Synergy is Critical to Modern Manufacturing
Manufacturing is increasingly a silo-free zone. As factories become more complex and data-driven, companies are recognizing the benefits of sharing data across business lines to improve overall operations.
But before you go tearing down silos and mingling groups within the factory, consider your purpose for collaboration. Where can you create synergies to drive the company forward? Recognizing opportunities for synergy is vital to modern manufacturing.
What does it mean to de-silo operations?
Silos are independently operated business divisions that aren’t necessarily good at sharing information with one another. Keeping business lines separate may seem like a good organizational tactic, but it actually prevents effective communication and good decision-making.
A factory setting should be an ecosystem in which everyone works together toward a common goal. Siloes make this difficult. A siloed environment creates barriers between departments which makes naturally-occurring synergies unlikely — if not impossible.
Silos encourage department rivalries and data hoarding, but open, collaborative environments foster trust in and among different departments. And they allow manufacturers an easy view of how everything affects everything else — making it easy to identify areas of improvement and increase production efficiency.
A factory is essentially an ecosystem, so it’s necessary for everyone to work together. Programmers must work with engineers to coordinate automated factory processes. Other examples of how manufacturing departments can help one another include:
- Engineers working with sales and marketing to improve products
- Machinists working with programmers to ensure functionality
- Quality control working with machinists to set standards
- Installation techs working with plant managers to optimize efficiency
- Service techs working with installation techs to create service plans
Collaboration between departments results in increased productivity and faster growth, and the first step is removing barriers — which is easier said than done.
Remove collaboration barriers
For a company to reach its goals, it must first break down the internal barriers preventing collaboration. To do this, manufacturers must create a unified mindset. Fostering effective communication and collaboration between departments is easier when everyone has a common goal. It’s the job of company leadership to ensure all departments understand the company’s core initiatives and long-term goals. Leadership should also make employees aware of their individual impact on the company’s main objectives.
Encourage departments to work with one another — and create opportunities for interdepartmental interaction — by cross-training and merging teams. Broadly sharing data across the workplace makes it easier for everyone to work together and ensures all employees are working with the same information.
When everyone works together, everyone benefits
There’s a certain degree of cooperation among all lines of business. It’s up to manufacturers to spot opportunities for collaboration and establish systems for turning them into fruitful synergies. Removing silos and getting everyone on the same page about core objectives is one of the best ways to develop the factory ecosystem — and make sure everyone knows their role within it.