver quality services to their customers, good jobs to their employees, and affordable housing for their residents. It’s a win, win, win.