The benefits of collaboration in manufacturing

Published Friday 24th May, 2019

While there’s always been some degree of collaboration in manufacturing circles, as the connected universe continues to expand, the formation of more collaborative partnerships is essential if we’re to gain ground as a sector, and keep up with demand from consumers.

By working together to combine the various skill sets used throughout the manufacturing process, we can, as an industry, create a more co-operative environment that will drive innovation.

In our own experience within the electronics sector, we've found that forging strong relationships with manufacturers has reaped tangible rewards in problem-solving, design, efficiency and product-to-market timescales.

5 key benefits of the collaborative approach to manufacturing

1. Smarter, streamlined processes – every minute wasted during the manufacturing lifecycle costs money, but by having open lines of communication between the parties involved, you can streamline the entire process. By keeping all departments and suppliers ‘in the loop’ and allowing them to communicate directly, the design, prototyping, marketing, procurement, production and roll-out processes move along efficiently, minimising waiting time between each party’s involvement so you can get your product to market faster.

2. Identify opportunities – the combined knowledge and experience brought to the table through collaboration makes it much easier to see where the next big opportunity lies. While a manufacturer may have all the ideas for a new product, the insight that designers, PCB engineers and front-line sales staff can add allows you to consider, trouble-shoot, see the consumers’ perspective and recognise potential gaps in the market. The more brains, the better!

3. Overcoming issues – however well planned, sometimes things can go wrong in the manufacturing process. If this happens, and you don’t have effective data and knowledge sharing in place between the parties involved, it can take a lot of time and effort to drill down to the route problem and find the best way to solve it.

4. Utilise networks – by ensuring different teams - internally and externally - are collaborating and communicating, they can bring additional power to your processes. Information, ideas and feedback can be shared, captured and acted upon more quickly, adding value to the entire manufacturing process. On a broader scale, building a network across the supply chain can bring you some great benefits from a procurement/cost point of view, helping you to identify the best suppliers and build contingencies.

5. Product improvements – in the world of manufacturing, if you want to stay ahead, you can’t stand still and that means looking for ways to elevate your products to the next level. For example, a collaborative partnership can help you pool ideas in response to consumer feedback to make improvements to your next model, or to jump on a new technology. Say you manufacture an electrical product. Your design team might come up with a new function to satisfy consumer demand, but your engineers may spot a potential problem – so they need to speak to the PCB designer to ensure that the functionality is possible to achieve, while your procurement team will also need to ensure it’s financially viable. If you have all of these teams working together, you can quickly explore your options, with the reassurance that any decision has been made from an educated position.

Here at Daletech, we're huge advocates of collaboration in manufacturing, and have even updated our own processes and service provision to facilitate better working practices for our customers – so if you're involved in the manufacturing industry, we highly recommend building partnerships that will bring benefits for all involved.

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