Contract manufacturing, when you outsource manufacturing of your product line, enables you to have your products manufactured without the resources and capital needed to have your own factory. When looking for contract manufacturing services, your requirements will depend on your product manufacturing needs. For example, you may or may not require a company that offers CNC machining capabilities and complete assembly.
Contract manufacturing reduces labor costs, helps you meet demand fluctuations, and ultimately provides you with cost savings. Economies of scale, both internal and external, occur when your manufacturing capabilities are increased. When a large portion of your business is outsourced, you can focus on growth and customer relations. These benefits are enhanced with program management. Program management streamlines contract manufacturing, provides greater quality control, and reduces lead times, ultimately providing better customer service.
As Jeffrey M. O’Brien wrote in Wired, “The future of gadget-making is not about making gadgets; it’s about imagining them. Someone else makes the imaginary real.” You have come up with the gadget and need someone to help you make it. Contract manufacturing will do that, but program management will ensure it’s done right and streamline the entire process. Here are eight ways program management streamlines contract manufacturing:
With contract manufacturing (without program management), you may not have a point of contact to reach out to for questions or issues. This dramatically complicates the flow of communication. When you are working with a program manager, they are dedicated to your goals, needs, and issues and serve as your dedicated point of contact. They will help walk you through the entire manufacturing process, beginning to end. They’ll answer any questions you have, from protecting intellectual property to acquiring raw materials to production through to delivery. Program management will streamline the entire communication process, which will, in turn, eliminate miscommunication, errors and save you time and money.
2. Creates a superior success plan
Program management is a highly effective way to develop your success plan. Program managers understand the ins and outs of contract manufacturing and will help you design a robust plan to meet your goals. With an understanding of the machinery, they are able to optimize the process to stay within your budget and timeline. Further, not only will program management help you plan for success, but it will help you achieve it.
3. Provides quality control
Program management ensures your products meet any required standards. Your design, process, and product development are reviewed, assembled, tested, and shipped while maintaining standards and quality. Your program manager understands your operation and processes, which are both critical components of your manufacturing process.
Along the way, you may run into issues. Resolving these issues might be costly and timely, but with superior program management, you will be better equipped to handle any unexpected problems that arise. Program management will troubleshoot any unforeseen circumstances and work with you to create a solution. According to Electronic Products & Technology, you should have a plan in place with your New Product Introduction (NPI) that will come up with ways to address unforeseen challenges or obstacles.
You likely want your business to grow, and program management will help you accomplish this goal. With status reviews and continuous improvement, your organization is in a better position to expand. Program management of your contract manufacturing will take inventory management, volume forecasting, and business objectives into consideration while working with you to improve further.
6. Utilizes the expertise and knowledge of others
Managing your manufacturing can be costly. Time is money, and one of the most rewarding savings will come from outsourcing contract manufacturing and acquiring program management. The processes involved in contract management can be challenging, tedious, and inefficient if you are not familiar with or experienced in it. As a result, this can result in inefficiencies, mistakes, and ultimately, unhappy customers. Program management streamlines contract manufacturing by utilizing the expertise and knowledge of others.
7. Uses proven, effective checklists
For each product you manufacture, there is a learning curve. Whether it is developing new processes, checklists, or training, it can take time and money until you’re running like a “well-oiled machine.” Program management reduces this by using proven, effective checklists.
A checklist will detail the procedures step-by-step to ensure nothing is missed and everyone is on the same page.
When you opt for program management, you are also benefiting from the experience and certification held by the program manager and organization. The program manager may have plenty of experience in design, engineering, and procurement, as well as contract manufacturing. The certificates they hold are also advantageous to you, further ensuring quality. They have a solid grasp of your requirements, as well as their own knowledge and expertise. When combined, they’ll interpret your specs and effectively manage your manufacturing process to ensure accuracy.
Program management is an essential piece of the contract manufacturing puzzle. The relationship with your program manager will help you reach your business goals and prevent costly errors. Mid-size to large scale international brands use program management to streamline their contract manufacturing. There are options for how this will look for your organization as well. You can choose to have the entire production managed, managed with your team, or managed with an additional third party.
You can use a hiring firm or look for a contract manufacturing partner yourself. Either way, you must look for a highly reputable contract manufacturer. Applied Engineering, for example, is exceptionally reputable with over 40 years of experience in offering hi-tech electromechanical contract manufacturing services. Applied Engineering’s key differentiators are our advanced new product introduction processes coupled with experienced personnel which includes a seasoned, dedicated group of Project Managers. Applied Engineering also has the registration and certification to back up this long-lasting reputation.
Lastly, when looking for a contract manufacturer, ensure their core competencies align with your business so the outsourcing transition is smooth and communications are crisply channeled through a seasoned project manager.