• The changes in manufacturing and business as a whole have undergone since TBM was founded have been incredible.
  • The fundamentals of manufacturing success have not changed.
  • These three manufacturing success factors will remain relevant this decade and well into the future.

People dramatically overestimate stability, says psychologist Dan Gilbert. When we think about the future, we underestimate the amount of change that we will undergo, changes in values, personality, and preferences.

Manufacturing leaders are no different when it comes to their businesses. We tend to overestimate stability and underestimate future changes in market conditions, technology, and competition. Over the next decade, customer expectations and competition will evolve and change in ways that we cannot imagine today.

Boston Consulting Group predicts that in the 2020s companies “will need to redesign their internal processes and build new capabilities and business models. This will not be a one-time change effort: the dynamic nature of business will require organisations to build capabilities for ongoing large-scale change to keep up with evolving technology and competition.”

Looking back over the course of my career—while the basics of running a successful manufacturing business have not changed—the technology and market changes (mostly wrought by globalization) have been astounding. The pace of business has accelerated dramatically. Looking at what it takes to succeed in today’s world, we were right on target when we launched TBM almost 30 years ago around the theory of “time-based management.”

Over the years, working with clients from all types of companies and industries, we’ve deepened our understanding of everything it takes for a manufacturing company to remain successful and stay on top. It comes down to these three priorities or success factors:

  1. Speed and Execution
  2. Customer Centricity
  3. Developing Your People

Manufacturing Success Factor #1: Speed and Execution

Pick any business and any market. Moving faster and being more responsive is always better. That said, customer focus is essential to make sure you’re moving fast in the right direction. And if you don’t bring your people along with you by building their capabilities, you won’t sustain your momentum and any competitive edge will be short-lived.

Manufacturing Success Factor #2: Customer Centricity

Getting better and fixing any issues invariably starts with asking, “How can we serve our customers better?” You have to start with that end in mind. It’s like when you create a value-stream map; you start with the customer and work upstream from there.

Manufacturing Success Factor #3: Developing Your People

There’s a reason why we begin any engagement with safety. It sends a clear message about what matters most. I already mentioned developing your people as the key to sustaining forward momentum. The deeper their expertise and capabilities, the better and faster your company will execute over time. People are your only appreciating asset. Everything else—your machinery, your equipment—depreciates, wears out and needs to be replaced.

These three manufacturing success factors will remain true this decade, over the next 30 years, and beyond. In an upcoming article, I will take a closer look at how you can make speed and execution a higher priority in 2020.