Sage Advice US

High demand, low staff: Keeping up with Christmas absence

How a business management solution can help manufacturing industry remain on top of their game, despite a low workforce.

Ah, Christmas. The traditions, the gifts, the decorations, and, of course, the food. With Christmas around the corner, the manufacturing industry has jumped, all guns blazing, into the season’s retail madness. Amidst such high level of competition, the ability to meet customer demands, on time, holds the key to whether Santa blesses you with a fat balance sheet or it disappears like a puff of smoke, up the chimney.

But here is the Christmas ‘gotcha’ moment for manufacturers. While you, as a company are bracing yourself for a high volume of orders, your staff are looking forward to a period of fun and relaxation with their family. Suddenly you will be flooded with leave requests, left, right and centre, and those who have used up their quota of leave, will unexpectedly start falling sick. Either way, you will be short-staffed around what is potentially the busiest and most profitable time of the year.

To ensure that your productivity levels don’t drop, despite a low workforce, during the festive period, you need to position yourself to succeed in the following three areas:

Demand planning and forecasting

Buyers these days are as unpredictable as the British weather. One year it is a mad rush for electronics, the other it is organic products. As a manufacturer, it is very important for you to study the current market trends and respond accordingly. The ability to keep on top of anticipated demand, while ensuring that you neither have spoilage nor a shortage of stock, is what you need, to keep your business running seamlessly during Christmas. A system that helps you plan effectively and make informed decisions based on collated data is your best bet in such a scenario.

Manufacturing management

While trying to cope up with bulk demand, manufacturers can sometimes lose track of quality, resulting in product defects and returns that negatively impact customer satisfaction and retention. Therefore it is essential to have full insight into quality control procedures and monitor everything in real-time so that problems can be identified instantly and flawed products or designs can be corrected before they reach the customer. A manufacturing management software can help you save time and money by monitoring everything in real-time and generating visual alerts of upcoming/ identified problems or delays.

Order and Billing management

Asking your billing manager or specific team members to carry around orders and their deadlines on paper or in their head is not the best idea, as it increases the chances of your overall operations coming to a standstill, in case anyone is unavailable. Don’t leave it to chance – use software to manage your orders and billing information. A customer relationship management software will assist you in keeping your business organized and customers happy.

Whilst you could keep adding software to optimise your manufacturing process and deliver high volumes of product in time, you risk exposing yourself to over-complicating your business process and creating hard to manage software silos, or you could simply use a business management solution to take care of all your production and distribution needs and enjoy the rewards.