The Power of Horizontal Deployment in Manufacturing

Manufacturing excellence is more than the sum of many moving parts. It’s also how parts are connected and synergized. If even one area of production falls short of expectations or standards, it’ll inevitably impact other areas and bring down the overall quality of even the most well-orchestrated effort. This is why horizontal deployment is critical in the manufacturing sector.

What is horizontal deployment?

Horizontal deployment is the ability to share improvements and best practices from one area of an organization to others. In manufacturing, it’s the ability of production managers to share and incorporate concepts from other areas of the value stream into everyday operations.

As manufacturing becomes more competitive than ever, horizontal deployment is becoming a cornerstone of excellence. Sharing information and action on it collectively to improve production ensures every part of manufacturing operations can benefit from every other.

The benefits of horizontal deployment

In manufacturing settings, horizontal deployment offers a diverse range of benefits, impacting efficiency, quality, and overall performance. Some key advantages include:

  • Cross-functional collaboration: Horizontal deployment encourages knowledge-sharing and collaboration between different departments or units. This can lead to improved problem-solving, quicker implementation of best practices, and faster innovation.
  • Standardization and replication: When a successful process or solution is identified in one production line or area, it can be replicated across similar lines or areas. This eliminates the need to reinvent processes to solve problems.
  • Consistent product quality: Consistent application of proven methods and tools across different areas of production minimizes variation and promotes consistency in product quality.
  • Lower costs: The efficiency gains and reduced waste achieved through horizontal deployment can translate to lower production costs and improved profitability. This is critical in preserving production margins.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of horizontal deployment is how it fosters a culture of collaboration and problem-solving. Operators and other employees are encouraged to share their learnings with others and promote solutions — and the benefits of those solutions — beyond the scope of roles and daily work.

How to promote horizontal deployment

Sharing knowledge doesn’t always come naturally to employees, so horizontal deployment can be difficult to implement without specified pathways for deploying information. To create a culture of continuous improvement built on information-sharing, consider a few best practices:

  • Start by systematically identifying proven strategies in various areas of the company.
  • Gather data and metrics to quantify the benefits achieved through the implementation of those strategies.
  • Encourage open communication among teams, to share best practices: huddles, feedback forums, surveys, etc.
  • Document successful practices, making them easily accessible and searchable to all.
  • Encourage teams to adapt best practices to their specific needs and equipment.
  • Provide guidance and support for adaptation, such as training workshops or seminars.
  • Establish and monitor metrics for gauge the impact of horizontal deployment strategies.

Above all, acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of teams and individuals who have successfully implemented best practices and contributed to the overall success of horizontal deployment initiatives. This recognition can help motivate and inspire others to participate in future efforts.

Build a culture of collaborative excellence

Successful horizontal deployment is an ongoing process requiring dedication and commitment from all levels of the organization. By fostering a culture of collaboration, providing the necessary support, and celebrating successes, manufacturers can unlock the full potential of horizontal deployment and the numerous competitive advantages that come with it.

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