Round-Up: 5 Most-Read Blogs for Manufacturers in 2019

In this article, we look back on 2019’s 5 most-read blogs for manufacturers, to help other ambitious makers get a head start in 2020. In no particular order, the 5 blogs look into the manufacturing processes, the MTO and MTS workflows, master production schedule, raw material inventory management, and production planning and scheduling.
Following in the steps of other manufacturers will give your business a good head start. In this article, we share our five most-read blogs by manufacturers.

In this article, we look back on 2019’s 5 most-read blogs for manufacturers, to help other ambitious makers get a head start in 2020. In no particular order, the 5 blogs look into the manufacturing processes, the MTO and MTS workflows, master production schedule, raw material inventory management, and production planning and scheduling.

It’s a lot of hard work running a manufacturing business, wouldn’t you agree?   

You got to take care of your regular business responsibilities, such as administration and accounting, whilst also having to organize the production aspect of your manufacturing business too.   

We’ve been posting articles to arm artisans, crafters, and manufacturers with the knowledge and tools to optimize their workshops and factory-floors, and to help turn a hobby or a part-time endeavor, into a successful and scaling business.  

But like we already mentioned, handling your business and manufacturing can take away a lot of your free time, so there’s the chance that you may have missed out on some of these resources.  

Don’t worry, we understand, you’ve been busy.  

But as the festive season passes by and we all take a little breather, we thought we’d take a moment and share with you our five most-read blogs in 2019 for ambitious manufacturers.  

This way you can catch up on any articles that you missed out on but think would be useful to know in the new year or even refresh yourself on a topic that you read about earlier, but have since forgotten. 

Regardless of your motive, we’ve chosen these articles for you since other manufacturers have found them useful, and we’re oh-so positive that you will too.   

But, before we delve into our chosen five, we should let you know that we do offer other free resources for manufacturers to use.  

The most common problem among manufacturers, regardless of their profession, is inventory management of raw materials.   

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide and a free e-book to help you improve your inventory management practices.  

Inventory Management for Modern Manufacturers.

So, without further ado, let’s begin!  

#1 The Five Types of Manufacturing Processes

Manufacturing Processes.

This is a theoretical, back-to-school, article for anyone who wants to start a manufacturing business, or for someone looking for a better way to manufacture their products. 

The thing about the manufacturing industry, it's incredibly big, and the businesses that fall into this industry are extremely varied.   

Manufacturers produce different products, and how they make those products are different too. 

The manufacturing industry is split into different sub-sectors such as food production, chemical manufacturing, and computer and electrical manufacturing, etc.   

As you can imagine, this means some manufacturers handle perishable goods while others might hand more granule materials, so the process they follow to produce their finished products is different.  

However, regardless of what they make, manufacturers will follow one of the five manufacturing processes to make their products.  

These five manufacturing processes are:  

Repetitive Manufacturing 

Repetitive manufacturing is comprised of dedicated production lines that produce the same or paraphernalia of items, 24/7, all year round.    

Discrete Manufacturing  

Discrete manufacturing also utilizes an assembly or production line. However, this process is extremely diverse, with a variety of setups and changeover frequencies.  

Job Shop Manufacturing  

Job shop manufacturing makes use of production areas rather than assembly lines.   

Batch Manufacturing  

Batch manufacturing is a style of manufacturing which compiles the different components of a product through a step by step processes.    

Continuous Manufacturing  

Continuous manufacturing is also 24/7, but the difference is that this manufacturing process uses raw materials like gases, liquids, powders, or slurries. But, in areas like mining, the products can be granule materials too.    

With technological advancements, there’s also a super-secret sixth manufacturing process, though you can learn more about that in the article.  

Read more about the manufacturing processes here —>

PRO TIP: We touched upon the different subsectors in the manufacturing industry. However, we have delved into this topic before, with our free and ultimate guide on what is manufacturing, which also gives you the knowledge to optimize your business.   

Small Business Manufacturing 101.

#2 Make to Order Vs Make to Stock: The Final Workflow Showdown

Make to order.

Once you’ve figured out what type of manufacturing process your business will use, the next step is deciding the workflow your production will follow. 

And this will be based on several factors, such as demand planning, available resources, storage space, finances, the type of products manufactured, etc.   

For the most part, the majority of manufacturers will be torn between two workflows, make to order or make to stock. 

Make to Order 

Make to order (MTO) is when a manufacturer makes their products after receiving a customer’s order.  

A manufacturer may choose to do this to lower their carrying costs or because they’re a bespoke manufacturer who makes customized products.  

Since this workflow is reliant on a customer's order to start production, this is referred to as a pull system:  

The pull system - Products are pulled into production by a customer's purchase. 

Make to Stock 

Make to Stock (MTS) is the antithesis to the MTO workflow.  

Manufacturers who use the MTS model manufacture their products ahead of a customer's order, based on sales forecasts and expected customer demand.  

The function of MTS is to match your business's inventory and production with customer demand and to avoid having resources idly waiting for production to begin.   

This is also known as a push system as products are made based on forecasts.  

The push system - Products being pushed to production from expected sales.

In the article, we take an in-depth look at these workflows, including the advantages and disadvantages, and which is the best for your business. 

But before you do, it might be that you don’t like the sound of either workflow, so make sure that you check out assemble to order to get a better understanding of using subassemblies in your workflow instead.  

Read more about MTO vs MTS here —>

#3 The Only Master Production Schedule Guide You’ll Ever Need  

Master Production Schedule.

As you are already well aware of as a manufacturer, organizing your production can quickly become a hassle if you don’t have one, big, overview of a game plan.  

This is where a master production schedule comes into play. 

The master production schedule (MPS) is your primary document for your scheduled manufacturing, which will tell you what you need to make, how much you need to make, and when exactly should you be making it.  Basically, your MPS will be the backbone of your manufacturing business.  

Without your MPS in place, you’ll struggle to make your commitments with customers, especially when your business starts to grow, so it’s generally considered good practice to have it ready early on.   

So, an MPS aims to:  

— Make your demand flow smoother;  

— Lower your manufacturing lead-time

— Standardize communication within your business;  

— Stabilize production;    

— Have a workable plan for your manufacturing orders; and  

— Help you with making accurate purchases and transfer orders.   

If you’ve not taken the time to put together your MPS or think yours could do with an update, be sure to check out this article!  

Read more about your MPS here —>

PRO TIP: Developing an MPS can be a challenge in and of itself. However, there is a manufacturing scheduling software out on the market, which can allow you to throw the planning responsibilities into autopilot so you can stay focused on making your products.   

Production planning and scheduling.

#4 Raw Material Inventory Management: The Definitive Guide    

Raw material inventory management.

Raw inventory management is the biggest challenge your business will have to learn to overcome, and the problems you can encounter from poor inventory management is the same for small-scale artisans and a large manufacturing corporation.  

Not having your raw material under control is going to drive up your manufacturing costs. To keep your business chugging along, you need to aim for a high inventory turnover ratio (ITR)

And to do this, you’ll need to understand that inventory, for the most part, is split into three different areas:  

— Raw materials;

Work-in-progress (WIP)and  

— Finished products. 

And this inventory will consist of two types of raw materials:  

Direct materials      

These are the components used to make your final product. For example, a leather manufacturer’s direct material will be leather, and a coffee manufacturer's direct material will be coffee beans.  

Indirect materials 

These are the ‘fiddly’ components that are used during manufacturing but are not part of the finished product. For example, this will be your glue, oil, cleaning supplies, disposable tools, light bulbs, etc.   

Knowing about these is one thing, but actually developing a technique for handling these materials and costs?  

In the raw material management article, we explore exactly that, with a focus on the 80/20 rule, the importance of safety stock and reorder points, and how your business can optimize its raw inventory management.  

Read more about raw material inventory management here —>

PRO TIP: Those who work in the food and beverage production need a versatile software that can help them track ingredients in its different forms belong a production route, that’s why many get set up on coffee roasting software.  

Katana smart manufacturing software.

#5 Production Planning and Scheduling

Production planning and scheduling.

If raw material management is the most important aspect of having a successful manufacturing business, then production planning and scheduling is the next important factor. 

Without taking the time to put together a production plan and schedule, your business will be plagued with bottlenecksdead stock, unfilled, and even lost orders.  

The purpose of production planning and scheduling is to make your manufacturing process flow at its maximum efficiency, so when you’re fulfilling orders, your production doesn’t suffer any delays or interruptions.  

When you’re working on your production planning, you’ll need to focus on areas of your business (most of which were referenced in this round-up article) such as team members, raw materials, workstations, processes, and supplies, to figure out how you can optimize your production.   

So, what does good production planning involve?  

Logical production

You’ll need to figure out the most logical and straightforward way to make your finished products when working on your routing manufacturing.  

Anticipation

Good production planning will think ahead to any problems which might arise and have a plan in place to remedy those potential problems.  

Identifying weak points 

When putting together a production plan, you’ll be able to identify inefficient points along your production line.   

Finding Solutions   

You’ll need to find the most optimal way to fulfill your orders.  

In the article, we lay out exactly how you can do all the above and the steps you’ll need to follow to fully optimize your business.  

Read more on perfecting your production planning and scheduling here —>

Conclusion   

5 most-read blogs for manufacturers.

So, there we have it! 2019’s five most-read blogs for manufacturers looking to kickstart their 2020!  

If you found the blogs useful or have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by dropping us a comment below. 

Or alternatively, if you wish to contact us and don’t want to miss out on any of our future articles, be sure to follow us on our social media channels.  

We hope our articles and resources have been helpful, have a fantastic 2020, and until next time, happy new year and happy manufacturing.  

Smart manufacturing software.