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Strategies for Reducing Manufacturing Errors | Tacton

Reducing Manufacturing Errors: The Ultimate Guide

Manufacturing errors are potentially million-dollar mistakes. According to a study of the top 72 multinational industrial manufacturers, the average cost of downtime was $532,000 an hour. And over the course of the year, these manufacturers lost $1 trillion in manufacturing failures.

Errors can happen for many reasons, and the high cost makes it in your best interest to do everything you can to avoid them. CPQ software is just one way to prevent production errors.

In this guide, you will learn about the most common types of errors in manufacturing and how to reduce them.

Common Errors in Manufacturing

Reducing manufacturing errors begins by understanding the most common mistakes. Unfortunately, the complexity of modern manufacturing processes makes it challenging to identify where things need to be fixed. But manufacturing errors should not and do not need to be built into your financial projections for the year.

First, here’s a brief rundown of the most common problems your business can come up against.

  • Misquoting – Your margins can take a hit by quoting the wrong price to a customer. While this can be updated, it risks upsetting the customer, meaning most companies will choose to honor the original quote.
  • Wrong Documents – Supplying incorrect documentation to the engineering and production departments can lead to products with the wrong specifications.
  • Human Error – Human errors at every stage of the manufacturing cycle can ruin production and lead to costly mistakes. An estimated 26% of all errors have been attributed to human error.
  • Order Processing – Figuring out how can we reduce order processing errors will prevent delays or incorrect orders from being produced.
  • Damaged Machinery – Machinery breakdowns can be catastrophic, leading to the complete breakdown of production. The causes of this manufacturing problem could relate to human error, a lack of maintenance, outdated machinery, using the wrong materials, or inputting incorrect information.

These are just a taste of what can cause problems for industrial manufacturers. Even the most straightforward issue could lead to devastation. So, it’s in every manufacturer’s interest to invest in solutions that lend themselves to mitigating the risk inherent within every order.

How to Reduce Manufacturing Errors

Reducing manufacturing errors begins by examining your current processes and keeping track of every event. Pinpointing the cause of every problem can provide you with more information on areas where you need to improve.

However, innovative companies take a proactive approach to reducing errors. Here’s a guide to addressing the most common manufacturing problems before they happen.

Invest in Human Error Solutions

Every business has its weaknesses. The problem is that many companies need to be aware of where these weaknesses lie, even when ruthlessly exposed during the hustle and bustle of day-to-day business.

Equipping your senior management team with business intelligence will enable you to point your organization in the right direction. That makes hiring a company specializing in uncovering and addressing these errors an investment worth making.

A consultant can explore every aspect of your operation, review previous events, and make targeted recommendations for where you need to catch up. Instead of taking the time to self-audit, a fresh pair of eyes can yield insights that help you to plan for the future.

Enhance Your Communication

Communication across every department will enable you to perform to a higher standard. For example, if your sales and engineering teams exist within siloes, this is a problem. Not reading from the same playbook means that your production team might be guessing what the customer wants if your sales team isn’t sharing pertinent information.

Production errors in manufacturing could result from a simple problem of your sales team not sharing information directly from the customer or the department not having a firm grasp of what’s viable. CPQ solutions can help to streamline your communication channels by providing one-click distribution of automatically generated documents like CAD papers.

Reduce Inaccuracies During the Customer Lifecycle

Inaccuracies can arise at every stage of the customer lifecycle. Processes must be accurate, available, and enforceable, which all goes back to data.

For example, your salesperson may have provided an incorrect quote to a customer. Alternatively, they may have failed to communicate any special requirements to the production team.

Whatever the problem, the result will be lost dollars, dissatisfied customers, and a reduced lifetime customer value. And 91% of customers say they would not willingly do business with a company that dissatisfied them.

CPQ software can play a vital role in preventing these problems through its advanced constraints-based engine. Your sales agents can produce instant, accurate quotes based on set parameters and then communicate this information to every part of your company.

It essentially sidelines the human aspect, leaving no room for mistakes, regardless of an employee’s proficiency or competence.

Address Product Misunderstandings

Mass-produced standardized products are fast becoming a thing of the past. Today’s manufacturing clients demand products customized to their needs. From the manufacturer’s point of view, these new demands enhance the complexity of the process, leading to even more opportunities for misunderstandings and mistakes.

For example, a customer may communicate their desires, but they need to be adequately incorporated into the production documents. Likewise, the customer may ask for a product that doesn’t meet their needs.

Manufacturers can counter these problems by allowing customers access to a self-service platform to help in reducing order errors.

Tacton’s CPQ software offers 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) visualizations to empower customers during the order process. With these features, customers can build their products, get precise technical specifications, and review their orders from every angle before finalizing them.

This approach ensures buyers and sellers know what they ordered before a concept goes into production.

Invest in Training

Training at every level is required to make your team more competent and address production errors in manufacturing.

With one in four errors resulting from a human mistake at some stage, investing in both ongoing professional development and refresher courses for personnel can target a range of problem areas, including:

  • Sales
  • Engineering
  • Production
  • Post-production
  • Delivery

But what makes an effective training scheme for the manufacturing sector?

Impactful training begins with the “what” and the “how,” but it should address the “why” as part of both classroom and on-the-job training and certification. Within manufacturing, the human aspect cannot be entirely replaced by technology, making relevant and lasting training regimes a core part of your operations.

Launch Your Digital Transformation

Manufacturing operations have never been more technologically advanced. Today’s precision engineering requirements demand the incorporation of next-generation technologies, including automation and AI, to fulfill customers’ needs.

But what does it mean to digitally transform your manufacturing facilities?

Digital transformation must occur throughout every part of your organization. It cannot be confined to investing in more advanced production machinery. Instead, it has to include document control, data management, communication, management processes, and supervision.

Most manufacturing facilities now use CPQ software because of how far it can extend throughout an organization. Although the essential tools focus exclusively on the instant quoting feature, Tacton offers a variety of add-ons that can address other manufacturer-specific areas, such as:

  • Omnichannel sales
  • Integration
  • Analytics
  • Visualization
  • CAD automation

In other words, innovative solutions can take advantage of state-of-the-art systems to provide more oversight and reduce the human element.

Evaluate Individual Performance

Your top performers will remain superstars even as technology significantly reduces manufacturing errors and produces better customer outcomes. Technology is there to make your employees more effective rather than replace them.

Evaluating individual performance requires in-depth data to provide your management team with the information needed to identify areas for improvement.

Knowing what each employee is doing, how they are doing it, and whether they are maintaining your compliance is crucial to avoid errors that could lead to thousands of dollars in losses. And various tools exist to provide greater transparency, including CPQ software.

Reduce Manufacturing Errors with Tacton

The most significant mistake manufacturers make is assuming all errors begin in the factory and production lines. Errors can happen as early as the conversation between your sales rep and the customer.

Overall change begins with solutions that take an end-to-end approach. At Tacton Systems, we have supported the world’s leading multinational manufacturers in transforming how they do business. 

With our innovative CPQ software, we can provide your company with a suite of tools that mitigate human error, streamline communication, and better the customer experience. Discover the power of industrial manufacturing CPQ solutions by requesting your free demo now.

Author: Michael Brassea